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New bill seeks to stop the slaughter of American horses for human consumption

<i>KSBY</i><br/>Every year
Willingham, James
Every year

By Juliet Lemar

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    SANTA YNEZ, California (KSBY) — It all started with a horse named Savana.

“She showed me bravery and a courage inside myself that I could have never imagined,” said Siri Lindley, co-founder of Believe Ranch and Rescue in Santa Ynez.

Five years ago, Lindley was fighting for her life after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a rare and life-threatening blood cancer.

“Learning to ride her and do all these terrifying things I hadn’t done before helped me face a very uncertain diagnosis,” she shared.

Lindley is now in remission and has dedicated her life to saving the ones who saved her after seeing a video that changed the trajectory of her life forever.

“It was the most horrific and savage thing I had ever seen in my life. It shook me to the core, and we looked at each other and without speaking, we knew our lives would never be the same again,” Lindley explained.

The next day, Lindley and her wife, Bek Keat, saved five horses from a kill pin. Seven years later, that number has soared.

“Since then, we have saved 299 horses from slaughter.”

Every year, thousands of American horses are sold at auction — 83% are purchased by kill buyers who ship the horses to Mexico and Canada to be inhumanely slaughtered for human consumption, according to Humane Society of the U.S. research. Ninety-two percent of horses sent to slaughter are healthy and young, according to a USDA study.

“Kill buyers want young horses that are good weight because that’s better per pound and better meat for the Europeans who eat this meat. We are talking about young horses that could have a perfectly good home,” said Bek Keat, co-founder of Believe Ranch and Rescue.

There are no federal laws regulating horse auctions, according to the Humane Society. But this year could be a turning point for banning the practice of inhumane horse slaughter in the U.S. with the Save America’s Forgotten Equines Act, also called the SAFE Act. The bipartisan bill would permanently ban horse slaughter in the U.S. and prohibit the shipment of horses outside the U.S. for slaughter.

“If you guys want to help, you can call your local legislator and tell them to please co-sponsor the SAFE Act,” Keat said.

For the horses already saved at Believe Ranch and Rescue, they are returning the favor through equine-assisted therapy, which Jennifer Boland says changed her life.

“The horses taught me so much. You leave here feeling like you have more hope, you feel empowered, all my anxiety was gone, I couldn’t thank Siri more… and the horses!” Boland said.

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