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Thursday, May 9, 2013

What a True Kill Auction is Like

You have heard me talk before about rescue groups who go to the auctions to buy horses who may end up being sent to slaughter.  Well courtesy of Horse Rescue United founder Anouk Busch, we have a third party description of a kill auction from the perspective of the horses written by her based on a trip Anouk made to the New Holland Sales.

Jessica: I had been shown no compassion. No love. No kind words. No understanding. I became a terrified, cranky, moody, mistrusting, kicking and biting mare who got dumped at New Holland Sales.

Cooper: I had been a faithful racehorse who earned my owners checks and earnings of about $25.000. Then I got amished and worked for about 6 years as a buggy horse. I worked so hard. Never complained. Always trusted. But when my stifle got too bad to hurry up and down the streets I got dumped at New Holland Sales.

Tristan: I was being somewhat happy in my former life. I worked and was lucky enough that my owners kept my manes and tail on me. I was playful even though I was a bit hungry. I was full of mud too. But I'm such a happy boy it didn't matter to me. Then my eye became a problem. It got worse and worse and I got no care. It hurt a lot and I could hardly see. Still I plowed the fields as I was told to do. But then my leg got lame and 1 day I found myself at New Holland Sales.

Justice: I was a kind buggy horse and I got in foal. Maybe by accident since when it became close for me to foal they brought me to New Holland Sales.

That day we all found a scary scenario...Tristan run through the ring first.

"Nobody wanted me.  One bid came and Oh My God, it was from the kill buyer.  One of the biggest kill buyers on the East Coast.  Then a girl raced her hand.  Nervous I glanced her way. The hammer fell. Sold for $ 35. Who bought me???  The girl raised her hand again. But the next horse already came through  they took the girl's number.  She seemed ok."

Then Cooper came in the ring.  The girl watched all the standardbreds closely and was waiting for a miserable mare to come through but Cooper...

She yelled does he have a tattoo?? When the killer bid on him last, "Yes, he rides and drives", yelled the auctioneer back.

 She bid. The killer bid one more time and hesitantly the girl raised her hand again.  $200 sold to the girl .

Then Justice came in.  The girl liked her kind look but she already had two. Her limit was two  and she was dead set on saving the miserable mare that she just knew would be kill.  She didn't bid; had to look away.  The mare sold for $150 to an Amish dealer.

Then finally near the end the miserable mare came in the ring. A low bid for kill.  Then the girl bid and the hammer fell for  $75.

Then the Coggins came back positive on the miserable mare (ed. note - later came back as a false positive) and the girl went and got Justice from the Amish guy who also sends to kill when the horse  can no longer  work... $200.

The girl promised she would pay one month quarantine on the miserable mare and try to help her if she could.

Well next thing you know we all ended up being Horse Rescue United horses.

Where we are loved, cared for, rehabilitated, treated with compassion, kindness, and adequate feed. We got retrained and even the miserable mare came to us. She's now named Jessica and is now the Belle of the Ball.

Please note that Justice sadly had a still born which we had named Astrea, a filly. Auctions houses are hotbeds for illnesses and the stress alone might have hurt her foal. we will never know. Justice thankfully recovered well from her loss thanks to her being fostered by her foster parents.  She is now happily adopted  and looks amazing.

Tristan now.
Tristan was found to have incurable cancer that has already spread to his bones. He is living out his live as HRU as long as we can keep him comfortable and happy.

Jessica has transformed from the scared, moody, and cranky mare to a kind, trying, and still feisty girl.  She loves her treats and has made more progress than any HRU horse has before.

Cooper was happily adopted out, but a history of reoccurring colic turned out to be fatal. We suspect he might have had a cancer mass internally.

Jessica is still waiting for an adoptive home as a pasture companion.  You can read and see more about her and other horses at or by checking out Horse Rescue United on Facebook.

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