Center Offers New Hope for Unwanted Horses

On May 3, members of the Kentucky horse industry announced that they have united to form the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, a new shelter and adoption service for unwanted horses of all breeds. According to the group, The Kentucky Equine Humane Center's mission is to provide humane treatment and shelter while working as a clearinghouse to seek adoptive homes for all of Kentucky's unwanted horses, regardless of breed. The center also is committed to educate the public and raise awareness for responsible equine ownership so that fewer horses end up in crisis. Its goal is to work with and serve as a model for organizations with the same mission in other states: to save America's horses from needless destruction.

The KEHC is a non-profit organization and is in the process of applying for 501 (c) (3) status. Donations are tax-deductible and should be sent to The KEHC Fund at The Blue Grass Community Foundation, 250 West Main Street, Suite 1220, Lexington, KY, 40507.

Founding members are Kim Zito; Joan Ciampi; Meg Jewett; Stuart Brown, DVM; Tom Daugherty, DVM; Carol Farmer; Staci Hancock; Judy McCarron; Lori Neagle; and Sally Spielvogel.

The need
According to Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield's office, more than 90,000 American horses were slaughtered in this country last year by three foreign-owned plants for human consumption overseas. In addition, some 35,000 more were exported for slaughter abroad. In recent years, diverse organizations and groups have made strides in preventing horses from going to slaughter, often retraining them or adopting them out for successful second careers or simply as pasture companions. But the need is still great. Now, the Kentucky Equine Humane Center proposes to establish a first-of-its-kind equine shelter, much like animal shelters operated by local humane societies, in the heart of the horse capital of the world: Lexington, Ky.

The plan

  1. The KEHC currently is seeking to lease a 50- to 60-acre farm in the Lexington area for its shelter facility, which would accept all equines in the state of Kentucky--including donkeys and mules--provided they have a valid negative Coggins test.
  2. There will be no fee for surrendering a horse, donkey, or mule to the KEHC, but donations will be encouraged and are greatly appreciated.
  3. No horse will be turned down for any reason, except lack of a valid negative Coggins test.
  4. KEHC will work closely with other rescue, retraining, and adoption organizations; breed associations; and other equine organizations to help find adoptive homes for Kentucky horses before humane euthanasia is considered.
  5. KEHC will work to promote responsible ownership practices among current and prospective owners and breeders with the goal of reducing the number of unwanted horses in Kentucky while providing a humane alternative to slaughter.

"Not only will the KEHC benefit the horses, but it will help many caring people who have unfortunate life circumstances that prevent them from keeping their horses and who have to give those horses up," said Lori Neagle, a co-founder of the ReRun retirement and retraining organization and a KEHC board member. When KEHC opens its doors, no Kentucky resident will be able to say he sent a horse to slaughter because he had no other choice."

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