USA | Montana | Billings Horse Auction
We return to the monthly horse sale held in Billings. The auction, which is one of the largest horse sales in the country, markets approximately 700 horses each time and attracts hundreds of buyers from the surrounding states. We arrive early, but the pens are already crowded. The loose horses are kept in the larger pens at the back of the premises. These pens still offer no shelter, and several are very muddy. Aggressive horses are observed fighting and kicking others in the same pen. The majority of the horses seem to be in condition and weight. However, there are exceptions. One grey mare has a fresh eye injury that is bleeding profusely. A group of horses, all kept in the same pen, have obvious eye infections, snotty noses, and are coughing. In a separate pen, a gelding is lying flat on his side, completely motionless. Auction visitors make him get up several times, but he immediately lays back down.
Loose horses are purchased very cheap. During loading, the handling by some of the buyers is very rough, they yell and scream at the animals and hit them on the face. The frightened horses are extremely agitated and are heard kicking and hitting the trailer sides.
Despite a sign prominently posted at the auction entrance, stating that no injured or sick animals will be accepted for sale, we have observed the contrary every single time we have attended this sale. All observed violations will be reported to the relevant authorities.