The country music legend's love for horses is well-documented, having written quite a few songs dedicated to them.
American artist, activist and songwriter, Willie Nelson's love of horses is much spoken about and appreciated. When he heard 70 horses were going to be slaughtered, the singer stepped in to rescue them. The 88-year-old moved them to his 700-acre ranch in Texas. He has named his property Luck Ranch, and when asked about rescuing the horses, he simply said, "When you’re here, you’re in Luck, and when you’re not, you’re out of Luck," reported KSAT News. Nelson's ranch is in Spicewood, 30 miles from Austin.
The Farm Aid co-founder has rescued numerous horses over the years and taken them to his ranch where they live a luxurious life. For starters, they have the freedom to roam over the 700 acres, but it's also the care and love meted out to horses that make the difference. "My horses are probably the luckiest horses in the world," said Nelson. "They get hand-fed twice a day, and they were just ready to go to slaughter is probably the last thing they remembered, so they’re happy horses." He's always had a special bond with horses and has even written two songs dedicated to them titled Ride Me Back Home and The Love of Horses. He also wrote a song titled A Horse Called Music in 1989.
Willie Nelson also passed on the love for horses to his children. Much like him, his children have happy memories of growing up around horses at their ranch and thus cementing their close bond. In a short documentary to raise awareness to end horse slaughter titled The Love Of Horses, Nelson's daughter Amy shares fond memories of growing up around them. His son Lukas is also a huge supporter of Saving America’s Horses, along with Habitat for Horses, an organization working to end horse slaughter, reports Outsider. Over the years, the Country Music Hall of Fame member has constantly worked on raising awareness about the slaughter of horses. He is an avid supporter of Habitat for Horses and holds meetings with them to tackle the issue. Habitat for Horses has been working with Congress members to push for passing legislation to end the slaughter of horses.
Actor Bo Derek is another prominent personality who has been working with Congress members to end horse slaughter. Despite a ban on killing horses in the United States, more than 60,000 horses, both wild and domestic, were slaughtered for human consumption in 2019. They have been using a loophole to escape the ban and continue slaughtering horses. They are taken across the border to either Canada or Mexico, where they are slaughtered before being brought back to America for consumption.
Bo Derek has had 22 horses in the past but now owns five horses. The actor says lobbies are pressurizing Congress members to ensure no strict laws are passed. "Our politics is out of control. I found it obscene and vulgar the money that was spent on both sides of this issue for 60,000 horse carcasses. Why fight so hard to keep this practice going?" Bo Derek told Upworthy. Derek is hopeful though. "The one thing I did find while I was working in Washington is that when people write their congressman it really does make a difference," said Derek. "I've had congressman call me and say, 'Bo, please tell them to stop with the phone calls. Ok, you have our vote.' Seen it happen many times and it works," added Derek. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act of 2019, H.R. 961/S. 2006 calls for the permanent ban of horse slaughter and also prevents the export of horses. The bill is very popular with more than 80% of Americans supporting the bill.
Cover image source: YouTube screenshot/Willie Nelson