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Equine Advocates 25th Birthday Milestones Part 1

🎉 In honor of Equine Advocates’ 25th Birthday on Saturday, February 27, we’re counting down 25 of our biggest accomplishments! Each day this week, we will share FIVE major milestones Equine Advocates has conquered since the rescue was founded in 1996. 🎉


1. The Birth of Equine Advocates on February 27, 1996 : Equine Advocates was founded by Susan Wagner because of her rescue of Gandalf, a Thoroughbred/Quarter Horse Cross in 1994. He was going to be sold to a horse dealer/killer buyer by the zoological institution where she worked at the time because he wasn’t gentle enough to be part of the Children’s Zoo. She established Equine Advocates two years after his rescue when learning through his rescue that hundreds of thousands of U.S..-bred equines were being slaughtered annually for human consumption. The plight and rescue of Gandalf became a life-altering experience for Susan and the beginning of an organization dedicated to banning horse slaughter and rescuing equines from meeting that unspeakable fate.


2. Equine Advocates First Major Horse Rescue Operation – April 1997:  The rescue of 27 Camp Horses and Ponies from a bankrupt tourist attraction in upstate New York in April 1997 generated a tremendous amount of publicity and led to the first major court victory for Equine Advocates. The organization was up against a local killer buyer and slaughter auction owner who placed a bid on the horses and ponies during a bankruptcy hearing.  Equine Advocates not only outbid him, but organized safe placement for all of the animals since the organization had not yet established its horse sanctuary. Since then, the Camp Horse Issue has been an important one for Equine Advocates. Dallas, who was one of those 27 camp horses, was eight years old at the time. He is alive and well and now living at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary. He will turn 32 in April 2021.

Dallas by Kara Heniges


3. Undercover FOX Investigation of Camp Horses Going to Slaughter in 1997: Equine Advocates and TV Fox reporter Euna Kwan went undercover at the slaughter auction in New Holland, Pennsylvania, to expose the sale of Camp Horses to slaughter. These are the horses  that children ride at summer camps. This two-part series was a major expose’ into the truth of what happens to horses and ponies used at many seasonal summer riding camps every year.

4. Equine Advocates Goes Undercover in Manitoba in 1998: Equine Advocates contacted the then syndicated television news-magazine program, EXTRA and went undercover with their film crew to Manitoba, Canada to investigate the pregnant mares urine (PMU) industry which produces the ERT and HRT drugs, Premarin, Prempro and in more recent years, Duavee. The report that aired won an Ark Trust Genesis Award and exposed the horrors of the barbaric, outdated and unnecessary PMU industry which is responsible for the slaughter of tens of thousands of mares and foals annually.

5. Major Mule Rescue – December 1999: This rescue operation of nine slaughter-bound Mules at the slaughter auction in New Holland, Pennsylvania, marked a new campaign to promote the plight and rescue of Work Mules used primarily by Amish and Mennonite farmers. Referred to as “the forgotten equine,” Mules are extremely intelligent and are often used, abused and then scrapped for slaughter when they can no longer work.  Equine Advocates has rescued many Mules over the years, and has two dedicated areas for them at the organization’s sanctuary in Chatham, New York, called, “Mule Town” and “Comedy Central.”