Animals’ Angels investigators walked into the busy New Holland Sales Stables on June 7th and immediately saw several well-known kill buyers and horse traders in attendance. Rotz Livestock (currently the largest Pennsylvania shipper of slaughter horses to Canada) was already checking out the available horses in the barn when they arrived, as was Brian Moore, Charles Fisher, Marlon Garcia (from Cranbury Auction in New Jersey), and Jenkins Horse and Mules (from Virginia).
While making their way down the aisles, our investigators were surprised to see so many Standardbreds, some who appeared to have recently come off the racetrack, including a horse named Atomic Sena, who was foaled in 2016.
Raced multiple times in 2020, the 5-year-old was entered into a race at Monticello Racetrack on April 22, 2021, before being scratched for lameness. This event most likely sealed the poor horse’s fate since he was dumped at New Holland Auction, considered to be a slaughter sale, only six weeks later.
While Atomic Sena was in good condition, several other horses at the sale were extremely thin with clearly visible spine and hip bones. Others were obviously ill from strangles, a highly contagious disease that attacks the horse’s respiratory system. Our investigators noted that one bay horse (sales tag #952) appeared to be in the advanced stages of the disease. He was weak, feverish, and frequently coughed up mucus. Based on his poor condition, the auction veterinarian should never have accepted the sick horse to be sold at the auction.
Once the sale started, our team watched as the kill buyers began a fierce bidding competition. Many horses were listed with defects such as “lame”, “shoulder injury”, or “not sound”, and were sold “as-is” to the buyers. Kill buyer Brian Moore bought a 9-year-old Thoroughbred mare who had just raced in Ohio, while Rotz Livestock purchased a Quarter horse stud with a strangles infection.
Our team observed that prices seemed high and that buyers paid well above meat price for most horses. This indicated that the kill buyers were likely purchasing the horses with the intent to sell them online to private buyers rather than to ship them on to slaughter. When the sale ended at 1:20pm, most horses were loaded up immediately. Rotz Livestock was among the last buyers to load up and was gone by 3:20pm.
After the sale, Animals’ Angels investigators documented their observations, noting the ill, injured, and emaciated horses they saw at the auction. A report of their findings will be presented to the relevant authorities.