Kill buyers the “worst enemy” of US horses – HSUS boss

Wayne Pacelle
Wayne Pacelle

Kill buyers are the worst enemies of horses in the United States, according to the head of a leading American charity.

Wayne Pacelle, who is president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, said kill buyers played a part in what he labelled the bloody and predatory business of horse slaughter.

Pacelle, writing in his blog, A Humane Nation, said kill buyers funneled more than 100,000 American horses each year into the meat trade, going from auction to auction and gathering up young and healthy horses for slaughter for human consumption.

They often misrepresented their intentions in the process, according to Pacelle.

“Most horse owners who take an animal to an auction are unaware that their horse could die in a day or two with a sharp throat-cutting exercise or a shot to the head.

“But at auctions all around the country, kill buyers bid against legitimate horse owners and horse rescuers, just so they can make a fast buck.

“In fact, some kill buyers outbid rescues, only to resell them the horses—often for a lot more money,” he said.

“Kill buyers and other key players in the horse slaughter industry trot out the notion that they are somehow ‘helping’ horses by sending them off to slaughter, but there is nothing noble about their enterprise.

“Horses are dragged and whipped into trucks and endure long journeys without food, water, or rest. Many die or sustain injuries during transport, including broken legs and punctured eyes.

“The idea of providing veterinary care to an animal about to be slaughtered is unthinkable to these profiteers.”

He continued: “Ironically, horse slaughter advocates say that their enterprise prevents people from starving and abandoning horses that they don’t want. But it’s actually the kill buyers who routinely abandon horses, especially at the border when they are rejected for slaughter.”

Pacelle cited several recent cases involving neglect which he said showed that the entire horse slaughter pipeline represented nothing but misery for horses.

“Frankly, I’m astonished that anyone could believe the propaganda that these kill buyers are helping horses.

“The only solution to protect horses from slaughter is federal legislation that will prevent horse slaughter plants from opening in the United States and stop the export of horses abroad for slaughter.”

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30 thoughts on “Kill buyers the “worst enemy” of US horses – HSUS boss

  • February 4, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Okay Wayne, so what are you going to do about all of our Wild Mustangs that are being rounded up and put in pins and some go to the Kill buyer after the round ups. Now what, are you going to let it keep on happening or are you going to stop it The BLM is killing the Mustangs.. If you stop this the USA would want you to run for office, and you would win…. Think about that.. Please stop the kill and the braking up family’s of the wild mustangs they have rights to be happy to and live free like you and I do…. Nancy Woodall

    • February 18, 2015 at 11:12 am

      I agree with Nancy Woodall, totally. Stop the BLM from killing the mustangs! They say over and over again that they are not, but where are the horses they are rounding up??? No one will say? They have all been put on tracker-trailers and trucked to Mexico for slaughter! If you are an individual with a horse you can no longer take care of, PLEASE do not take it to auction! Some how, find a vet, to have the animal humanely euthanized, then bury it. That is the very least you can do for this horse. You owe it that much. Others that are considering getting a horse, think three, four, five times before getting one, this is another cost and responsibility of owning a horse.

  • February 7, 2015 at 11:18 am

    What is to become then of all the cribbing, biting, stall-walking, weaving,lame, sway-backed old pelters that are good for nothing but turning kids off riding, burning hay and overcrowding pastures? Why rescue a lame horse with no useful future but for producing fertilizer for roses? It’s insanity. There aren’t enough barns, pastures, hay and straw to feed them all. If you don’t drain your bath you can’t fill it up with fresh hot water. Get sense!

    • February 18, 2015 at 5:36 am

      Rob, As a horse owner, people should take responsibility for their horse. Its called humane euthanasia. At some point people need to quit trying to drain every last penny out of their horse. It’s shameful, greedy and heartless. If you can’t be responsible owner to your horse, you have no business having one.

      • September 2, 2016 at 6:02 am

        I so agree with you. I am the CEO of a rescue/sanctuary. When the horse is no longer functional, people try to unload them on us. They think they can get top dollar for their healthy horses at auction. This is not true. They only get about 1/2 to less of the horse’s value at auctions. People that go to auctions are usually bargain hunting.

      • September 2, 2016 at 6:15 am

        Right! Slaughter should not be a way to dispose of a horse that the owner does not want to be responsible for. To me they are no different than dogs and cats. We euthanize 1,000’s of perfectly healthy pats every day. Why can’t we have euthanasia facilities for horses? Create this and slaughter goes away. Once horses have no profit dead, over breeding will slow down drastically.
        Provide free or low cost euthanasia for horse owners who want to do the right thing but can’t afford it. People drop older pets off at SPCA and Shelter every day because, well people suck but because they don’t want the COST of putting the animal to sleep. Its all about the money more so than them feeling guilty.

    • February 18, 2015 at 6:22 am

      When people stop over breeding there horses and find homes for the ones they have. Then maybe the kill buyers will go out of business.

    • February 18, 2015 at 7:05 am

      What is to become of them? But them down with euthanasia. That is the humane and Christian thing to do.

      Not send them a hellish trip to hell, via auction and kill buyers trailer, only for them to spend they last moments terrified and tortured.

      Good God man! What kind of human being are you? If you cannot afford to euthanize your horses you have NO business owning one.

      • February 19, 2015 at 9:14 am

        Zig Pope ~~ You are correct !

    • February 18, 2015 at 7:06 am

      Gee, Rob. All the things you list are not the animal’s fault, it’s the owner’s fault for not taking good care of his horse. How old are you? Do you have habits? Are you nervous because no one’s got time to take you out of your bedroom once in a while? Got workman’s comp back problems because some idiot at work rushed you through a job? (Or, in a horse’s case, rode you too early?) Do you like to eat your 3 squares a day? Are you doing backyard breeding that’s the real cause of “too many” horses? And who turned your kids off to riding? No horse properly trained and treated would turn any kid off. I don’t know you, but after reading what you wrote, I’m confident you could turn off kids (and everyone else) just by being your cinder-hearted self. And what would you do if you did “drain” your bath? Get a new tub of fresh, hot water to dirty up again? Stick to showers, and simply leave horses to people who love and take care of their animals. Not only are you not a responsible horse owner, I wouldn’t let someone like you near a horse. Or any animal. So, when you get old should we just knock you in the head to stun you a little, hang up your creaky old body up by one ankle and use a chainsaw to hack you up for fertilizer? Get some sense, if you can. And while you’re at it, see if you can find a kind heart. Somebody could probably crochet you a better one on Etsy.

      • February 21, 2015 at 5:45 pm

        right on Susan Fox , my sentiments exactly.

    • February 18, 2015 at 7:19 am

      Rob, you mean the horses that have served all their lives? If possible, retirement – ooh yes, people taking responsibility for their horses. What a novelty. It will make them better humans. IF there is no chance of that, then have them put to sleep in a humane manner – preferably not at a slaughter plant. If the worst comes to it, then at least ensure slaughter is “humane” and horses are not watching other horses die in front of them!

      The problem is that people are not taking responsibility, they are hiding their heads in the sand.

    • February 18, 2015 at 10:17 am

      Rob, you are a small minded sheep of a person. There is NOTHING HUMANE in slaughter. That’s why it’s called SLAUGHTER!
      It’s a freakin NIGHTMARE! Nothing living should have to go through that. There are other ways to handle your concerns.

    • September 2, 2016 at 7:31 am

      If someone can no longer provide for their equine and can not responsibly rehome it, then s/he should have that equine humanely euthanized. It’s called “personal responsibility,” something this country is sorely lacking in these days. People owe it to their equines to give them a humane end after all the years of work and service those equines have provided us in whatever capacity we have employed them. An end via horrific slaughter is not the answer and should not be an option. It is shameful to suggest otherwise.

    • September 2, 2016 at 8:44 am

      Humanely euthanize. Arguing the cruelty of slaughter here.

    • September 3, 2016 at 5:10 am

      Kill buyers don’t want those horses, Rob. They want fat, healthy horses. They sell by the pound. There are restrictions about what horses they can haul to slaughter plants. The idea that they only take horses that are at death’s door is completely false. Those are the ones they have NO interest in.

      Horse slaughter is killing not just horses, but the horse industry. With slaughter as an option for dumping, more and more horses are bred. Like with any product, when there’s too much of anything, the value bottoms out. Until slaughter of American horses is stopped, everyone can say goodbye to high values in the equine industry.

    • September 4, 2016 at 11:25 am

      stop breeding so many! it is us who created the problem. why should they suffer…stop so many idiots from producing 1000s of horses hoping for that one winner…limit how many horses a barn can produce and register in 1 year.

  • February 18, 2015 at 5:29 am

    I have had horses my entire life, this issue just keeps going on and on…o.k. Some people do eat horse meat…do I, but I think we need regulations and strict guidelines on buyers and slaughter houses…we do have many horses old, crippled or just too mean to touch… long as there are people eating them then kill buyers will scrape up all they can to make money….since u.s. Closed up slaughters the overall prices of horses in the u.s. Have dropped seriously….can’t someone make a common sense law….balance ….no we should not be rounding up wild mustangs for slaughter! I love horses and do not agree with abuse or neglect….

    • February 18, 2015 at 11:18 am

      No on in the USA in their right mind would eat horse meat with all the drugs used on them.

  • February 18, 2015 at 5:38 am

    Indeed , what is to become of all the horses/ponies that have come to the end of their useful lives . Well , the lucky ones will be kept/retired by caring owners who take horse ownership as a responsibility they take on when buying the horse in the first place . Then there are the other owners who treat the horse as a tool/commodity/possession …they don’t take any responsibility for the horse once it can no longer do its job …so off it goes to the sales …like a used car to the scrapyard …only its a living sentient creature ..NOT a lump of metal !
    We humans have created this situation , with overbreeding ..careless horse ownership …this disposable society we live in .
    The least you can do when your horse no longer has a good quality of life is to end his life in a humane manner at home , instead of being shipped off to some God awful slaughterhouse.

    • February 18, 2015 at 10:19 am

      Couldn’t have said it better!

  • February 18, 2015 at 6:26 am

    Rob I mean no disrespect but kill buyers are not looking for, nor buying up the horses you described. That is a long dispelled Myth.

  • February 18, 2015 at 6:29 am

    Rob, I just wonder if you think it is a good thing if you get lame or disabled or when you get old you still think standing in line for slaughter would be appropriate for you? We euthanize humanely our animals. If on open range let nature take its course. Much better then be rounded up by a terrorizing helicopter and having your neck or leg broke. Standing in unsheltered holding with 100 degree sun beating down or in the cold and snow with winds over 75 MPH and nothing for protection. How about loaded into trailers and going down and being trampled to death? No you would just rather stand in a line and listen to the screams of those in front awaiting your turn. Well my wish is that you receive it. I hope for more humane treatment of all our animals in this country. This is America and we do not treat our animals that way, we also shouldn’t be sending them off to that kind of torture.

  • February 18, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    This is an abomination…the US of America should not be part of animal abuse!!! Barbaric and evil!!!

  • February 18, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    just angers me how people can get a horse then just get rid of it cuz o my it didnt turn its head the way they wanted it to….iv seen to much of that stuff..i got a rescue 3 yrs ago n ya she has problems but one thing i will say ill never send her to a auction or sell her or even give her away cuz the look she gives me when the vet or anyone gets around her she looks at me like please stay with me keep me safe ….i would never let anyone hurt her ,,i didnt get her just to ride n put up like a toy shes my best friend.. animals needs to be treated like there part of your family cuz they do have fellings and hey do fill pain…so i say a end needs to come to any slaughter to any animal….really whats a matter with people that do that….or even have anything to do with animal abuse…

  • February 19, 2015 at 2:55 am

    I personally think we need to create bural lands so that people would have access to places so they could lay there horses to rest in a wonderful dignified way.That or else being able to use some of the National Forest lord knows there’s plenty of room there.

  • September 2, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    As far slaughter ban it! As for putting the horse down unfortunately not everyone has a place to bury a horse so we need places where they can come and take the horse out and burn the body’s like they do cattle and animals! What are people supposed to do during winter time when a horse drops dead?
    They do have these burners for large animals as a friend told me a horse had died at the local horse/ cattle barn once from rearing up and falling down and hitting head on the concrete floor she told me they drug the horse out back and burned it’s body in a special made cremation machine for cattle and horses!
    If people opened these it would help greatly!

  • September 2, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Saving America’s Wild Horses

    With drumming hooves, they come running.
    With tails flagged high, they come running,
    With flowing manes, they come running.
    With flared nostrils, they come running.

    Oh, what a glorious sight!

    Clouds of prairie dust mark their passing.
    The scent of crushed sage comes drifting.
    Glistening hides in sunlight, reflecting.
    Separated mares, exhausted foals nickering.

    Oh, what a careening flight!

    What would cause this reckless running?
    Over rocky hills, unshod hooves come crashing.
    Older horses lose their footing
    Lathered sweat whitely spraying.

    Oh, what a panicked flight!

    Exhausted, on splayed legs, with sides heaving
    Too spent to nicker at their mothers’ leaving
    Foals collapse, roiling dust enshrouding
    From the chopper blades’ wild whirling.

    Oh, what a tragic flight!

    The strong ones lead, the rest conforming
    As they heed the fences’ hazing
    Into the catch pens’ terminating
    Rails forcing a bewildered milling.

    Oh, what an end to their flight!

    Looking for lost foals, mares pacing
    Bloated bags with warm milk dripping
    A mute and painful weeping
    O’er the Truth so horrifying.

    Innocence, a victim of their flight.

    Stallions answer Nature’s calling
    Rearing, striking, biting, screaming
    Close-quarter conflicts inciting
    Instinctive challenges contesting

    The bloody purpose of their flight.

    Growing herds expanded grazing
    Might harm the desert tortoise feeding
    Politicians paid for by Big Oil, Big Mining
    Approved detailed plans for exterminating.

    Greed, the “No Exit” signage of their flight.

    Some spend months in metal pens confining
    Forgotten, rains ease their frantic thirsting
    Thousand rib and hip bones testifying
    Slow starvation caused their dying.

    Human error the Reaper’s demise of their flight.

    Too few selected for public adopting
    Wild Horse Protection Act ignoring
    Auctioned prices climbing, ever rising
    The “Killer Man” nods and ends the bidding.

    One final sorting changes the nature of their flight.

    Steel trailers travel to border crossings
    Squeezed into plywood crates, foreboding
    Bewildered captives endure hours of flying
    No hay or water to ease their silent suffering.

    Japan’s slaughter houses, the destination of their flight.

    Electric prods keep dazed mustangs moving
    On slimy steel, hooves slipping, horses falling
    They’re lined up, wild eyed with nostrils snorting
    At the stench of filth and hot blood flowing.

    The Kill Box, the vile termination of their flight.

    Spinal cords severed by Ice-pick stabbings
    Strong legs collapse to the sounds of groaning
    Hind legs wrapped in chains are lifting
    Through cut throats, life’s blood is draining

    Can glazed eyes see their souls take flight?

    Wild burros, horses, mules trapped for Federal culling
    Race horses, ponies too old for sports or breeding
    Loyalty, trust ignored in the equine steaks now steaming
    As patrons of foreign dining enjoy their gourmet gorging.

    Ignorant of the bloody, heinous outcome of their flight.

    Horses carried men in battle, no beribboned medal dying,
    Pulled prairie schooners ‘cross the plains unending
    Built railroads, carried mail, plowed fields for planting
    In Arlington, proudly paraded veterans to their final resting.

    We must preserve, forever, the freedom of their flight.

    With drumming hooves, they come running.
    With tails flagged high, they come running,
    With flowing manes, they come running.
    With flared nostrils, they come running.

    Oh, what a thundering, glorious sight!

    © June 2, 2016 by Janice E. Mitich, Picture Rock, AZ


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