Drayton Valley Horse Sale, Alberta, Canada 10/19/12

Monday, December 10, 2012 - 15:30
Investigation Category: 

Investigators arrived at the auction at 5pm. Horses were kept in indoor and outdoor pens. The majority of them were in well feed condition, likely to appeal to the slaughter buyers that were present. Many were apparently not halter broke. There was no water or feed in the pens and the horses in the outside pens had no shelter.

Two lame horses were observed; one had a crooked fetlock. Another one had a serious eye infection evidenced by green discharge. A 7 year old sorrel gelding appeared to be in much pain from a tooth infection. Some hooves were neglected; one horse had a split hoof. One owner was observed bringing in a large group of horses, all of them were five years old and not halter broke.

The auction started at 6:00pm. The sale ring was spacious and the bedding good. The handling was not too rough; the workers used paddles to move the horses. However, there was a heavy metal gate that slammed on the horses repeatedly. The speaker was very loud, creating a fearsome environment for the horses. The untrained horses were very nervous and anxious.

One Kill Buyer was dominating the auction. He was bidding under buyer numbers I-2 to I-5. A mare and her foal were separated from each other. The foal frantically ran back in, as handlers tried to lead him away. The mare was sold to the kill buyer. He also bought the whole group of five-year-old horses and the two lame horses.

The average price for horses was 375 – 475 $. Thinner ones sold for 135 – 275 $. The Kill Buyer paid as much as 575 $ for fat horses. The sale ended at 9:15pm. Most of the horses were bought by the kill buyer, about 70 horses in total. They were left in outside pens overnight with no water or hay and loaded the next morning. It snowed that night, but there was no shelter to protect the horses from the snow and the cold.