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Duchess Sanctuary Offers Safe Haven for Two Lucky Mustangs

After five-month stay at the Oregon sanctuary, Brownie and Jewel head for the Black Hills of South Dakota

  • Saved from slaughter, Brownie sidles up to fellow slaughterhouse refugee Jewel in the pastures of Duchess Sanctuary. Jennifer Kunz/The HSUS

  • Delicate and dainty Jewel charmed everyone with her expressive, lively demeanor. Jennifer Kunz/The HSUS

by Jennifer Kunz

In addition to the nearly 200 horses who call Duchess Sanctuary home, many others—like recent guests Jewel and Brownie—pass through the sanctuary every year en route to greener pastures.

Narrow escape

The two mustang mares came to Duchess Sanctuary from the Ark Watch Foundation, which bailed them out of a Nevada feedlot just hours before they were to be shipped off to a Canadian slaughterhouse.

When Brownie and Jewel stepped off the trailer, it was clear that being shuffled between auction yards and feedlots had taken its toll. The two were malnourished, exhausted, and badly in need of farrier and dental work.

At Duchess, the two horses grazed contently and received much-needed veterinary care over the course of five months. Then, they boarded a trailer again—this time bound for freedom at the 13,000-acre Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in South Dakota, where they will again have the freedom to roam the plains, unfettered, alongside other mustangs.

The plight of mustangs

Each year, hundreds of wild horses are rounded up by U.S. government agencies in the name of population control and offered up for adoption for a modest fee. But not every owner can offer the right home for a wild horse, and many mustangs are sold or traded until the unlucky ones end up in feedlots, destined to be inhumanely transported to Canada or Mexico for a brutal end at a slaughterhouse.  

Ask Congress to Stop Horse Slaughter »

Brownie and Jewel narrowly escaped this terrible end, but tens of thousands of other beautiful, healthy horses every year do not. The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act will not only end the export of American horses for slaughter, but it will prohibit new horse slaughterhouses from setting up shop in the U.S.

Learn more about The HSUS's vision for wild horse management in the U.S.. 

Jennifer Kunz is ranch manager of Duchess Sanctuary, operated by The Fund for Animals in partnership with The HSUS.

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