Do You Have a Heart for Horses Like Hippo?

February 9, 2022

Hippo with a woman in an orange ASPCA shirt outside

Roses are red, violets are blue, Hippo the horse is safe … but how did that come to be true? Horses like Hippo need your voice and action this Valentine’s Day.  

Each year, tens of thousands of horses are trucked across our nation’s borders to foreign slaughterhouses because of a legal loophole. The shipment of horses for slaughter is a supply and demand business, and without a permanent ban that closes the loophole, horse slaughter will continue to exist. Hippo is safe. Now, we need your help to make sure other horses are safe, too.

Hippo came into the ASPCA’s care last fall after his owner passed away. He had been much loved, but his owner’s death left his future uncertain. His owner’s family didn’t know where to turn, and they worried about his fate because they did not know how to keep Hippo from potentially ending up in the slaughter pipeline. Hippo’s story isn’t unique; many owners fear for their horses’ fates and delay seeking help or rehoming options, leaving their horses languishing. In fact, over 75% of owners who eventually found our pilot equine relinquishment center in Oklahoma had held onto their horses longer than was advisable for the welfare of their horse due to their fear of slaughter. It is clear that the negative ripple effects of allowing the slaughter industry to legally purchase horses in the U.S. puts every horse at risk ... even those with loving owners.

Fortunately, encouraging research from the ASPCA and the Equine Welfare Data Collective illustrates that there are more than enough stalls at shelters and rescues, and individuals waiting to adopt, to help every horse safely transition between homes. When we permanently ban horse slaughter through the SAFE Act, every horse in America will be safer.  

Thankfully, Hippo’s contacts learned of the ASPCA’s programs, and Hippo is now being retrained and prepared for an adoptive home through our Equine Transition and Adoption Center pilot. We’ll be able to match him with a wonderful home and will always provide a safe place for him to return should he need it. 

All horses should have the same safety net options as Hippo, and all horse owners should know that their horses won’t be at risk of going to slaughter when they need to make the difficult choice to rehome their beloved friend. This Valentine’s Day, we can give that very gift to America’s horses, and the people who love them, by passing the SAFE Act. 

We won’t rest until the SAFE Act is passed and we know you won’t, either; that’s why we’re providing easy, important actions you can take through the week to show your heart for horses and put critically needed pressure on legislators to pass the SAFE Act.