Some horses get lucky thanks to rescuers...
Woman's nonprofit group helps rescue young horses
By LIZ BEST--Special to Neighborhood Post, Wednesday, April 27, 2005
...Swanson and her partner, Brad Gaver, both of Wellington, operate Pure Thoughts Inc. and the Florida Foal Rescue Foundation, a nonprofit effort that rescues horses, many of whom are literally on their way to the slaughterhouse.
It's bittersweet work for Swanson, who can't resist smiling when she tells how they have saved more than 200 horses from the slaughterhouse since starting their mission in May 2004.
But her smile disappears when she thinks of the ones they couldn't save — the 60,000 horses who died in the United States last year to satisfy the tastes of Europeans who eat horse meat and spend lots of money on products made from the hides of newborn foals.
Swanson became interested in the plight of these animals after her 16-year-old daughter Camille cleaned out her savings account and rescued a foal. Since then, Camille has become an avid equestrian, and her mother has become an avid equine advocate.
...Swanson says the hardest part of her mission is coming face to face with the person who would be sending the horses to slaughter. But it's worth it, she said.
"The majority of people I talk to about slaughter have no idea," she said. "I know people wouldn't tolerate it if they knew."
Swanson believes slaughtering horses is barbaric. She said the animals are shackled by their hindquarters and beaten in the head in an often futile attempt to knock them out.
So the horses are awake as they are being slaughtered and often are left to drown in their own blood, said Swanson, who added that legislation is being drafted to prevent horse slaughter in this country.
Currently, there are three horse slaughterhouses in the United States: two in Texas and one in Illinois, Swanson said. All three are owned by European companies. A ban on horse slaughter was enacted in California, resulting in a decrease in horse theft and the number of abuse and starvation cases, Swanson said.
"That's why I say if people knew, they wouldn't tolerate it . . . At some point we have to stop the bleeding."
For more information on Pure Thoughts Inc., call (561) 753-6555 or visit www.floridafoalrescue.com.