Did the Stars Get In Your Eyes?
The Starlight Sanctuary is very vocal in their support of broker owned programs. No great surprise there, as they run one. Interesting and contradictory information can be found on their website. They say they have created a “positive” relationship with the kill buyer who manages Fallon Feedlot and who each week decides which horses Starlight may market for them. Starlight goes on to say they do not condone, but they also do not judge, feel great gratitude towards, but cannot interfere with their business of selling horses to kill. It can safely be said that not only are they not interfering, they are flat out marketing and selling the horses for the kill buyer. Isn’t that a conflict of interest for a group who states they are opposed to slaughter and want to save horses? Just askin’.
As an aside, the Fallon Feedlot kill buyer ships to Bouvry Exports in Canada:
It is claimed that the kill buyer involved doesn’t make an additional penny more than they would if they shipped the horse to slaughter. We would have to beg to differ on several fronts. First, the kill buyer is charging board for each day the horse is on the feedlot beginning with the first day of Starlight marketing them as well as additional fees. They are also avoiding all kinds of expenses by not shipping the horses. Think of the expense to ship a load of horses from Nevada to Canada. Google mapping tells us its 1200 miles one way from Fallon to Calgary. Imagine the gas costs alone.
Check the prices on some of those horses! (See Facebook) Out east a kill buyer rarely pays over $350 for a healthy and in good flesh meat horse, otherwise he’s not going to make a profit. I doubt it’s a very different market in Nevada, particularly when the trip is even longer to the slaughter plant. A $100 Coggins? Really?
Yes, it’s horrible to look at those poor horses that have fallen into the clutches of the Kill buyer. But the KB’s daughter makes excuses for themselves in a ridiculous open letter on Starlight’s website. Jolleen says slaughter is a necessary evil, they genuinely love horses (!), they are just “scraping” by financially and she only does this so she can be a stay at home mom who home schools her kids. They are very active in barrel racing, yada, yada, yada. Go read the letter yourself but it’s difficult to stomach at best.
Sorry, but we need a moment to recover from that diatribe.
Our argument is that you didn’t have to choose to do this for a living. That being said, if a horse is rescued from the kill buyer it does make a difference to that particular horse. But sometimes you have to put on your big girl pants and look at the big picture.
The big picture is that as long as people continue to aid these kill buyers by marketing, donating to, or buying these horses they are increasing the profitability of the kill buyers and helping them to stay in business. These broker programs have created a secondary market for horses. Starlight is currently marketing many heavily pregnant mares, which are not legal to ship.
a. unable to bear weight on four limbs,
b. unable to walk unassisted,
c. blind in both eyes,
d. a foal under 6 months of age, and
e. a pregnant mare that is likely to foal (give birth)
during the trip.
Quickly do the math. The kill buyer is allowing Starlight to market it’s heavily pregnant mares.
Another glass of Kool-Aid, anyone?