Nash: the Rescue of a Slaughter-HorsePosted by Ashley Wilson, ALDF Administrative Assistant on December 24, 2013
I have always been an animal lover, and the issue of horse slaughter is at the forefront of my volunteer work. In 2012, I learned of 10 horses in a Nevada feedlot who were about to be auctioned off to “meat buyers.” These individuals buy horses to sell to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. Fortunately, the buyers had to wait for a full load of horses so these ten had a week reprieve to be rescued.
Looking through photos of the horses, I saw a scraggly, beat up, paint horse and I was horrified.
Even though I’m a college student, I pulled together every dollar I had and paid the “meat price” for this poor horse, and suddenly owned a very sick and malnourished gelding seven hours away. After some digging, I found out that he used to be ridden by children, and was sold to the kill buyer due to his “laziness.”
Even before meeting him, I named him Nashville. He was a mess when he arrived at my house. He had eye and ear infections, an upper respiratory infection and urinary tract infection, feet that were trimmed so short they were completely bruised to the point he could barely walk, he had scars covering his entire body, and I could count every rib. The vet placed him at a 1.5 on the Henneke horse body condition scale: which put him at about 200 pounds under weight.
The vet informed us that Nash had the worst teeth he had ever seen. So we got his teeth floated, this made it much easier for him to eat and reduced his pain. Nash also bore a shameful “23” spray-painted on his rump, a number that identified him before he was to be loaded onto the truck to the slaughterhouse. The first thing we did when he arrived home was spend hours scrubbing the final reminder of his uncertain fate, and removing this number.
Nash had to be quarantined from our other horses for the first month. I cleaned his eyes and nose every day, gave him antibiotics, and although he was clearly very scared, he was so malnourished he couldn’t put up much of a fight. As he slowly grew stronger, he remained wary of people and it took a while for us to build trust.
After a few months, Nash slowly began to look and feel better. With the help of friends and family, we began assessing his training.
Once Nash had gained a significant amount of weight, I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life; with tears flowing, I decided to try to find him a forever home that could offer more than I could, where he would be happy and loved unconditionally. Although he completely misbehaved during the showing, the first family that came to look at Nash decided to give him a chance, just as I had. They fell in love with him, and they say they will keep him until the day he dies! Nash is now living on a beautiful property in Mendocino County, surrounded by love of humans and other horses. He gets to go on overnight camping trips, trail rides, and the chance to just be a normal horse.
It was a difficult journey for both he and I, but I am so glad Nash was rescued from his uncertain fate of slaughter. No horse deserves to spend his last days frightened, squished, and starving among a meat train headed to a slaughter plant.