Sunday, the owners of a 27-acre ranch in Palmetto, Florida woke up to find their champion horse horrifically butchered and the local law enforcement believe the thieves had only one thing on their mind: black market sales of horse meat. This follows the similar killing of a show horse in July.
On Sunday, Oct. 25, the chestnut jumping horse called Phedras de Blondel was found out of his stall and butchered with only his head and neck intact. The gelding had only been recently brought to the Imperial Farms Equestrian Center ranch of Debbie and Steve Stephens on Friday. Steve told WFTS that the people took off the horses legs at the chest and left nothing but the rib cage, neck and head. Phedras de Blondel weighed nearly 1,300 pounds and was imported from Europe.
According to an ABC News report, Debbie is a veteran show jumper and currently holds the women’s high jump record of 7 feet 8 inches. Steve was the co-designer of show jumping courses for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The couple, who won’t disclose how much they paid for the 12-year-old chestnut gelding, have raised an ample reward for the arrest and conviction of the people responsible: $18,000.
In Florida, The Good Horse Slaughter Act, makes it illegal to sell, distribute, transport, buy and possess horse meat in the state of Florida unless it ts clearly stamped, marked or described as horse meat for human consumption. According to a CBS Local news report, earlier this month, Palm Beach County law enforcement raided three slaughter farms allegedly for illegally selling horse meat. The arrests came after a six-month under cover investigation by the Miami-based non-profit animal advocates, Animal Recovery Mission.
The cruel slaughter of Phedras de Blondel, however, isn’t the first time a horse was butchered on an owner’s property this year. In July, a three-year-old Quarter Horse filly named Smart Amanda Wiz was found dead. The horse was likely butchered alive, according to the Miami New Times.
Smart Amanda Wiz was killed in a pasture on private property in Hialeah, Florida (Northwest 97th Ave.). Grace Delanoy of the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals commented that the culprits led the horse out of her stable and into a field. Someone then stabbed the horse in her heart and the horse left a trail of blood before dying. Delanoy said that for some cultures the eating of horse meat is supposed to give a person magical powers or sexual potency and she conjectured this might be one of the reasons for the horse slaughters.
At the time of the slaughter of Smart Amanda Wiz, The Horse reported that more than 50 horses had been butchered for meat in South Florida since 2009, with the majority of cases in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
In both cases–Phedras de Blondel and Smart Amanda Wiz, the investigators believe the horses were slaughtered while still alive. That was also the case in the Animal Recovery Mission’s investigations on slaughter farms which found that horses and other animals were dragged, beaten, gutted, boiled skinned and hoisted to bleed out alive.
Detectives investigating the slaughter of Phedras de Blondel at 10050 Gillet Road in Manatee County asked for anyone with information on this incident to call the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at 941-747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.
If you have information about the killing of Smart Amanda Wiz, call the Hialeah Police Department at (305) 953-5300 or contact animalrecoverymission.org. Information can also be called in to Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. A reward is offered for $1,000.