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N.Y. Breeder Under Fire for Parasite-Infested Horses

Written by PETA | April 5, 2009

Thoroughbred breeder Ernie Paragallo, whose horses were discovered emaciated and infested with parasites as they awaited slaughter in a pen, should be prosecuted for cruelty to animals. Paragallo said that he had given the horses up to a Florida-based breeder and that he did not know of their final destination (the slaughterhouse), but that certainly doesn’t clear him of responsibility for the state of the mares when they were found. “There were a bunch of mares that someone didn’t care about anymore,” said Christy Sheidy, who rescued four of the horses.

Regardless of Paragallo’s guilt or innocence on the charges of cruelty to animals, this case highlights an often-overlooked part of the world of thoroughbred racing—the fate of horses who can no longer race.

The industry would like us to believe that when horses leave the world of racing they go on to live out their “retirement plan” on green pastures. Let me tell you that what’s in store for thoroughbreds is no pit stop in Palm Springs.

As this case shows, when horses are no longer useful to the racing industry, they are cast aside like trash—and more than 100,000 horses are exported from the U.S. for slaughter every year. Owners and trainers like to talk about “retirement plans,” but, in reality, burned-out and used-up horses all too often meet bloody death and dismemberment on their way to someone’s dinner plate.

The only way to make sure that the horses who can no longer “perform” well aren’t treated like garbage is to stop making them “perform” in the first place.

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  • Linda G. says:

    Why doesn’t PETA or the HSUS or somebody seek the filing of criminal charges against Paragallo? If he treated hogs this way he’d be charged… and he allows this to happen to horses who were treated royally until they failed to make babies??? Pampered handled by grooms and exercise riders tame these mares were tame trusting creatures abandoned by the humans they served. Mr. Paragallo should be prosecuted. There’s so much evil in the racing world and it doesn’t have to be this way.

  • coleen says:

    Paragallo is a scum. He is a multimillionaire sociopath who breeds hundreds and hundreds of horses that he “starves to death” when they cannot race in the cheap NYRA claiming races to collect substantantial NYBreeders awards. The New York Racing Association allows Paragallo stalls. Peta should demonstrate at NYRA tracks. They deserve the public infamy for allowing this amoral degenerate to torture and starve his thoroughbreds just because Paragallo’s trainer John Campo is the BROTHER OF NYRA’s VICE PRESIDENT OF RACING OPERATIONS PJ CAMPO. nyra CANNOT claim ignorance. They can or cannot allow or deny stall space to whomever they want.

  • Leslie says:

    This story is unfortunately typical of what goes on once thoroughbreds are no longer “profitable”. Ernie Paragallo owned and raced the 1996 Derby favorite Unbridled’s Song who just so happens to be the sire father of the ill fated Eight Belles. This man has the means to support his horses and therefore be held accountable for ANIMAL CRUELTY…. I hope this story gets the attention it deserves heading into Kentucky Derby week!!!! As horrible as Eight Belles death was the fate these horses met is much worse. They suffered through a brutal New York winter to end up finding themselves headed to the slaughterhouse in deplorable conditions!!!!

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    People who sell horses for any reason should know that there is a good chance they are going to a slaughterhouse especially if it’s an older horse. Parents considering caving and buying a horse for a horse crazy tween girl should think very carefully about what they will do with the horse when the girl discovers boys and loses interest in riding and caring for the animal she nagged so hard to get.

  • daniel says:

    I wonder how many of them were nyc carriage horses.

  • kathleen w. says:

    This is why I will NEVER attend any event where ANY animal is used for “performances”.

  • Joanna says:

    I guess Mr. Paragallo will be sending a nice big check to the horse rescue that is now caring for the horses he dumped that did not go to slaughter already. He’s saying in the press that he takes complete responsibilty for his ‘mistake’.

  • John Locker says:

    My experience is anyone who is cruel to animals is going to treat humans with the same disrepect! Therefore I would strongly advise anyone who has dealings with Paragallo to be very careful!

  • ktq says:

    Last year Peta viciously attacked Larry Jones choosing him as the scapegoat for racing’s problems while missing out on the real problem Rick Dutrow. If anyone with any authority at Peta reads this I hope they will see and recognize that this is another example of the real problem within the industry. and by the way nonperforming horses dogs and cats often meet this same fateI hope that they will use their money and media outlet to bring this story to national attention. He needs to be stopped.

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