Tag Archives: Habitat for Horses

Articles you may have missed…

Due to a variety of website issues, notices of several recent articles did not go out to a lot of the subscribers. We have most of the technical issues resolved now, so to bring you up-to-date, here are links to the last series of articles.

Please note that several of the photos in the articles are “Extremely Graphic.” While we had an interesting debate about publishing the photos, we’d rather show you the reality than just say the words. As the pro-slaughter industry has proven, words said to prove a point are easily twisted to hide the truth, while un-Photoshopped pictures simply don’t lie.

We are about half way through the series titled “Horse Slaughter: Revealing the Truth.” For those that want the truth, these are the facts that expose the lies behind the industry that uses horse slaughter to make millions while having a way to dispose of the constant over production of new horses.

“Horse Slaughter: Revealing the Truth – History”

“White Paper by Allen Warren”

“Horse Slaughter: Revealing the Truth – Part Two, The Process”

“Horse Slaughter: Revealing the Truth – Part Three, The Problem”

Next comes – The Arguments

My hope is that you find these articles educational and provide you with enough knowledge that you can intelligently discuss the issue with those who have accepted the pro-slaughter arguments as the unqualified truth. Propaganda in the form of lies has been used successfully throughout the ages by individuals, institutions and governments for a wide variety of reasons. Education is the only way to expose the lies and to shine the light on the darkness that many don’t want you to see. Evil will exist as long as good remains silent. With knowledge, the good will no longer need to remain silent.

Jerry Finch

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 12, 2012 in Research


Tags: , , ,

A Miracle Named Bella

Back in December I wrote the first article about Bella, “Here’s your typical slaughter bound horse.” 

Bella at the clinic

In that article I told you about a horse that was tied to a tree with wire that had become tangled around her foot. During her struggles, the foot was almost cut off. Bella came as close to death as possible, yet thanks to our ranch crew and the vet, she passed death and came back. Her tendon was sliced, she lost far more blood than I’ve seen in a long time, but the next day she was up – on IV’s and in a lot of pain, but alive

I wrote, “If she survives, and there is a serious chance she won’t, she will never walk normal again. I guess for a lot of folks, that makes her prime for the slaughter truck. Hell, I bet she’s bring $25 at the auction, and I’m sure someone in France would love to have her for dinner.

But through some small miracle she ended up as Case Number 11-152 on our books and, God willing, someday soon she’ll be standing by the hay stacks with Pete and Tiger and a half dozen “useless” horses, doing what horses do best.”

Bella (now Adella) today

Six months have passed and now Bella (now known as Adella) runs out of her stall in the mornings, kicking up a storm. According to the vet, the impossible has happened – the tendon has grown back and she has 85% use of her foot. Adella has been reborn!

For five months she stood in her stall, almost insane with boredom. Today she’s become the ultimate pocket pony – always wanting to be around people.

I don’t consider it a small miracle. It’s very big, so much so that our vet wants to write it up for a paper he’s submitting. 

This is the last time I’ll be writing a blog at this URL. Sometime Tuesday the new and improved Habitat for Horses website will go online. Its taken six months of hard work by Shelli, our Webmistress, to get almost everything transferred to the new site and I promise, it will be beautiful. Among all the advantages will be our ability to update things without requiring any knowledge of HTML, scripts or coding, all of which have hindered us in the past.

After this, you’ll need to go to Habitat for Horses to catch up on the latest stories.

We’ve always made a commitment to not buy horses at auction. Working with law enforcement, we bring in far more than our fair share and overloading is something I refuse to do.


Someone sent me a notice about two horses being auctioned off by Texas A&M, and that sent me over the edge. We caught them once sending horses off to slaughter and I have no doubt that destination was the future for these two. The description of one horse was “limping slightly due to her age.” She’s in her mid-20’s. The other is described as hard to handle because of a brain injury.

The best vet school around and this is the diagnosis? Sad. Very, very sad.

We can’t save them all, but these two will be safe.


Tags: , , , , ,

Memorial Day for Our Horses

Memorial to the horses killed in the Great War

It’s often said doing this three-day weekend that the real purpose of Memorial Day has long been forgotten. Writers, commentators and journalist around the country draw attention to the sacrifices made by those men and women who lost their lives defending our freedom and the freedom of others. Many were brave, many felt fear as life slipped away, none wanted to die, yet they did in service to our country. 

No one mentions the lives of the horses lost in battle, the extreme sacrifices they made for our freedom. Although they aren’t used in our battle anymore, they were the forerunners of our freedoms and they too died on the battlefields by the thousands. While we would never equate the lives of horses to the lives of soldiers, we need to be mindful of all horses have given to us, and on no better day should that be done than Memorial Day. 

Even as our soldiers are dying in the battlefields of Afghanistan, our horses are dying in another great battle. Just as before, they have no choice in the matter. We appointed ourselves as their keepers, their guardians and their protectors many centuries ago. We once rode them into battle. This time we’re sending them by themselves to die, not for our freedom, but for their flesh. Once they sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Now they sacrifice their life for greed, and our magnificent country, the very country for which so many men and women died, finds such greed to be perfectly acceptable. 

Proposed Memorial in Ottawa’s Confederation Park

Battles fought under the guidance of misguided politicians have never been successful without the help and determination of the brave men and women in the field. The battle for our horses will never be won without the help of those who love them. Together, we need to strengthen our resolve to redirect the politicians, to close the slaughterhouses and to keep our horses home and alive. 

Together, as a nation, we stand before our flag and salute our fallen heroes. Sadly, some of our heroes continue to die, and the fallen horses of our ongoing battle deserve nothing less than our total determination to end their horror. In their honor, in their name, our battle continues. 

May no man rest until the last horse is safe.

For more information on the proposed Memorial to the horses killed in war at Ottawa’s Confederation Park, please click here. 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Many warriors, but none of the valor for horses

Many warriors, but none of the valor for horses

Special to The Daily News

Published May 23, 2012

Mary Jane and Ventura are recovering at the Habitat for Horses.

British author and ex-cavalryman J.N.P. Watson once said, “The horse is so lacking in malice and yet so dutiful and grave that when he suffers, it makes man so ashamed for the human race.”

Our horses have been willing warriors in many wars started by men. In the first world war, about 1.5 million horses were used as cavalry, and an estimated 500,000 died. 

With few exceptions, horses sent to war in Europe did not come home. Some died in transit, many died from pneumonia from lack of shelter in England, and countless more died on the battlefield. 

At the end of the war, those horses who survived were sold to butchers in countries desperate for food. Even in death, the horses served men.

Unfortunately, even today, horse slaughter — a cruel parade of death — continues. Canada and Mexico are the only North American countries that practice horse slaughter openly. 

President Barack Obama recently signed a bill that will revive the U.S. horse slaughter industry, exporting horses north and south of our borders. Not only are horses being slaughtered in grotesque, inhumane ways, but the racing industry in our country has remained silent about slaughtered thoroughbreds.

In addition to horse slaughter and abuses by the racing industry, the Tennessee walking horse, sweet, gentle animals originally bred in the Southern United States to carry owners of plantations around their land but now trained to win championships that feature their high-stepping gait, are suffering in yet another war. 

I was horrified while watching the abuse of these wonderful horses on “Nightline” on May 16, which included cattle prods, burning horses with cigarettes and applying chemicals to their pasterns and putting chains around their hoofs. What hurt my heart the most was a video showing Jackie McConnell and his helpers striking a horse around the face and head until he went down.

I cannot help but wonder if that was what happened to Ventura before he came to the Habitat for Horses in August 2011, bone thin. He bears his scars from a war that he did not enlist for — a crushed muzzle inflicted by man. He does not complain but nickers softly when I approach him. Ventura is one of the lucky ones.

He graduated from rehab at the Habitat for Horses and has made a new friend — Mary Jane. Unlike Ventura, Mary Jane bears no visible scars. You can see the trust in her eyes. I shudder to think what might have happened to Ventura, Mary Jane and the rest of the horses at the habitat had they ended up on a truck bound for slaughter.

There are 150 horses who have been buried by the Habitat for Horses — casualties of their own wars. These horses were not willing warriors like those who have died throughout history. 

Like Ventura and many others, they came in with many scars, but they were all loved and cherished by Jerry Finch, the man who has worked tirelessly for more than 15 years in his rescue mission. Heartbreak has been his constant companion. He not only works to rescue horses, but also to end horse slaughter in this country.

When I see Ventura and Mary Jane waiting patiently at the gate, I see their eyes pleading — “please tell them about us, please help us to help them — please help us to end the suffering.”

Debbie Stoutamire lives in Galveston.


Note from Jerry – Debbie is a long time and treasured volunteer at the ranch. The simple fact is that we would not be able to do what we do without people like her, nor without those who donate to help the horses we bring through the gates. 


Tags: , , , , , ,

Killing them softly…

Fifteen years ago, on one of my notorious rants, I claimed that the goal of the BLM was to send all the wild horses to slaughter. Any number of people considered me as having gone off the deep end back then. During the years between then and now, the combined forces of the pro-horse groups managed to shut down the American slaughterhouses, only to see Mexico and Canada increase the number of American horses slaughtered (up 38% since last year).

While the propaganda machine continues to spout lies about starving horses and make false accusations of thousands of horses wandering the backstreets and parks, the forces of evil are plotting to do exactly what I had forecasted.

Unloading horses at the border

Consider: The failure of the Federal Government to deny inspectors to equine slaughterhouses, the gathering storm of  anti-horse forces trying (and so far failing) to open a slaughterhouse in the States and the wildly insane gathering of wild horses off the protected Federal lands to the point where 45,000 now reside in holding pens.

Consider that the BLM is now complaining about the cost of maintaining horses in the holding pens and the discussion now going on is that in order to reduce the cost, they want to change the status of the horses so the BLM can sell them to whomever wants them. Translated: off to slaughter they go.

The long term plan to eradicate wild horses enters its final chapter. The Wild Horse Advisory Board, those wonderful folks who are allegedly members of the general public that advises the BLM, are pro-slaughter advocates. Ex-BLM employees are now players in the organizations promoting slaughter. Everything is set. Expect the word to come dribbling out of DC – all wild horses in the holding pens, all 45,000 of them, will be “euthanized.”

And the BLM continues to decimate the last remaining herds beyond the point of viability. Gelded males, mares filled with PZP, yearlings being rounded up “because the land cannot handle the pressure horses place on it,” yet hours after the last BLM trailer leaves the welfare ranchers unload truckloads of cattle on the same land and remove the fences around the water holes.


Are you angry yet? Do you need to be reminded that these are YOUR horses? Congress controls the Department of the Interior, the BLM is part of that Department. Congress can put a stop to it.

S.1176 and HR 2966, known as the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, closes the border and makes it against the law to kill horses for human consumption. Eighty percent of the public is against the slaughter of horses. If you read this article, chances are you are a part of the majority.

The killing of American horses has increased by 38% in 2011 to 133,241. That’s 2,562 per week, 366 per day, 46 per hour – trucked to Canada and Mexico and slaughtered in the most inhumane way possible. All of them fat, mostly healthy (they don’t buy skinny horses!) and all of them wondering what the hell happened to the loving, caring humans, the 80%, who were suppose to stand by them.

Yes, you guessed it, I’m pissed. I’m sick of do-gooder organizations spouting meaningless words, of suits in Congress sitting on the bills “because it’s an election year.” At Habitat for Horses, we work damn hard to save the lives of horses. Investigations, courts, medical bills, slings to help them stand up, thousands of dollars in hay and feed, and they kill the same number in a couple of weeks that we save in a year.

It’s gotta’ stop, guys, but it won’t until a very angry voice is heard from the 80%. Are you ready to scream?


Tags: , , , , , ,

And so ends another day…

The Judge look at the defendant and asked, “What do you want me to do about these animals?” The old man just shrugged his shoulders.

“Okay, then I’m awarding all the horses to Habitat for Horses and all the other animals to Galveston County  and the other shelters.”

Cutting the lock during the seizure

With that decree, we increased our population by four. It was the second animal cruelty case of the day, ending two hours of discussion in the courtroom. There is nothing to celebrate, no cheers, for it is too much of a reflection on the failure of some people to care for the lives for which they have taken responsibility. Neglect, starvation, horses tied to trees, dogs without shelter and chained on short ropes, raw sewage coming from under the house, no food, no hay – it’s repeated time and again.

I gave up a long time ago trying to understand the reasoning of the defendants. When confronted with the evidence, there is no defense. At times we’ll come across someone who hires an attorney for a few thousand dollars, money that should have been spent on the horses. A good attorney will huff and puff, usually showing that he/she knows absolutely nothing about animals, and the decision of the court will remain the same.

A picture is worth a zillion words, which is why our investigators make a “case book” with all the

“We feed him all the time.”

evidence documented, including a lot of 8X10 photographs, the blood analysis, fecal exam results, the vet report, the police reports and affidavits. The pictures tell the story; the rest just adds some detail.

All these horses were severely anemic, most rated below 2 on the body score, all were in environments that were not fit for animals or humans. All the owners were given warnings and offers of help, which they ignored. The exceptions are cases, like the one last week, where the life of the horse was in immediate danger. At that point, I’m not willing to even discuss the problems. If they can’t see that their animal is starving to death right in front of them, there is nothing further to talk about.

The courtroom emptied, the cops went back to work, the Assistant DA needed to get back to the office, the Animal Control Officer had other calls to make. We’ll be back together again, sooner than I want to be, for there is no end to it. 

Healthy and happy

Driving back to the ranch I pulled off to the side of the road next to a pasture with five horses grazing on the tall grass, growing because of all the rains we’ve received. I know these horses, know the owner, know how much love he gives them. I think about so many of our foster and adoptive homes, families that would rather starve than deny their horses the proper care. They don’t take in more than they can financially handle, and the horses thrive on the love they receive.

I wish I could tell those folks how wonderful they are, wish I could hug each one, give them some kind of award, sing their praises. I won’t, mainly because they think I’m kind of weird already, but my thankfulness for their devotion really doesn’t need to be voiced. They already know. They know because the horses tell them, with each nicker, with each soft nose rubbed against their hands. 

They inspire me, they give me hope, they show me that the world really isn’t as bad as it seems, that there is far more goodness in the world than there are defendants that shrug their shoulders in the courtroom.

And so ends another day.


Tags: , , , , , ,

The Memories of Tomorrow

There are times when I want to be alone, times when the memories cause more pain than I want to bear. I know I can’t walk away. I can’t get up and leave for a more perfect place. That’s impossible, because the memories come with me. They have become so entwined, so entangled in my being that we can no longer be separated. The memories create what I am, influence all I do. They have not only become part of me, they have become me.

Few know where the graves are at the ranch. Under the soil are more than 150 horses. Into that soil I’ve shed a million tears, for each death took part of my heart. From thoroughbreds to Quarter horses to ponies to puppies, most of them came to the end of their precious life in my arms, each looked at me with fading eyes, and I cried as I let them go.

I never liked sharing that moment with other humans, although there are times when I must. Saying a forever goodbye to someone for which we have taken total responsibility is the most heart retching moment we can have, and almost all of them came to their final sanctuary because we opened the gates and our hearts to them.

Three more passed away last week, one of them a life long resident. Jasmine came to the ranch far back in the beginning because she had no place else to go. We adopted her out three times and all three times she was only gone a few weeks. With each new family she either developed choke or colic and all three times she was returned. Our unwritten rule is that after three adoptions, the horse stays, and she did. She had no use for other horses, didn’t really care for people, but she felt safe here. This was her home.

Another horse, a beautiful gray mare, had cancer. Operated on twice, the cancer became aggressive. There was no upside, so we left her to enjoy her last few weeks, let her be until the pain was evident. The third was a gelding, older, fighting the agony of arthritis. We tried everything the vet could throw at us, and kept him pain free to munch hay and talk with the other horses – until nothing else worked. 

There are so many others, so many love stories that I could share with you, stories that demonstrate the deep love that horses have for one another. Some of the horses loved people far more than other horses. Some simply gave up on love, on wanting, on caring, and came to the ranch to die. Each, in their own way, was a perfect horse, for that there is no question. They made it through the gates, into the safety of our arms, and closed their eyes forever. We shed our tears while they took their final breath and while we held them, we knew that we would never be the same. Each precious one took a little piece of our heart with them. Their memories will dwell in us until we too pass from this earth.

We did a seizure with law enforcement last week, a beautiful, extremely thin stud. Two days ago the court awarded him to us. He’ll be gelded and, in a few months, he’ll be strong and healthy again. Today we completed two more seizures, a total of five new horses. Next week we’ll let the Judge decide their fate, but until then they will have the love and attention they deserve. I have little doubt that they will be with us far past next week.

The easy part is bringing them in and making them well. The hard part is finding them a special someone so they can spend the rest of their lives making memories. 

The healthy horses stand waiting, wanting, reaching out for love. Sometimes they cry out, yet few people, if any, hear them.  Sometimes they stand at the gates waiting for someone. Sometimes they stand alone in a far off corner, lost in their own memories. They all want the same thing we humans want – love, respect, a gentle touch, a soft voice. Love is so important, for us and for them. It creates us, breathes life into our souls, transforms us into radiant beings. 

There, in the pasture, they stand waiting for you. There stands the possibilities of your future memories, memories that will change you for the rest of your days. Do you have room in your pasture? Is there room in your heart?


Visit to view the adoptable horses, then call us at 409-935-0277.


Tags: , , , , , ,


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,400 other followers