Last week, PETA launched a petition against Texas A&M University-Commerce for the 2014 shooting of a mare used in their agriculture program. The mare allegedly suffered from laminitis and, despite debilitating lameness, was impregnated. At the time of the mare’s death, the 5-month-old foal, accordingly to a whistleblower, was then cut from her womb and used for research.

We reached out to the University for their response and a spokesperson confirmed that the mare in question, a former racehorse named Oasis Storm, suffered from laminitis and was shot death when 5 months pregnant. The foal was then cut from her body and used for research at the school.

Image of fetus taken from PETA petition.

“The way the question is phrased is that she may have been intentionally impregnated and we’ve never said that that’s so,” said the spokesperson, “the horse did become pregnant, she did have laminitis, but as far as we know she was not intentionally bred to give birth to a foal. But the horse (the fetus) was used in research and that (the shooting and removal of fetus) did occur but she was not intentionally bred as far as we know.”

Skeptical of immaculate conception, we asked how the mare became impregnated and learned that stallions and mares are often times kept together on the property. “Sometimes they are put together,” says the spokesperson, “we’re talking about intent. Male and female horses are around each other, but she was not intentionally bred.” The decision to allow stallions to intermingle with a mare suffering crippling lameness calls into question the judgment of the individuals running the program.

We asked whether the University has considered offering long-term sanctuary for the horses used in the program that are no longer available to work, since allegedly many of the horses are sold to auction where they face uncertain futures. Providing horses a place to retire doesn’t seem to be an option, since “once horses are out of our care or ownership we lose track of what happens to them – we don’t have control over what happens to the animal,” says the spokesperson.

All horses, including those entrusted to public institutions in the name of education, should be given proper veterinary care and the right to a future free of brutality. The practices at Texas A&M-Commerce should be monitored more closely to ensure another horse doesn’t suffer in the manner of Oasis Storm and her foal.

By Ashley Fairfield-Remeza