Rescued horses sold to kill pen

<p class="p1">Local horse enthusiasts are putting out a distress call for help after learning that some Fort Polk horses rescued from round-ups last month on the installation have been sold to a kill pen.</p><p class="p1">Lisa Alexander, who has worked alongside rescues for the past year to rehabilitate groups of horses round up from the Vernon Parish military installation, said she recently became aware that a group of horses pulled from Fort Polk in July were now located at a slaughter pen, and had been put there by the same rescue that had pledged to help the animals.</p><p class="p1">“I just don’t understand why this is happening,” Alexander said. “Why is a supposed rescue selling these horses to a slaughter pen; it’s awful.”</p><p class="p1">According to Alexander, 27 horses that were taken from Fort Polk in July were assigned to be picked up by Texas-based Meridian Falls Ranch. Those horses were, however, picked up by Jacob Thompson, owner of Thompson Horse Lot which operates under the website domain www.killpenhorses.com.</p><p class="p1">On the site’s “horses” page, the site claims the majority of its listed horses are sold as “slaughter bound, feed lot or kill pen horses.”</p><p class="p1">“Obviously rescues,” the site states, “and thin horses will be based on the amount of value they have as a slaughter horse.”</p><p class="p1">Meridian Falls allegedly sold the horses to Thompson, Alexander said.</p><p class="p1">She said she and other rescues are trying to save those horses from slaughter. </p><p class="p1">So far, she said, they have managed to save 24 of the horses by purchasing them from Thompson.</p><p class="p1">“He (Thompson) told me that he would ship them to slaughter if we didn’t buy them. That’s what he does,” she said. “Kill pens ship many more than the public ever sees.”</p><p class="p1">In addition to her attempt to save the final horses from slaughter, Alexander said she and other rescues are striving to have Meridian Falls banned from receiving any horses from future Fort Polk round-ups.</p><p class="p1">“We are reaching out to senators and all local leaders in an effort to make a change for these horses,” Alexander said. “This is not the future we want for them.”</p><p class="p1">Volunteers at Meridian Falls Ranch did not immediately respond to requests for comment by the <em>American Press</em>. All areas to contact the group through its website have been removed.</p><p class="p1">Fort Polk officials announced in 2016 they would begin rounding up 750 of the “trespass horses” in groups and removing them from the installation after environmental studies showed the process would eliminate threats the animals posed to training military personnel and the public.</p><p class="p1">A federal court declared the horses were “trespass livestock,” meaning the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Protection Act of 1971 did not apply to the animals.</p><p class="p1">The first group of horses were rounded up and removed late last year through a cooperative endeavor with Texas State University. TSU sought bids from local contractors surrounding Fort Polk who would perform the hands-on task of rounding up the horses but, according to sources, Thompson’s Horse Lot was the only bid received by the university.</p><p class="p1">Earlier this year, TSU ended its contract with Fort Polk, which resulted in Thompson losing his contract to round up the horses.</p><p class="p1">According to Fort Polk officials, more than 199 horses have been removed from the installation since last year.  </p><p class="p1">A Vernon Parish animal rights group, Pegasus Equine Guardian Association, filed litigation against Fort Polk last year to end the round-ups. That request was dismissed by the federal court, who has yet to make an official decision on the round-ups.</p>””<p>Fort Polk rescue horses sold to kill pen.</p>Pamela SleezerBeauregard and Vernon Parish Reporter
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””<p>Fort Polk rescue horses sold to kill pen.</p>Pamela SleezerBeauregard and Vernon Parish Reporter
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