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With Lofty Goals, Porter Starts Horse Welfare Operation

By Bill Finley, Thoroughbred Daily News

Rick Porter

Prominent owner Rick Porter does not believe that the slaughter of retired racehorses is an unsolvable problem. Along with Victoria Keith, the executive vice president of Porter’s Fox Hill Farms, Porter has started the National Thoroughbred Welfare Organization, which he says will be an all-encompassing organization whose mission is to end slaughter and deal with other welfare issues, such as the illegal doping of horses.

The news of the founding of the National Thoroughbred Welfare Organization was first reported by the Blood-Horse.

“Can we end the slaughter of Thoroughbreds 100%? Maybe not, but I think we can end it 95%, and that would be pretty big,” Porter said. “But our goal is to end it 100%.”

There are literally hundreds of horse rescue operations in the U.S., but Porter and Keith foresee their group as an attempt to take horse welfare problems and have them addressed primarily by one large, well-funded organization that has the assets to put a huge dent into the problem.

“This is much needed,” Keith said. “We have other people cleaning up our mess and this is the industry’s mess, so the industry needs to be the one that cleans it up. We also believe the industry needs to say they have an all-encompassing Thoroughbred welfare organization run by an industry that looks after the horses…including every aspect in which they need care. If racing is going to have a future it’s going to have to have something like this.”

Porter said he would write a sizeable check to get the NTWO off the ground and then would solicit help from others.

Just this week Keith visited a slaughter auction in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where she said she saw about six racehorses being sold. There is a new trend in the auction-slaughter business where buyers are paying more for the horses than they are worth strictly for their meat and then posting them on social media. They inform people that the horses are for sale, at a price higher than what they paid for them, and that if someone does not buy them they will be slaughtered. It’s more or less a matter of holding the horse for ransom. For that reason, Keith said she is going to focus first on Louisiana.

However, her goal is not to outbid the killer buyers at every slaughter auction in the country, knowing the costs to do that would be prohibitive. Rather, she wants to hire agents at every racetrack in the country whose job it is it to buy any horses owners or trainers may want to discard, therefore keeping them out of the slaughter pipeline. The NTWO will pay the owners or trainers at least what the horse is worth at the slaughter sales. [Read More…]


Eastern Rocket

Easton’s Rocket aka “Rocky”, a late foal of 2012, started his racing career as a two year old and failed to break his maiden in four races. So his owner’s opted to sell him. Luckily someone saw his true potential.

We spoke with his owner Pam Landis about Rocky and thoroughbreds in general. Landis has been riding and showing thoroughbreds her entire life. She buys ex-racehorses and retrains them for sale. She is in this business to fix the perspective that Thoroughbreds can and have been as successful as warmbloods in the horse show world. Landis got involved with racehorses when she obtained her PA trainers license over 17 years ago. She is also a Registered USEF hunter and jumper judge. She has witnessed the change from the thoroughbred show horse to the warmbloods that now dominate the show circuit.
[Read More…]

35-Year Veteran Pikulski Stepping Down At Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation

35-Year Veteran Pikulski Stepping Down At Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation


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