WAS MENIFEE’S FATAL HEART ATTACK PREVENTABLE? KOREA’S TOP SIRE FORCED TO BREED DESPITE WORSENING HEART CONDITION

PETA U.S. Asks the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to Conduct an Inquiry to Determine Whether the 23-Year-Old Stallion Should Have Been Retired

For Immediate Release:
July 11, 2019

Jeju — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) U.S. has submitted a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs urging it to launch an investigation into the death of racehorse Menifee and the stallion-breeding policies of the Korea Racing Authority (KRA). The beloved Menifee, who was Korea’s most famous and successful sire for the past decade, died from cardiac failure on June 13 after “covering” (mounting) a mare. He was required to breed—sometimes multiple times per day—even after he was diagnosed with a heart condition in March 2016 that required treatment. In 2018, the KRA more than doubled the requirements of his breeding schedule from the previous year, making him cover 136 mares in four months, including 32 days on which he had to breed twice daily. In 2019, despite his aortic valve issue and his advanced age, he was still given a demanding schedule in which he was expected to cover 90 mares, which is above his yearly average.

“The ministry owes it to the memory of Menifee to determine if the KRA Jeju Stud Farm jeopardized his life,” says PETA U.S. Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “Because Menifee’s career as a stud was nearing its end, the KRA appeared to be greedily squeezing every last drop out of him. He unethically, and possibly illegally, was subjected to a stressful and strenuous breeding regimen that may have caused or been a contributing factor in his death.”

Footage of Menifee engaged in breeding—recorded by PETA U.S. investigators in 2018—can be viewed here. The footage also includes a heartbreaking clip of one of his sons, Four Star, at a slaughterhouse in February 2019—a casualty of the overbreeding and oversupply of racehorses in South Korea.

In May 2019, PETA released undercover video footage from a 10-month investigation exposing the widespread slaughter of Thoroughbred racehorses in South Korea. The video shows castoffs from the racing industry and other horses beaten repeatedly in the face as they’re forced into the slaughterhouse and killed for their flesh. Some were killed in full view of other horses, which is a violation of South Korea’s Animal Protection Act. PETA U.S. and Voice4Animals asked the District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Jeju to prosecute those who violated the Animal Protection Act, and a police investigation is underway.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—also called on the KRA to implement a comprehensive retirement system for unwanted former racehorses. In the wake of the investigation, the KRA has pledged to institute a retirement plan but hasn’t yet disclosed any details about it.

Broadcast-quality video footage of Menifee breeding and of his son Four Star at the slaughterhouse is available upon request. Broadcast-quality footage from the PETA U.S. investigation of the largest Korean horse slaughterhouse is available upon request.

For more information, please visit PETAAsia.com.

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