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Home » Australia’s Horse Slaughter Crisis: Calan Horse Sanctuary’s Fight for Change

Australia’s Horse Slaughter Crisis: Calan Horse Sanctuary’s Fight for Change


Every year across Australia, tens of thousands of horses are sent to slaughter, with approximately 10,000 coming through the racing industry. With continuous foaling, there aren’t enough homes or outrage to stop an industry embedded in the culture of Australia with the Race That Stops A Nation- The Melbourne Cup. Tied to gambling and the pet food industry, on-sold horses, as the recent ABC report and Animals Australia post revealed, are exposed to further cruelty at abattoirs where they are shocked, hit and kicked by workers. Many of these horses are young, healthy, muscular- they just weren’t fast enough to make a dollar. It’s nothing short of a miracle for a thoroughbred horse to make it beyond 5 years old.

Estimates of all horses killed in Australia range between 10,000 upward of 40,000 per year although who’s counting with many brumbies included in the mix as untold numbers on stations across Australia are culled- not to mention the publicly known government operations in places like the Snowy Mountains.

Of the many horses that have landed at Calan Horse Sanctuary, some, but not all, would have gone straight to the knackery. We’ve received 334 requests to date to take on a horse. We are saddened that we have the limitations of land, money, and manpower to currently only provide a home to 24. Nineteen of our equine residents are over the age of 18 and are classified as ‘geriatric’.

A few of our residents are from the racing, betting and performance industry- thoroughbreds, warmbloods, and standardbreds. They were called Galloper’s and Pacers yet we know them as the beautiful, soulful beings that they are. Their names are ‘Sanctuary’ names, which we have given them because some arrived with NO NAME or names we had to gather from various sources and some names we’ve given them especially to recover their self-esteem.

Our 2019 MELBOURNE CUP bets are on our Calan Horse Sanctuary horses, Rebel, Merc, Irish, Cobber, Digger, Mae Lee, Kokoda, Lakota, Dwight, and Vinnie. We’ve given them a place to mend their hearts, heal their betrayal, and find a home and a place where they matter. We don’t care if they made two cents or nearly a half-million dollars. They’re priceless in their own right and as God’s creation; we owe them more than making them an instrument of profit or sport.

Research findings on the healing ability of horses to aid and comfort soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, children and adults on the autism spectrum and those who have physical and mental disabilities, continues to be substantiated. If you’re betting on anything on Cup day, you can bet that horses are one of the most altruistic, supportive animals to humankind. Intelligent and adaptable, they have existed for millennia, making their contribution to our ever-changing ecosystem. As socially complex as elephants, horses have survived for nearly 60 million years because they are a cooperative, protective and group-oriented species that rarely ever isolate for the ongoing benefit of all members of the herd.

Making a donation to Calan Horse Sanctuary will help us provide check-ups to each member of the herd and contribute to lots of hard feeding this Summer of our mainly elderly residents who are 100% dependent on us as their stewards.

Everyone who donates between Nov 1, 2019, through November 30, 2019, will be placed in to a draw where ONE winner will receive a handcrafted, German silver, copper and bronze buckle set from America’s legendary master saddle maker and silversmith, Clint Mortenson, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. Only one entry per person who donates. Clint Mortenson will draw the name and we’ll announce it on our Facebook Page and a special Go Fund Me update. Please provide us with an email address in a private message when you donate so that we have a way to contact you. And be sure to ‘like’ us

In the meantime, below are the stats on some of our Calan Horse Sanctuary champions!

We thank you for supporting Alan and the horses. You make a difference in the lives of beings who, through no fault of their own, have found themselves in our care.


REBEL, Pacer, 22 Was showing great promise and went to trials but never raced 2005

IRISH, Pacer, 27 Had activity on the track 2010

COBBER, Galloper, 27 Had activity on the track DECEASED 2013

DIGGER, Galloper, 28 Had activity on the track 2013

MAE LEE, Pacer, 34 Had activity on the track, estimated winnings 200k 2015

KOKODA, Pacer, 19 Had activity on the track, 66 starts/10 wins- DECEASED 2016

MERC, Galloper, 31 Had activity on the track- DECEASED 2017 2007

LAKOTA, Galloper, 20 Had activity on the track 2017

DWIGHT, Galloper, 11 Had activity on the track, estimated winnings 384k 2017

VINNIE, Galloper, 10 Had activity on the track 2019

For the horses,
Alan Gent, Founder & Steward, Calan Horse Sanctuary
Mae Lee Sun, Co-Director

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