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I also don't like that we've closed down US Equine slaughterhouses since they were at least regulated by the FDA and provided more humane death.

I largely agree with this when the option is left open to ship them out of the US for slaughter. The intent of the law was, I feel sure, was to stop the slaughter of horses. Why the loophole that was missed has not been closed to fulfill the intent of the law I do not understand.


The "largely" I mentioned is that yes, with the FDA involved, there was a 'more' humane death. But I'm inclined to believe that horses cannot be slaughtered in a slaughter plant humanely.


This from a person that was raised in an area where there were a lot more draft horses working the land than tractors and no one thought anything about sending horses to slaughter.


What can I say? Back then no one, or not many at least, thought much about a lion spending it's entire life pacing a concrete floor back and forth in front of steel bars.


I was called 'chicken hearted' back then. Guess I still am.


Job in CA sounds like one a horse person could easily burn out on.
 

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@Hondo - in CA, I had a regular full time job and also raised and trained QHs and Paints. Working with the cat farm was my way to help support them AND the horses donated to them as cat food. Lame horses were treated holistically with a vet's guidance to keep them comfortable. Horses that couldn't be kept comfortable without drugs were humanely euthanized by the vet. These were donated animals owned by the cat farm. All I could do was ensure they had 45 good days. If I didn't, who knows what their last days might have been.

My Mom bred German Shepherd Dogs when I was young. We fed the pregnant and lactating females a lb of raw horse meat each day. That was back when you could get it. Maybe that memory colors my opinion on US slaughterhouses. I don't see any reduction in how many horses to go slaughter; just the increased abuse they suffer on the way.
 

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@AnitaAnne I was a member of many kill pen groups on FB. I left every single group just to heart breaking to see so many horses standing in over crowded pens.

I Know I can't afford to be rescuing horses from kill pens. So I no longer look at any kill pen horses. I have my two boys ,and do the very best I can for them. That's the best I can do take care of my horses see to there needs.

Won't risk there health well being bringing in a kill pen horse. Not worth the risk or heart break. I don't and won't look at any kill pen site just not going there...I can't help those horses. And know my limit on what I can afford.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
I appreciate everyone's input. I am still not sure what I can or should be doing, but I have decided not to rescue those two little fillies. I hope someone does, and have prayed about it.

I did not intend this to be a discussion on slaughterhouses. There are already many threads started on that issue.

I realize threads digress and with the topic it is easy to do, but this is about the Kill Pen horses, and how the kill pens operate. How the horses are treated there, the diseases they encounter. Why it is so difficult, and expensive, to rescue any of them. Why so many horse go to kill pens, and if there is a way to intervene before they arrive.
 

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I realize threads digress and with the topic it is easy to do, but this is about the Kill Pen horses, and how the kill pens operate. How the horses are treated there, the diseases they encounter. Why it is so difficult, and expensive, to rescue any of them. Why so many horse go to kill pens, and if there is a way to intervene before they arrive.
Most of the kill pens or I should say Kill Buyer's Pens, are pretty much no frills. Depending on size of pen and how many horses are in there, they may have 1 or more big round bale in for everyone to eat off of. There's no separating out low horses who get run off, they just get thin. Most of them don't feed grain to your average KP horse.

Some, like one of Joe Simon's operation down the street from me, are pretty clean and have lots of room for the horses to move around and graze. For Joe, it's a business. He can't sell sick, skinny or lame horses for any kind of money, so it's in his best interest to fatten them up and get them healthy. He flips more horses than he ships these days.

That doesn't mean any horse I pick up from there doesn't go immediately into a 60 day (minimum) quarantine. They do. Of the 2 quarantine horses I picked up, the one from Joe's looked the best and sounded good and in 3 days was the sickest.

The 2nd came from the 7th level of hell, a SE OK KP that was a pig pen. Actually, the pigs might have revolted. The place was a pit. They used a pic from heck I don't know, 1942, to market that mare. She was stunning and looked like she just stepped out of the pages of Arabian Horse World. In.the.ad. When I got down there, I wasn't sure she was going to make it home with me. She was a barely a 1 on the scale, there wasn't a bone I couldn't see easily and she was SICK. Slinging snot, coughing, running a fever. I called her new owner and asked if she even wanted me to pick the mare up. She did, so I loaded her up and called my vet from 4 hrs away and told her, "I don't know if she's going to still be alive once we hit home but if she is, I'm gonna need you ASAP.". God bless that woman, she was in my front yard when we pulled up. We got a good heavy blanket on the mare, vitals done and antibiotics administered along with some Banamine for fever.

She responded well to treatment, ended up having ulcers, so we treated for those too. Dewormed her a couple of times to get her worm load under control and threw hay and concentrated feed and vitamins at her 24/7 for 120 days before she was deemed well enough to ship on to her final destination. The first guy got better enough to go home, though he was being treated for some kind of crud for 3 or 4 months AFTER he spend 60 days with me. Her vet bills on these 2...........ay yi yi! #1 was halter broke and easy to handle, plus just a super calm natured fellow. #2 was feral. I got her halter broke and lead line broke and got her doing some ground work. Got the farrier out just before she left for home and got her fronts done. I could pick up her hinds very briefly but she wasn't having any part of the farrier picking those up. Got her loading and unloading from the trailer, sanely and got her over all to relax from a 10 on the "OMIGOD OMIGOD" scale to about 6-7 most of the time. She's the one the gal had to give away. At the end of her stay she had gone from 2 hours of walking her down (as skinny and sick as she was) to about 5 mins or less FOR ME. Anyone else.......well.

I think I've answered your "Why is it so difficult and expensive to rescue them?" in the above paragraphs. The get shuffled around, no protection from other horses if they are low on the pole, barely enough food to keep body and soul together and in many cases not even that. A lot of the guys who run those KPs are SCUM and that's being generous. The horses are exposed to other horses from all over the country, so they have no immune defenses built up to things that are common in another area and never seen here. Strangles is pretty much endemic and they care nothing for quarantine. Most of the time they don't have the basic paperwork, no Coggins, no Vaccine history, no idea if they've ever been dewormed and most are super in need of remedial farrier work. So, not only do you have to basically start over on the basic care things, then you have to treat whatever illness(es) they're carrying, you need a place that will do a STRICT quarantine (NOT the bro in law of the KP guy who will "QT" them for 30 days for $350. That kind of QT keeps them on the lot with other KP horses, still swappin' snot and spit. You need an USDA certified QT facility or one that isn't certified but knows how to do it by the book and does it. That kind of facility is not cheap, there's a HUGE amount of physical work and paper work involved in a REAL QT.), count on having to deworm them in small doses several times before the vet gives you the ok to do a full dose, then there's the teeth. They almost always need their teeth done on top of all the other vet work they're needing. They're pretty much treated like Widgets, nothing personal, strictly business. And frequently no good business either.

How can we intervene? Try to reach out to people who are liquidating their herds. Try to get them to let someone help market those horses before they get dropped off at auction. Go out and take some pics of their herd so they can show what they're trying to sell. Help them get the horses' paperwork in order and up to date. Foster from a clean herd, if you can. Offer to halter break and teach to lead, if you're capable to do it without getting hurt. Help round them up and loaded when the day comes that they're going to their new home(s). Sometimes these kind of horses have not been on a trailer since before they were weaned and they need special loading. Above all don't be judgmental. Frequently these owners are just in over their heads. Keep an eye open for herds near you where the owner is getting elderly and might be ready to let go of some horses, if they think they can get good homes.

Stay away from those emotional hostage taker's sites. Those horses are frequently there for a very good reason. And it won't be disclosed, I promise.
 

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I did not intend this to be a discussion on slaughterhouses. Why so many horse go to kill pens, and if there is a way to intervene before they arrive.

I understand what you're saying but I just don't see how there could be a discussion about kill pens without slaughter houses as that is the destination for kill pen horses. (other than the trickery mentioned)


My firm belief and opinion is that as long as there is a pipeline to slaughter, there will be killpens and kill buyers. If the avenue to slaughter is finally and entirely closed, the owners of unwanted horses will be forced to look for another option, euthanasia, finding someone that wants the horse, or keeping it.


In the case of keeping the horse abusively in terms of care, health, and feeding, there are laws about that already but those could need review in some instances.


Another firm belief and opinion is that breeding horses just to see what will come out with plans to get rid of the baby if it doesn't turn out would be reduced. Significantly even. I can name at least 6 horses that I've known personally, petted, groomed, trimmed some, etc. that were born on just that premise and will likely wind up in a kill pen.


The owners, whom I also know, would be very reluctant to do this type of breeding if they thought they'd be faced with "keep it or kill it yourself".


If slaughter were closed without loopholes, a new more humane pipeline would have to be figured out.


I agree that just yanking the FDA inspectors was a disaster for the poor horses as it created the kill pens as they now exist which is the topic of the thread.
 

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This isn't a fake KP, its the real deal. She was sold or shipped. He doesn't keep them longer than the deadline, no exceptions. He only shows ridden the ones that were ridden at the auction.
Well. That's unspeakably sad. I hope she was sold and he just took the video off without explanation... but again... he could have indeed sold her, took it down, in the hopes it twangs the heartstrings of the next person on the fence of buying one. I put nothing past kill penners, real or fake... to make a buck.

Sadly, until we can convince people it's better to reopen slaughter houses here in the US (not gonna happen - I've read the comments on various horse videos and cow videos on FB and elsewhere and people are so far removed from reality when it comes to large animals it's just insane!) where the treatment of the horses can be monitored and somewhat controlled by regulation, kill pens, real and fake, are going to continue to thrive and unwanted horses will continue to pile up.
 

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Cats and dogs have been both in service to humans and companions for a way long time. Looking back over history, the same is true for horses.


I believe it is wrong to classify horses with herds of sheep, herds of goats, herds of cows, pens full of pigs. Those are livestock. Horses are more than that and for the most part always have been. They were not handled in herds. They worked, and still work, individually side by side with with humans, just like dogs do.


Horses do not deserve to be crated and trucked to another country for slaughter. They do not deserve to be slaughtered in the US at all. The deserve at the very least a painless euthanasia.


I strongly oppose reopening horse slaughter houses in the US. I strongly support H.R. 961 which would make it illegal to ship horses to Canada or Mexico for slaughter.
 

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@AnitaAnne, I have loved horses (and animals in general) since before I can remember. When circumstances have allowed I've tried to honor my 4-legged friends by giving a home to one of their brethren in need. I've felt fortunate that I've been able to do that on occasion but it's not practical for everyone to be able to do the same.

For those that can I always offer this advise.

1) do not expect this horse to be anything but a pasture ornament. Count it as a pleasant surprise if the horse turns out to be of sound mind and body. If you want a riding horse buy one that is currently a riding horse and save the rescue/rehab thing as an addition to the one you already have. Do not depend on being able to sell them after rehab. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can't so it's best to plan on keeping them.

2) have money and time to spare.

3) be prepared to euthanize. Whether that's because of a broken body or a broken mind if they can't be rehabbed you have to be ready to put them or have them put down. You can't do any good for the fixable ones if your seriously maimed or dead or broke from dumping money into a lost cause. And it's just not right to pass them along.

The best way to find these horses are to put feelers out. Vets, farriers, feed mills, tack shops are places that hear of owners desperate to find homes for a horse they can no longer afford or have aged and are no longer healthy enough to care for it. Low end auctions too but be prepared for the need to do a strict quarantine.

All that is cautionary tell but I've never regretted a single one I took in. Not that it was always happy endings but the ones that bloomed made it all worth it.
 

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@AnitaAnne, I have loved horses (and animals in general) since before I can remember. When circumstances have allowed I've tried to honor my 4-legged friends by giving a home to one of their brethren in need. I've felt fortunate that I've been able to do that on occasion but it's not practical for everyone to be able to do the same.

For those that can I always offer this advise.

1) do not expect this horse to be anything but a pasture ornament. Count it as a pleasant surprise if the horse turns out to be of sound mind and body. If you want a riding horse buy one that is currently a riding horse and save the rescue/rehab thing as an addition to the one you already have. Do not depend on being able to sell them after rehab. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can't so it's best to plan on keeping them.

2) have money and time to spare.

3) be prepared to euthanize. Whether that's because of a broken body or a broken mind if they can't be rehabbed you have to be ready to put them or have them put down. You can't do any good for the fixable ones if your seriously maimed or dead or broke from dumping money into a lost cause. And it's just not right to pass them along.

The best way to find these horses are to put feelers out. Vets, farriers, feed mills, tack shops are places that hear of owners desperate to find homes for a horse they can no longer afford or have aged and are no longer healthy enough to care for it. Low end auctions too but be prepared for the need to do a strict quarantine.

All that is cautionary tell but I've never regretted a single one I took in. Not that it was always happy endings but the ones that bloomed made it all worth it.
Sally, Outback's momma, is the ONLY kp horse that came on our place. I'm 100% sure she didn't get a happy ending... but her baby did. She was just too far gone, mentally, to salvage and it's sad - somewhere along the way she was either ignored, mishandled, or abused, or just allowed to be pig headed ignorant so long as she was a baby factory. I still suspect she was a herd reduction mare, and at 16, entering a stage in her life where she might start being hit or miss on producing foals, so... away with her to the KP.

But that's just what I imagine her life was like. Who knows - could have been a dabbling back yard breeder with no plan and no way to feed her. Could have been an accidental exposure to a stallion that could have produced a foal with genetic malfunctions, just sold Sally off and was done with it. We will never know.

I just know so far, Outback has been the best trade I've ever made - traded a little kid's saddle to daughter for Outback... and it's kinda shady because I bought the saddle with the sole intent of giving it to babygirl anyway... but I think we all kinda know my daughter doesn't want to take the time to teach a young horse the right way... It was worth the shady dealings to get her labeled as 'mine'.

For Outback alone, I am thankful to Sally, and wherever she is - I hope she forgives us for not being able to 'fix' her.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
OTTB seem to have a pretty good outcome, and are popular. Not sure how many TB wind up in a kill pen directly off the track, but it does happen.

Friends of mine purchased three TB from a lady out in Arizona. She would go to the local tract and speak to the owners about selling cheaply for a good home. She would find horses for people that were good natured and sound for riding. The horses would leave the track at age seven, and the lucky ones that had new homes to go to sometimes left right after winning a race.

My friends only paid $800/horse, and she delivered them for another $200.

She couldn't save them all, but rehomed a lot of them. Most of the owners were ok with the low prices to find them a home.
 

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What an ugly term, it would be great if there was no need for "Kill Buyers."

Through perseverance and persistence, we educate and engage all Americans to help resolve this heartwrenching and unnecessary cruelty.

My vote, if you have the means yes, save them.
 

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Discussion Starter #53
What an ugly term, it would be great if there was no need for "Kill Buyers."

Through perseverance and persistence, we educate and engage all Americans to help resolve this heartwrenching and unnecessary cruelty.

My vote, if you have the means yes, save them.
Thank you, but it is too late for these fillies. They are gone :frown_color: Only have a few days to rescue from kill buyers...

Right now there is a 7 yr old TWH for $700 that belonged to friends of his, he said the wife couldn't ride anymore (some health condition) so sent the horse to him! So very sad. A nice riding horse in his Prime, sent to a kill buyer! Heartbreaking
 

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Coming from an area that is predominately QH and Paint, it shocks me that broke gaited horses end up at the KB. It is very hard to find cheap, well broke gaited horses here. That said, we also do not have a huge market for gaited horses either, and our market is just as over saturated in Canada as it is in the States. When people call me looking for gaited horses, they want seasoned, well broke, and smooth. A walker with 90 days on it just doesn't turn around for these buyers.

We receive quite a few horses that were purchased at auction, where the client bid against the KB. The newest batch includes 3 well broke horses and one halter broke registered morgan.
Previously the client has sent a registered, well bred walker that was not broke, as well as a 15 year old gorgeous appaloosa mare who was incredibly well broke. These are the tip of the ice burg, most have little to no education at all.

The worst part of this whole process was learning how many babies are run through auction only to be bid on by the KB.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
There are just too many horses being bred and not enough homes for them.

Horrible, I agree to see the babies go to the KB. Or really any of them. The TWH was described as white, and hooves need shoes. I suspect that was the real reason the horse was sold; because he had soft, white feet. He might have been a cream, but anyway light colored gaited horses are not very popular. I nearly called about him, but I am full with the three I have. I could fit a forth horse, but time and money for 4 I can't do.

He was very smooth looking. His ad went down the next night, so hopefully is in a better home now. Also were two QH, both very well trained, came from same home. A 25 yr old buckskin and a 15 yr old chestnut. Their ads went down earlier than the deadline too, hopefully someone bought both of them, as they were bonded.
 

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Anytime I hear someone say they can't afford to pts an animal, I say you can't afford to have an animal if you can't afford the medical bills.


Which brings me to the issue that medical costs for 5 equines could get really high.
Yes. People try to give me horses all the time. I have taken a couple free horses and could have had dozens more over the years.

People also offer me low cost pasture boarding, so I can have more horses. People I know look for lower cost boarding so they can put a horse or two out to pasture and have more horses.

What limits me personally is that I know horses don't stay in a static state. You can buy a healthy horse, even a young one, and they can have a major injury, sever a tendon or something and require expensive vet care. They can get Lyme disease, Cushing's, Laminitis, PSSM. They can lose all their teeth and need an expensive soaked diet.

A friend of mine wants me to put my mare "out to pasture" on her farm so I can afford another riding horse. My mare is 29 with Cushing's. I need to watch her closely for white line disease and infections so I can catch them early. I need to make sure she takes her Prascend every day. I need to soak her pelleted vitamins so she doesn't get choke since her teeth are not good. If she begins losing weight, I will need to adjust her diet as she ages more.

A person might think a young horse will not have problems, but although there is less risk, there are no guarantees. I personally won't take on more horses than I can care for if they become injured or ill. A person might think they could sell the horse to a good home if their finances changed, but an injured young horse is no more sellable than an old horse. Especially if the condition is permanent. And it's not always a good decision to put down a young horse with a permanent issue. Sometimes they can't be ridden but still are pain free and having a good life. Or they need expensive shoeing that keeps them sound, but makes them difficult to find a home for.

My opinion is that we can all do our part by taking the best care we can of the horses we have. If everyone did that, there would not be a kill buyer problem. At some point in your life, you will probably be ready for a new horse, as I have been at times, and then you can take on a needy horse with all their expenses and feel great about it.
That doesn't mean we should feel like we ought to save all the needy horses we see. If you looked around your own community, you could probably find a new one every day.

Many well meaning people "rescue" horses that end up needing to be rescued from them. Taking on more horses than you can care for and then being unable to give them the best care might be a worse feeling than knowing you can't help all the others out there. These ones are your responsibility, after all.
 
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