Horse Slaughter and the Auction Barns

It is a cold February day and I am walking around the Delta Sale Barn, not to buy horses, but to help an organization we have worked with over the years take a head count and to see how many horses will go for slaughter today. It is cold, the horses still wear their furry coats, some are in excellent shape, some not so great. All the horses are stressed to some degree; perhaps they know many of them will not be going to new homes today and for many of them their fate is not secure. I can tell from their large brown inquiring eyes they know, something is not quite right. The sky is a flat grey and there is a continuing drizzle coming down with no shelter for the horses. Some of these horses have stood out on this farm for a day or two in these cold, wet, and mudding conditions.


As I am wadding through the mud and cold, I see from one of the far back pens a black and white paint mare with a very young foal at her side. She is in an emaciated state and the foal can barely walk, he is unable to put any pressure on his front right leg. I am certain he is injured and I am certain that he should not be run through the sale. Unfortunately my calls to the local police department fall on deaf ears and I stand by and watch as the police officers laugh with the owners of the sale barn and state that they would do nothing. So now what? Do I say, well that is just so unfortunate, or do I do something.  My nature is that I have to do something as I know for one neither the mare or the foal whom she is trying desperately to protect from prying eyes would probably never even make the trip to the feedlot. So I drag myself into the area where they sell the horses and watch as horses are run through and sold for almost nothing as no one is buying horses that time of year, and more then 80% of the horses that day go to the two kill buyers that frequent the Delta Sale Barn the first Saturday of each month. Finally the black and white paint are run through, I begin bidding, they are ignoring me as the two killers fight for the price of a pound of flesh. Finally exasperated I stand up and wave my arms, they ask me if I will give them $400 for the pair and I agree. And so the story of Anish, a now lovely broke mare and her young foal Karma came to be, here with us at Spirit Wind Horse Rescue.

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