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What Goes On at the Horse Auctions (long)

Susan Vuturo
I live in Louisville, KY.  Every other Monday night, there is an
auction in nearby Shepherdsville, KY.  Here is a letter that my
friend, Tonya, sent me after attending this auction looking for
Arabians to rescue.  Tonya, by the way, is President of KARE,
Kentucky Arabian Rescue Effort.

"Denise and I went to the auction tonight.  There were no Arabs
there, but I had forgotten in the past few months how horrible it
is.  There were about 20 horses in the kill pen.  There were at
least three gorgeous straight-off-the-track thoroughbreds in
there.  There were fit and lean, shiny coats, pulled manes, and
aluminum shoes.  One had a bowed tendon and one had no visible 
injuries at all.  One big bay gelding came trotting right over to
the fence and shoved his nose in my fact to be petted - a real
sweetheart.  He even let me look at his lip tatoo.  There were
several foundered horses in there as usual, and it just kills me
to watch them try to get away from the few rowdy horses who were
chasing, kicking, and biting.  They hobble along on foundered
feet in such pain, and just try to stick their heads in a corner
and hide.  There was a large belgian that was so severely 
foundered he was standing incredibly stretched out.  I don't know
how he kept his balance.

There was a belgian tied to the wall (which is like torture in
the kill pen, he couldn't get away) with his eye gouged out 
(literally gone!) and pus oozing from the socket.  There was an
old leopard appaloosa that was skin and bones, the worst I've
seen in a long time!  There were several malnourished, stunted
horses in there, and a severely sway-backed Quarter Horse --
almost deformed looking.  There were two young boys sitting on
the fence and one of them tried to jump on the skinny appaloosa.
They saw me watching them and got back on the fence. Later, we
were outside the wall and saw them throwing rocks and making all
the horses run in panic.  Denise and I ran in and sarted yelling
at them to stop.  Poor Denise was distraught.  She said, "This is
the last place these horses will ever be before they're dead.  
Don't you dare chase them with rocks!"  

Inside the auction barn, there was an old gray horse tied in a 
stall, who had severe lacerations on his legs and head.  He just
stood there staring forward not moving.  There were 180 paint
colts being moved through the sale ring.  The auctioneer poked
each one who came through.  The entire time in the ring, the 
colts were smacked on the rump, punched in the ribs, and poked
with a cane, usually in the face -- EVERY HORSE!. 

There was also the usual rough treatment by the dealers.  One man
was repeatedly whipping a small burro that was scared to death.
Several yearlings didn't know which way to go and the men kept
screaming at them and smacking them with canes (some of which 
were wrapped in barbed wire!).

I'm sorry to be so graphic, but everyone should know how truly
awful these auctions are."  (KARE had very little money at this
time, or Tonya would surely have rescued at least one of the

Please, please, if you can -- rescue!  No horse deserves this 
kind of treatment.  If your horse is too old, sick, lame, or
whatever, have your vet put it down.  Don't make your horse go
through this horror -- not to mention the actual trailer trip
to the slaughter house (which is another story in itself!!).

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