In the week before the Belmont Stakes, PETA is calling on New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski to honor the Thoroughbred who shares his name and help save horses discarded by the racing industry who may be headed for slaughter.
Earlier this year, Gronkowski invested in the horse named for him, who is now slated to run in the third leg of the Triple Crown on June 9. PETA has asked #87 to donate at least $8,700 to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), which supplies homes for thousands of horses each year who might otherwise be killed.
In a letter to the two-time Super Bowl champ, PETA explained that in the U.S., as many as 10,000 Thoroughbreds are sold at auction and transported to slaughterhouses in Canada or Mexico when they no longer make money. The TAA is changing this situation by providing cast-off horses with homes—and with adequate funds, the organization could ensure that no American Thoroughbred ends up on a truck to a slaughterhouse.
The call for this donation comes after audiobook company Audible—which has a namesake horse who ran in last month’s Kentucky Derby—donated $40,000 to the TAA in the horse’s name.
Horse Slaughter Is Dangerous for Horses and Humans Alike
PETA documented the terrible journey from auction to slaughterhouse, in which horses are killed, cut up, and sold for human consumption.
Unlike animals specifically raised for their flesh, the vast majority of Thoroughbreds who are slaughtered have been treated with a multitude of drugs—some even illegal—that are known to be dangerous to humans.
Of chief concern is a commonly used anti-inflammatory drug called phenylbutazone or “bute”—a known carcinogen in humans that can cause bone-marrow toxicity and even death. Its use is prohibited in animals raised for their flesh, yet there’s no reliable system in place to ensure that horses killed for human consumption have not been treated with it or other highly toxic and prohibited substances.
Help Ban Cruel Horse Slaughter
Last year, nearly 90,000 American horses—some of them cast off by the racing industry—were confined to livestock trailers and sent to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. They’re often injured in the grueling journey, during which they’re denied food and water.
Use PETA’s form to urge your congressional representatives to cosponsor the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, which would prevent horse slaughter in the U.S., end the transport of American horses to foreign slaughterhouses, and prevent the public from consuming horseflesh laden with drug residues.