A San Diego County horse rescue is saving 20 thoroughbred racehorses from being slaughtered for meat, which is sold on the black market for human consumption in other parts of the world.
Michelle Cochran runs HiCaliber Horse Rescue in Valley Center.
“I have been in the horse world for over a decade and I haven’t known it existed,” Cochran said.
She wants to raise awareness on illegal horse meat trade.
“It’s human consumption. That’s the biggest issue," Cochran said. "It’s all for human consumption."
Cochran said in some parts of Europe, Russia and Asia, people eat horse meat. Some of the horses who end up in the “kill pens” are former racehorses.
It's a fact that can be traced back to the tattoos that race horses have inside their upper lip.
When Cochran learned of 20 thoroughbred racehorses about to be slaughtered for meat in Louisiana, she and the group jumped into action - raising $40,000 in 48 hours.
“If they get hurt. They are too slow. They are too old. They are done,” Cochran said.
Then, she learned there are 15 more race horses in the kill pen.
“We’ve committed to 20. I haven’t decided on the 15. I don’t know if it’s going to be shooting myself in the foot to try to go in for 15 more," she said. "Are people going to look at me and go, 'now you are crazy, I had you at 20, but now you are crazy at 35?'”
Saving the other 15 would mean raising another $30,000. Fast.
It would also be handing over a large sum of money to the people that perpetuate the illegal horse meat trade, Cochran said.
But raising awareness is free.
“I just felt these horses had a story to tell America," Cochran said. "People need to know what is happening to these racehorses."
HiCaliber always needs volunteers, foster homes for horses, donations and people to adopt the rescued animals. For more information, you can visit their website.