Turkishvan, you have the wrong idea about horse auctions. A horse that's worth much more than the low slaughter prices will not go to slaughter. An auction brings many potential buyers. Think of it. If you were looking for a horse, wouldn't it be easier and less time consuming to be able to look at 25 at one place in one day, than running all over the country for weeks or months?
I've been to many a horse auction here in Iowa, so I KNOW how they go. Auctions are not the place to go when you want a good horse, pure and simple. They're usually places people go to pick up a few, ride them out, then make a quick sale on. Anything that doesn't look even remotely possible of riding gets sold to the packers. Private sales are much better for the horse.
I will tell you that good horses (worth thousands!) WILL go to slaughter, regardless of breeding, training, etc. I've seen it happen. We had a nearby auction selling some very, very nice, very well bred Egyptian Arabians. Papered, nice conformation, been handled extensively, etc. They even had their own GROOM. Guess how much they went for? $25 a piece. Seven nice, nice horses. The groom bought 2, but didn't have room for more. He was devastated. But the owner said to sell, no matter how low the price. I heard several people joking about them being "cheaper than a bag of dog food", so you know what they were going to do with them. (I unfortunately I knew some of the slimeballs frequenting that auction, so I'm sure they did go and slaughter them for their dogs.)
Around here, an auction brings mostly packers. People wanting more than $1,000 for a horse usually don't get the horse sold. The auctioneer really has to work for a sale like that.
Personally, I try to avoid buying a horse from an auction. We never have, and we own 8 horses. (I only attend to buy cheap tack items, or see what the horse market is like.) We only buy through private sales. Auction houses are just rifled with disease, and I'm always extra careful to wash my hands so I don't bring something home to my own horses. I've seen wayyyy too many horses at the auction with obvious cases of strangles, bad injuries, etc. They're pushed through and sold, regardless of this.
Where is the vet in all of this, you ask?
Unfortunately there is not much the vet can do sometimes.
My cousin is a vet, and worked for two sale barns on two separate occasions, and told them she'd never come back afterwards. Being a very responsible vet, she demanded Coggins tests and health certificates for every horse, with thorough inspections and notes to back everything up. At first she wanted the buyer to pay for it, but they complained. Then she asked the sellers to pay for it, and they complained. No matter what she did, the buyers, sellers, and auction employees complained like crazy. She was met with quite a bit of animosity from random people, and got backed into a corner more than once by a yelling buyer/seller. Her male friend had to come defend her. When she contacted the state vet, he told her, "Oh, it doesn't matter who it goes for." The state vet was very wishy-washy about the entire affair, and although she filed complaints about situations at one barn, nothing ever came of it.
The problem is that none of the higher-ups care.
So no, I don't have the wrong idea about horse auctions. I would never subject my horse to one, even a horse that I didn't care for.