Angel Acres: A Safe Haven for Horses
Bandito, one of the rescued horses enjoying a safe home at Angel Acres.
Nine-year-old Tango is a sweet and friendly thoroughbred. But until recently, the grey gelding was not bound for the racetrack — but a much more dire fate. Until Angel Acres stepped in. Now Tango lives a happy life in State College, Pennsylvania.
Tango is just one of the many horses whom Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue has saved in the last six years.
"I talk to people every day that say the same thing to me: 'Horse slaughter is outlawed, why are you trying to rescue them from slaughter?'", founder Jo Deibel said.
While there are no operational horse slaughter plants in the U.S., the Humane Society of the United States reports that horses are still routinely transported to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. The meat is then sold overseas in countries like Belgium, Italy and Japan.
"A lot of people still don't know that these foreign companies prey on our horses and take them on a horrifying journey," Humane Society Equine Protection Specialist Stacy Segal said.
Deibel founded the Glenville, Pennsylvania-based rescue six years ago after learning that horses, many of them thoroughbreds, were still being killed for human consumption.
"We try to remove those horses directly from the slaughter pipeline so that they never get to auction," Deibel said.
Currently, Angel Acres is caring for 28 horses. Once horses are brought into the program, they get a thorough health check and are brought up to date on their shots. They then receive training for two to three months before they're put up for adoption.
"It's wonderful that she's stepping in and assisting these horses — and she has had a lot of really great success stories," Segal said.
In addition to rescuing horses, Angel Acres also focuses on raising money for Mattie's Bridge the Gap Fund, in honor of one of their beloved rescues.
"Due to Mattie, we started this fund that helps horse owners and horses that are in desperate need." Deibel said.
The fund helps owners with food and veterinary care and, most importantly, keeps owners from sending their horses to auction.
"We really push for owner and breeder responsibility," Deibel said. "I believe there needs to be much more of a commitment."
Deibel and Angel Acres may ultimately get some help from Congress. There is federal legislation pending in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Known as the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, the legislation would not only prohibit horse slaughter in U.S., but it would also prohibit the transport of live horses to any other country for human consumption.
The Humane Society says the Act has strong support in both houses and is hopeful it will be voted on by the end of the year.
But until then, Deibel remains focused on saving horses, and raising money for an indoor arena or covered riding area.
"That would allow us to show horses every day of the week," Deibel said. "The more we can show, the more we can adopt out."
For more information on Angel Acres, log on to their website at angelacreshorsehavenrescue.com.
You can also learn more about the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act at humanesociety.org.
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