History: Horse Protection Initiatives


Misty_CarmenThanks to a generous grant from Vancouver Foundation, TRACS has launched a project that will assist in raising awareness about the plight of equines in our country and will promote the adoption of horses to good homes. According to Agriculture Canada, 112,887 horses were slaughtered in Canada in 2008. These animals arrived at one of seven federally-inspected slaughter plants from a variety of directions. Many were so-called “culls” from breeding operations and industries (for instance, quarter horses and thoroughbred race horses) and many others were from private homes no longer able or willing to continue caring for their horses. Still others were from defunct trail riding businesses and from the PMU (Pregnant Mare Urine) industry, well-known for sending its unwanted foals and spent mares to auction and slaughter. Also in 2008, tens of thousands of horses arrived as imports for slaughter from the United States, where the last of the equine slaughter plants had been shut down in Illinois and Texas.

Facilitating Adoptions Through Public Awareness

Over the years, TRACS has rescued and re-homed hundreds of horses, many of them foals from the PMU industry. We have celebrated the lives that we were able to save, and have grieved over those left behind at auctions where feedlot operators picked up their quota. Typically, TRACS rescuers expressed regrets about the fact that more could not be salvaged. Monetary and space constraints were always factors that prevented us from saving more. Regarding funding for rescue, not only must organizations pay to purchase horses-at-risk from auctions (and sometimes directly from feedlots), but they must cover maintenance costs for rescued animals also. These expenses, depending on how long animals are held until an adoptive home is found, can be crippling. Hay costs, farrier fees, dewormers, and veterinary care are all necessary to horse maintenance.

In an effort to facilitate the adoption of equines who may otherwise remain indefinitely in sanctuary, TRACS is developing a database of qualified horse rescue centres, listed by province, in Canada. We encourage additions to this list, but require references on individual facilities that we are not familiar with.

A second database is in the development stage at this time also. We are compiling an extensive list of horse-related businesses. Our goal will be to inform these businesses of horse rescue centres that are closest to their area, and to encourage information-sharing with clientele in an effort to further advertise the existence of facilities in various communities.

Adoption Initiatives

Often in their search for “the perfect horse”, potential adopters or buyers will not be aware of the tireless work of rescuers, who rehabilitate and train sound, beautiful animals solely for the purpose of giving them a second chance. As an adoption incentive, TRACS is offering a $50 rebate to be paid, as funds permit, to adopters who obtain a horse from one of the qualified rescues listed in our database. In the event that an animal is returned for any reason to the rescue centre, the rebate amount will be deducted from the funds owing to the adopter and will be returned to TRACS by the rescue centre.

Euthanasia Assistance

One of the arguments presented by families who reluctantly send their horses to slaughter is that the cost of euthanasia is prohibitively high. TRACS would like to assist by offering $250 toward the cost of humane euthanasia performed by a veterinarian, again as funds allow, and only where circumstances of illness or infirmity are shown to cause suffering to the animal.

Public Service Announcements

Finally, in an effort to inform potential adopters across Canada about the location of qualified horse rescue centres, we have created a PSA (below) to be aired on community channels:

We are looking for citizens willing to connect us with their community stations. If you can help, please e-mail TRACS.

Keep the Fund Alive!

As our program takes wing, we are hoping that donors will recognize the benefits of promoting adoptions from hardworking rescue centres that intercept the movement of horses along the slaughter pipeline. We are also hopeful that the benefits of our Euthanasia Assistance Program will be recognized.

For more information on horse slaughter in Canada, please visit: The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition.

Horse Rescue Centres

TRACS encourages adoption from these qualified rescue centres.

Critteraid – Project Equus

We are a society devoted to animal welfare.

Penticton, British Columbia

Bear Valley Rescue

We have found wonderful homes for many amazing horses.

Sundre, Alberta

Circle F Horse Rescue Society

We are a registered nonprofit, charitable organization that cares for horses that have been entrusted to us and, when ready, adopt them out to appropriate homes.

Abbotsford, B.C.


As a group we are compelled to save as many horses as possible and give them the happy endings they deserve.

Kitchener, Ontario

LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society

We believe that our brave and beautiful thoroughbred racehorses deserve a dignified retirement.

Toronto, Ontario

New Horizons Equine Centre

Providing Second Careers for Off-The-Track Standardbreds

Wallaceburg, Ontario

Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society

Assisting in the adoption and relocation of retired and non-racing Standardbred horses within Ontario

Campbellville, Ontario

Paradise Stable Horse Rescue

Giving horses a second chance!


Precious Hope Farm

Dedicated to spreading the word about horse slaughter and educating others about trying to keep these beautiful animals out of harm’s way

Kitchener, Ontario

Refuge RR for Horses

We feel we are indebted to these magnificent beings.

Alexandria, Ontario

Saving Grace Equine Rescue

Making a difference for each horse by placing neglected, abused, old or unwanted horses and ponies into new, loving, permanent homes

Bracebridge, Ontario

The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada

Peace, freedom and protection

Guelph, Ontario

Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue

Our mandate is to provide care and rehabilitation to abused and neglected horses.

Hagersville, Ontario