In an effort to help end the slaughter of horses in the United States for human consumption, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and the New York Racing Association have partnered to launch the Ferdinand Fee, a completely voluntary $2 starting fee for owners and horsemen wishing to contribute. The program honors Ferdinand, who won the 1986 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and was slaughtered for meat in Japan in 2002.
"We're pleased to be the first horsemen's group to start this program," said NYTHA president Richard Bomze. "This is a simple way to help horses and to end slaughter. We're going full speed ahead."
All of the money raised by the Ferdinand Fee will be distributed to horse rescue and re-training programs around the country through Blue Horse Charities and Thoroughbred Charities of America.
Additionally, pending approval by its board, the New York Thoroughbred Breeders will join the effort with a completely voluntary annual membership fee.
"By working together, the New York racing industry has confronted the most important issue ever facing horses in America-- their right to not be brutally slaughtered," said Ferdinand Fee founder Bill Heller. "There is no reason in the world that every other Thoroughbred and Standardbred racetrack, horsemen's group, and horsemen's association cannot implement a similar program immediately. Since the fees are voluntary, only those who can afford to make a contribution will do so."