When I was working at University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center, I tried to donate a lame OTTB of mine. The donations department told me due to IACUC, etc. regulations, they could no longer just accept horses and use them when they needed them-- there needed to be a specific study approved or a specific "opening" for a teaching horse. Due to these regulations, they had developed an extremely long waiting list. It made it kind-of possible to specify how you wanted your horse used, but extremely impractical because you could literally be waiting years for an opening to arise.
This was 8 years ago (gosh, time flies), so I don't know if those regulations have changed again.
Prior to those regulation changes, you could pretty much just donate a horse whenever to Penn and they'd accept him, but you did not have control over how the horse was used.
Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO
Based on my lab animal studies in tech school, it's pretty surprising that this would be possible. Even when the animals are adoptable, they are normally euthanized once the research is done because of the universal lab animal protocols in place. It's very much regulated where the animals can come from and what you can do with them afterward....pretty sure that's not an option.
Nope, I know this is done. I wish I was wrong, but I am not. Not sure that it should be done, but I know of at least 2 other Cothers on here that know it is done.
From what I understand, CSU is REQUIRED (or used to be) to sell horses they no longer had a use for and were not euthanised in studies at auction. So they went to Centennial, many purchased by the kill buyer and presumably sent off to slaughter in Mexico.
I sincerely hope that policy has changed, but it is an excellent example of why anyone who is interested in donating a horse to a university needs to REALLY UNDERSTAND what is going to happen to that horse in whatever circumstances might occur.
It has to do with them being state property - and so you are not able to give them away (ie. adopt them) even if they are adoptable at the end of what you are doing with them - like the horses that are used for bandaging labs and such. You are required to first see if there are any other IACUC protocols that need horses and if not, you have to auction (since they technically have "value) or euthanize them. So I would definitely echo those that say find out what the final disposition will be if you are donating.
If the horses are used as surgery animals (for residents/students etc.) they are anesthetized just like any other patient, multiple procedures are done and then they are euthanized while still under anesthesia. Survival surgeries for "practice" are not done anymore. Student surgery experience with survival surgery generally only comes from doing spay/neuters on humane society animals or free/low cost castrations on horses.
Because of the financial situation of most schools, herds owned by the schools have been diminishing in size. Most donated horses are euthanized immediately or pretty quickly thereafter.
I donated my two beloved geriatrics in VA back in '95 for experimental colic surgery. They needed horses known to have never had colic surgery, and having owned these two since ages 2 and 3 I could vouch for that.
They spent the last week of their lives together in a lovely grass paddock with shelter, spoiled by a vet tech friend who worked there as well as other staff. On the appointed day, each was anesthetized for surgery, allowing for the intended research goal and also allowing students opportunity to practice general surgical skills, then they were euthanized on the table.
So if you horse has survived colic surgery since '95 you can at least in small part thank my two good horses.
They also have a blood donor herd there, seems like they had around 20 horses in that herd at the time.
To answer Chocomare's question- I called the vet school directly and spoke with one of the managing vets. He was very organized and knowledgeable, knew exactly what the donation procedure was and also had his instant list of their needs at that moment. The blood donor herd was full but they had a specific need for horses that were known to have never had colic surgery for that particular research.
When I dropped mine off, I was told I was welcome to come back and visit again any time before the day they were needed for surgery. I elected not to- my last look at them was of a contented pair of 'old friends' in a grass paddock with looks on their faces that said 'we're fine here, buzz off.' The school did at my request call me on the day of surgery to affirm that they'd been euthanized.