Miniature Horses Rescued From Kill Buyers. Seriously?

In a recent interview with a USDA-APHIS office, we had the opportunity to speak with an employee who was on site at the DeKalb, Illinois horse slaughter house.  He assured us that in all his years of overseeing the horses delivered to the slaughter plant, he only witnessed one mini brought in for slaughter, and noted it was turned away as unfit for killing.

He went on to explain that it is an arduous task to butcher an animal, be it “horse or cow.”  That’s not difficult to understand.  He went on to say that it simply isn’t feasible to butcher minis; there would be no profit in it.

(Stay tuned for a full write-up on the interviews with the APHIS employees.  It will be quite educational!  We are following up with local USDA offices for additional information that pertains to New Holland area kill buyers and their activities.  As soon as we have all the research we will share.)

Minis are cute and the babies are so adorable.  But when these folks tell you they are rescuing them from the kill buyers, they are sadly twisting the truth.  If a kill buyer was truly bidding on these minis, it was so he and his partners could profit off of them through their own broker owned program.

Note the comment:

"Kill buyers are businessmen, ladies"

Yep, they sure are and they recognize there's a sucker born every second.


This Horse Was Never Going to Ship to Slaughter

Just look at this poor horse and your heart bleeds.  Then you read further and find out his eye and penis are both cancerous.  The prognosis is grim.  The eye and penis problem were obvious from the moment the rescuer's laid eyes on him.  (see pics and commentary below)

We are happy he is in better hands than he was.  They say they will euthanize him before his pain is unbearable.

They "bailed" this horse from Bruce Rotz.

Yes, Bruce who always used to buy meat horses.  Waayall, as they say down south, this ain't no meat horse. And the eye and penis issue was obvious to Rotz from the minute he laid eyes on him, too.

Bruce saw an opportunity.  

As For The Love Of Sophie notes, neither of Rotz's other two "programs" was interested in helping this horse.

The bottom line is once again, Rotzy gets the last laugh.  He just sold an unsellable horse.


Animals Angels Helps Reveal the Vicious Cycle of Auction to Broker

We are so appreciative of the work Animals Angels does.  In February they did an undercover investigation of Mel Hoover's auction on a very cold day.

Bruce Rotz was there as well as Chuck Beam, who purchases horse for Brian Moore.  And we know all too well the "rescues" who are marketing Moore and Rotz's horses.


Read it and weep.  This is what horses who end up in the auction house are subjected to time and time again.

Again, we ask, where are the authorities when this is going on?  Why isn't someone enforcing the PA Anti-cruelty laws?  Here's a horse with open strangles which is a highly contagious disease (and can be fatal) standing in a barn full of other horses that were dispersed to points unknown.  The horse is  in distress and needs antibiotics at a minimum.

Wonder how many horses that poor horse infected?  Because anyone who touched that horse, or touched anything he touched, walked through his dripping pus could so easily have passed it on to other horses in that barn or taken it home to their own horses.  Anyone who does proper quarantine knows the importance of biosecurity in barns where horses are brought together from many different places.  Do you think the barn was properly sanitized after the sale?  Do you think any of these barns practice biosecurity measures?

Here is another investigation of Mel's auction from last summer.  More of the same ugliness:


No consideration for any of the horses or other animals involved.  It's so painful to contemplate.

Two investigations into New Holland Sales Stable last summer.  Same players, add Jesse Austin (Cedar Ridge) to the mix.



This is a vicious circle for the animals caught up in it.  They are treated like trash in these auction houses.  The meat men circle like vultures and buy the cheap and healthy horses they can turn into meat and look for horses their marketers can sell that aren't worthy of shipping to slaughter.  The opportunistic "rescues" post out the horses designated for them to resell.

It would be hoped that you will think long and hard about supporting the people who are part of this process that so cruelly and compassionlessly exploits our horses.


You Be The Judge - Camp Horses or Meat Horses?

Is it Possible that Camp Horses Are Being Sold as Horses Going to Slaughter?

In view of certain commenters, to include Renee Koroly of EOTL Horse Placement (and her ardent supporters), who claims to purchase horses directly from the KB, let’s explore the very murky waters of horse rescues and brokers and their relationships. 

We’ve all heard the obvious “The truck is coming!” “This horse is going to slaughter!” “He’s owned by a KB and needs to fill his load!” which of course creates the drama and scrambling to open the pocketbooks in the name of the big “save.” And all of us are aware of the fact that any horse could end up at auction, including champions, a fact that this page will not dispute. But let’s just say that the person on whose property the horses are featured, who owns a large amount of horses and continues to keep buying for the purposes of their business—which is NOT horse slaughter—and then disposes of them after use to whomever will buy them, who may or may not be the KB—doesn’t that make them a dealer, rather than the true “killbuyer?” And if so, wouldn’t that make the broker claiming to rescue them actually dealing from a dealer, rather than the KB they claim to be supporting in order to save the horses? 

Let’s take a look at the name of Rebecca Caye, who in a 2002 online was cited for having two horses several hundred pounds underweight in what the Humane Officer called the “worst case of neglect I have ever seen.” 

 Caye is the co-owner of a place called Pleasant Valley Stables, and claims to rehabilitate horses and sell them after “saving them from slaughter.” (There’s that damned catchphrase again.) The other 45 horses on that 88 acres were in relatively good shape, and the two cases of neglect were boarded at a place in Cranberry Township called Paradise Equine Rescue and Youth Ministry, which at some point in time appeared to be called Garden of Eden Stables. Please keep in mind that Rebecca’s practices are not in question here—rather, it is the rather questionable claims of a certain broker in PA (EOTL) who claims to be purchasing directly from the KB.

Looking up Rebecca’s locations where she does business include 564 Barkley Rd, Harmony, Pa (since these are businesses, their locations are easily found on Google and a matter of public record, for those of you who seek to report this article.) She is also the founder of a company called Moraine Trails LLC , and the address is listed 1796 Barkley Rd Portersville, Pa. (Funnily enough, Moraine State Park’s address is 225 Pleasant Valley Rd, and the listing address is of Moraine Traills, LLC is 1796 Barkley Rd, strikingly similar to the Barkley Rd address offered up by Pleasant Valley stables. She is also the owner/operator of Pleasant Valley Stables, where she offers guided trail rides. Ads on her page state “Camp horses will be back this weekend 70+ to choose from for sale or free lease prices start at $200! Dont forget to ask about our lease with option to buy program, also have several available for adoption!!!!!!! Pictures coming soon!!!!!!!!!!” So now we have connections to both Cranberry Township and Harmony/Portersville, Pa. Keep those locations in mind, because they will prove important. 

Interesting ad that I just found while googling the phone number of Pleasant Valley Stables...The ad has since been deleted so posting it is irrelevant. Placed August 12, 2012. CAMP HORSES

Date: August 16, 2012
Location: Portersville,  Pittsburgh , 
Phone: (724) 368-3917

Flag this Posting
They are back! Still about 50 to pick from, mares, geldings, all makes and models. Prices start at $300.00. We also offer a free lease program-take the horse home now and if you decide you like him pay for him in April! Please call for details and to make an appointment at (724)368-3917 Googling that number leads back to an Albert Caye.

A photo on Renee Koroly’s Fb page:

This is an ad for Chandler whose name, it turns out, was listed on another page as Harry, whom Renee states is located in Portersville, Pa –and then states that he is going to auction next Friday, which would sort of be odd if the horse were definitely bound for slaughter, wouldn’t it? How is this any different from Christy’s “resale,” pen or Camelot’s? Other interesting comments on the page include where someone questions Harry’s name, stating that they saw him on another page under another name. One of the former admins/founders of the EOTL page, Nicole Velin Shaw, confirms that is indeed the same horse as Harry, but with no explanation why the horse was listed on a different site under a different name.

Take a look at this picturesque photo on the Pleasant Valley Stables page, with the kudzu lovingly adorning the back end of that building wall. Also note the surrounding countryside, with the dirt roads and the fenceline. 

Now take a look at these pictures, one from the EOTL placement page with the caption, “SHIPS MONDAY !! 18-20yr old 15.1 hand Qh type gelding , quiet- neck reins seems sound, he is a dream to ride fee is $175.00 Please help this boy get his forever home.” 

As well as this cute mare. 

The buildings looks strikingly similar, don’t they, complete to the ivy/kudzu growing at the back of the building?  I note this disclaimer about even if they are not shipping direct then they came from auction, it’s a killbuyer’s holding pen, yada yada yada…all the typical fare that gets the horse angels salivating to open up their pocketbooks. 

But is it really a kill buyer’s holding pen, or is this a woman (who is not listed on any killbuyer’s site, interestingly enough) who uses these horses in a business and then resells them through a horse broker claiming to buy directly from a kill buyer? 

You be the judge. Enjoy taking a step into the murky world of brokers who claim to be buying from killbuyers and maybe you can understand the questions that arise.


The Grim Facts – Horsemeat and What It’s Worth

It’s hard to think about as a horse owner   your own beloved animal as slabs of meat.

Yet, it’s the grim reality for many horses.  America exported 176,000+ last year who suffered a heinous death and became “what’s for dinner” in Europe and Asia.

We contacted a well respected horse advocate who has connections in Canada and asked what horse meat is actually selling for.  In a nutshell, this is what we learned.

There are different qualities of horse meat.  A #1 meat horse is about 1300 to 1500 lbs, and looks like a warmblood.  A #1 is in very good flesh.  Drafts don’t fit the bill for a #1 because they carry too much weight in bone.  If a horse weighs less than 1000 pounds they sell for less money even if they are in good flesh.  There’s less “yield” (usable meat) to skinny horses and it’s all about the weight they end up with when the horse is butchered, not what it weighs live.  On average, there's about 60% yield on a horse.

Concerning prices for live horses:

The average contractor buying live horses will spend .28 to .34 cents per pound and that’s for a horse in good flesh and carrying less bone weight.  If a contractor pays more than .39 to .40 per pound live weight they will barely break even which is why you rarely see a meat buyer pay more than $350 for a 1000 lb horse at auction.

Once the horse has been butchered: 

Most of these contractors (the brokers who have contracts with Canadian horse slaughter plants) get paid “on the rail” or “hanging weight” which are terms for the horse after all the unusable parts are trimmed off and it is just the main carcass hanging on a rail in a meat locker.

At Richelieu, the broker typically gets paid .45 to .65 per pound hanging weight depending on the quality of the meat.

So if they have a 1000 lb horse they bought for $250 (going conservative here for arguments sake) and they got 600 pounds of usable meat, their profit at .55 cents (the average between .45 and .65) is $80.

Sounds low, doesn’t it?  But it explains why so many meat buyers will sell a horse they’ve bought to ship for an extra $50 over what they paid.  That $80 isn’t all profit; there are a lot of expenses getting the horse to the slaughter house.

And remember these numbers being used are averages.  Some horses go for more, some less; some are unusable when butchered due to disease.

Conclusions one can draw:

Selling horses to kill is not a highly lucrative business.  The 30 horses that so sadly burned last week were likely worth $2400 before transport expenses if they were all in good flesh.  We’ve seen so many skinny horses coming through the auctions that it may be getting more and more difficult to fill loads with good quality meat horses.  And these prices are for Canada, so it’s not too hard to deduce that Mexico pays even less, plus the meat dealers from PA have much further to travel to get to Mexico, which increases expenses.  We’ve also seen the homes Moore and Rotz live in and clearly they are not living the lives of the wealthy.

Also to be considered there are many additional costs pulling down the dealers profit margin: feed, costs of owning and maintaining a farm, cost of a rig(s), insurance, utilities, paying drivers and stable help. Etc, etc, etc.

As noted in a previous post, a source who attends New Holland’s horse sale each Monday reports that Bruce Rotz’s buying patterns have changed significantly.  In the past he never bought a horse he couldn’t ship to slaughter.  Recently, he is buying horses that don’t fit shipping criteria, and interestingly enough, three different groups have quickly come forward and are marketing Rotz’s horses for him.

Finding an easy way to profitably sell horses that previously he wouldn’t have considered purchasing has probably been a godsend in this poor horse economy.  And Rotz is just one of a number of kill buyers with partners in the perceived “rescue” sector.  They and their partners are prevalent here in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but also exist on the west coast and in Canada.

Final Thoughts:

We keep hearing a life saved is a life saved. When you stand at the auction and look at those horses it tears your heart out.  But every horse that these kill buyer partners sell leaves room for another horse on the meat man’s truck.  And the fact he’s making much more than he would have through these marketing programs allows him to either live a better life or buy more horses.  Horses, again, that will never be marketed to the public because they are fat and healthy and their paperwork indicating they are drug free appears to be in order.

The meat man loses not a moment of sleep as he sends those horses to their deaths.  The healthier the horse the better the profit.  The horses endure a terrifying, arduous trip and heinous death, if they are lucky, and if not they are cut apart while still alive.

Who could partner with these people?