“The greatest deterrent
to freedom are men and women of zeal, well-meaning, but
without knowledge or understanding.”
~Justice Louis Brandeis~

"People are so quick to defend their own agendas, but they so often fail to realize we must protect the rights of all if we are to continue to have any rights of our own."

Ranch meaning, in general, any real world dwelling probably not involving full care board. Kind of a rural voice of real horse owners, trainers, traders, auction owners, rodeo contractors, etc.. all of us who have taken a verbal beating and called greedy ass hats. Back at the Ranch contributors, moderators, subjects, and so on, are pro-horse, pro-owner, and pro-slaughter.
Back at the Ranch was formed by a group of like minded horse / livestock owners. It is a place for us to try to educate, a place to vent our frustrations with the current equine industry, a place to share humor and snark, and in general try to open the eyes of the public who seem to be anti-agriculture.We do have a section for comments of course, and if you would like to email us you can do so directly or through the contact us form. We like to hear from our readers. I hope you enjoy reading our blog as much as I enjoy managing it.
Ranch Manager

Friday, October 16, 2009

Straight Talk With A Killer Buyer……Making Sense of It All….

This Article Was Originally Printed In Quarter Horse News …….
I found it on the Million Horse Links site. It is titled Straight Talk With A Killer Buyer……Making Sense of It All…..I assume since it available on a public website link I am not breaking any copyright rules……
This could be a story written from the personal perspective of any number of horse buyers I am familiar with in any given area of the country. This article rebuts the idea slaughter is still business as usual. So as John, Vicki and the crowd tell us, any spike in abuse only proves THEIR side. Mr. Smith explains this first hand from someone who has been there through the whole mess in person.

Editor’s Note: It’s the policy of Quarter Horse News to not use anonymous sources in articles. However, we are making an exception. “Bob Smith” is a businessman, a trader with over 20 years of hard-learned experience in buying and selling horses. He also has a ranch and he buys and sells cattle. He is afraid to allow his name to be published. This is because he often buys horses, some of which he transports to slaughter plants. Many times, he has received threats and even had guns pointed at him by people who believed he was violating the rights of horses and endangering their welfare. The organized views of slaughter ban proponents are heard loud and clear, on Web sites, in newspapers and magazines and on broadcast segments. This time, we’re going to hear a little about the situation from the other side of the issue. Be sure to visit http://www.quarterhorsenews.com/ to view an extended version of this Straight Talk with photos and additional quotes. It’s a fact that horses are still going to slaughter. From the period of January to May, comparing 2007 to 2008, exports of live horses to Canada are up 68 percent and to Mexico there has been an 84 percent increase. These increases are explained by the ban on horse slaughter in the United States (for the full story, please see the two-part horse slaughter update written by Rebecca Overton on http://www.quarterhorsenews.com/ or the June 1 and June 15, 2008, issues of Quarter Horse News).
Making Sense Of It All…..There are hundreds of people in the United States who make their livings buying and selling horses, some of which go to slaughter. Some call them “killer buyers.” It’s not a nice designation, but it’s the plain truth. “Bob Smith” is a killer buyer. Of course, most of the horses he buys and sells end up as riding horses, breeding stock, pasture ornaments and family pets. But there is a percentage – he figures about 30 percent – that end up going to slaughter.
Smith used to transport his slaughter horses to Illinois and Texas. Now, he regularly makes trips to Canada. Those hauls take anywhere from 30 to 40 hours and require at least two days to complete. The horse slaughter ban has made it tough on Smith’s business, especially in light of increased fuel costs. But Smith contends that the real victims of the ban are, ironically, the horses.
Market supply. There’s been a documented decrease in the value of the lower- and middle-level horses in the past year. Smith attributes this to the horse slaughter ban and the resulting oversupply of horses at the bottom end. “It’s crazy because the horses are poor,” he said, pointing out that he has seen a drop-off in the number of healthy, well-conditioned horses at the local sales. “People don’t care no more. It’s worse now than what it was when the plants were open, 10 to one. “Sometimes you’ll give the horses away after you pay the commission because they won’t bring $15, $20 apiece. By the time you pay the $20 Coggins test, the $10 yardage and 8 percent commission, you’re back in the hole.”
Smith acknowledges that prices are holding for the nicely bred, well-broke, useable horses sold at well established or well-publicized sales. It’s at the local or regional sales – the ones held on the same day every month, every week – that horses, even the broke ones, are bringing significantly lower prices.
“This is where it all starts from. If you look, 90 percent of them end up at the local auction. I bought 14 horses last night for $900. Most of those horses cost $35 - $40 each. “If they were worth anything, why are people turning horses out in the national forests and in the coal mines? They dump them at our place. We get two to four horses a week – just thrown out. We don’t know where they come from. We’d rather not have them. You lose money on them.
“We had a blind horse dumped at our place. I called the Humane Society to come and get it. It took them three weeks. The matter of fact was that they had to give it away before they could come and get it.”
For the draft-breed horses, Smith says the value has dropped significantly. “Those horses that go by the pound, there’s no outlet for them and you’re seeing a lot more of them in poor shape. A Belgian horse isn’t worth a dime when he gets where he’s going. You cannot buy him for $10 here and truck him up there [to Canada]; it won’t pay your gas. It’s not worth fooling with him.”
Irresponsible breeding, Smith sees a lot of sick, undernourished and unsound horses at the sales. But he believes that even more stay home. “People won’t sell them because it costs money. They’d rather starve them to death. Because when you take them to market, you’ll owe $30 to $75. Used to be that even if your horse was thin, you got something for him. They won’t sell them. They’ll just keep them out in the pasture. Would you sell him if you had to owe the sale barn when you got done?”
Sales have been cancelled this year and Smith has noticed a drop-off in the number of horses being auctioned. But he has not noticed a coinciding slowdown in the breeding. “I’ve sold more studs now to breed this year than I did when the slaughter plants were open. You’ve got old Molly out there in the pasture; you want to raise you a colt. Why go to the auction to buy you a horse when you raise one out of Molly there? They have 20 to 30 horses out there and they’re not worth nothing. They just keep them out there and let them keep breeding. “It’s got worse. I don’t know why, but it has.” The inhumanity Transporting a horse to a slaughter plant, where he used to meet his end with a captive bolt, is not nice.
Making Sense of It - The Straight Talk with a killer buyer about his impressions of how the horse slaughter ban has impacted domestic horses. Katie Tims Quarter Horse News • August 1, 2008
Question is, was it humane?
“The people against the slaughter plants have never been to the horse auction,” Smith said. “They’ve got the picture of Black Beauty. If they’d come here, they’d understand. They’d see the poor horses. They don’t see it, they don’t want to see it, they ain’t going to see it. If they’d see it, they’d tell you to open the plants tomorrow.”
When slaughter plants operated domestically, Smith had to meet humane treatment standards on the horses he delivered to the facilities. “We had to fill out a form on each horse that it had no cuts, no bruises. We had to have compartments for the studs, to keep them separate. No one inspects them at all now.”
Smith believes that it’s the slaughter ban proponents who are responsible for the horses’ diminished situation. “They condemn everybody else for being inhumane, but we’re not. There is an inhumane way to handle everything. You know, it’s about as inhumane to leave that horse out there in that pasture and not fool with him, not care for him, as it was to bring him here and sell him for slaughter.
“That horse was watched over to the end. The captive bolt was more humane than choking a horse down enough to stick a needle in his vein. Most people have never seen that, but they’ve seen all the videos of horses being stabbed. That’s not the way it was here in the United States. The USDA used to watch over the whole process.”
Smith is tired of being portrayed as an evil person who abuses horses. “The horse trader does care about horses. It’s the way he makes a living. The horse trader will come to a local sale and take better care of the horses than the public does. That’s my opinion. Sometimes, accidents do happen. It’s that way with anything – with your horses, with your cows, with your dogs.”
Horse traders, Smith insists, understand the reality of the situation while animal rights advocates catch only glimpses. He says they don’t see the horses before they get to sale, the ones kept at home for too long because they’re not worth selling. “People have no idea of what’s going on. They think they’re helping the horses, but they’re just killing them.
“If the Humane Society and PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] care so much, why don’t they come get those poor horses at the sale barns? Why don’t they pick them up? Those are the ones that need saving. If they want to help those horses, there are places to go get them. Go get those things. Instead of waiting for the horse to sell for less than the consignment fee and yardage, go give the man $20 for a Coggins test. They could have more horses than they ever dreamed of.”
An emotional issue, Smith’s words say it all. “You have no market value at all for a poor horse and you get in trouble with them. Any time you load a poor horse up and take him somewhere, you’ve got the PETA people all over you. Even the horse that comes from a bad home and you’re trying to get him to a good home, they still get on you.”
Sometimes, it gets a little more personal. “There are crazy folks. They’ll shoot guns. You pull up in your driveway at home and they’ll be sitting there at midnight or in the morning. That’s the truth of it.”
At the sales, people try to get recorded goods to support claims of mishandling and abuse. “When we’re loading horses at night, they’ll hide over there with video cameras,” Smith said, pointing to bushes about 50 yards from the loading chute at a sale yard. “I see them over there, I just ignore them. And that’s not even on the slaughter horses but it’s on the broke horses, as well. It’s horses in general.”
One time in Greenville, Miss., Smith had a woman driving a station wagon force him over to the side of the road. His truck was loaded with quarantined horses diagnosed with equine infectious anemia.
“She pulled a .38 on me, right in the middle of town,” Smith said. “She had a badge and said she was with the Humane Society, one of the boss ladies of it. “She took me to the agri-center and they had a Quarter Horse show going. I had to go, she had a .38 pointed at my head. She unloaded the quarantine horses off the truck into the agri-center with all the other horses. Then she turned around and went out there, bought shavings and bedded the floor of the trailer down with shavings. “She loaded the horses back on the trailer and she said she was going to check me back at the state line. There was another guy that was there and he took me to the back roads. I took a dirt road to the Greenville bridge and went right into Arkansas. It made no sense.

I didn’t change a word, but thought it might bear repeating.


  1. I have a very good friend that is a KB in Idaho, We have been friends for 30 years and for all that time he has be a KB. I have gone to his place and found horses and have bought them from him from pony's to old horses that would work for the 4-H kids. I have also sold many horses to him in and out of the sale ring.
    He has a feed lot set up where he will feed horses for 30 to 60 days or more if need be before shipping to make sure they are sound and to put weight on them as most are nothing but bones when he gets them.
    The horses are well cared for as far as feeding. Any studs he gets he will cut himself with his two sons help. You can not buy a stud from him unless it is a horse under the age of 1.
    He has his own trucks and his two sons drive. Once a month he ships two loads to Canada.
    Anyone at any time can come to him and walk through the horses and if they find one they like they can buy it from him. He don't care. He can make more money off of them horses then the ones he ships.
    Last time I talked to him he told me story's about people just dropping horses off and then he would then shoot them because they would not have lived anyway. story's about the sale barns calling him to have him come pick up 5 to 10 horses at a time that have been dropped off there in the middle of the night. Yes People can not afford to pay the sale fees up front for how ever many head when they know that they will go into the hole after the horses are sold... NO they did not take the horses to the sale barn before the horse was skin and bones... they had to wait till it was almost dead before taking that horse there... so tell me...what is better... slaughter or starving???? Why is it that people that have never owned a horse in their lives think they know it all? And how can anyone say that all horse owners are the bad guys? I have 30 head of horses.. three are studs and most of the rest are mares.. I only put 4 to 6 colts on the ground each year and only two colts for next year. I do have one gelding that will be sold at our next sale.. why? because he will kill the colts if he can and after spending 1,500 to save the last colt after he busted his jaw when he was first born, I will not have him on the place no more. Yes he will be sold as a killer because of a cut on his hoof. no one wants to mess with a horse like that. So off he will go... he is very fat so will get top dolor for him.. and will replace him with another gelding.. out with the bad .. in with the good.
    That is life. Do I feel bad....NO.... I just do what I have to do.
    it is to bad that everyone will not let us horse people deal with the horses.. if so then there would not be this big problem out there with the starving horses. And slaughter would be brought back and kept safe and sane for all the horses that will go on to feed the people.

    J Doe

  2. Wow pointed a .38 at a mans head in the name of love for the horses! On top of that she exposed all the horses at the show grounds to EIA and god knows what else.... Great humane Society personel huh? What an Idiot!
    Other than the part where he has a gun pointed at him he sounds like more than one guy I know in the horse dealing business. And I suppose it could happen to any of them at any time... Too many crazies out there willing to harm a human being in the name of animal welfare!

  3. To believe any of you pro slaughter freaks are unreal first Humane society officers dont carry guns all officers are accompanied by law officals period. If this is what a killer buyer said then all who believe this bull crap stories are fools. Horse slaughter is inhumane from the plants to transportation to the irresponsible people that look at slaughter as profits. These are the people that should not even own a horse. We have horses and would never send a horse to slaughter. We have trained not break but trained many horses even the ones this poster claims to have. Seem most problem horses arrise from idiotic training methods. These people have big egos and arent smart enough to admit it.. Pro slaughter folks should educate themselfs and focus on these irresponsible people that do the crime. Allowing slaughter is an incentive for them to carry on. Organizations such as the AQHA and others know slaughter is wanted by overbreeders so they can continue to afford breeding and registering more horses. Weither they sell the horse to a person or to a killer they dont care.. Its all about the buck for these freaks.. They fail to mention that Texas plants operated illegal for years until exposed. They paid only 5.00 on top of there gross incomes of 12 million. Money that went to france. Its only common business sinse to realize that the prices to ship horses are low its because the plants wont pay more to make up for fuel cost. Meaning more horses are needed for the plants to operate thats why the slaughter numbers increased. closing the plants did not hurt the horse prices the economy, droughts of 07 and the temorary rise of Oats and other feeds due to fuel cost. Thats it. to see the crimes that these freaks commit visit www.kaufmanzoning.net ,and www.SaveDaHorses.org

  4. On top of that she exposed all the horses at the show grounds to EIA and god knows what else.... Great humane Society personel huh? What an Idiot!

    Seems you dont know much about feedlots or killers. First they are exempt from coggins and health papers if they are tagged for slaughter. Correct me if Im wrong but arent loose horses on the same premises as the sale horses.The bogus story of a feedlot selling a loose horse or horses to the public without coggins and health papers is against the law..
    Or maybe in your eyes the killer is a vet on the side and can obtain the needed legal paperwork to transport the loose horse or horses to rescues or indivuals for transportation from state to state.
    Whos the idiot now..

  5. ""Whos the idiot now.."" OH please don't make me answer that! You won't like the answer. Apparently you missed where it said the Trailer was full of horses diagnosed with Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). Look up the laws on what is to be done with those horses.
    Of course anyone who believes that the kaufman zoning website or the save da horses site is educational in any practical way is usually an uneducated person.

  6. As always, it's easier to make this a black and white situation, with the Pro horse side the one in the wrong. It is not true that we do not train our horses, or that we do not care for them, but it certainly makes your argument easier to sell, airspace1. It's really an over-simplification to state that "most problem horses arrise from idiotic training methods". When you refer to others as "freaks", I wouldn't imagine there is too much chance for any type of educational dialogue. That's the root of the problem, though. People like you who have a preconceived notion about others who don't follow your beliefs. If we don't agree, we're "freaks" and liars. How can anything change with a mentality like that? RH1, Thanks for printing the article. These people are often forgotten in the crusade against them. They are just trying to make a living, and are regular people. Most of them are truly a horse's last chance at a home, and do, in fact provide housing, care, and food and water to them. It is a shame they are villified as a whole for the very small number of them who are not caring individuals. It is not their fault that the horses are abused and neglected before coming to them. If a better job was done at enforcing the laws we already have on the books, they would not have to deal with them. I always say that is where we need to focus our energy. I had written an article about a Rescue that was starving horses. Guess what? The horses remain there. It has been a month. If the laws against abuse, neglect, or cruelty to animals were being enforced, those horses should have been removed from there. We focus our anger and blame on the wrong people. But for some, it fits the cause, so it's okay, I suppose.

  7. I just love it.... talk about anything else to do with horses or the horse industry without a peep... nothing to say. However, when it comes to slaughter .....

    >>>>>>>We have trained not break but trained many horses even the ones this poster claims to have. Seem most problem horses arrise from idiotic training methods. ????


    I have made many, many references to training, solid conformation, good care, and responsible marketing being the easiest way to keep one's horses alive....I think that was referred as boring in one of your previous comments......

    No one meant to imply she was a real humane officer. Not me, not the killer buyer who gave the original interview, not the author of original article....no one even got the impression she supposed to be anything but a crazy bitch with a gun posing as a humane officer except ....

    When making a references to others as idiots it's wise to check spelling and grammar first. Content that makes sense is also a good idea....

  8. J Doe - Amazing eye-opening testimony. Wowsa! Talk about seeing the ugly side. High Drama and all that. You need to write a book or screenplay. I believe it would sell.


    Because I can't think up a better reasonable, workable solution to the huge numbers of unwanted/surplus horses, I ageee with rh 1's assertion: " training, solid conformation, good care, and responsible marketing being the easiest way to keep one's horses alive.."


    Just a foot note from back East: The end of the racing meet at FingerLakes[New York} Auction was horrible, simply horrible. Demand was way way down for OTTB's. About 70 horses were consigned. Half were no saled. A handful secured reasonable bids, the rest received pittance bids, such as $150 - $100 and sold!!! , or did not receive any bids at all. As one of the buyers walked away with her new horse, she was offered a ? dozen? free horses.


    RM - It took guts to republish this article Making Sense of It All. I don't care for reality TV and I didn't care for this slice of real life, but it's better to know than go forward in ignorance of the facts.


    Just Me

  9. Just Me, It's RH1 who gets credit on this. She is always on top of the game :) Like you I would rather see happier things, reality does suck sometimes! But you hit the nail on the head when you say "but it's better to know than go forward in ignorance of the facts."