Scott Kurtenbach is Iowa’s largest kill buyer and has been in the slaughter horse business for well over a decade. Kurtenbach has a long history of violating the Commercial Transport of Equines to Slaughter Regulations (Case Numbers: IL04273, IL05001, WI05008, IL06062, IA08028, IA09019, IA10023).
He received a fine of $7,500 for multiple incidents of shipping horses unable to bear weight on all four legs as well as horses with large cuts and other severe injuries. One horse was euthanized after delivery to the plant due to gangrene and septicemia.
Recent evidence obtained via Freedom of Information Act request seems to show that this penalty did not impress him much. After paying his fine, he continued to violate the Commercial Transport to Equines to Slaughter regulations. Ultimately, administrative law judge Jill Clifton assessed another civil penalty of $15,000 for 8 different incidents that occurred between 2011 and 2013. Again, the allegations included the shipment of an injured horse.
Just one year later, Kurtenbach was flagged again in the system – this time for shipping a mare in the final stages of her pregnancy. The mare was slaughtered at the Canadian slaughter plant Les Viandes de la Petite Nation and the unborn foal was not found until the mare was on the evisceration table.
The pictures Kurtenbach provided to the plant of the mare prior to shipment conveniently were blurry (the plant claimed that Kurtenbach received a monetary penalty for that) and did not allow any determination regarding the mare’s condition. However, Kurtenbach’s veterinarian successfully argued that there were no signs that the mare was pregnant, and USDA IES concluded that no violation had occurred.
To this day, Kurtenbach continues to ship horses to slaughter. Likely it will only be a matter of time until the next horrific incident occurs. Kurtenbach is only one of too many examples of why horse slaughter will never be humane, regardless of where it is conducted, and the only way to avoid more suffering is to end the business for good.