WARNING!!! Graphic Images
Opinion submitted by Lyndsay Halligan. Click here to email questions or concerns
The Sad Truth Behind The Kill Pen Sites
The biggest misconception I see about Facebook sites and other kill buyers is that people think they are saving horses from slaughter.
The reality is that no one is saving anyone. If the slaughterhouse orders 100 horses that week, they are getting 100 horses that week. The owner of the kill pen site is not going to ship only 70 because 30 got bailed out on Equines for Rescue that week. They are going to make sure they have 30 EXTRA horses to list on Facebook so they can still fulfill their quota for the slaughterhouse contract.
If the kill pen owners decide to list 32 horses and they only bought 30 extra horses, it does not mean they will only ship 98 that week. It means that they will go purchase 2 more horses to fill the truck. Their trucks roll full with every single shipment. None of the horses that they want to go to slaughter are saved from slaughter. They make sure to fill their trucks with the nice, healthy, young, beefy horses, the horses that will make these businesses money. Knowing that people will bail out pretty much anything on the rescue page, the kill pen owner will buy 20-30 extra horses in any condition. They don’t have to make sure they’re healthy or in good weight or even sound. They will pick up cheap horses to make the most profit off of them. Horses that would be worthless to a slaughterhouse make wonderful profits for the owner of the kill pen pages. They also buy several flashy horses to entice people to the page and we have seen them pay more than meat prices for these horses. They are then marked up astronomically high for a kill pen to make a decent profit. They know that they will get it. And they do.
So we have 20-30 horses that are getting picked up every week at auction by kill pen owners to be listed on their Facebook groups. Horses that may have wound up in safe hands at the auction. Trust me when I say that kill buyers don’t just take the “unwanted” horses. They are very aware of who they are bidding against. As soon as another hand goes up, they check to see who the competition is. I have seen time and time again kill buyers bidding against private buyers. Young couples, parents with their teenage daughter, rescues, etc. Many of these horses were wanted by safe hands. They did not need the kill pen buyer to clean up after them. And yet, the kill buyers keep going against the private buyers, bid them up, and several times I’ve seen them bid higher than they should have just to win the bid and spite the private buyer.
The flip side to this is that kill buyers like Facebook “rescue sites” DO network horses that may have landed in unsafe hands with no chance to be saved. These horses may have been purchased by kill buyers who only direct ship and don’t deal with social media. In this situation, it does seem better for the horse to land in these peoples hands than someone else’s. However, you have to understand that in this situation you are dealing with nothing more than a dealer. These Facebook Group owners are acting as the dealer for the 30 horses posted each week. They weren’t purchased for slaughter. They were purchased for resale at a higher price. This is what dealers do. Only in this case, buying from these owners stock, you’ve chosen a dealer who offers no guarantee, no warranty, does not claim that the horse will be broke to ride, the same age as listed, sound, or even healthy. Hell, they don’t even guarantee the horse will live and doesn’t want to hear from you if the horse dies because there is no refund. Any other dealer would be shut down for operating this way.
Would you buy a TV that had no warranty to be in working condition out of the box? What if that TV was broken when you took it out? You would probably want a refund or exchange, correct? What if the store just simply said no? Would you report them? Complain to someone? Call the news and everyone you know and tell them not to shop there? You’d probably do at least one of those listed. It’s not how businesses are run. So why, when all of these horses are coming out sick and lame and even dying before pick up, why are people still supporting him? Because of the deadline. The deadline that is placed over these horses’ heads who were never purchased for slaughter in the first place.
Think about puppy mills. Puppy mills house dogs and puppies in filthy, overcrowded, unsanitary conditions where they are exposed to disease and left to die untreated for injury and sickness. Sound familiar? Sounds an awful lot like a kill pen to me. Do people run out and buy puppies from puppy mills to “save the ones who are there because it’s not their fault”? NO! People realize this only feeds the mill owners and that if more puppies are purchased, more will be produced. People work to shut down the puppy mills instead of supporting them, choosing to rescue, adopt, and buy puppies from reputable breeders. No one supports the puppy mills! Substitute “horses” for “puppies” and you have this guys rescue operation. WHY do people fail to see that the sensible thing to do is to STOP supporting these so called business owners and instead work on shutting down kill pens that continuously lack proper care for their horses? If you buy horses, they will keep providing horses. It’s simple. Stop buying horses and they will stop buying horses. Cut the demand and the supply will follow.
Three horses were not bailed from at least one Facebook rescue page this week. People feel like they failed the horses, and that they died for nothing. This is so far from untrue. The horses that did not get bailed would have given this kill buyer a profit to go out and buy 6-8 more horses with the funds they received from their sale. SIX TO EIGHT HORSES that we would never see. That would have shipped directly to Canada, with no 15 minutes of fame on social media sites. Six to eight lives that mattered to someone, at some point. That were just as important as the horses posted on the said Facebook Rescue site. The three horses that did not get bailed this week will not die in vain. They will sacrifice their lives to save six to eight other horses. That is, IF they ship. If the kill buyer has fulfilled his quota for the week to slaughter, they may hold them for another auction, or sell them to a dealer. Who knows what REALLY happens. Just know that IF they ship, they die under a very noble cause – to save triple their amount. It may not make a difference for next week, but trust me: if people stop bailing so many horses, they will stop buying and posting so many.
We HAVE to work together to stop kill pen businesses. There IS a way to shut these businesses down, and that’s to stop supporting them! You CAN shut them down and save horses from slaughter – don’t give them the funds to buy so many! Hurt their wallets and you hurt their business. Continue to pad their wallets and they will only grow. These kill pen businesses will only get stronger, bigger, worse. If you TRULY want to see these kill pen sites shut down, it starts with you. It starts with me.
Please join me in the fight against kill pens and instead save a horse at auction or from a rescue. Find a different outlet to save a life. To TRULY save a life. Bid against kill buyers. Show the world that you will not support the kill buyer. It is the only way to stop this madness and win the fight. We have to cut ties with the kill buyer if we want to see them shut down.
Courtesy of Before their last ride Facebook group. By Lyndsay Halligan
The identity of the Kill Pen owner has been omitted.
Feature photo credit to BCare77 – Out of the shadows, A voice for the horses, especially those who suffer