The Humane Society of Missouri’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch has found homes for seven of the horses. Many others have recovered from injuries and are available for adoption.

Forty-two horses were on their way to destruction in the predawn hours of Sept. 27, 2006, when fate and the Humane Society of Missouri’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch intervened. A tractor trailer enroute to a slaughterhouse near Chicago veered off the road and overturned in the median on Interstate 44 in Franklin County and toppled on its side. Sixteen horses perished in the accident or had to be euthanized in the aftermath, but 25 horses and one hinny survived thanks in large part to rescue workers and volunteers dispatched by the Humane Society’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch.

Now HSMO is pleased to report that seven of the horses have been adopted into happy homes from Longmeadow in Union, Mo., and that 13 are in good health and remain available for adoption. Three horses (one the offspring of a trailer passenger) are Barn Buddies, animal ambassadors at Longmeadow. Sadly, three horses had to be euthanized due to injuries sustained in the accident or other chronic health problems.

“The outpouring of support we received for these horses has been incredible,” said HSMO and Longmeadow Rescue Ranch president Kathy Warnick. “We’re glad to have found good homes for seven of these horses, but are hoping we can place more of the survivors in a forever home soon.”

One of the more heartwarming stories concerns Twist of Fate, or “Twister.” He was born to Mama, a Thoroughbred mare that was pregnant and aboard the trailer when it crashed last year. Both Mama and Twister are now Barn Buddies and love to see visitors at Longmeadow during visiting hours on the first and third Saturdays of each month between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm.

The accident, as horrible as it was, had a redemptive quality, Warnick said. “It placed a spotlight on the inhumane treatment of horses that goes on daily across America. It’s a misconception that only old horses are packed off to a slaughterhouse. Many of the horses in the I-44 accident were young, though some were malnourished and had been mistreated. There are alternatives to slaughtering horses, including adoption and taking horses to rescue groups like The Humane Society of Missouri’s Longmeadow Rescue Ranch.”

According to the USDA, in 2006 more than 100,000 American horses were either slaughtered for export at a United States slaughterhouse or shipped to Canada or Mexico for slaughter. Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a State of Illinois decision to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption effectively ending the slaughter of horses for food in the United States. Illinois is home to the last remaining horse slaughter plant in the country. Pending federal legislation would prevent transporting horses from the United States to Mexico or Canada for slaughter.

Horse Heroes Sponsorship Program:
Longmeadow Rescue Ranch has set up the Horse Heroes Sponsorship Program giving persons the opportunity to donate toward the treatment and continuing care of these deserving horses. Photos of the animals and an update of their condition can be seen here.

Donations may also be made by phone (314-951-1542) or by mail:

Horse Heroes Sponsorship Program
Humane Society of Missouri
1201 Macklind Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110