MEDFORD >> Medford, a bucolic town, often ranks near the top of “Nice Places to Live” lists. Darlene Supnick’s horses would probably agree. Instead of being crammed into a truck, then driven thousands of miles across U.S. borders for slaughter, Supnick’s Forgotten Angels horses are treated like pets on her Medford farm while waiting for adoption to loving homes.
Forgotten Angels is a non-profit equine rescue organization established last year by Supnick. Horses brought to auction are often subject to purchase by kill buyers. Kill buyers transport the horses across U.S. borders to Mexico or Canada, where they are slaughtered for their meat. American horsemeat is highly desirable, and considered a delicacy in some Asian and European countries.
“We have saved and found homes for more than 80 horses so far,” Supnick said. “Most we learn about through advocate groups who go to the same auctions kill buyers frequent. They share pictures and information about the horses online, with the hope of saving some of them. We have rescued miniature horses, driving horses, retired race horses and draft horses,” she said.
Supnick’s most recent rescue is Nellie, a mare who was pregnant. “Nellie was in foal, and gave birth just six weeks after she was saved from the horror of the slaughter truck,” Supnick said. “She was very thin, and in that short time we managed to get her back to health. The kill buyers say they do not ship pregnant horses, but this is not always true. My mission is to save horses and raise awareness.”
Supnick has been involved with horses for about 20 years, but wasn’t aware of the ongoing slaughter until 5 years ago. “I was shocked to learn that about 150,000 horses are sent to slaughter each year. The meat ends up in foreign countries, where it is a popular food item,” Supnick explained. “These horses are not old or lame. Most are healthy, younger and may have been race horses, show horses, pets, work horses and every type and breed. I decided to help the cause.”
For four years, Supnick funded the rescue out of pocket. “I went back to work as a real estate broker sales associate,” she said. “I joke that I sell homes to save horses. Last year, she formed Forgotten Angels; a 501 3c organization. “Now I get some donations and we are starting to get volunteers, but it takes awhile,” she said. “Most people are familiar with dog and cat rescue organizations, but they may not be as inclined to volunteer and raise funds for horses because they do not know their situation. Our country was founded on horseback. Horses fought in wars, were workhorses, and were used for transportation. Without these amazing animals where would we be?”
“Area children show our rescue horses at 4-H shows,” Supnick said. “Carolyn Marshall, Nate Supnick, Edna Matznick and Nancy Smith help take care of the horses. Some of our horses are not available for adoption including a blind Arabian horse with a self-appointed seeing-eye donkey named Jenny,” she said. Rescue Nellie’s ‘baby boy’, a colt born in mid-May, does not have a name yet, but Supnick said a little girl is waiting to adopt him when he’s older. “The colt will stay with Nellie for at least six months and will need training,” said Supnick. “He is adorable and very sweet.”
Supnick’s future plans are to start a fundraising group and form a board of directors for Forgotten Angels. “I am also working on a children’s book about Jenny the Seeing Eye Donkey,” she said. “This will be my first attempt at a book. I always loved horse stories as a child, so I hope it works. If it does, Nellie’s story will be my second book, Forgotten No More. Mostly I want to save as many horses as I can.” If you would like to visit the farm, volunteer, foster a horse or sponsor a horse, please call 609-820-6377. To learn more about Forgotten Angels visit forgottenangelsequinerescue.com or like them on Facebook.