Broken: Broker Lots and Rescue

(This was originally penned in 2015, and a lot has been done to move away from support of broker lots since then, thankfully)

There as been a lot of discussion on broker lots like Camelot on rescue pages lately. Finally.

Is the goal of rescue is usually to save as many horses in need as possible? I think it should be.

But as long as so much funding goes into these big broker lots, fewer
horses will be saved in the grand scheme of things.

A life is a life in rescue. We need to save and safely adopt out as
many as possible. But you are just trading lives in Broker rescue, and that is not the same thing. Some broker lots masquerade as kill lots, when they are really just traders. They are going to run the unsold horses back through an auction if they do not sell for asking price. If they actually are true kill buyers, they have a quota to fill. They fill it or lose contracts. Buying a horse from the kill pen didn’t change the number being sent that week. They have horses waiting to kill that quota without fail. That is how they stay in business.

Sadly, most of the money paid to “bail” these horses simply buys them for any Tom, Dick or Harry who didn’t have the money to pull them on their own, so the horses often go into situation where breeding, neglect and abuse is likely, and even if they escape that, they frequently go to traders, flippers and people looking for a free horse on the backs of well meaning donors. 

Further, continual support of these “racket type” money schemes depletes the funding possible for other rescue work. It is a sad day when kill buyers are better funded than real rescues by our own support base!

Think of it like this. . .there is a near static amount given yearly to
charity work of all kinds nationwide, statistically. All charities, be they animal and human or environmental, compete for this near static pool of donated money each year.

There will never be an endless supply of funding for any good work, so if EQUINE RESCUE is going to have exceptional success, we must be wise with the portion of this funding we are given.
I hope for a  time where our goal as advocates is to give the equine world the most positive impact possible.
How can we be OUR MOST effective with donation level we have if donors are paying $2,000 or more by the time a single horse to be pulled and transported and quarantined?That is just getting the horse to the rescue. That isn’t counting the vet care, board and training that can go on for months and months or years once the horse is the responsibility of the rescue.

Heart of Phoenix and most rescues dealing with non-broker programs are looking at the $250 in fuel and coggins to pick up a local animal
control seizure horse, a freebie or very low cost horse being
mistreated in our general area. We’ve pulled horses from auctions
directly for $50 to $125. Plenty go through here for $10, $25.
Think of all the funding used in JUST securing the horse for a rescue that could have been used to save many others and provide after care of the horse while he is readied to be adopted.
To have the most impact, to save the most lives, we could decide to be more sustainable in our approach to be the most effective we can be as a horse rescue community nationwide.

While a life saved is a life saved, a life traded is NOT the same thing, folks. These big broker programs’ success mean a rescue must limit the number they save based on shear economics. We could radically change things with better funding, and that funding is going into the pockets of traders, dealers and meat buyers.

I have never and would never think negatively about anyone sincerely pulling horses in need from ANY venue, so these are just my suggestions from my time in equine rescue. That is all, and an organization or donor can take that for what it is worth. You may feel it is worth a lot. I hope you do.

Once a horse comes into your rescue, it becomes personal. I get it. That like may have been saved so another went in his stead to slaughter, and it doesn’t matter as much because you didn’t know that horse. Yet, how does this work toward changing the lives of equines nationwide?

There are so many. While we cannot save them all right now, we can work together to make sure the donations we receive to pull horses into these safe havens is working at the most effect rate possible.


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