Waiting In The Rain, New Holland Auction Horses Await Their Fate

New Holland Horse AuctionPhoto Credit: Deborah Jones

June 10, 2013. Work horses, show horses, race horses now owned by kill buyers await their fate at New Holland Auction in Pennsylvania. The auction takes place every Monday where new horses arrive and change hands.

New Holland Auction Horses Await Their Fate

In the Hands Of Kill Buyers Horses Become Nothing More Than Meat By-The-Pound

I have see many heartbreaking pictures of broken down, injured, old, neglected horses. I see too many pictures of young equines untrained and therefore, unwanted.  And the babies, dear God, the babies, pulled from their mothers while still only days old and killed so “mom” can nurse a more “valuable” horse.  It always saddens me.  But there is something desolate and lonely in this picture that is palpable; gut-wrenching.  Every Monday, new horses arrive, and are subjected to decisions made by humans as to their fate.

In my opinion no horse deserves the horrible fate of slaughter.  In this particular picture (click the image for larger view) these are mostly ex-racers — horses that were created for human sport and monetary gain, then, when they failed to produce race results, were discarded and now stand lined up in the pouring rain awaiting their fate not even being afforded dignity of a dry stall.  The white patches on their hips are numbers glued to them.  Names are forsaken and horses become numbers.  Things.  Chattel.  Meat; sold by the pound — consumed by human greed before they are even dead.

Why I “Torture” Myself By Following The Work Of Equine Rescues

Most of the gentle animals in this picture, calmly waiting in deplorable conditions, will end up on a long, grueling truck ride to Canada where, exhausted, scared, dehydrated, and hungry, they will face a brutal death.  Many horses die en route to slaughter — crammed into trucks without food, water, or a rest break, they panic and injure and trample one another.

I wish horses could talk.  They would probably look at us with big, sad eyes, and just ask, “Why?”  There is a vast difference between a horse in pain or so ill that euthanasia humanely would be a gift and a horse suffering only from the callousness of humans.  Most auction horses have simply outlived a human purpose and when they stop making money become a liability and their owners were either unwilling, or unable to own up to the financial responsibilities of horse ownership.  In most cases of OTTB (off track thoroughbreds) it is a case of unwilling.

I follow many rescue organizations on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  My kids ask me why I “torture” myself.  Simple. I care.

Ignorance is not bliss:  ignorance is a pacifier that keeps us from taking action against the things we abhor and I hate injustice against the innocent be it a person or an animal.  My kids are right when they ground me, reminding me our coffer is already full; we have three horses and could not afford to care for more, but that does not mean we cannot help so I contribute to the cause of equine rescue in other ways.  I share information (“Like” and sharing calls to action on Facebook leads to more horses saved)  and I contribute to bail money, vet, and other costs to help those who go into auctions, buy the cast-aways, and try to rehab and rehome them.  On Mother’s Day I gave myself the gift of paying the sale price on a very sad pregnant mare to keep her from kill buyers.  I do that as often as I can afford to, and sometimes, even when I cannot.

If the degree to which you are helping doesn’t hurt in some way; doesn’t take you outside of your own comfort zone, you could be doing more.  Yes, there is that “feel-good” sense of knowing you made a difference but it should not stop there.  Helping any cause is not about feeling good about yourself it is about doing all you can, and then some.  It is about taking a stand even when it hurts.  That’s the core of getting involved and the message I want my children to soak up, and breath back out into the world in which they live.

The point is, if I choose to turn away from the reality of the equine industry (and I include backyard breeders and individual owners as part of the “industry”) I won’t be affected by its horrors enough to get off my laurels and become a horse advocate.  Horses; their fate, decided by legislation driven by greed, is everyone’s responsibility.

If this photo moves you in any way, consider how you can help.  You don’t have to be rich; even the most cash-strapped individual has a mouth and a vote they can use.

It may not always be easy to sit a buck — but it is easy to pass it along.  Get … involved … you can make a difference, but not if you look away.

A Few Rescue Orgs On Facebook To Follow