NEW ORLEANS — Update (March 7): The Humane Society of Louisiana announced Friday that 20 Mardi Gras parade horses have been adopted through its horse adoption program.
“We are pleased that so many people around our state and country rallied to provide great homes for these majestic horses - and they deserve no less," HSL Director Jeff Dorson said. "Thousands of folks from around the country were following the story of these horses and all seemed relieved, as are we, that all 20 horses were rehomed. It’s the perfect way to end another successful Carnival Season."
Original Story Below:
Horses and riders are staple of any Mardi Gras parade, but sometimes those horses do not have homes after the parades are over. Three organizations are hoping to change that.
The Humane Society of Louisiana, Cascade Stables and Barney's Farm Sanctuary is teaming up to find new owners for 16 parade horses after Mardi Gras.
For many years, Cascade Stables rented out their horses to Mardi Gras krewes for walking and float-filled parades. But as demand grew, the stables had to start buying more than a dozen horses from brokers to fulfill the demand.
After Mardi Gras was over, the stables would have more horses than it could care for and those unadopted horses would be sold back to brokers. Those brokers- whose job is to buy and sell horses - would sometimes resell those horses at auction and some would end up being sold for slaughter.
The 2019 carnival season will be the third year that the organizations have teamed up for a formal adoption program. Since the program began, 32 parade horses have been adopted and saved from an uncertain future and not a single horse has been resold to a broker for slaughter.
“This program is truly a life-saver for these wonderful creatures, some of whom have faced uncertain futures in past years," HSL director Jeff Dorson said.
The humane society forms a volunteer group which is responsible for photographing each horse and creating a profile for each animal online. Those volunteers then manage a Facebook page which showcases the horses.
Volunteer counselors than review adoption applications and meet with prospective families to find out if they are a good fit. Adoption fees are collected and turned over to Cascade Stables to help them care and house all of their horses.
This year, the humane society is partnering with Barney's Farm in Washington Parish to provide additional support for this year's horses.
For more information, click here to visit the Humane Society of Louisiana's website.
WWL-TV reporter Meghan Kee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow her on Twitter at @MeghanKeeWWL