Kill buyers still making a killing selling horses to be killed for their meat

Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images.

MARCH AGAINST HORSE SLAUGHTER — No horses have been legally slaughtered for human consumption in the US since 2007, when the last operating horse slaughterhouse in Illinois was closed down.

In 2017, kill buyers are still making a killing.

Numbers vary, but the general consensus is that approximately 130,000 US horses are slaughtered annually across its borders. It is the job of the kill buyer acting on behalf of these slaughterhouses to supply those numbers. Often this is done at livestock auctions. But they also prey on unsuspecting horse owners and many are also known horse thieves.

Unless something drastically changes, those numbers look to stay the same.

The number of US horses slaughtered may suffer a hiccup or two in the near future.

The new EU mandate of a six month waiting period for US horses crossing the border into Canada before they can be slaughtered for human consumption should diminish the numbers killed when it starts on March 31.

However, we know from previous experience with the Canadian EID — a passport of sorts listing all the medications a horse received in his lifetime but was constantly forged — that kill buyers and horse dealers are very adept at circumventing the law.

And who’s to enforce it?

Horses before the auction at Shipshewana. These were racing, riding, and show horses. But the slaughterhouse buyers were there to bid on the least expensive horses. Source: Animal Angels.
Horses before the auction at Shipshewana. These were racing, riding, and show horses. But the slaughterhouse buyers were there to bid on the least expensive horses. Source: Animal Angels.

In the meantime, our sources tell us that slaughterers in Mexico are scrambling to convert existing facilities and expand others in anticipation of the new EU restrictions concerning Canada when thousands of slaughter horses may be redirected to Mexico.

If thousands more slaughter horses are indeed sent instead to Mexico, a side effect of this will likely be horses turned back at the border.

Horses bound for slaughter and turned back at the Mexican border are sometimes cruelly abandoned after they have already made a long, horrifying journey in all temperatures without food and water, many of them injured, and some of them pregnant and mares with foals.

Kill buyers have been known to tell the transporters to get rid of them because they do not want the expense of returning the horses to the feedlot when most probably wouldn’t survive the return trip anyway. So they are turned loose.

Horses turned loose like this have been rescued when known about but most die a long, agonizing death, as the numerous carcasses that have been found tell us.

There are several kill buyer lists on the internet. If you learn of any, please report them to us anyone on the list below. But do not approach them. They can be very dangerous people.

It is amazing how much these people look like the ruthless killers they are; like serial killers. Very creepy.


 Killer Buyers Exposed on Facebook »

Kill Buyers and Horse Dealers in the USA — Equine Rescue Network »

 Known Killer Buyer List — Mary Nash’s Horsemeat Website »

 Kill Buyers of Horses United States — My Horse Forum »


See Animals’ Angels page on Horse Slaughter. Contains video footage. Viewer discretion advised.  »


See Finding a Home for Your Horse »

See Insuring Your Horse for a Humane End »


See Mexican Horse Slaughterhouses | On the Road In Mexico

Slaughterbound horses. Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

How horse meat might get into the US food system

Horse meat cuts painted on a live, grazing horse.

I know most of you have read or heard something on this subject, but it’s worth repeating … and repeating and repeating. This is a well researched and written report. Don’t be misled by the word “might” in the title. It is happening. Read full report at the links provided. —Ed.

Cross-posted from Pacific Standard Magazine

Exotic game meat is a specialty food item that’s becoming increasingly less special—currently it’s a $39 billion a year industry. This might be great news for consumers with a taste for bear, yak, lion, or beaver (you can place an online order with a quick click), but it’s not so great in terms of knowing what’s in our food.

Exotic meats shipped globally have long had a reputation for being mislabeled (in some cases, almost 70 percent of the time) and, closer to home, a recent Chapman University study found that the problem was prevalent in the United States as well.

More to the point—and of possible concern to those who aren’t even in the market for exotic meat—the study found that some imported game contained traces of something that’s illegal to produce and sell commercially in the U.S.: horse meat.

EU Horse Meat Scandal Cartoon

Exactly how horse meat gets mixed up with other meat (processed or exotic) is hard to say.

There are multiple points where supply chains might cross and most of them are obscured by the intricately global nature of the trade.

But one pipeline stands out as a perfectly plausible source. Notably, it begins and ends in the U.S.

That pipeline originates with a group of brokers known as “kill buyers.”

Kill buyers purchase horses at auction—or from private sellers—and turn around and sell them to slaughterhouses in Mexico (and Canada).

For the most part, these horses are rodeo, racing, riding, and breeding stock. But they also come from Bureau of Land Management holding facilities, where wild horses rounded up from public lands (to appease ranchers) and at public expense are held in captivity—for life.

So, when horses leave the U.S. to become horse meat in Mexico they can, for all intents and purposes, sneak into the backdoor of any nation’s—and thus any company’s—food supply.

Read full report »

• Read Jane Allin’s report, “Eating Horses.”

• Raise Awareness. Order your stop horse slaughter stop decal. Imagine the people you will reach! Easily adheres to any smooth, hard surface. Designed to hold up in any kind of weather. Two sizes: 3″ and 4″. Thank you.

13 Investigates: Indiana horses sent to slaughter

Horses on slaughter truck. HSUS photo.
Horses on slaughter truck. HSUS photo.
Horses on slaughter truck. HSUS photo.

Cross-posted from WTHR-TV Ch. 13 Indianapolis

Indianapolis — Despite the closure of all horse slaughterhouses in the United States, 13 Investigates has discovered thousands of Indiana horses are still ending up on dinner plates. A 3-month Eyewitness News investigation shows local horses are being slaughtered for their meat following a long journey that begins in Indiana, and undercover video raises questions about how the horses are killed.

Race horses, work horses, and ponies that used to be pets – they are among thousands of horses sold each year at livestock auctions in Indiana.

The auctions are the beginning of a long pipeline that fuels a multi-million dollar horse meat industry, and an Eyewitness News undercover investigation followed that pipeline to see how it works.

Many of the horses begin their journey at the Shipshewana Horse Auction in northern Indiana.

This month, WTHR attended the auction and watched one man purchase most of the horses. Jeroslav Gold, owner of Roping J Ranch in Fair Haven, Mich., is known as a “kill buyer” because many of the horses he buys are sent to slaughter.

After Gold bought dozens of horses in Shipshewana, they were taken to a large holding pen behind the auction barn. Thirty-six hours later, just before midnight on a Saturday evening, the horses were loaded onto a livestock trailer and transported to his farm. 13 Investigates then followed a truckload of Gold’s horses to Canada, where they were delivered to the Viande Richelieu slaughterhouse in Massueville, Quebec.

The 15-hour truck ride from Shipshewana to Richelieu (stops not included) covers more than 800 miles.

The animal rights activists closed down all the [US] slaughterhouses, so that’s fine and dandy,” Gold said. “But the real end result of their work is horses now go to Canada and Mexico on long trips. They’re still being slaughtered, so what did that accomplish?

Read full report >>

Campaign launches to protect Badlands Mustangs from going to slaughter

Theodore Roosevelt National Park to Remove and Sell over 100 Wild Horses


The Cloud Foundation Logo

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 9, 2013) – Over 100 young wild horses living in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the North Dakota Badlands will be rounded up with a helicopter at the end of September and auctioned off on September 28 in Wishek, ND.

In the past, numerous horses have been purchased by kill buyers and were taken to slaughter.

The Cloud Foundation (TCF) of Colorado Springs and Legacy Mustang Preservation (LMP) of Louisa, Virginia have partnered to purchase over 20 young wild horses and are leading an effort to get other groups and individuals to show up at the auction to bid against the kill buyers.

“Traditionally there have not been enough good buyers to prevent the kill buyers from acquiring these mustangs,” says Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation and an Emmy Award-Winning Filmmaker. “We aim to encourage enough well-intentioned people who want a quality horse to come to the auction and outbid the kill buyers.”

TCF is named for Cloud, the dramatic palomino stallion who stars in Kathrens’ three popular PBS Nature series documentaries. TCF is a leading national advocacy organization dedicated to the preservation of wild horses and burros on our public lands. They are partnering with Legacy Mustang Preservation of Louisa, Virginia, who have committed to bringing at least 20 young horses to the East Coast for training and placement with qualified adopters.

“We will not be bidding against people who want a great companion animal,” says Lisa Friday of LMP and a Board Member of TCF. “But we will attempt to acquire those animals that may not get bids, or are being bid on by the kill buyers. We are determined to ensure that no Badlands Mustangs end up in a slaughterhouse this time around.”

Friday already has a record of taking mustangs to Virginia. Her famous “Pryor Nine” from Cloud’s Pryor Mountain herd in Montana graze on green eastern pastures because of her efforts. “We believe there is an eager market for nature-crafted horses that are strong and smart,” adds Friday.

TCF and LMP are proud to assist the North Dakota Badlands Horse (NDBH) group, made up of owners and enthusiasts of these horses, who have been working tirelessly since 2009 to make the public aware of the beauty, quality, and trainability of these horses. Marylu Weber, who created the group, has been documenting the herd for close to 20 years. Her photographic catalog of likely removal candidates can be viewed at:

“I would encourage everyone to look at these magnificent horses, as they have proven themselves to be very willing companions,” encourages Weber. “The last place these historic horses belong is in a slaughterhouse. We cannot allow this to happen.”

The horses of the Badlands trace their history to the horses of the native Americans who traveled to ancestral hunting ground in the Badlands, US Cavalry mounts bred in the nearby remount station, and sturdy horses that pulled the wagons of the first pioneers and homesteaders to locate in the area.

TCF, LMP, and NDBH hope to meet with Park officials in a few weeks to explore ways to prevent these large removals in the future through the use of reversible fertility control drugs to limit reproduction. TCF’s message is consistent with the management strategies that have been implemented in Cloud’s Pryor Mountain herd and elsewhere: if reproduction and mortality can be kept roughly equal over time, there will be no need for removals.

“Our goal is this: any foal born in the wild will have the chance to live its life in freedom with its family on its own terms,” explains Kathrens. “Obviously natural predation is the best manager of any prey species, but until that time comes, we have the humane means to regulate reproduction with reversible drugs.”

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