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Where Kill Buyers Get Horses
 By Winniefield Park   •   30th Dec 2016   •   2,516 views   •   1 comments
Where Kill Buyers Get Horses

If you want to prevent your horse from ending up on a truck headed for a slaughterhouse, it’s probably safe to say you shouldn’t sell through an auction. Certainly, it is possible for a horse sold to a private buyer to end up in the slaughter pipeline. But, it’s less likely since picking up a horse here and one there isn’t an efficient way for a kill buyer to collect them in the volume necessary for reasonable profit. Kill buyers are far more likely to be sitting alongside an auction pen. Horse Defence Canada estimates that over 65% of horses at auctions go for slaughter. At an auction, a buyer who wants to fill a truck with horses can do so in a morning or afternoon, rather than travelling all over the countryside and dealing with individual sellers.

So where are these buyers likely to be found? There are quite a number or auction houses in North America where trucks leave filled with horses bound for slaughter. Here is a look at some of the larger auctions where kill buyers frequent.

Ontario Livestock Exchange
Just south of where I live, OLEX, or Ontario Livestock Exchange on the outskirts of Kitchener Ontario, has weekly sales where a large percentage of the horses sold will be loaded on transport trucks. Often, they’ll make a stop at a private feedlot for a while, before continuing on to the processing plant. On any Tuesday, 30 to 60 horses are put through. A good number of these are Standardbreds. And, anywhere from 40% to 90% of all horses that go through are bought by kill buyers.

Beaver Hill Auctions
Beaver Hill Auctions just south of Edmonton, Alberta claims it is one of the largest regular horse sales in Canada. Buyers and sellers from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba frequent this auction. These auctions run the last Saturday of the month. Recently, extra sale dates were added to cope with the ‘loose’ horses that go through, and to accommodate an additional exporter selling meat to Europe.

Enumclaw Sales Pavilion
One of the more well-known U.S. auctions is Enumclaw Sales Pavilion in Washington State. Here, monthly sales are held with anywhere from 20 to 40 horses put through. The number seems to increase during the summer months. A little more than half of the horses that go to this sale will end up in the kill pen.

New Holland Pennsylvania
New Holland, near Morgantown, Pennsylvania is where another large horse auction is held. This is the largest horse auction in the eastern United States. While no auction has a great reputation, New Holland seems to be especially sordid. This is a weekly sale. Each Monday about two-hundred horses go through, with anywhere from 25 to 50% being sold to meat dealers.

Sugar Creek Livestock Auction
Sugar Creek Livestock Auction runs every Friday. This is another auction with a seedy reputation. Here about 50 horses are auctioned off and most go to kill buyers.

Billings Horse Auction
Billings Horse Auction puts a very large volume of horses through its sale and often has several kill buyers bidding. Sales can have over 900 horses put through, most often ‘loose’ and over half can go to the killers. Loose horses are those put through the ring without a rider. Those that are ridden through are called saddle horses.

Now you might, like I did, start adding these numbers up on your fingers and notice that they don’t add up to the thousands of horses reported that go through auctions into the slaughterhouse pipeline. That’s because these are only a few of the most well-known auctions that are happening within North America. There are many smaller auctions, some of which feed horses into these as well. Additionally, not all horses that go to the auction grounds get put through the selling pen. Some arrive on one truck and are loaded onto another.
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Among the Narcissi  
I live in Ohio about an hour away from Sugarcreek, and have been behind the scenes in the auction pen with a vet (a group of students got permission to practice drawing blood on the animals there and palpating cows, etc.) In exchange for being able to do this, we were told to not mention anything about our experience publicly.

I have been there, and Sugarcreek is much more horrific than the three-sentences in this article makes it out to be.

At Sugarcreek, I witnessed dozens of horses and cattle, most in deplorable condition, being held in filthy old pens without food or water. The air smelled like... feces and death. Like fear. I don't think I saw a single animal without the whites of it's eyes showing... If they were healthy enough to open their eyes.

I had to step over two dead calves to make my way into one of the back pens. The stress of being there routinely sends cows into premature labor, I'm told. Groups of skinny Jersey cows, most heavily pregnant, were huddled toget
  Jan 5, 2017  •  2,736 views
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