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This is a series of diaries highlighting animal rescues around the country and noting and celebrating the work they do to help animals who have no voices but ours to speak for them. I have decided to make this a daily series because there are so many wonderful rescues out there who need human help and weekly just doesn't seem to be enough. I have long wanted to start a rescue but lack the resources or time available to do so right now so this is my attempt to do my part. I hope that these rescues will benefit from the kindness and benevolence of the community here at Daily Kos. They are amazing organizations and worthy of Kossack attention and care. I wrote this poem for the Climate Change blogathon and I think it applies here.
I am here
I am alive
I am all around you
I have no voice
I am in your trees
I am in your air
I am in your fields
I am in your oceans
I am in your world
I have no voice
I am a mother
I am a father
I am a protector
I am a soul
I have no voice
I can walk
I can crawl
I can sing
I can fear
I have no voice
You must be my voice

Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue

Our Mission

Mission Statement

Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue was formed to facilitate the rescue of Draft
and Draft Cross horses from slaughter, abuse, and neglect.

The Primary Function of the Rescue

GGDHR promotes the benefits and uses of Draft horses of all breeds as trail mounts, schooling mounts, and competition mounts. We educate the public through the use of brochures, pamphlets, and public presentations on the topics of: horse slaughter and cruelty, the responsibilities of horse ownership, the over-population and over-breeding of horses, and how over-breeding contributes to the horse slaughter industry.

Slaughter is a highly profitable market and most of the public is unaware that the buyers for the slaughterhouses frequent public auctions to purchase their horses. We attend the same public auctions, choose the Draft horses we feel are the most viable candidates for rescue, and then outbid the meat buyer.

We transport the horses to our facility, where the horses are quarantined for a minimum of 21 days for illness. During that time, we begin to evaluate each individual horse and learn its personality and training level on the ground and under saddle. We ride the horses under many different circumstances, and evaluate for what level of rider the horse would best be suited. During this time, the horse also receives any necessary veterinary care, farrier care, dental care, and training.

When the horses have completed their quarantine, they are available to be placed into adoptive homes under a strict contract. The horses are advertised on our website and on the internet to help find suitable adoptive homes. Each horse is evaluated with its prospective adopter, and if we feel the horse and rider are a suitable match for one another, then the adopter may apply to adopt that horse. At that time, GGDHR would perform a background and reference check, and may at times also conduct home visits, if deemed necessary.

GGDHR is primarily funded by adoption fees, private donations, and sponsorships which facilitate the rescue of future draft horses from slaughter.

The website is here
You can help here
Adoption info is here

The Farm

We are located at 17250 Old Frederick Road, Mount Airy Maryland 21771.
Click here for directions to the farm!

Please note that we are volunteer-run and therefore are open by appointment only.
Click here to schedule a visit!

Gentle Giants Barn Rules

1. All riders must have long pants, and closed toed heeled boots or riding shoes. No riding is permitted in shorts or tennis shoes.

2. Allow enough time to groom, tack, and untack your horse. Our volunteers will be there to help with anything should you have a problem or question, but we do want to see how you interact with and handle the adoptive horse.

3. Please do not bring children with you to your appointment, unless the adoptive horse is intended for the child. If you are bringing a guest, please let us know in advance.

4. Visitors are not permitted in the horse pastures. A volunteer will bring your horse out to you.

5. If you are over the age of 18 and choose to not wear a helmet, you must sign a waiver. We can provide a helmet for you if you do not have one.

6. No smoking in the barn.

7. Please do not bring pets to the farm. Our dogs unfortunately do not enjoy sharing their space!

Horse Slaughter

This November, Congress quietly passed a Bill named HR2112 with little public notice, removing a portion that for the past 5 years had restricted government funding for USDA Inspectors to inspect horseflesh for export. Effectively, the removal of this section allows for the return of US horse slaughter, and on our tax dollar dime. It was signed into law on November 18, 2011, despite a large percentage of Americans being against the slaughter of horses for human consumption.
So What Do We Do Now?
OVER 100,000 AMERICAN HORSES A YEAR ARE AT RISK, AND ONLY YOU CAN HELP! Currently, another bill sits quietly in Congress, waiting for US citizens like you to scream and yell that you want it voted into law! That's bill H.R. 1094, Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2013.

Tell your Congress Representative that YOU want them to support the Safeguard American Foods Exports Act of 2013 (SAFE Act). The Safeguard American Foods Exports Act is titled as a bill to "prohibit the sale or transport of equines (horses and other members of the equidae family) or their parts (including flesh, meat, and viscera), or the importing or exporting of equines or their parts into or out of the United States, by any person who knows or should have known that such equines are to be slaughtered for human consumption as food."

Here's how: Follow this link to find out who your Representative is: FIND MY CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE. Write them a calm letter stating clear reasons that you don't support our US horses being slaughtered for human consumption. Here's a good sample letter, but feel free to personalize. Refrain from expletives (I know, it's hard), and try to remember that a concise letter that is factual and professional will have more impact than an emotional rant. An emotional letter is likely to not be read to completion, and is counterproductive.

    Dear _______,

    As your constituent, I am writing to ask that you cosponsor and support the Safeguard American Foods Exports Act of 2013 (SAFE Act) (HR1094). I have no monetary interest in this matter, I am simply asking you to do the right thing.
    This Act bans the sale or transport of a horse or horseflesh for human consumption. If you already advocate the passage of HR 1094, I thank you. If not, I ask you to consider why so many Americans oppose horse slaughter. Americans don't eat horses. Horses are our companions in sport, recreation, work, and entertainment; and are a living symbol of the pioneer spirit. Horses are not bred as a food animal, and thus are not raised in or under FDA rules for "food animals." Slaughter is not a humane death, and is not equivalent to euthanasia. The methods used to slaughter horses were designed for cattle and smaller animals, and are not effective nor humane for any equine. Captive Bolt pistols meant to render the horse unconscious rarely do so on the first strike, and horses must endure being struck multiple times in the face or head with a 4 inch bolt. Often horses are not rendered fully unconscious, and are slaughtered while still aware. History has shown that the horse slaughterhouses that had previously operated in the US were a drain to their community; creating multiple environmental problems, a decrease in home and land values, and a large social stigma about the community. Proponents cite that horse slaughter "saves" surplus horses from neglect, abandonment, and starvation. In fact, neglect, abandonment, and starvation are illegal. Offenders should be criminally charged, and not allowed to profit from their crimes. Additionally, an increase of slaughtered US horses has not reduced known causes of neglect and starvation in the past. Animal cruelty should never substitute for responsible animal stewardship. Excess horses are human created, resulting from over breeding in industries such as Premarin production (HRT drugs made from pregnant mares urine), the horse racing industry, the show horse industry, riding stables, etc. Rather than analyzing the viability of new slaughter plants, proponents and regulators ought to focus on irresponsible breeding and guardianship. Please support the passage of HR1094, the Safeguard American Foods Exports Act of 2013. Please vote to stop the restoration of horse slaughter.

    Thank you, _______

More info is here
New Holland Kill Pens
Notice the 4-digit yellow tag at the wither... This is a USDA export tag, and once a horse has one of these, it's fate is sealed and it can not be purchased. The 3-digit tag is the sale barn tag. These horses have sold to slaughter and can not be saved.
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