Stories of Survival (Equine Edition): Camille

March 18, 2024


Every horse in the United States is just one bad sale away from slaughter. Unbelievably, this cruel practice still exists: horses are routinely transported across our country’s borders to face inhumane and horrifying deaths, killed for their meat to be eaten overseas. The trip itself is brutal, too, and sadly some horses don’t survive. In 2023 alone, more than 20,000 American horses were transported to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.

Camille was one of those horses. But unlike most, her story has a happy ending:

In 2022, Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary in Ohio was called to assist with the execution of a search warrant at a property where animals appeared to be suffering. Six horses needed immediate help—three of the horses were in such bad shape that they were humanely euthanized at the scene. It was later learned that all six had been acquired for slaughter.

Happy Trails Farm was awarded custody of the remaining three, including one named Camille. She was previously a working horse who pulled a buggy. When she was no longer of use to her owner, Camille was sent to a horse auction and purchased by a buyer who was accumulating horses on his property until he had acquired enough of them to make a slaughter transport worthwhile. As he collected horses, he neglected them to the point that law enforcement intervened.

When Happy Trails Farm first took Camille, she had a hard time trusting humans and she was plagued with painful ulcers. The team gave her the medical attention she needed and slowly worked to build her trust. Camille blossomed. With time, patience and love, she came to enjoy being groomed and riding around the sanctuary. Eventually, she was made available for adoption.

A family soon discovered Camille and worked with Happy Trails Farm to see if it would be a good fit. They instantly bonded when her adopter first took the lead rope, and the match was made in August 2023. Her new family reports that Camille is shining in her new home. 

Camille and her adopter

Wonderful horses like Camille end up in the slaughter pipeline every day: Read the stories of Mama and her colt, Twister, Phoenix, and Journey, who also were headed for slaughter before miraculously escaping that horrific fate. Tens of thousands of horses each year are not as fortunate, but you can help by raising awareness of this issue and joining the ASPCA in calling for an end to this industry.

Learn more about horse slaughter and take action at