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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 17, 2003
    Location
    North Texas, US
    Posts
    2,184

    Default Donated one of mine to a lion rescue and thought I'd share the experience

    Last week, one of my homebreds who had contracted a rare type of cancer was ready to go. I had known this was coming for a month or so. Once the heat hit, he started dropping weight. We tried a couple of things to turn the weight loss around, but it was a losing battle.

    I really wanted his life to "mean something" probably because he was young. After discussing options with my vet, I called Big Cat Rescue in Bridgeport, TX to discuss their donation program. They are a big cat rescue and research facility.

    I had read threads in the past where people expressed concern about taking a live horse to a facility with big cats. So was unsure how this would work.

    On Friday morning, I called and spoke to the owner telling her it was time and we set up an approximate time I would arrive. When we got there we were directed to an area away from the cat pens where there were some holding pens under a tree set up. The atmosphere was very peaceful and he did not seem anxious or nervous at all. Nor did the dog with us have any reaction to the cats.

    They were extremely kind and appreciative of us thinking of them. He was put in a pen with water and grass to graze.

    The owner's husband uses a gun to put the animals down (they apparently get different species and buy some at livestock auctions when needed). He has had special training for the different species.

    I asked whether they had to receive live animals or if one put down due to a catastrophic injury could be used. The answer was yes, as long as it was brought within a few hours of death and obviously hadn't been euth'd using drugs. And as long as they had room in their freezer, which isn't usually a problem.

    Obviously, it wasn't a pleasant experience though it was time to help him over the bridge, I was impressed with the facility, their professionalism and compassion. Our farm has limestone about 18" down, so burying on the property isn't an option. We have had our others picked up and buried at Pine Hill, but it is nice to know that there is another option available.

    For those in the North Texas area, their website is bigcatcare.org. They are actively involved in genetic research of African lions and also have mountain lions, tigers and leopards.

    I'm happy to answer any questions anyone might have. Of course, I don't know how other cat rescues or zoos operate, but feel good knowing that I have a new option during what is always a stressful time and contributes to the circle of life.
    www.debracysporthorses.com
    Home of Sea Accounts xx
    AHS/HV, ATA, GOV, RPSI, JC, AQHA, APHA, APtHA
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    22 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 20, 2013
    Location
    Area IV
    Posts
    1,242

    Default

    How fabulous of you! What a difficult decision to make. My only concern would be suffering on the part of the horse but it sounds like they knew what they were doing. It is not an option I would have thought of. Thanks for posting.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 15, 2004
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    8,205

    Default

    You said he had cancer and they are still going to use the meat?


    5 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2012
    Posts
    431

    Default

    That is a very interesting option. Good of you to think of it.
    Chambermaid to....
    The Black Pearl (Lilly)
    Queen Anne's Revenge (Khione)
    My other hobby http://darkwingimages.instaproofs.com/store/



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 5, 2009
    Posts
    954

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FalseImpression View Post
    You said he had cancer and they are still going to use the meat?
    Interesting question - if cancer can mutate cross-species . . . I don't know.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2005
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    10,806

    Default

    I have heard of this before, and consider it a compassionate and sensible plan.

    Well done.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2000
    Location
    Where am I and what am I doing in this handbasket?
    Posts
    23,410

    Default

    Cancer is ultimately cell mutation gone wild, I'm not sure if there is anything inherently wrong with it (Leukemia - lots of white blood cells, nothing wrong with wbc except too many kill you).

    I'm fairly certain in the wild, animals eat other animals with cancer not infrequently, especially since that animal would be the most likely animal to be caught in that whole survival of the fittest thing they got going out there. Also I'm pretty sure animals that have cancer end up in our food chain as well. Early stages most likely since most animlas are young when processed for our food chain, but if you do the math it's hard to imagine statistically that the process is "cancer free".
    Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.


    6 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May. 20, 2005
    Location
    Desert Southwest
    Posts
    6,301

    Default

    Bless you for your gift to the big cats. What a heartbreak for you -- but you found a way for the horse's life to serve a good purpose.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2007
    Location
    San Jose, Ca
    Posts
    5,564

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FalseImpression View Post
    You said he had cancer and they are still going to use the meat?
    Quote Originally Posted by 2horseygirls View Post
    Interesting question - if cancer can mutate cross-species . . . I don't know.
    I don't think cancer is contagious (unless a type developed as a response to a virus). Are the animals we eat tested thoroughly for all sorts of cancers?


    2 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 17, 2003
    Location
    North Texas, US
    Posts
    2,184

    Default

    Appsolute - That's a good question...one would hope that meat for human consumption is thoroughly test.


    Re his cancer: I disclosed his diagnosis to them and they didn't have a problem with it. And after thinking about it, in the wild it's the young, elderly and sick who are picked off by predators.
    www.debracysporthorses.com
    Home of Sea Accounts xx
    AHS/HV, ATA, GOV, RPSI, JC, AQHA, APHA, APtHA
    "LIKE" www.facebook.com/SeaAccounts


    4 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 10, 2003
    Location
    Where is gets way too cold
    Posts
    4,002

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FalseImpression View Post
    You said he had cancer and they are still going to use the meat?
    You cannot develop cancer from eating it. The cells of the horse are mutated, but none of those are incorporated into the ingesting animal.

    OP, I'm glad you were able to put his Earthly remains to good use.
    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.


    5 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 6, 2002
    Location
    Philadelphia PA
    Posts
    16,346

    Default

    Cancer isn't harmful to the eater... it's harmful to the host. Cancer cells are just more cells, is that the way they function is harmful to the host.

    I think this was a splendid way to give back. I think maybe I could do that for the hounds but I am not sure I could handle doing it for big cats. I'M too scared of them to be calm during the dispatching. But I think it was a nice way to keep the cycle of life going and I am glad they handled it so well for you.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 4, 2009
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    4,162

    Default

    Bless you for having the compassion to let him go before he suffer and well done on the donation....I applaude you for thinking outside the box and making his death worth something...


    4 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 28, 2007
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    1,547

    Default

    As an ex-zookeeper, I want to say thank you for doing that. There are a whole bunch of big cat rescues around the country that struggle to keep their animals fed.

    Another question for a reputable rescue would be if they keep their animals neutered or contracepted.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 15, 2004
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    8,205

    Default

    I realize cancer is not contagious and I assume they do test the meat visually, Still.. I don't think i could do it with one of mine. Good for you though.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2006
    Location
    Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    5,030

    Default

    Bless your heart, I am so sorry you had to lose a horse. I commend you donating your horse to a useful purpose too.

    I'm really glad to hear that this particular cat rescue had a peaceful area away from the cats... that's another one of my concerns when donating a horse to a zoo/rescue. It's also good to know they will take a horse put down on the farm. Personally, I wouldn't want to have to trailer my horses away from home for their final moments.
    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


    1 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2012
    Posts
    519

    Default

    Thank you for sharing your story. Sorry for your loss, I am sure the big cat organization was thrilled to be able to put every possible part of the horse to good use. It is a relief to hear the dispatch area was quiet and away from the cats.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 27, 2011
    Location
    The Land of Buggies and Black Bumpers
    Posts
    996

    Default

    Thanks for sharing your story here! Hopefully, it will make others feel more comfortable in making the same decision!



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep. 14, 2002
    Location
    Azle, Teh-has
    Posts
    7,803

    Default

    that's pretty amazing.
    We have a cat sanctuary in Aurora too.

    I couldn't do it. I sure wish I could but I don't think I could.
    Awesome that you could. I wish I was that strong.

    I'm sorry you lost one of your kids. : (
    http://kaboomeventing.com/
    http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2005
    Posts
    2,813

    Default

    It horrifies me and I wouldn't ever do it with one of mine, but a friend has used this option a fair number of times and I've gradually, kinda-sorta-almost come to terms with it. I'm a vegetarian which makes it harder.

    Good for you for seeing him through.
    It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati


    1 members found this post helpful.

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