The Federal Government gave a New Mexico company permission to process horse meat. We don’t know how soon Valley Meats could start making horse meat, but the idea sickens one local man.
We spent the day at Old Friends, where some of the best races horses in the world spend their last days.
At Old Friends every horse has a story. Creator won more than $500,000. Now, the 27-year-old retiree moves at his own pace.
"They should have a 401K. They should have social security," said Michael Blowen, the founder of Old Friends.
Popcorn Deelites didn’t make it as a race horse, but he is a movie start. Popcorn Deelites starred as Seabiscuit. But now what? He’s getting up in age, and his previous owner donated him. Some other owners may have convisered a slaughterhouse. Instead, Blowen says we need much better options.
"These horses do everything for people. What does Central Kentucky look like without thoroughbreds," wonders Blowen.
He runs an old-age home for horses.
"Part of doing business should be a dignified retirement for them," said Blowen.
But once racing careers end, and stud fees slow down, some owners lose interest in their investment, and send them to a slaughterhouse.
"That shouldn’t even be an alternative," said Blowen.
Old Friends exists, because Blowen heard a horse loading into a truck for slaughter.
"One of the most frightening sounds I’ve ever heard in my life. It actually is bone-chilling," said Blowen.
The sound changed him.
"Once you’ve heard a horse make that sound, to turn your back on them would be unconscionable," said Blowen.
A statue prominently featured at Old Friends symbolizes Blowen’s cause. Ferdinand won the 1986 Kentucky Derby, and died in a Japanese slaughterhouse.
He saved Clever Allemont from a similar fate.
"He’s blind in one eye. He’s deaf, and when he got here he looked like he came out of a concentration camp for horses," said Blowen.
He’s the equivalent of 100-years-old, but was once a Derby favorite.
"She’s picking him up for 200 bucks, because they’re just looking at him now as something you buy by the pound," said Blowen.
Blowen says horse slaughterhouses do not belong in America. He says these horses should choose their own time to go.