April 20, 2011
Slaughterhouse Survivor Defies Odds Under “Supermoon” Sky
"Moonstruck" born to rescued mare, to delight of all who helped save her
by Julie Hauserman
On March 19, a miracle happened at Desiree Walling’s farm in Calumet, Oklahoma.
On the night of the “supermoon,” when the moon was full and unusually close to the Earth, a mare named Catori gave birth to a lively and healthy foal.
The mother and baby defied incredible odds to get to this night.
Just ten months earlier, Catori was on a cattle transport trailer crowded with other horses destined for a slaughterhouse in Mexico, when the rig driver fell asleep, causing an accident that left more than a dozen horses dead.
Seventeen horses were rescued, including Catori. Cynthia Armstrong, Oklahoma State Director for The HSUS, described the scene: “We had Good Samaritan citizens who saw the crash, called their friends, got halters, corralled the horses safely, and got them off the highway until authorities arrived.”
After the accident, Armstrong and Blaze's Tribute Equine Rescue of Oklahoma sought to obtain custody of the surviving horses. The owner of the horses, Armstrong learned, was a so-called “kill buyer,” who bought horses with the intention of sending them to slaughter.
When Armstrong learned that the horses who had survived the accident were fated to make another trip to the Mexican slaughterhouse, she and members of Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue worked successfully to obtain their release.
Two anonymous HSUS donors provided funds to pay for veterinary care and to transport the horses to Blaze’s Tribute in Jones, Oklahoma.
Walling, who is on the board of Blaze's Tribute, said, “When I heard about the accident, I just knew these horses had to be saved. They had been through so much." She agreed to foster all 17 horses until they were ready for adoption. Knowing Catori was pregnant, Walling worried that the mare would go into labor during the freezing Oklahoma winter.
Instead, Catori gave birth on the spring Equinox, under the dramatic and magical “supermoon.”
“I suggested the name ‘Moonstruck’ for this miracle baby born on the eve of the first day of spring,” Armstrong says. “He’s a symbol of hope and rebirth and the survival of all of these horses … to have this baby was an uplifting moment for all of us involved in the rescue.”
While Catori and Moonstruck will eventually be available for adoption, for now, they are enjoying each other's company in peace on Walling’s pastures.
Ten of the horses involved in the crash have been adopted, thanks to the efforts of Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue.
“These horses obviously deserve a second chance,” says Blaze’s Tribute president Natalee Cross.
If you're interested in helping a rescued horse, view those up for adoption at Blaze's Tribute Equine Rescue.