Over 500 horses and burros — left abandoned, starved, injured, broken and abused — have been rescued by Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary in Amado since it opened eight years ago, but the need keeps rising. 

The Sanctuary’s 9th annual benefit is hoped to raise enough money to help meet that alarming supply and demand. The fundraiser, “A Very Special Horse Event ... Building a Community of Compassion,” is scheduled Saturday, March 30, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Brandi Fenton Memorial Park, 3482 E. River Road, Tucson.

“We are at capacity,” said Karen Pomroy, Equine Voices founder and president. “There are so many horses that need help and we need to stop the abuse.”

Equine Voices is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving Premarin (PMU) mares and foals from slaughter. Isolated from mares’ urine, PMU is a form of hormone replacement therapy used commonly in post-menopausal women. Horse advocates say the PMU mares are kept under inhumane conditions on “factory farms.” 

In addition to rescuing PMU mares and foals, the sanctuary assists horses that have been abandoned, abused, neglected and used in the illegal drug trade. Moreover, as feed costs rose sharply in recent years and the economy declined, many horses owners have been forced to give up on caring for these animals. Pomroy said about 150,000 horses are shipped across the border annually for slaughter. 

“Horses are falling through the cracks,” she said. “Horses have done more for mankind than any other animal out there. They are sentient, compassionate, companion animals.”

Equine Voices answers two to four emergency calls daily for horses needing food, shelter and care. With 45 horses on the premises, another 18 in Canada sponsored by Equine Voices and seven in foster homes, the Sanctuary must expand and is trying to raise the necessary funds to buy up to 10 adjacent acres to make room for more horses. It currently costs about $25,000 each month to keep the operation afloat. 

About 150 volunteers work to give the horses a life without suffering.

“It makes me feel good,” said Jennifer Rice, the Sanctuary’s volunteer orientation coordinator. “Like I’m making a difference and being a part of something bigger.” 

The benefit will include:

•Meeting several rescued horses (including Pirate, the miniature horse) and demonstrations of natural horsemanship techniques by trainer Carol Grubb of Eclectic Equine

•Equine acupuncture therapy session with Tucson veterinarian Dr. Michael Hutchison

•Popular live dessert auction and silent auction

•Raffles with grand prize drawing

•The Amber Norgaard Band

•Food provided by Quesadillas and More and Stolen Recipe BBQ, with a portion of all sales donated directly to Equine Voices

Admission is $5 for adults (includes one raffle ticket). Children under 7 are free. In addition to ticket sales, Equine Voices is also looking for volunteers, in-kind donations and sponsors for both the benefit and at the sanctuary. 

For more information or to make a donation to Equine Voices, contact Nancy Chapman at 520-887-8851 or email nancy@equinevoices.org. Visit the Equine Voices website at www.equinevoices.org  or follow on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/EquineVoices.org.

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