Monday, 18 August 2014

My Soapbox Moment

As mentioned here: http://peaceandcarrotshorse.blogspot.ca/2014/07/notes-from-horse-auction.html I went to the local horse sale in July after many years of not attending (about 15 years, give or take).  It wasn’t as bad as I remembered.  I didn’t even cry in the truck afterwards!  Many horses went to homes with only a few going to the meat buyer. 

But.... I found myself haunted by the adorable 1.5 year old Morgan colt who sold for $150.  He was wearing a halter and was friendly.  I wasn’t 100% sure who purchased him but I believed it was the meat buyer.  I had a dream last week about this horse and decided it couldn’t hurt to ask around.  I also knew of someone looking for a young horse as a companion, and this guy would be at least halterbroke and seemed pretty calm in the stressful auction environment.  He was a little bit awkward and he reminded me a lot of Mr. Henry.  I can't afford four horses (can't really afford three, to be honest!) but I thought maybe I could help him get into a forever home with my friend.

I posted an ad in the local online classifieds and had a few replies stating that the meatbuyer did indeed buy him.  Through the kindness of complete strangers I got the meatbuyer’s phone number and gave him a call today.  He picked up the phone on the first ring.

The colt is “already gone”.

My heart sank.  I knew it was a longshot but it didn't make it any easier to hear this.  

This colt will never have a name.  He will never be loved.  He will never be part of a family.  His story is not unusual - hundreds of horses are slaughtered every day just a few hours from where I live.  And this will continue to happen until something changes in the horse industry. 

I’m not mad at the meatman; his job exists because there are too many horses and not enough homes.  I’m mad at the people who breed simply because their horse has a uterus (regardless of if the horse has any good qualities).  I’m mad at people who do not plan for a retirement for senior horses who have given their owners their best years.  I’m mad at the people who dump their horses at the auction without any information.  I’m mad at people who don’t put proper handling (and preferably riding) skills onto their horses because: guess what – sh*t happens.  You might have sell everything one day at the drop of a hat.  I would be devastated to sell my horses but at least they are:
1) UTD on vaccines and farrier work
2) Broke to ride (Apollo) and are good citizens about farrier work and handling (all)
Most of the horses that went for meat were yearlings that were completely untouched.  And when I bought Henry (from a feedlot) he was unhandled as well. My sweet Henry could easily be “already gone” like the morgan colt and I find that deeply disturbing and very upsetting.

I don’t have a point to this rant.  Today I am feeling embarrassed to be part of the human race.


I apologize for any typos in this post, I am a bit upset as I write tonight! :(


  1. That is exactly how I feel, I don't hate horse slaughter, its necessary for the state the industry is in. And I am mad at people who are dumb and don't plan for their creatures. Your horse is lucky he came into your life and you put the time and effort into him and my current horse could very well have ended up the same, but I'm making him rideable and hopefully he'll always have a soft place to land.

    1. The state of the industry is so frustrating (and I want to choke out a few local backyard breeders that have 20 odd mares who aren't even halter broke).

      But all we can do is our best with our own ponies.Your boy is lucky to have you! :)

  2. It's so sad. I feel this way about all slaughter, hence why I'm a vegetarian, but I think sharing my life with horses makes horse slaughter more horrible to me. Not that horses suffer more than say a cow, but knowing what that horse could have given back to someone and not having that chance breaks my heart.

    It's a struggle for me. In the next year or so, I'd like to get a second horse. I'd love to get one from a rescue to "do my part" to help the feedlot horses. On the other hand, I would LOVE to breed Lucy - she has good breeding, is a great mom, and throws gorgeous babies that she passes her saneness/calmness onto. It's a hard decision for me. :(

    1. My heart is so broken about this colt (I am waaaay to sensitive), I totally cried while writing this.

      I'm a veggie too! Although I still eat fish so I can myself a pescatarian.

      That is a tough decision! Lucy has wonderful qualities to pass on :)

  3. Wow. I got chills when you explained that most of the horses that the meat buyer took were yearlings!! Heartbreaking.

  4. How terrible.
    We would never ever sell a horse 'cause you just never know what will happen to them. Our horses are with us for life.

  5. The whole situation disgusts me. How people can breed their horses and toss them away as if they are disposable is completely beyond me (and same with PMU farmers, race track trainers who think the meat buyer is a convenient way to sell off injured or poor performing horses, and the list goes on). It is all very depressing!

  6. I agree with you totally that the back-yard breeders -- regardless of what species, including the human species! -- create a big problem that other people have to deal with at great effort and expense ... with no solution in sight. I am sad for that colt too and I didn't even see him :-( Good for you for caring. We can't save them all but we can still care (I capped my herd at 2 ... but then I took in a boarder ... and I am temporarily looking after my niece's gelding ... and I still skim the Kijiji ads once in a while ... doh!)