Horse Rescue and Brook Hill Farm  Saving Horses, Saving Kids

A Few Brook Hill Farm Family Members

Horse rescue and rehab is what Brook Hill Farm is about.  Anyone even glancing at the content of this website knows about the horrendous treatment that our food animals suffer at the hands of industrialized factory farms.

Not so well known is that, worldwide, too many horses suffer the same or worse inhumane treatment.

Horrors of Horse Abuse

Horse racing takes a huge toll on horses and Hollywood has killed far too many horses in their action films.  The dirty little secret is that when horses can no longer bring in the money for their owners they are shipped off to slaughter houses and turned into pet food or shipped overseas for human consumption.  Yes, a lot of people in a lot of countries do view horse meat as a delicacy.

Those high-stepping Tennessee Walking Horses in the Big Lick competition do that because of the torture inflicted on them by "soring" their hooves with harsh chemicals and heavy weights.  Although the Horse protection Act of 1970 prohibited soring, it still goes on despite the law.  As a result, there is a huge movement afoot to abolish the Big Lick entirely; look into it, hopefully it will succeed.

In the Philippines, stallions are made to fight to the death for entertainment, Pfizer inflicts terrible abuse on mares to produce the hormone replacement drug Premarin; Rodeos in Mexico and even Cheyenne, Wyoming are especially cruel in that galloping horses are purposely tripped, injured or killed in the name of sport, and the list goes on.

A horse rescue operation is the last hope for many of these doomed animals. 

A Little Slice of Horse Heaven at Brook Hill Farm

The flip side of horse rescue is horse slaughter and the following comments on Horse Slaughter and Hope were generously supplied by Jo Anne Miller, Executive Director of Brook Hill Farm and Adjunct Professor of Equine Science at Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA.

Horse Slaughter

There are 170,000 unwanted horses each year according to the Unwanted Horse Coalition, a broad alliance of equine organizations that have joined together under the American Horse Council to educate the horse industry about the problem of the unwanted horse, and improve their welfare through education and industry collaboration.

Horse rescue is only able to accommodate about 40,000 of these unwanted horses, and the majority of these organizations are at full capacity.  This leaves 130,000 unwanted horses that are shipped to Mexico and Canada for slaughter.  Horse slaughter enables and perpetuates over-breeding, neglect, and irresponsibility.

As long as slaughter is an outlet for breeders to sell their excess horses, they will be rewarded – and continue. Horse slaughter is purely a function of supply and demand – not a disposal service.  Horse slaughter, whether in U.S. or foreign plants, was never and cannot be humane due to the nature of the industry; it is a brutal and terrifying end for horses and is not humane.

These animals are shipped for more than 24 hours at a time without food, water, or rest in crowded trucks in which the animals are often seriously injured or killed in transit, and the methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths. 

Another consideration of this practice is that horse meat is not safe for human consumption, because of the unregulated administration of numerous toxic substances to horses before slaughter. They are routinely given hundreds of drugs and other substances, both legal and illegal, over their lifetimes that can be toxic to humans if ingested. The answer is not to return to subjecting our horses to abuse and unacceptable conditions at plants in the U.S., but to ban horse slaughter and the export of horses for slaughter altogether and provide our horses with a decent life and, when necessary, a humane death.

The idea of slaughtering horses is unacceptable to the American people.


The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act is a bill that was reintroduced in Congress on April 23, 2015 and would prevent the establishment of horse slaughter plants in the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.

The SAFE Act was introduced with a strong list of bipartisan original cosponsors. The passage of this legislation is a priority for the nation’s leading animal welfare organizations, as well as many veterinarians and equine groups across the country, including the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and Veterinarians for Equine Welfare. Please call or email your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and ask them to cosponsor and support the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 1942/S. 1214).

In the meantime, there are several ways to address the homeless horse rescue issues. We can limit over-breeding, provide shelter, and expand adoption work. The USDA documented that 92.3% of horses going to slaughter are in good condition and are able to live out a productive life. These horses could be sold, donated, or otherwise re-homed; however, kill buyers regularly outbid legitimate horse owners and rescues at auctions. Using USDA’s own finding, less than 1% of the U.S. horse population may require the help of rescues or euthanasia. There are groups that are trying to help the problem. 

The thoroughbred industry is one of the few horse organizations that take care of their own, with the formation of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

This 501 (c) (3) non-profit accredits, inspects and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retire, retrain and re-home Thoroughbreds using industry-wide funding.  Race Tracks, Sales Companies, Consignors and Buyers, the Breeders Cup, Jockey Club, and Keeneland Association all support this non-profit organization, along with many famous breeding farms, trainers, and other groups associated with the racing industry. More breed associations and sport horse industries need to follow the lead of the racing industry and establish their own horse rescue system. 

And of course you can help by supporting the many accredited horse rescue organizations listed on the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries website. All of those listed have been inspected and certified as legitimate sanctuaries meeting all GFAS standards. That means all of them are doing a wonderful job rescuing, rehabilitating, retraining, re-homing, and providing sanctuary to so many unwanted horses!

Horse Rescue - People Rescue:
Brook Hill Farm is Unique

This is where Brook Hill Farm comes into the picture. They are a non-profit organization located in beautiful Forest, VA in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains. They exist to provide a very needed horse rescue and rehab facility and a safe haven for unwanted horses.  Equally important is their therapeutic riding program for personal growth and equine education for the areas at-risk youth and adults.

Horses come in emaciated and very often show signs of severe abuse and neglect. When such a horse is paired up with an at-risk problem child or young adult, miracles happen. The human participants, who themselves have suffered tremendous physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect and emotional abuse, through hard work and love, care for and heal their rescue horses and in the process, find healing themselves.

Help is Desperately Needed

Visit the Brook Hill website and especially find it in your heart to donate to this worthy endeavor. They operate strictly on donated funds from individuals, churches and local businesses. Virtually all animal rescue operations and sanctuaries are non-profits and survive day-to-day on the donations of generous benefactors. Brook Hill Farm is no exception, they need your help and by the way, Brook Hill Farm has been blessed and certified by the Global Federation cited above.

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