Kaleden ranch hosting charity petting zoo to help raise funds to kick start their horse rescue – Penticton News

Casey Richardson

“It’s just kind of nice to see horses that you knew were headed for the meat market, going to a place where they could be loved.”

A young woman dedicated to rescuing horses from slaughter, then rehabilitating and rehoming them, is working with two fellow horse lovers to officially start up a rescue.

Sibling Rivalry Ranch announced the launch of their new horse rescue, Sibling Rivalry Rescue. Located in Kaleden, they hope to serve the Okanagan and beyond.

The ranch is hosting a charity petting zoo on Saturday to kick start their business.

Lilah Policicchio said she, Christian Koehler and her best friend Shayna have all grown up with horses and have wanted to save any in need.

Her family has been doing a lot of work to set up the ranch as a nonprofit.

Currently, there are 11 horses on the 24 acres farm and they’re hoping fundraising will help them build more pens and barn structures to bring in more.

Policicchio’s horse Bo was found in the wild off of a reserve in Alberta just a few years ago.

“They sent him to a slaughterhouse and he was supposed to be slaughtered for meat. And then a lady rescued him and she kind of put some training on him before I got him and I kind of finished him off,” she added.

“He’s such an amazing horse. So I want to rescue more horses and kind of turn them into what Bo [has become] and then sell them to find their forever homes.”

Policicchio and Koehler bonded over their mission of rescuing horses destined for the slaughterhouse.

“Their love for animals actually drew me in and when I saw what they were doing, and they asked for a little help, I decided to help out and we kind of all clicked,” Koehler said, noting he’s been around horses his whole life.

“Just seeing some of the horses that are coming out of slaughter and some of the ones off the reserve that we’ve been working on, and a few that I’ve done in the past have just been overwhelmingly successful….They’re wonderful.”

Policicchio added that the horses are usually pretty terrified of people, so they take their time in helping each one trust again.

The pair said usually they’ll go to auctions and bid on horses that they see the “meat man” is interested in.

“They usually go for pretty decent price. You just kind of have to bid against the meat man, and hopefully win,” Policicchio said.

Canada is one of the only countries in the world that breeds, raises and transports horses overseas to be slaughtered for human consumption.

The BC SPCA has been very vocal in their calls to stop the practice.

“The typical time without feed, water, and rest for these horses is 20 to 22 hours, but there have been cases recorded that exceed this. It is legal for horses to be transported without feed, water, or rest for up to 28 hours. The BC SPCA?strongly?advocates that?no animal should be transported without feed, water, or rest for more than eight hours,” the SPCA said in a past news release.

On Sept. 19, 2023, MP Tim Louis introduced Private Member’s Bill C-355 to the House of Commons to prohibit the export by air of horses from Canada for slaughter and to make related amendments to certain Acts

The bill has passed through the House of Commons and is currently in its second reading in the senate.

“I’m pretty happy with the new bill that’s coming in. At the same time, not every horse can be rescued and I understand that,” Koehler said.

The goal for them is to create a second chance for the horses that are cast aside or rounded up wild.

“Seeing that transformation is probably the biggest reward of the whole thing,” Koehler said.

The plan is to use funds from the sales of the horses to their forever homes to continue to fund the costs associated with the rescue.

Policicchio said they need a lot of help with start up costs, including building more shelters and pens to bring the rescues in, purchasing the rescues, their vet bills and food costs.

The Sibling Rivalry Ranch Charity Petting Zoo takes place on Saturday at 326 Highway 97 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The farm will have horses, cows, snakes, lizards, chickens, goats, ducklings, a miniature pony, a bird and much more, along with hosting a bbq and pony rides. Tickets are $10 per person.

To keep an eye on upcoming events, summer camps and rescue announcements, follow their Facebook page here.

To donate to their rescue start up’s GoFundMe, click here.