Graphic design students are working together to bring the horrors of horse slaughter to the public

Advertising Professor Kay Wilder along with students and the Shiloh Horse Rescue and Sanctuary are organizing a national campaign for the horse rescue initiative.

Founded in 2003, by iconic actor, Tony Curtis and his wife, Jill, the organization was started to save abused, neglected and injured horses from slaughter. The horses are rescued and brought to the Shiloh Ranch in Sandy Valley, NV, thirty miles southwest of Las Vegas.

At the ranch, the horses are rehabilitated and adopted to new and better homes. Donations, horse adoptions and voluntary fees fund the operations at Shiloh Ranch.

According to Wilder, this will be her twentieth time developing a community-based campaign with students.

“I am always looking for interesting projects to produce that will benefit the students, the university and the community at large,” Wilder said.

The students are split into four teams of six, and each group will compete for a national Shiloh campaign. According to Wilder, students will operate a single advertising agency. They will have the freedom to create their own agency name, corporate identity logo and a stationary package.

Valeria Rodriguez, 21, a senior graphic design student from Miami, is an associate art director on her team. Rodriguez said her group’s primary focus is educating parents and their children about pet responsibility.

“Our duty as mini agents in the class is to create a package that portrays the mission of Shiloh Horse Rescue,” Rodriguez said. “It was nice to learn about and attempt to do something about a organization who cares about animals.”

Senior public relations student Jasmine Frank, 22, said more than one presentation can be chosen. The Curtis’ will choose the winning package and Frank said some packages might be combined to produce an effective campaign the Curtis’ would find appealing. Wilder said the winning billboards would be displayed in major cities across the country.

“The campaigns that are not chosen will be offered to other ranch rescue owners across the country through their referral,” Wilder said.

The campaigns are more than a competition for the students. Some think of the project as an insightful way to educate their peers and community about the cruelty of horse abuse.

“This is a way for viewers to have a new insight on what goes on behind the scenes in animal cruelty,” said Anthonie Leslie, 23, a senior graphic design student from Orlando, Fla. “I believe animals should be treated like humans.”

According to Shiloh, half a million horses are killed each year in slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. As of 2008, it is illegal to slaughter horses in the United States.
“When they slaughter them, the abuse them,” Rodriguez said.

Markus Black, 22, a senior graphic design student from Columbia, SC, said horse abuse is a major problem that has been overlooked throughout the years.

“It affects a lot of people in their daily lives,” Black said.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, horses are purchased from local livestock auctions by “killer” buyers, a term given to foreign buyers looking to purchase horses for slaughterhouses. Horses are then loaded and hauled to slaughterhouses.

Sometimes animals can be left in the trucks for days with out water, food or rest. Upon the animal’s arrival to the slaughterhouse, they are shot in the forehead with captive-bolt pistols to paralyze them before they are killed. Some horses are still conscious as they are bled out and dismembered.

“I feel there are a lot of alternatives to this,” said Regina Love, 22, a senior graphic design student from Orlando. “Euthanasia is painless and it takes less than six seconds to put the horse down.”

In foreign countries, horses are used as delicates in restaurants, and their meat is also used in dog and cat food. The horse skin is used for purses, shoes and jackets and their tails for paintbrushes.