Horse Owners Deceived; Their Pets Sold to Slaughter

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This will surprise many readers, but the ‘kill buyers’ for slaughterhouses don’t want the old, thin, or sick horses – it is not worth it to them to transport the animals. The slaughterhouses want to be able to sell the meat – what they want is the healthy, fit horses that have lost their home for one reason or another. Unsuspecting owners hand over the horses, believing that their beloved mounts will go to a good home, unaware of the gruesome fate that awaits.
Please help pass The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 2966 and S. 1176 ), a form can be found  at Last Hope For Horses.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer

A young Pennsylvania horse dealer was charged with defrauding horse owners by posing as a rescue and instead sending their animals to slaughter.
A preliminary hearing for Kelsey Lefever 24, of Honeybrook, was to be held in Dauphin County Monday but the case was continued and is rescheduled for Feb. 21.
The five counts of fraud against Lefever, who was well known in the show horse world and in rescue circles, were brought the Pennsylvania State Police in November after a months-long investigation.
In two instances Lefever had told the owners of retired racehorses at Penn National racetrack outside of Harrisburg that she would retrain and find homes for their horse.
Instead she sold them to ”kill buyers” in a parking lot deal at the New Holland auction in Lancaster who shipped them to Canada to be butchered for meat for human consumption overseas.
But testimony by a witness suggests there were many more. Lefever, she said, told her she sent 120 horses to slaughter.

Now, under a new budget bill, that funding has been restored. Pro-slaughter advocates, like United Horsemens Front which will focus on slaughter in the U.S. at its annual meeting in April, have been lobbying to bring back the industry pointing to what they call a glut of horses.
They also argue that unwanted horses would suffer less if they were killed in plants in this country, rather than being shipped to Mexico or Canada as they are now.
But don’t tell any of that to the average American who does not believe equine pets belong on dinner plates.
That’s according to the ASPCA which conducted a nationwide poll last week that found 80 percent of Americans oppose horse slaughter.
“The overwhelming majority of Americans are not just against horse slaughter but are intensely opposed to this cruel practice. As more people learn that we are allowing our horses to be shuttled off to a gruesome death all for the sake of foreign gourmands, they are outraged and opposition for this grisly act is growing,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Anyone who has been to the movies lately knows the price horses have paid by carrying us to war, building our nation, and serving our entertainment and companionship needs. Americans have a responsibility to protect these intelligent, sensitive animals from being butchered.”
Here’s why the ASPCA says slaughter is inhumane:
Horse slaughter is inherently cruel because the biology of horses makes them difficult to stun and they often remain conscious during their slaughter. In addition, horsemeat can be toxic to humans, as horses are frequently administered drugs that violate the safety regulations mandated for food animals.

Unfortunately this is not a unique or unusual occurrence – in 2003 a local (Everett, Wa) man was prosecuted in a similar case, and to my knowledge there is still a location on the back roads outside of Stanwood, Wa. where horses are brought to be shipped to slaughter.

Local man to pay for selling couple’s pets for slaughter

By Diane Brooks
Times Snohomish County bureau
Instead, Guptil sold the gelding to Florence Packing in Stanwood for $549. Jubilee then was shipped to an Alberta slaughterhouse that sells horse meat for human consumption in Europe.

EVERETT — From a business standpoint, the deal looked pretty good two years ago: $864 for selling a horse and three goats for slaughter, within 10 days of picking them up for free.
But now a Snohomish County Superior Court commissioner says Dana Guptil must pay Lake Stevens residents Kimberly and Neale Cox $34,329 for the emotional pain he inflicted when he sent the couple’s pets to their deaths.
“His actions exceeded all bounds of decency,” wrote Commissioner Arden Bedle.
The civil-court judgment may be among the largest of its kind nationally, said the Coxes’ attorney, Valerie Bittner, who is a longtime member of the California-based Animal Legal Defense Fund. According to her research, the largest known award in similar cases involving companion animals was a $50,000 judgment in a Kentucky horse case in 2000.
Neither Guptil nor his attorney could be reached for comment yesterday.
The Coxes met Guptil, 32, in May 2001, when they placed a newspaper ad seeking a “good home” for their goats, which kept escaping from their yard. Buster was a purebred Nubian, while Oreo and Martin were former petting-zoo residents from Everett’s Forest Park.
The couple said Guptil then “sweet-talked them” into also handing over Jubilee, a 28-year-old strawberry roan, by promising to pasture him with other horses for the rest of his life. Neale Cox, who had cared for Jubilee since the horse’s birth, said he agreed because he worried that his horse was lonely.
Guptil promised they could visit their animals every week, the Coxes said. Guptil said he would keep the goats at his home on the Tulalip Reservation while pasturing Jubilee in the Warm Springs area south of Stanwood.

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