When Animals’ Angels heard that the notorious Stanley Brothers had purchased the Guy Bynum Livestock Auction a few years back, we suspected the expansion of their business could mean only one thing: more suffering for the poor animals caught up in their slaughter empire.
Our undercover investigators recently confirmed our fears when they made their way to the monthly horse sale in the small town of Attalla, Alabama, where they observed a gathering of some of the largest kill buyers and horse brokers in the country and documented an appalling list of abuse and neglect.
This month’s newsletter exposes the horrifying history of the Stanley Brothers’ slaughter enterprise and documents the suffering we witnessed first-hand at their auction venue in Alabama.
A Business Built on Slaughter and Abuse
The Stanley Brothers’ family business is one of the largest and most notorious horse slaughter enterprises in the country, operating a main lot in Bastrop, Louisiana, along with numerous kill pens and broker programs all across the country. The company is known for its extensive network of kill buyers, as well as an equally extensive (and horrifying) list of violations. A small sample of their past offenses includes:
Transporting injured and totally blind horses to slaughter, causing severe distress.
Torturing a dog and cutting its throat before posting the atrocity to social media.
Attacking a 65-year-old animal activist and hitting him in the face with a wooden board, thus inflicting substantial injuries which required reconstructive surgery.
Although these and countless other violations and offenses have cost the family hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines over the years, our recent investigation in Alabama proves that the Stanley Brothers have yet to change any of their behavior.
Kill Buyers Flock to Guy Bynum Auction
Animals’ Angels investigators arrived at the Guy Bynum Livestock Auction in Alabama on a hot Sunday in August. The 2-day monthly sale, which is held on the second weekend of every month, reserves Saturdays for the sale of catalogued horses with a soundness guarantee, while Sundays are used to offer up regular horses, followed by loose horses.
The auction attracts a large local crowd due to its convenient location, which has made the auction a popular place to buy, sell, and flip many of the poor horses that end up in the Stanley Brother’s hands. Unfortunately, the location also makes the auction a perfect transfer point for horses being transported to and from Pennsylvania and Virginia.
As the Animals’ Angels team walked through the venue, they recognized several well-known kill buyers from surrounding states, including Tennessee kill buyer Jason Sexton, long-time Mississippi kill buyer George Varner, and Jacob Thompson, a horse flipper and broker program king pin from Texas, who brought several horses to sell at the auction.
Spotting a truck from Cedar Ridge Farm parked prominently in front of the loading dock, our investigators concluded that the Virginia kill buyer (who is related to the Stanleys through marriage) had likely dropped off a load of horses from up north. Our initial inspection of the auction grounds revealed a covered pen area, auction ring, and office, as well as a small café. The barn was surrounded by vast pastures, several of which contained hay feeders, along with horses that were not for sale.
Appalling Abuse and Neglect Documented in Alabama
As our investigators walked through the auction’s covered barn area, they observed approximately 150 animals inside the pens.
Several of the animals were in very poor condition, including one horse who was covered in bloody scars and cuts which hadn’t yet begun to heal. It was clear to investigators that he had been badly beaten, and that an excessive use of spurs had injured the poor animal’s flanks. The beaten horse had been brought into the auction with two other horses. All three were in thin condition, and they were all extremely nervous, sticking together as if in search of comfort.
In another pen, investigators spotted a horse with a fresh forehead injury, along with a skinny BLM Mustang, and a large group of donkeys.
Several mares with foals were also observed, and it was obvious that one agitated mare, who was seen aggressively kicking and biting at the surrounding horses, should have been segregated along with her foal.
By the time the sale began at 2:00 P.M, many of the horses appeared to be overly tired and lethargic, perhaps from a long, stressful journey to the auction venue. The riding horses were brought out first, with the sale being live streamed via the auction’s Facebook page. Online bidding was allowed for these horses via the auction’s webpage.
However, once the “slaughter prospects” were brought out, the camera feed ended. It was soon obvious as to why, when the kill buyers began a fierce battle over the remaining horses as if desperate to secure their loads.
The auction continued well into the evening. When it was all over, the buyers immediately loaded up their tired, miserable horses and drove away. When our investigators returned to the venue the following day to wrap up the investigation, they observed that there were still many horses inside the barn and concluded that the venue might also serve as a collection station for the Stanley Brothers.
Holding the Stanley Brothers Accountable
During the investigation of the Stanley Brothers’ operations in Alabama, it was painfully obvious that the suffering of the horses in their care goes on.
What we witnessed at the Guy Bynum Auction left us with no doubt that the sale is just one of many lucrative venues the Stanley Brothers have added to their slaughter portfolio.
Based on these findings, Animals’ Angels has renewed our commitment to monitor the activities of the notorious brothers on a consistent basis and to continue to report any abuse or violations to the proper authorities.