By Margaux Augier, Copy Editor
According to Athens horse rescue Bella Run Equine, over 125,000 American horses were transported to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered in 2015 alone. Slaughter-bound horses — rendered unwanted often due to overbreeding, divorce or health issues — become subject to the highest bidder at kill auctions where they’re often sold for meat.
Co-founders of Bella Run Equine Rachel Bendler and Victoria Gross began the animal rescue years ago because of their shared passion for saving those horses from slaughter. Victoria taught Rachel the importance of making wise decisions both financially and ethically while attempting to save horses from slaughter. Although an expensive task, Bella Run Equine’s responsible resource management allows the rescue to effectively save as many animals as possible.
Rachel and her husband Zack began buying horses from slaughter sales together to rehabilitate them at their Pleasant Hill farm and find them safe, loving homes. Over time, the pair began taking care of multiple horses, funding the horse rescue with their own money and earning a trusted reputation as realistic yet responsible horsemen.
After using their resources wisely, Rachel and Zack transformed their passion into a successful 501(c)3 non-profit organization by May of 2015 and have been working tirelessly to transform the lives of horses and other animals since. Though the official number changes frequently, Bella Run Equine provides a home for approximately 30 horses as well as many dogs, lambs, cows and other farm animals. Following their rehabilitation, the horses are adopted into forever homes where they are valued in horse-riding lessons and therapy programs, summer camps and mounted patrol units.
To learn more about Bella Run Equine’s mission or to donate or volunteer for the horse rescue, you can visit http://www.bellarunequine.org/Default