The Dish here at Fancast featured the nominees for the Genesis Awards on a previous post. One nomination particularly stood out in the minds of our readers who responded positively to the story: The Inside Edition piece, “Horse Slaughter Investigation,” which investigated the inhumane treatment and slaughter of horses. We got a chance to talk to the segment’s producer, Ned Berkowitz about the episode.
What tipped you off to the story?
We had seen some reports about horses being mistreated and shipped across the border and we decided to look into it a little bit more deeply.
How did you track down Socorro Sky?
That was luck. We showed up at the auction and there were several horse rescue organizations there and that happened to be one of the horses that they rescued. Once you know the name of a horse, specifically a race horse, you can track their records pretty easily. Takes some phone calls, some leg work, checking into some databases, and you can find these horse’s entire history.
Where is Socorro Sky now?
She is still in that farm in Florida where she was initially taken.
Did you find that slaughter was a normal or a rare occurrence at the time you did the investigation?
It’s been a little while so I’ve done the report, but my recollection is that about 100,000 horses are currently being shipped across the border for slaughter every year. I believe that’s correct but I’m not 100 percent sure.
How did you find out about Mr. Sorvinos’ horse advocacy?
We were doing research on these rescue organizations and somebody told us about Amanda (Sorvino) and we called her. She talked to us and we found out about her and her father’s efforts to save horses.
Any follow up episodes in the works?
Not right now, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. I think there’s laws currently being debated in congress about whether they should stop this practice or not so maybe if something happens we’ll look at it again.
Did you encounter any obstacles during the investigation?
We talked to many pro-slaughter people on the phone but when it comes time to be on camera they get a little bit reluctant to speak to you. That was a big problem. The horse auction in Pennsylvania allowed us to go and shoot so that was pretty brave of them considering that they know about the reputation that this industry had.
Did any instance stand out for you during your investigation as being particularly emotional?
The humane society has done a lot of great work on this and just looking at the video of the horses being treated as they are shipped across the border is pretty heartbreaking if you have any love for animals whatsoever, so I would have to say, looking at those images and talking to people about how they were obtained was pretty emotional.
How did you find out about your Genesis nomination?
My boss told me! It’s always great to be nominated for something like that.