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.