By Bill Shields

WEST BROOKFIELD (CBS) — A non-profit horse rescue is shutting down. Online criticism may be to blame.

At Blue Star Farm in West Brookfield, the owners started rescuing horses years ago. Now, they have 28.

They are mostly draft horses that spent their lives working. Most pulled carriages, some were in police mounted units and some worked in fields. So in retirement, their new owners at Blue Star made sure the horses continued to work.

But some animal rights groups disagreed, saying the horses should simply run free. So the groups slammed the farm on Facebook, managing to convince the social media giant to remove the farm’s page, which is how they raise money to support the animals.

Blue Star Farm in West Brookfield. (WBZ-TV)

With no money, the farm owners are being forced to find new homes for the horses, and it hurts the owners and the volunteers.

“A lot of these horses have kind of become my family,” said Blue Star volunteer Cliff Atwood. ”A lot of people ask me ‘do I have a favorite?’ Not really. I love them all.”

The owners have found new homes for about half the horses, but are struggling to find new places for the rest.

Bill Shields

Comments (11)
  1. susan says:

    Imagine FB shuts down these people but can’t shut down the fake Russian accounts designed to manipulate our elections.

  2. Richard Morchoe says:

    In the words of Oscar Wilde, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

  3. Justanaveragejoe says:

    “But some animal rights groups disagreed, saying the horses should simply run free. ” You mean like the 21 horses in Kentucky that were hunted down and murdered?

  4. srcamacho says:

    It would be nice if somebody would post the farms contact info so people could get in touch with them! I’ve looked everywhere, there’s nothing

  5. Jean Mor says:

    I believe the address is: 62 Birch Hill Rd in West Brookfield tel.: (413) 813-2000 website is

  6. Liz says:

    I know a friend who rescues drafts. They have some working horses. Some & they do very very little work. As in they’ll haul a hay wagon on during the Christmas holidays. That’s it.

    Not to mention this place trains young drafts & sells them for work. Obvious with maize’s story. Scammers deserved to be shut down.

  7. QDV says:

    Pressure needs to be put on Facebook. They would not even allow them to defend themselves against the allegations brought by a few claiming to be horse rights activists.

  8. Olex Beck says:

    For Facebook to deny a highly reputable rescue presence and to interfere with needed fundraising is appalling.

    These keyboard slackers do the talking to create significant damage behind the safety of their screens based on ignorance, not practical horsemanship. How many of these people were there on site and how many of the same, made donations for food, hay, farrier and vet to this rescue? How many have stepped up to now home or fully financially foster one of these horses?

    How many of them are aware that when a horse just sits in a field it feels abandoned. If a retired horse is physically able, it is best for its health do light work. A horse that works is no different from a person. It gives self-satisfaction and direction. When horse is being worked he/she is groomed often and the health conditions of skin, air, feet are given more attention. They have hands on daily assessment of their body quality and mental health.

    Now let’s go to the practical side. Where are these horses supposed to go? Rescues are like finding hen’s teeth because of the lack of funding, facebook or public. So these simple-minded keyboard warriors feel so special because they don’t want a horse to work? How special do they feel now that these horses have nowhere to go? The horses had lives, meaning, wonderful care, purpose and were loved. Now I want to see those very same irresponsible critics, support and find homes for all these horses and keep them out of the slaughter pipeline. Feel good now you lousy excuses for advocates. You are all lowlifes.

  9. dj says:

    Liz who posted above is one of those keyboard lowlifes calling people scammers seems to know it all

  10. Kathy P Kuhns says:

    I have to share a poem by Mary Oliver:

    The wagons stand
    And rust, and glitter sometimes in the moon,
    Since we have lost dominion of the fields.
    No more great clattering Jack,
    His thick mane filled with chaff and wind,
    Will let us lead him from the easy barns;
    No more sweet gentle Jack
    Will let us strap him to his leather bondage
    And help us tow the weight of summer home.

    The days are easier now, and we have time for thought,
    Idling in corners of our weedy land.
    But now we learn, as season follows season
    And no one plants upon these hills,
    How poor a gift is freedom to the spirit
    That loved the labor. Now, like Jack,

    We stand turned out into eternal Sunday,
    And look through moonlight at the silenced wagons.

    Yet we have lives to balance our regret,
    Can turn to other things.
    Now in the moonlight we can move away,
    While he is left staring upon the stark
    Arrangement of the wagons leaning earthward:
    The simple blood that cannot name its lack,
    But knows the world has fallen out of reason,
    That it is autumn, and no laborer comes.

  11. Pym says:

    I rescued some formerly wild horses. They discovered the barn and want to stand around in there. I keep having to repair the barn doors because they live to batter their way in there. (Yes, they do have pasture shelter). There are stalls in there with hinged doors. They go in, pull the doorshut behind them snd nap even on very nice days.
    Meanwhile most people I meet say ‘oh horses just love to be wild. Can’t you turn them loose.’
    Well no and considering how much they love all of the trappings of domesticated life they be back in minutes
    Horses enjoy work. They enjoy attention, petting, scratching their itchy spots and they enjoy work as long as they are sound enough for what is asked.
    I have 5 formerly wild horses that follow me around like little dogs and if I bring out a bridle they bicker over who gets to go first.
    Of course, they are all treated with and trained with kindness.
    There are too many people on the internet with no education the subject they are commenting on with no qualifications.
    Perhaps we need to create a verified user program and end the anonymous nature of internet comments

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