The iconic status of the horse in Kentucky belies the bitter reality faced by the vast majority of horses in that state. This Article explains how multiple aspects of the current law enforcement system in the state permit the persistent failure to protect horses against gross neglect and abuse, as exemplified in particular by two case studies. The Kentucky Equine Health and Welfare Council, a legislative construct promoted by its backers as a unique safeguard for Kentucky horses, was in fact ill-suited ab initio for this role and has proved uninterested in it. Although there is no legislative cure for indifference on the part of those charged with enforcing laws against neglect and abuse, there are a number of legislative changes that would improve the now lamentable odds faced by Kentucky's horses. These changes, discussed in Part IV of this Article, are designed to increase the likelihood of action being taken against an offender, including through civil as well as criminal proceedings; secure immediate care for horses which have been victimized and prevent recidivism by offenders; increase the severity of the offense; dampen the current robust market for slaughter horses, and fund the costs inherent in creating a more effective enforcement system. All of the changes proposed are already law in at least some other states-in some instances in many other states-and these existing laws offer a ready model for Kentucky to follow if it so chooses. Although the focus of this Article is on Kentucky, all the legislative recommendations made are more broadly applicable to any state which does not yet have a statute as proposed in place.
Virginia F. Coleman,
The Kentucky Horse: The Reality vs. the Myth and What Could be Done to Close the Gap,
Animal L. Rev.
Available at: https://lawcommons.lclark.edu/alr/vol21/iss2/2