14. September 2018

USA | Sugarcreek | Horse auction

Eight horses are crammed together in a small pen, without water.

A white horse is emaciated with a prominent spine, hip bones and ribs.

A worker hits the frightened horses with a stick.

Together with our partner organisation Animals’ Angels USA, we inspect a horse auction in Sugarcreek, Ohio. This is where disused horses are purchased by so-called kill buyers. The closest horse slaughterhouse is located in Québec, Canada, more than 1.100 km away from here.

The auction’s pen area is half empty today, only about 40 horses are present. We notice that the majority of them are “slaughter prospects”. Several are thin, a white mare is emaciated. Many have long, neglected hooves and some are lame. Several are Standardbreds and appear to be former buggy horses. Despite the fact that there are numerous empty pens, workers have put five to eight horses together in small pens, causing some animals to kick or bite. We note that they have not been provided with water. 

The sale starts at noon. Workers move the horses in groups of ten closer to the auction ring. Some of them panic right before the entrance to the ring. The handling is very poor. A worker mercilessly hits the frightened animals with his stick, even across their heads and faces. Kill buyer Fred Bauer buys most of the horses. After the sale, they are loaded immediately.

We will continue to monitor auctions in the US and the activities of the kill buyers.