Horse Transportation For Slaughter Examined

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

The practice of transporting horses to another country for slaughter is NOT illegal.

However, many feel like its cruelty to animals.

We decided to find out what would happen to many of these horses if they were sent away to be slaughtered.

There are many places like the farm in Allen County where horses are gathered and then sold to slaughter houses in Canada and Mexico, throughout the country.

It's a big business that some liken to the cattle industry.

Others feel its a cruel way to get rid of horses...

"They are not cows. They are built like cows and its very difficult to slaughter a horse humanly because they have such fear reactions," says horse trainer and activist, Shantal Rosales.

They also believe alternatives are out there.

"Like most people, I'm all for humane euthanasia done by a veterinarian if the horse is injured, old, or has health problems," notes Rosales.

In addition to euthanasia, which isn't always an option because of cost, any of these creatures are sold in auctions and sent to rescues.

However, Rainhill Equine Facility Director Karen Thurman says many rescues are overwhelmed with the amount of horses being sent their way.

"The truth is most of the sanctuaries... most of the rescues are full. People are calling, people are looking. There are no places. There's simply no places for these animals to go and that's why they're going to slaughter," Thurman says.

Joanna Coles, Agriculture Agent at the Warren County Cooperative Extension Service says many times horses are abandoned at state parks as well as being put in other people's trailers during auctions.

Website, Craig's List is also a popular place people go to try and sell a horse.

"Horses are selling for nothing. Sometimes 50 dollars, sometimes a little bit more."

House Bill 503, which seeks to outlaw horse transportation for the purpose of slaughter, is currently stalled in Congress.

U.S. Congressman Brett Guthrie of Kentucky's 2nd District tells WBKO in a statement...

"At this point, the bill is in the House Judiciary committee and no action has been taken by the subcommittee or full committee."

WBKO did try to speak with the owner of the horse farm in Allen County for his comments but he declined our request.

When asked what's the answer if the bill passes and these horses have nowhere to go?

That's a question she didn't have an answer to.

Its a question that no one we spoke to on either sides seem to have a definitive answer to.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Duv12 Location: Ohio on Aug 31, 2010 at 08:05 AM
    @Mike--You know you and others keep spouting off about a cold check. If this were true, why did the broker do business with her for 3.5 years. You said yourself he had been doing business with her for years. I read on another stories comments that she wouldn't come get the hores for days after they were purchased. Well if that check was so bad, why was she allowed to take the horses of the property? And as for you not believing she had homes for those last horses your sadly mistaken. There were plenty of homes offer and cash sent for those horses. As a person that is now the owner of one of the Ky kill pen horses I am very glad that Shantal was doing what she was doing. The horrors this mare must have been through just breaks my heart. I'm sure there are alot of horrors Shantal knows about that go on at that kill pen too. The broker is just lucky in my opinion that she was silent for so long. Hell has no fury like a woman scorned. Well now there are many woman, not just one.
  • by Tim Location: Scottsville on Aug 24, 2010 at 01:45 PM
    Lisa Drahorad You say no horse are turned loose I will argue that one with you and can prove it as well. Check out the state of Ky Eastern Ky reclaimed coal areas. You are good with % is do a little more digging.
  • by Lisa Drahorad Location: Marlton, NJ on Aug 24, 2010 at 05:56 AM
    Statistically, only 1% of the entire USA horse population is slaughtered annually. This number has been approximately 120,000 every year since the last slaughterhouse closed in the USA. So to answer the question "where will all the horses go", is an easy one. As soon as irresponsible breeders and owners realize that there is no monetary reward for slaughter, it will go away. This so called overpopulation of horses is a myth. Horses are not running around like stray cats and dogs, overbreeding in the streets. This is a man-made problem and those creating the problem need to take responsibility. California banned horse slaughter and export for slaughter back in 1998. Since then there was absolutely no measurable increase in neglect or abandonment. Another myth is that people believe that the horses slaughtered are lame, old, or ill tempered. However USDA statistics show that 90% are in good condition, with 80% under the age of 10, 74% were sound. Killers want young fat, healthy horses!!!
  • by Beverly Location: Aiken on Aug 22, 2010 at 06:29 AM
    This news story was a rough skimming over a sensitive subject. What spurred this particular story is the fact that online rescues fight relentlessly to find homes and money to raise to "bail" out these horses headed for slaughter. It's amazing, really. One rescue in NJ has saved every single horse in the kill pen since November 2009. EVERY SINGLE HORSE HAD A HOME WAITING NO MATTER IT'S AGE OR CONDITION. AT this particular KY kill buyer's farm were dozens of horses that the rescue had raised the money and resold for the kill buyer, making him a profit. WHy else would he do it? It's all about money. However, recently he refused to resell any horses for some unknown reason and insisted they be sent to heinous deaths in Canada. It doesn't make sense. The horses had homes waiting for them, he would have made a profit, and he turned his back on the welfare of the horses. THIS IS ANIMAL CRUELTY!!!!!
  • by kathy Location: kentucky on Aug 21, 2010 at 12:37 PM
    i would just like to say that if things are allowed to continue as they are, there wont be any horses left to worry about. does anyone have enough common sence to figure out that when it cost more to feed an animal than what its worth, then only one thing can happen even to the well "intentioned rescue homes". Just look at what our own goverment does to the wild horses. yes "few" are rounded up. the rest are put down.
  • by Jan Location: Jan on Aug 21, 2010 at 09:57 AM
    Tim from Scottsville: I have one thing to say to your comment: Two wrongs don't make it right! The rescues could easily absorb all the horses that people truly could not afford to feed in the country if people would stop breeding horses for greed ie) Premarin foals, Purebreed associations that offer insentives to breed away, uneducated backyard breeders etc, etc. It is a huge problem that will take many years and much money to fix. But it can be done!!!!!
  • by Geoff Location: Middletown, CT on Aug 21, 2010 at 06:48 AM
    The answers are simple. People are the problem. Greed is the problem. Stop OVER BREEDING horses. Stop EXPLOITING horses for monetary gain. Do these two things and there would be NO NEED for slaughter houses anywhere. It's time for HUMANS to become responsible.
  • by Kelli Location: NV on Aug 20, 2010 at 10:24 PM
    You pro slaughter people do realize that the starving, neglected, abandoned horses you are referring to are NOT the ones sold to slaughter, right? I mean, you HAVE done your research, right? You do understand what the horse slaughter market calls for and how it operates? Before you come here speaking about something you obviously don't understand, know that for every argument that you, the AQHA, the ranchers, etc. have to kill healthy, young horses, we have the proof otherwise. It is illegal to starve animals, period. NOT allowed to do it. The police/law need to hold those accountable who are killing their animals whether it is because of financial problems or just because they are brainwashed by the ranchers and breeders to think of a horse as nothing more than a source of income. Are starving horses rescued? sometimes, but those animals have NOTHING to do with the slaughter market, so that excuse is not valid, SUPPOSED horse people/reporters should have known that.
  • by Kathy Location: Boone County Kentucky on Aug 20, 2010 at 08:20 PM
    First of all I guess this news station should talk to some that have ideas on how to place horses and not leave the story seeming as though slaughter is the only answer. There are many suggestions I could make but a couple just off the top of my head are for 1 KENTUCKY makes BILLIONS off of horses every year. I think they can build some sanctuaries. Childrens programs and help for adults as well. Horses heal people. STOP breeding for the purpose of slaughter. STOP breeding as many horses for racing, AQHA, APHA also breed to much. The people involved in all this are only out for the $. There are millions of horses in the US. The foreign companies take advantage of the US when they open slaughter plants in the states. They make all the money not the states. They only suffer. Check the Kaufman Texas plants statistics. What a joke. The low lifes that take the horses to slaughter are just that and actually commit more animal cruelty acts than anyone else.
  • by Duv12 Location: Ohio on Aug 20, 2010 at 03:42 PM
    Unusable I think not. Every horse can have a use one just has to care enough to find what it is. One woman on Shantal's (the woman in your news cast)facebook page is from Canada and she suggested that some of the groups workout someway to help people out of the country get some of these "unwanted" horses (again notice they are wanted). She said that in Canada there is a shortage of horses (hopefully not because people are eating them in their restaurants)for people wanting one to purchase. A group or business per say set up to help such people would be great for this and would help these "unwanted" "unusable" horses find a second chance at life. I have read many people post from out of the country say they would love to have one of "our" horses as their own. They want these horses but there are not many avenues for them to get them. So for these pro-slaughter people to say there is no other way then slaughter is so far out of the truth it is funny. There are ways AND homes!
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