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'When there's no horse show, we're not making any money.' Some fear Kentucky horses could head to the slaughterhouse

Some horsemen’s associations suggest that the 2008 recession is giving some legitimate concern to fears an equine welfare crisis looms.

The Kentucky Derby is not the only horse related event stuck in the barn. 

Some horsemen's associations tell WHAS11's Chris Williams they're worried that the stay home requirements by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear will create an equine welfare crisis and send some horses to slaughter houses.

Association members say what happened during the 2008 recession is giving some legitimate concerns to fears an equine welfare crisis is looming. 

David Mount, the Executive Director of the Saddlebred Horse Association, says, “If you look at the 2008 recession as a benchmark, there was a real equine welfare crisis and we’ve been working with equine welfare agencies and rescue groups to prevent that from happening. But it’s a real concern of ours and that’s one the main reason why we need to get our industry back open.”

Horse owners say the social distancing and other requirements to stop the spread has saddled their livelihoods too.

“When there's no horse shows, we're not making any money”, explained Melissa Moore. 

“We can't sell horses, we can't supplement our income by going to horse shows, a horse trainer does not make a living by training horses. A horse trainer has got to sell horses to make a living,” she said.

Melissa Moore's hard work and passion for American Saddlebred show horses has her earned 40 world titles. Her stable is growing right now, foals are coming nearly every day but the money is not and that means she can't hire the extra help needed to guarantee a smooth delivery.

“I've been staying up around the clock with the mares and working all day”, Moore said.

She's also concerned about horses and COVID-19. She's not worried about them catching the virus, it's more about the trickle down impact from all the shutdowns.

“My worse fear is that these horses are going to end up in a bad situation. There aren't enough rescue facilities out there to take all of these horses in and because they're unwanted, they'll end up in a kill pen.”

During the 2008 recession, people began turning horses loose in the wild or killed them. 

David Mount says he will present a reopening plan to the Governor next week.

Melissa doesn't understand why this industry isn't galloping ahead in these times, especially when Tennessee, Texas and Georgia haven't missed a step.

“The equine industry is the perfect outlet for social distancing”, she said. “I think, if our governor understood that and maybe came to a barn and saw how it could happen then maybe he would understand and put a plan in place where we could get back to business.”

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