It’s horrific to think that people still slaughter horses for meat, and yet it remains a significant problem. These beautiful animals so often spend their lives serving humans, only to end up shipped to the slaughterhouse.
No horse deserves that, but you would at least think that thoroughbred race horses would get a more dignified ending, especially ones who have run in high-profile races.
And yet, a recent investigation has revealed that one stallion who competed in the Kentucky Derby, the most high-profile event in American horse racing, was killed for meat in a South Korea slaughterhouse.
Private Vow, born in 2003, was owned by Mike McCarty and trained by Steve Asmussen as a race horse. He competed in the 2006 Kentucky Derby, finishing in 15th place.
The horse retired from racing in 2007. Like many former racers, Private Vow stood at stud for seven years at Red River Farms in Louisiana.
According to PETA, breeders stopped supporting him so he was sold to a farm in South Korea for breeding in 2014. He sired 196 foals in total.
But in the end, he was slaughtered for meat on July 22, 2020, the investigation found. Two of his offspring, Normal Classic and Private Man, were also slaughtered over the summer.
The revelation that thoroughbred race horses, including a Kentucky Derby contestant, would be slaughtered like this shocked both animal rights activists and people in the horse racing community.
“The over 400 American racehorses exported to South Korea every year deserve peaceful retirements, not terrifying deaths on a slaughterhouse floor,” said PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo.
“PETA is calling on North America’s Thoroughbred horse racing industry to stop selling horses to South Korea until the slaughter ends.”
A major name in horse racing has also joined the cause: the Stronach Group, which owns six thoroughbred racing tracks in the US.
“Obviously we have very strong feelings about aftercare, and we support any efforts that make sure horses aren’t shipped to or used for slaughter,” said Craig Fravel, CEO of the companie’s 1/ST Racing, according to Blood Horse. “This effort is something we support just like our other aftercare initiatives.”
“The Stronach Group is urging all North American auction companies, breeders, and owners to develop policies that prohibit the sale of Thoroughbred racehorses or broodmares to South Korea without the meaningful and binding assurances that these noble animals will be protected after their racing and breeding careers.”
What a sad, sad story. Private Vow — and every other horse killed in this barbaric meat trade — deserved better than this.
We hope this inspires real change in the industry, saving countless horses from the slaughterhouse. Share this story if you agree.