Being a predominately east coast group, we don’t often think about what is happening on the west coast. That’s particularly true because there is so much mayhem taking place over here. This article is over a year old, but boy there are some telling facts here.
The horses are at a Zillah-based feedlot owned by Chuck Walker. Here’s an all too familiar story that is part of the article:
Rebels Equine Feedlot Sales (REFS), an organization that works with Walker’s Gary Seals Livestock, routinely sends out email alerts to animal adoption websites and Craigslist featuring photos and descriptions of healthy, highly adoptable horses at the feedlot, with a plea for intervention to prevent their imminent slaughter. Samantha Milbredt’s phone number and the website url for REFS are listed as the contacts for people interested in rescuing the horses. REFS states on their website that the animals they list for rescue “have been purchased by the feedlot owner for the purpose of re-sale to the Bovary Slaughterhouse in Canada,” where horse slaughter has been legal for years. It explains that Mildredt “has been given permission by the feedlot owner to assess and advertise the horses in the hope of seeing them safe in the hands of new owners.” What it doesn’t say is that the horses on the feedlot offered for “rescue” are sold to horse-loving buyers at significantly higher prices than Walker purchases them for from the kill buyers, often $600 or $700 each.
According to one horse advocacy source too frightened of retaliation to be named, who broke down in tears of despair and frustration, the healthy horses featured for sale in the photos often get sent on to slaughter because they return a higher profit for their meat. Some of the well-intentioned horse purchasers, who usually pay by cashier’s check or cash up front are presented with a different horse once they arrive to pick up the one they thought they were rescuing. Once buyers show up, they may be told that the horse they thought they were buying was kicked or hurt in some way and therefore sent to slaughter due to lameness, and they are offered another horse also “lined up for imminent slaughter.” Typically the horse they are offered turns out to be old and/or diseased and therefore not worth a good slaughterhouse price. According to our source, these horses are sometimes shot up with steroids to appear temporarily healthier and younger than they are.
Samantha Panayotopulos Milbredt is one of three people who run the website Rebels Equine Feedlot Sales (http://rebelsequinefeedlotsales.orgThere is no registered business in the State of Washington with that name. Milbredt is the registered owner of the Washington for-profit corporation Camelot Farms Inc., a boarding facility, and she is the sole proprietor of Columbia Basin Equine Rescue, also a for-profit business.
If you go on to finish reading the lengthy article, it’s very disturbing. Here’s an article where Sam Milbredt is interviewed:
A few excerpts that nearly knocked us off our rockers:
She said that it’s financially beneficial to Walker if he can sell a horse through REFS and not have to pay the cost to ship it to Canada for slaughter. She said, “There’s no doubt about it. He makes more selling it off.”
Then Milbredt returned to my original question about purchasing horses directly at auction. She said, “Absolutely. The rescue people should go directly to the auction to get horses. I think money usually brings out the worst in people. I’m just covering my expenses. There is no right or wrong way to rescue a horse. Who cares how you do it as long you’re saving horses?” She added, “Why is there a rescue Nazi who says you have to do it a certain way?”
Milbredt seemed confused by the controversy surrounding her. She said to me, “I go to church. I go to counseling. I’m a really, really good person. ”
Ah, the “Church” card. How many times have we heard that played?
And most recently, Shedrowconfessions, an awesome blog, weighed in on the esteemed Samantha Milbredt.
Rebels Equine Feedlot Sales operates out of the Pacific Northwest and pretty much exclusively deals with kill buyer, Chuck Walker. It is run by Sam Milbredt with the help of Helen Love and Cindy Dolowy. Love and Dolowy would tell you they are anti-slaughter, but you know the old saying about laying down with dogs and ending up with fleas…REFS is their current operating name, but many people would probably remember them better as Columbia Basin Equine Rescue and all the scams they ran under that name. You only need to take a quick tour around the fugly horse blog to get an idea on the types of scams Sam has run in the past. Here’s a link to start you off (http://fuglyblog.com/2011/01/17/keep-it-up-a-whole-new-generation-of-suckers-are-being-born/) Some of their past antics have included: misrepresenting listed horses, sending diseased horses into new homes, sending bailed horses to slaughter without telling anybody, bullet euthanized other horses that were paid for by sponsors without consulting them, placed numerous horses in unsuitable homes including placing some with somebody that sexually abused them. Yes, you read that last part right. They don’t give a shit about where those horses go or what happens to them and nothing has changed from one name change to another.
These groups marketing and placing horses that have sadly fallen into the hands of traders all seem to share the same play book. This brazen broad, Milbredt, openly admits to making significant profit for both herself and the feedlot owner. And it’s clearly noted that the healthier horses are the ones shipped to slaughter! If you think the other broker owned programs are any different, than we’ve got some beach front property in Arizona we’d like to show you.