“Some [retired racehorses] are lucky enough to be picked up by trainers or rescuers who put a lot of time and training into them to give them a new career,” Ashley DiFelice, founder of Twist of Fate Farm and Sanctuary in Pennsylvania, told The Dodo. “Others are not so lucky. Many will end up at auctions while some are sold directly to kill buyers or dealers. These horses will ship directly to slaughter with a very slim chance of being saved.”
Though cases of horses being sent to slaughter have decreased since the '90s and early '00s, when the practice was more common, unwanted racehorses can still fall prey to the slaughter pipeline today, ending up in livestock auctions and kill lots before being sent to meat-processing facilities in other countries like Mexico and Canada.
Though the last remaining U.S. horse slaughterhouse closed in 2007, American horses are still being transported over the border to horrific ends, Marty Irby, senior advisor and equine expert for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), told The Dodo. Between 2010 and 2016, over 100,000 American horses were killed in overseas slaughterhouses each year. In 2017, the number dropped to 78,857 horses, according to HSUS.