Cattletsburg Horse Auction!

As everyone who visits this blog can derive, I am concerned about the treatment of animals.

Sometimes I get concerned that people will feel I pursue this too far

and leave a gap where concern for people should be, but I think that they are both tied together.

While I cannot go out and save children from abuse or take them in, as much as I would love to, I can easily chance the life of a horse.

Still, by reporting neglect and abuse towards animals, you do change the lives of people because I assure you, if anyone doubts it,

 those who neglect and abuse animals are threats to children and all mankind. They will do the same to human beings and usually already are.

Case in point and the start of this story:

2 years ago in July, we drove out to Pritchard, WV in Wayne country due to an

add on craigslist for a starving Clydesdale cross for $125, and we purchased him.

We placed him in an approved home in Virginia some months later once he was at

a healthy weight. The same family lived in squalor, totally filth. . .folks unfit to care for man or beast, in fact.

They have other horses starving there at the time. We had only room for one.

He was hundreds of pounds underweight, needing training and had never been wormed or had his feet trimmed.

Day of Rescue

In his new home for over a year above

Tonight this same family, father, mother, grandmother, grandkids and great grandkids were all having a family evening at the horse auction.

(NOTE: All photos were taken with a cell phone camera, so quality is poor, as meat/

horse auction owners aren’t happy when you take photos so obviously; they know something is up!)

Cattletsburg Horse Auction in Kentucky is nothing more than a ramshackle meat sale, for the most part. The owner is a meat buyer.

All sorts of low class horse traders show up and sell of horses twice a month, and 80% or more go that

night to the holding pens to be readied for transport of Mexico or Canada for meat.

The trip and process is gruesome and unregulated.

A friend mentioned she was going to go since she might be looking for a

horse, and oddly, though I usually know I am too much the activist to show up at

such a place, I told her I wanted to go. I explained to by dear Farming husband

that is was likely I would bring home a horse. He was not happy, but

the fact is, I have a “Do the Right Thing” motivation I cannot

be moved from.

I arrived to this

This is the hall these horses encounter and the hall

that is filled with “traders” and self proclaimed “horse folk,”

which are, for the most part, bringing their horses to a death sentence

quite happily. Folks stand around talking about horses, having a great time and

have not a consideration in the world for what they have done to the horses

so unfortunate to be owned by them.

This hell-hole sits 15 feet from a train track, and when the trains go back, the

horses whinny, scream, jump, tremble and trip.

This goes wholly unnoticed by the horse tradin’ folks.

This time, most horses were well fed, but few had an grooming or farrier work.

Some of the only horses that were underweight, and these were very thin, young

and unhandled, were owner by the family mentioned already.

I noticed a large, beautiful draft mare and several spotted draft mix

horses in a pen. They really caught my eye. There was a sweet QH type mare that

stood by the fence and let me pet her more eagerly than any horse at the sale, and I thought to myself,

I will buy her when she comes through.

I saw a lovely little Palomino pony shaking and attempting to escape the train only 15 feet or so from the pen she was in, and then

I saw a group of yearlings,  very thin and obviously never handled, owned by the fine family above mentioned, in another pen.

There so many, I had no idea how I would choose only ONE!

We crowded into a smoke filled auction room when it was time to

run the horses through. I looked down and saw the family

I rescued the Clyds cross gelding from. They had a small infant,

no older than 4-6 months, in a car seat beside them. While it was

no more than 50 degrees inside, the baby had no blanket and the parents,

obviously teenagers, sat smoking away in a room already filled with smoke,

and as they brought the group of scared colts and fillies these people had not

handled or fed through and sold them for as little as $10 a piece, their feet

never trimmed, having never known affection and their ribs visible from any distance,

I thought how clearly the treatment of their horse reflected the negligence and abuse

of this little baby. This is to say nothing of the older kids with them, all dirty and

exposed to smoke and worse.

You all might recognize the photo above of a recent rescue colt and myself, and

I include this because not only was the family there I rescued the Clyds cross from, but the girl who starved this little colt into a body condition of 2 and until he could barely walk was there. I did not see her buy another horse, but that means very little. She was there and could easily have purchased another one to starve and abuse.

Most horses that went through went for under $150 dollars, some went

for as little as $10, and many went for $40-$60. Only a handful brought over $200.

I estimate 80% were purchased by Buyer #1, the owner and meat buyer.

The owners stood in the ring after riding the horse for potential buyers above and around, and

they did not blink an eye when Buyer #1 won the bid on their horse.

Not a single owner was moved by this being the new “owner” of the horse they

had brought here.

I watched these horses go through and although I wanted to bid on each one, I knew

I could only buy one, and it is difficult to choose which horse gets a chance,

gets to live. . .

Then they brought in a white mare. . .

I had taken this photo of her earlier in the evening, and I suppose it stuck me that

with all that was going on, how she just stood there looking very hollow

and very alone among the many horses tied beside of her.

The auctioneer stated she was a Quarter Horse Mare about 10 years old.

Some yahoo that works for the stockyards rode her bareback and turned her

around and around in the little area below.

The only bid was from Buyer Number #1. The guy in the red shirt.

The meat buyer, and I asked my friend quickly for her auction

number and help it up at the last minute.

She was now mine for the price of $125. The meat buyer did not

counter. She was a large mare and heavy, but he had a pen full already, and

the auction was only half over.

Before I knew it, the whole deal was over. I never saw the dark, thick mare

from the one pen come through. Neither did the Beglian mare. . .or the spotted


I went and waited through the lines to pay.

I noticed the family that brought in the 5 or 6 horses, the family I first described to you.

They were collecting the money for the horses they had bred and starved and brought here. It could not have amounted to more than $250, and they have purchased more horses to take home, breed and one day return to the stockyards.

Their little infant was sitting in a carseat screaming outside as the grandfather chainsmoked and let the little baby freeze in weather well into the 30’s.

He did rock the seat back and forth a bit, for all that is worth. This was 11pm.

I went into see the mare I had saved after paying her fee.

I saw the main lot of horses, the one with the draft horses and

the mare I had planned to buy. I asked the boy working inside

why they weren’t ran through.

“Oh, that is the kill pen. The owner bought them as soon

as they came in today. They don’t get to go through.”

I asked him how I could buy a horse out of the pen as I looked at the

dark eyes of the sweet mare I had planned to save.

I asked if he could check to see what it would take to buy her.

Buyer #1, the man in the red jacket, came buy and poked her with this

cattle prod and said, “$450” and walked on by. He had paid not a dime

over $150 for this mare a few hours before, and after letting horses go through

for $10, I could never justify buying this mare for that.

I asked how long would she be there, how long did they all have, hoping I might

alert someone to them plight. He said,

“They all leave tonight.”

I could not save her. I could not save them.

Every horse above is on its way to

a holding pen and then to slaughter now.

There were at least 35 horses there tonight bought for slaughter.

But I did save number 0493

 Farming Husband came with the trailer as a

yahoo loaded a Donkey into the back of a small

pick up inside of a wooden box. They put a tie down strap

across his back to keep him from jumping out of the

truck bed and the old fellow actually stopped and patted the

spotted Jack that sold for $45 lovingly.

Goodness, do these people not realize what they are doing?

However, that little Jack is likely going onto a much better

fate than those soon to be loaded into the semi out back and this trailer

than pulled in right as our gray mare stepped right up into our own.

So I saved one. . .

One white mare

Who oddly enough, I believe, has ended up a mix of our favorite breeds:

Quarter Horse and Arab

That “Do the Right Thing” feeling I get. . .I cannot shake it.

11 thoughts on “Cattletsburg Horse Auction!

  1. These pictures speak for themselves, you are absolutely incredible to get in there and just DO IT!

    Question – who primarily brings horses to these auctions?

  2. Great job, wish you could present this story to PBS or any of the major local tv channels. The world needs to learn more of what truly goes on.

  3. I am totally a horse novice; a wannabe “horse person,” I suppose. Don’t know what interaction I’ll ever really get to have with them but they’re beautiful in photos and the few times I’ve been able to pet them. It’s so saddening to hear of the plight of so many animals. And actually I wonder if the family you saw from whom you rescued the Clyds(?) cross is not a rarity. A true respect for life honors and cares for both animal *and* human life. How sad for that poor little baby 🙁 I agree that PBS or some local TV station should be alerted!!!

    1. That family is not a rarity. There are people like that everywhere. People like these in this story don’t care about horses and a lot of people don’t care about their own children.I can’t stand kill buyers. Years ago I saved a mare from the killers. I wish I could save some now but I can’t afford to and I don’t have the pasture. Is al I can do to keep my own horses fat and healthy. I do without so I can take care of them.But I am a true horsewoman and I really love horses

  4. when is the next auction i will go get a horse even if i have to pay to have it boarded what is happening there is a shame

  5. These folks are ruthless and without feelings. The AMISH are the worst. And the slaughter of horses has got to STOP immediately. They have NO respect for life as you can see. How dare them to treat one of the most beautiful animals being treated like this. We must stand up for the horses and bring this to an end. Time to turn to the media.

  6. We are at the end of times. As sad as it is about the horses, they will go to Heaven when they die.
    The evil people on the other hand…..will get their justs. God will have his revenge on evil.

  7. Great blog and terrific pictures. Unfortunately I have seen many similar pics….from NJ, Ohio, Michigan, PA…..all the same…..even violent…..YouTube has videos of Sugar Creek Horse Auction and what those horses go through at the auction. As much as I’d love to go, I don’t know if I could handle it…..I think I would literally break down….I couldn’t look in those eyes and feel so helpless……that is so hard to do….but, you save what you can….1, 2, 3,,,whatever……it’s still a life saved from a horrible demise. I am sorry you didn’t get the mare you planned on buying…but not at all surprised they jacked the price up like that……and everything happens for a reason…..#0493 is very grateful I am sure…..thanks for saving her!!

  8. Your brave to even got there, I’m not sure my emotions could do it. Keep blogging and posting, it really does help real horse lovers. I did not sell my paint gelding because I have seen so much abuse out there in horses and other animals. He has “issues” and I’m not sure if that many people would be willing to “put” up with them. His issues asside he is a great animal with a great mind and loving attutude, but in the wrong hands it wouldn’t be good. Just remember, you can’t save them all, but if more people could save just that one, just think how much that would help. I wish I could be at this time I am not able to. So God Bless you, keep up the good work.

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