Show horse slaughtered in Florida — likely for meat

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

1,300-pound show horse slaughtered on Florida farm.

PALMETTO, Fla. Just days ago, the nearly 1,300-pound, powerful jumping horse with a shiny chestnut coat named Phedras de Blondel arrived at his new home in the U.S., a farm owned by a champion rider in Florida.

On Sunday morning, his owner discovered a horrific scene near his stall: the 12-year-old gelding had been slaughtered and butchered, most likely for his meat. Stephens, a renowned American equestrian, arrived at her horse barn in Palmetto, Fla., to check on some paperwork and prepare for the day’s lessons. A search led to a broken fence, and then came the horrific discovery. “(They) just dismembered him right there and just left his rib cage and his neck and head,” said Stephen’s husband, Steve Stephens. “All four legs were cut off of him. Now, detectives are trying to find the perpetrators. “What they did to this horse had nothing to do with his value,” Debbie Stephens, who owns the 27-acre ranch in Palmetto, said Monday.

Suddenly, one of the barn workers appeared with unsettling news: The latch on the stall of a prized Grand Prix-level show jumper had been tampered with, and the horse was nowhere to be found. Within a half-hour, there were signs of an unusual crime, then a brutal discovery: The horse had been led from his stall and taken far from the barn, where he was carved up so professionally that authorities are investigating it as an animal cruelty case carried out by an expert butcher for meat. “He had been filleted,” the horse’s owner, Ms.

Investigators say they believe the perpetrator was someone who wanted horse meat, knew the farm had horses and took Phedras because he was a big, heavy horse. (TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. This just turned my life around.” Horse meat is illegal in Florida, but a black market for it exists, said Nick Atwood, a spokesman for the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. Most of the incidents involved horses being stolen and then slaughtered in the southeast of the state, most recently in a slaughterhouse in Palm Beach County.

During the 2010 Florida Legislative Session, he said a bill passed that strengthened the state’s restrictions on the sale of horse meat for human consumption. She said he was likely still alive when they began to butcher him. “It could be the suspects scoped out this ranch,” said Dave Bristow, a spokesman from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. Stephens said she’s reinforcing her ranch to protect the other 50 horses that live on the property — and she’s planning to raise more money for the reward and speak out about the problem of illegal horse slaughter. Stephens said she had just recently purchased Phedras in Europe from a French breeder to ride for several years while she developed the skills of a younger horse who could then eventually take over as her primary mount in the Grand Prix, show jumping’s most prestigious and dramatic event. The latch was bolted into the door but unchained: Someone had neglected a crucial step of a two-step method that was the barn rule when closing stall doors.

Stephens, who said she was not a “panicker,” set off on foot to look for Phedras around the farm, which is more than 31 acres of rambling paddocks, training rings and pastures that contain another dozen horses. A set of footprints — and hoofprints — could be traced through bushes and a field, in what appears to be the track of at least one suspect, she said.

A necropsy showed that a knife was plunged into the horse’s right ribs, puncturing the aorta, and officials think there was a struggle before the horse fatally weakened.

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