Animals’ Angels investigators arrived at the monthly horse sale in Athens, TN at 4:00pm. The sale is only operating since April of this year but caught Animals’ Angels interest because it is managed by Tennessee kill buyer Jason Sexton. Sexton is one of the few who still ships horses to slaughter in Mexico (via Ramos Livestock in Eagle Pass, TX), but his numbers have significantly declined during the past few years. Starting the Athens horse sale and another new sale in Greenville, TN probably aims at recovering some of the losses made in the slaughter trade.
The sale, which was very heavily promoted on Facebook, was already quite busy. There were approx. 60 horses inside the pen area, 38 of them had been advertised online prior to the sale. The pens were quite clean and all the water troughs had been filled with fresh water, however, most horses were tied up too far away from the troughs and therefore unable to reach them.
The majority of the horses was in good condition, with the exception of three horses in one of the back pens. A Paint Gelding appeared to have a Strangles infection, he looks feverish and yellow discharge was dripping from his nostrils. He also had a bleeding injury on his left hind leg. He shared the pen with a thin bay and a draft horse with cracked, overgrown hooves.
When all the “better” horses were sold, the auctioneer switched from selling horses by the head to selling them by the pound. Sexton purchased the sick Paint. Besides Sexton, there were several other horse traders/kill buyer suppliers from the surrounding states in attendance. Their trucks and trailers were parked next to each other in the back of the premises. Investigators documented that none of them had a DOT number or company name displayed on their trucks, which is a violation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
Animals’ Angels will continue to monitor this sale and report all violations to the relevant authorities. It remains to be seen if this sale will be successful in the long run, since it is a direct competition to the close-by Knoxville auction, which is scheduled for the same weekend every month.