Bay Area farm works to curb horse slaughter

Ken Suarez reports

- There’s a fight to save horses from ending up on dinner plates overseas.

The U.S. Department of the Interior wants to put down or adopt out tens of thousands of wild mustangs out west. There are too many and the land they're living on won't support them.

Republican Congressman Vern Buchanan of Sarasota wants to block that from happening. He is worried many of the adoptions won't work out and horses will end up be slaughtered.

A Polk County woman is also passionate about saving horses from being slaughtered. Bridgit Bosch couldn't be any happier. She adopted her horse, Farah a few years ago from Gruneheidi Farm in Lakeland. Farah is a purebred Arabian who was destined for slaughter.

Farah was a bit of a wench at first, but Bosch said she invested her time to bring Farah around.

"I can do anything with her," Bosch told FOX 13. "I can take her trail riding, open shows, through the creek. My nephew plays all over her. She loves it."

Farah is just one of the dozens of horses that Erika Gilbert, who owns Gruneheidi Farm in Lakeland, rescues each year. She has a special place in her heart for Arabians and Saddlebreds. Gilbert says the problem is there are more horses, many papered with great bloodlines, than there are people willing and able to own them.

"They breed hundreds of horses, knowing that they are only going to have one or two that bring good money," said Gilbert. "The rest of the horses... get culled and end up going to slaughter."

Every year, 100,000 horses are shipped from the United States to Mexico or Canada to be put down. Their meat is used for human consumption.

"We can't stop people from eating horses. Just like we can't stop people from eating cows or pigs," said Gilbert. People in other countries are going to want to have horse meat to eat."

Even so, Gilbert's lifelong mission has been to save as many from the kill wagon as possible. She buys them from auctions all over the country, brings them to Florida to rehab, then adopts them out, usually for less than what they cost to bring up to speed. Some go for as little as $800.

There are many more horses heading to slaughter than Gilbert can afford to rescue. To keep going, she tries to remember all the horses she was able to save. To learn more about this rescue , go to facebook.com\gruneheidifarm.

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