Meet Our Sanctuary Residents

These are our sanctuary horses, all rescued from kill pens. Aren’t they beautiful and deserving of life?

About Us

Fire Horse Refuge Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Private Operating Foundation dedicated to rescuing BLM Mustangs, Burros, and other equines from the slaughter pipeline. EIN 92-0483479

Saving Epona

Our Saving Epona fund is a general rescue fund benefiting BLM Mustangs, Burros, and other equines in the slaughter pipeline. Administered by Fire Horse Refuge Inc., this fund supports rescuers by distributing funds where they are most needed. Keep scrolling to learn how we use donations.

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8,046 Horses have Shipped to Mexico for Slaughter YTD as of 6/10/2024

Equines at Risk

In 2023, the USDA reported that 17,997 horses were exported from the United States to Mexico for slaughter. This represented a significant increase compared to previous years, marking the largest annual percentage increase in live horse exports since 2012​ (USDA Agricultural Marketing Service)​​ (Center for a Humane Economy)​​ (Frank J. Buchman)​.

Our core mission is to save as many unwanted BLM Mustangs & Burros as possible.

Saving Epona Rescue Fund for Mustangs & Burros

How We Use Donations

The Saving Epona rescue fund supports high-risk equines in the slaughter pipeline, especially BLM mustangs and burros. We work with WARRIORS for the cause and spend 100% of EVERY DOLLAR DONATED by:

  • Buying, boarding, transporting, and quarantining them
  • Feeding, rehabilitating, training, and rehoming them
  • Providing farrier services, medical attention, and humane euthanasia for them when necessary.

We network with rescues, sanctuaries, adopters, fosters, transporters, farriers, trainers, and veterinarians.

Help Save a Life

Please consider donating to support our mission.

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Additional Information

How Do BLM Mustangs & Burros Get Into the Slaughter Pipeline?

At auctions, BLM Mustangs, Burros, and other non-BLM horses and donkeys are often sold to horse traders and kill buyers for as little as $25 each. These animals are then shipped to sale lots, where they are consigned and sold.

Current Market Value

As of June 2024, horse meat is valued at a minimum of $0.62 per pound. Traders attempt to maximize profit by moving horses around the country. Unhandled or untrained horses typically sell for $750-$850, while trained, rideable horses go for $1,250-$1,600 or more.

BLM Mustangs & Burros at Risk

Despite the BLM’s policy not to sell or send wild horses or burros to slaughter, many end up in the slaughter pipeline after losing their federally protected status.

Epona, a mustang at Kill Pen
Our Sweet Epona at the Kill Pen
Punky Sue’s Freedom Ride

Aren’t BLM Mustangs & Burros Protected from Slaughter?

Fire Horse Refuge, through the “Saving Epona” fund, focuses on BLM mustangs and burros, and other equines, at immediate risk of export due to:

  • Losing their protected status after being adopted through the BLM Adoption Incentive Program. Adopters can acquire wild/unhandled mustangs or burros for as little as $125 and, after keeping them for a year, receive up to $1,000 per animal. Once titled, these animals can be sold, even for slaughter.
  • Being sold directly to the public as “Sales Authority” mustangs and burros. Those not adopted after three events lose their protected status and may be purchased directly from the BLM, with some sold in bulk.

Even though the BLM says, “It has been and remains the policy of the BLM not to sell or send any wild horses or burros to slaughter” – that’s exactly where many end up after losing their federally protected status – in the slaughter pipeline.

Legality of Horse Meat Export

Yes, it is legal for “kill buyers” to export equines for their meat, with USDA approval, even though the meat is tainted and not fit for human consumption. Currently (2024), the wholesale price range for US horse meat is between $0.62 and $2.18 per pound according to Selina Wamucii.

Health Risks of Horse Meat

According to the Humane Society, horses are often exposed to drugs and substances prohibited for food animals, making their meat dangerous for human consumption.

A somber, poignant illustration depicting the export of horses from the U.S. to Mexico for slaughter. The scene includes a large, crowded truck filled with horses.

Which Equines Go to Slaughter?

Any unwanted horse, burro/donkey, or zebra can be sent to slaughter. Although horse slaughter is banned in the U.S., horses remain at risk. For a comprehensive history of horse slaughter legislation in the U.S., see the Timeline of Horse Slaughter Legislation.

Donate to Save a Life

(214) 668-4922 (OR)

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