27. January 2019

USA | Billings | Horse auction

At the Billings auction, horses are kept in open pens with dirty, frozen grounds.

A bleeding wound (typical transport injury) that is left untreated.

The horses stay in these snow-covered pens overnight without any weather protection.

Unloading at the assembly centre of Bouvry in Shelby the next day.

Together with our partners form Animals’ Angels USA, we return to the horse auction in Billings, Montana. When we arrive at the auction premises in the early morning, the temperature is below zero. 118 horses are present at the auction, including approximately 100 “loose horses” (destined for slaughter). They are kept in outdoor pens, where the ground is very muddy and covered in manure.

The handling in the auction ring is rough. When several horses express fear entering the ring, the handler repeatedly hits them on the head. The 100 "loose horses" are sold within 60 minutes. Most of them are bought by a kill buyer who supplies the Bouvry slaughterhouse in Alberta, Canada.

After the sale, the horses are moved to pens in the back of the facilities and are divided by buyers. Several groups are left here overnight in frigid temperatures. Snow is covering the ground and the feed. The horses are left without shelter from the elements.

At 9:20 am on the next morning, the horses are loaded onto a trailer. Through a strong snowstorm, we follow the truck to Bouvry’s assembly centre in Shelby, Montana. From here, the animals will be exported to Canada for slaughter.

Our team is going to observe Bouvry’s facility in Shelby during the next days in order to assess if animal welfare conditions have improved over the past years.