Explaining Just How "The Truck is Coming!"

First we need to thank the individuals employed by the USDA who took the time to walk us through the process and answer our questions. We will talk with them again and they remain concerned, as do other federal agencies, about the potential for abuse of the shipping system by all individuals contributing to it.

This information was readily found on the USDA-APHIS website concerning shipping of horses to slaughter by Brian Moore in 2010:

Almost without change it is 30 head of horses being shipped.  Only on 4/22 were 21 horses shipped.

No grays or ponies shipped to slaughter according to these federal forms.  Few horses over the age of 18 are documented.

The data is from 1/11/2010 through 8/2/2010.  38 loads are documented.

Of the 1131 horses documented, 31 were stallions.  That equates to 3%.

On 3/8, of the 30 horses nearly all of them were listed as bays, and most were mares (22).  There were also 7 geldings and one stallion.  Race horses, perhaps?

According to the USDA, the way the process works is the kill buyer acquires horses for meat and creates a load.  Then a USDA Accredited Veterinarian examines the load and signs off on the VS 17 140 form.  The vet must go through an accreditation process which is renewed every three years and involves continuing education credits.  The USDA Accredited Vet is not compensated by the USDA.  One would logically assume however, that a veterinarian would not go through this process unless he/she was getting paid, so we’ll figure the kill buyer is charged for this inspection.

After the VS 17 140 is issued and signed by the accredited vet – in this case Dr. James Holt for all 38 loads – the original form must be inspected by a USDA compensated AVIC veterinarian.  Again, according to one of our contacts at the USDA there is an AVIC area office in nearly every state.  There is one located in the capital city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania which is approximately 45 minutes from New Holland or Jonestown, where Moore’s farm is located.  Note the original form must be stamped and signed, so it cannot be faxed or emailed.

There are field vets for the USDA, as was explained to us, that often sign off on and stamp the VS 17 140 form in order for the kill buyer to have their documentation in place to ship the load of horses to slaughter without visiting an AVIC office.  The kill buyers have 30 days from the endorsement date to ship the horses.

We were also told by the USDA that a “contract” between a slaughter house and kill buyer can be as simple as a handshake or may actually exist as a formal contract.  One individual told us he spent years at the Cavel plant in Illinois supervising the off loading of slaughter horses.  He inspected 800-1500 horses per week, and only ever saw one mini come through.  The mini was rejected and not slaughtered. 

In every example shown Dr. Holt issues the 17 140 one day and the USDA Vet stamps and signs the form the following day.  This belies the story that horses loaded Monday night at New Holland are shipped overnight to Canada, at least during the time period that these documents were issued.

Keep in mind the kill buyer fills out the form VS 10-13 which includes the USFA hip tag number.  You often see horses in the broker programs with these tags on them.  This is not a sure indication that the horse is going to ship to slaughter.  The horse may have been tagged but rejected by one of the veterinarians and the tag simply wasn’t removed.  Additionally, if horses are bought at auction in NY or another state, tagged and brought back to PA as meat horses, the buyer eludes having to get a negative coggins test on those horses, saving him a significant amount of money.  Lastly, those USDA hip tags might just be used as a marketing ploy.

We are fortunate to have the Freedom Of Information Act to request information like this.  If the same information is requested by more than one individual it is required to be placed on the federal agency’s website: “The FOIA also requires that agencies automatically disclose certain information, including frequently requested records.”  Clearly that is what occurred with this request, since it was found on the APHIS website. 

We are also thankful that the FBI, USDA and PSP (Pennsylvania State Police) are monitoring this ongoing situation with brokers and broker programs.  Government cannot legislate a moral compass, but they can regulate and enforce laws being broken by those dancing too close too the edge.

We will leave you with the faces of those that were lost; the ones that could not be saved.  Most of these pictures come from Washington State and Montana.  Heartwrenching, as you note how fat and healthy they are.  Rest in Peace, Dear Ones.  May you not have died in vain.


  1. You have to have to watch what a girl named Shelby Olson with her many pages including Stop Horse Kill Pens on facebook is doing. She takes photos off of other rescues pages and solicits and GETS donations . The rescues never see a penny She has been reported , had paypal taken away and just keeps on going. Unbelievable how stupid and slimy people are

  2. The kill buyers are laughing all the way to the bank, they simply can't lose. They can market the unkillable to a market that doesn't do it's research :(
    I wish this blog could find a wider audience

  3. You can find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BrokerOwnedProgramsKillHorses.