Virginia Equine Welfare Society (VEWS)

Virginia Equine Welfare Society is a Virginia horse rescue group dedicated to the welfare of abused, neglected and slaughter-bound equines through education, rescue, rehabilitation, training and adoption.

Incorporated in Virginia in 2012. Tax ID 45 -4390988

Mission Statement

About VEWSThe Virginia Equine Welfare Society, Inc. (VEWS) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit all volunteer based Virginia corporation working to prevent equine abuse and neglect. Our mission is to rescue and rehabilitate equines in need and to prevent equine abuse and neglect through education and community awareness. We provide safe housing, medical and rehabilitation services to abused neglected, abandoned, unwanted and other at-risk equines and eventually, at the appropriate time, place them into caring, compatible adoptive homes.


There are many neglected and abused horses, just like there are cats and dogs. Unlike cats and dogs, however, there are very limited facilities to care for and house these large animals. Law Enforcement and Animal Control many times lack the knowledge and skills to educate owners on the proper care of their equine companions. Starved horses are left without adequate food and water and injured horses can be left unattended and suffering. VEWS offers assistance to Animal Control and Law Enforcement to educate equine owners when needed to ensure that these animals get the food, water and care they need and deserve.

What we do:

VEWS educates equine owners on the proper care and handling of their horses. We work strictly within the boundaries of the law to help law enforcement officials remove equines from owners when education of the owner has failed.

VEWS offers education to the public about the problem of neglect and abuse by setting up and staffing information booths at public events including fairs, horse shows, fundraising events, etc.

VEWS offers education to law enforcement officers/animal control officers and the public on how to effectively investigate equine cruelty cases through our three day Equine Cruelty Investigator Training Class.

VEWS provides rehabilitation services including transportation, safe housing, veterinary care, farrier care, proper nutrition and anything else required for the individual animal in order to restore it to optimal health.

VEWS works to save horses from slaughter. VEWS is opposed to horse slaughter since it is extremely inhumane and should not be considered humane euthanasia for an equine. Often times unsuspecting horse owners need to rehome a horse and take it to an auction thinking another family will buy the horse. They are unaware that kill buyers purchase healthy horses to sell to slaughterhouses across the border in Canada and Mexico. Transport of the equines can be for 24 or more hours without food or water in trailers where stallions, mares and foals are crammed together and some of the horses get trampled during transport only to find their life ends in a very grisly and tortuous methods.

VEWS Position Statement

  • Horse Racing – VEWS is not opposed to horse racing. VEWS is opposed to some of the training methods which can be cruel. VEWS is opposed to starting horses (other than ground training) before they are 3 or 4 years old. Race horses start training when they are too young, including horses that are not yet 2 years old.
  • Pony Rides – VEWS is not opposed to pony rides. VEWS is opposed to some of the inhumane practices where ponies are forced to walk in tight circles in the same direction all day long without changing direction and are not rested, given shade or clean water.
  • Breeding – VEWS is not opposed to breeding in a responsible manner. VEWS is opposed to backyard breeding and the over breeding by the racing industry and breed associations, causing an overpopulation of unwanted horses.
  • Horse Slaughter – VEWS is opposed to horse slaughter for any reason. Each year, tens of thousands of American horses. including riding horses, carriage horses, race horses, wild horses and children’s ponies are inhumanely transported and slaughtered and their meat shipped to places like France, Italy, and Japan for human consumption. Purchased by slaughterhouse middlemen (aka kill buyers) at auction, horses are shipped long distances in cramped trailers without food, water, veterinary care or rest. The majority of these horses are young, healthy animals who could go on to lead productive lives with loving owners. VEWS supports humane euthanasia by a licensed veterinarian when it is necessary to end a horse’s life.