PEABODY, KAN. — Donald Bradley, reporting for the Kansas City Star, writes:
Every day, often several times a day, Saje Bayes drives the dirt road to the kill lot.
There she sees the horses that will soon be loaded on a truck to Mexico for slaughter.
Saje and her mother, Amy Bayes, save the ones they can.
“New ones show up all the time,” said Saje, 20, a college student. “I need to see them.”
In the dark, sometimes secretive world of horse slaughter in America — a longtime controversy that some think may soon kick back up with a new president — a natural enmity exists between horse rescue groups and “kill buyers,” the grim term used for those who purchase horses to resell them to Mexican slaughter plants.
Then there’s Saje (pronounced sage) and Amy Bayes, who run Greenwood Stables and Equine Horse Rescue. They have a working relationship with a kill buyer not far from their place near the Whitewater River on the western edge of the Flint Hills in south-central Kansas. The man lets them have dibs on any horse they think they can find a home for.
Last year, that amounted to 700 horses. Sounds like a lot, but it’s only a fraction of the number that went to Mexico on the man’s crowded trucks.
“The picking is the worst thing ever,” said Amy Bayes, who works as a librarian in Newton.
She agreed to talk about her relationship with the man only if his name was not used in this story. She worried that animal welfare activists could jeopardize the arrangement she has with him.
“He puts up with a lot from us,” Amy said. “He lets us pull horses he would rather we not. He gives us a chance to find them homes. He’s been nice. We’re not friends by any means, and he knows what side I’m on. We just agree to disagree.” Continue reading »
Photo: Keith Meyers, Kansas City Star.