Rescue Journal

ok..lets talk about the reality of the horse industry..not the airy fairy, i love my horse shit.

Carol  ·  Mar. 28, 2011

several years ago, i saw a news clip on tv...three young girls and their pony club horses were featured. all of them gushing about how much they loved their horses, how they were best friends and about all of the fun things they got to do together. one of the girls at the very end said...but my horse is for sale if anyone wants him...i am getting a bigger and faster horse in the spring.

breeding, buying, selling, trading, upgrading horses is a national past time in our society. horses weigh a thousand pounds..they are a very expensive hobby to keep. each horse is only able to be and do what it can..eventually a newer, bigger, better model is wanted. and the older model's costs of keeping become a roadblock in our search for our must have the perfect horse that can do everything for us again.

plus unfortunately...horses are not machines...they do age just like we do and with this comes decreased abilities and increased care needs. most folks do not have a clue what it costs to keep an old horse...but lets add it old horse here for this month cost:
1/2 bale of hay a day @ $15/bale x 30 days = $225
five bags of senior horse feed $16.95 each= about $92
one months worth of shavings/alfalfa pellets and bran for one horse= about $150
supplements/meds and vet and ferrier costs/visits for this month for one old horse= $500

it is about $1000 per month, give or take, to care for an old horse pretty well.
this does not include electricity to the barn for water and light, nor does it include time and labour to care for them either. you are looking at a minimum ionvestment of 2 hours per hour in the morning, one hour in the evening of time that the horse deserves at least.

so how many people have an extra $1000 and 60 hours per month for an old or useless horse?

now you could shove them out in a pasture and ignore them with little or no time/cost like what happened to gideon and pops but eventually even that is going to cause problems for them and for you. is the costs about $500 dollars to humanely knock them off too...a couple hundred for the vet, another few hundred to get the bodies carted away. or you can sell them at auction with a fantasy dream that someone will buy them (for $500 as per their body weight) and give them the home of their dreams...and we just killed two birds with one stone...the horse is taken care of and we have some cash from it too!

in reality..the only one bidding on most of the horses meat man brokering for the slaughter houses, he is buying that horse for about 50 cents per pound. he is going to load up that nice and loyal horse who was so beloved by so many homes over the years and truck him or her several hundred or thousand miles in a truck full of other scared horses and deliver them to the never ending line up of other walking dead terrified horses to be prodded up a bloody and slippery shute to a dead bolt right to the head and a body hook to carry the carcass down the dead horse assembly line.

and while all of this is happening..many idiots somewhere are watching the miracle birth of another innocent foal who will eventually end up on the very same hook cuz that is how each year thousands upon thousands once beloved horses finally go.

oh yay.



Have you seen this letter before? It's written by a guy that is in charge of gassing animals at a shelter- when will people learn to spay and neuter?


you got it right....i did the dollar sign in both so i editted both..i did mean cents.... i guess i was thinking big at the time!


Thank you so much for the clarification. I read "dollar" in your original post and didnt see that you wrote "cents" in your response; I should have looked closer! :)

There is so much about the horse "industry" I cannot wrap my head around.


Meat horses go for up to about $300 depending on their condition, up in Quesnel auction, so that must be around 25 to 35 cents a pound on the hoof. Now that the law is changed and horses have to either come with a clear medical certificate or have to be held for at least 6 months before slaughter for human consumption, I think that prices will go even lower ... its expensive to put a horse in a feedlot. The old guys with the bad teeth will not get chubby enough to slaughter. So things are looking even grimmer for the old ones. What happens if nobody, not even the meat man, buys them? There are far too many abandoned in fields, starving and cold and like popeye, no hoof trims and the pain must be incredible.
I hate the meat truck, but it sometimes is the kinder choice. I would not eat horsemeat unless it meant my life, but some people do, just like in other countries like thailand they raise dogs for human consumption.
My major issue with animal slaughter, be it horses, chickens, pigs, or cows is the way we treat them - for horses especially the trip to the slaughter is horrendous, and the way they are killed is insane - it works on cows fairly well, but not horses. In Britain the animals are shot and it is quicker and less chance of having to try multiple times before the animal dies.
Pigs and chickens live in totally inhumane quarters - no space, no natural light, it is common for pigs (extremely intelligent animals) to go insane in the crate they spend their life in.
And this is all so we can eat cheap meat, eggs, and milk.
I dont want to even bring up the conditions in some puppy mills.
Human nature is appalling... how do we get people to treat animals better when they dont treat their kids properly either????
To date I have saved 4 horses - one from starvation, and three from the auction. It is very expensive financially, but oh so rewarding emotionally to see those old guys prancing around, round and healthy.
We have to quit breeding so many horses!!!! If you arent prepared to keep it for the next thirty years, dont produce it!!


lol..sorry tracey and thx for nagging!!!..oops..i was up at 5 am! sorry...50 CENTS a pound! i will go back and edit! at 50 bucks per pound, no freaking horse would stand a chance!


Sorry to harp on this Carol; I am just trying to understand. If a horse weighs an average of 800 - 1,000 pounds, that would mean a horse sold for meat would go for $40,000 - $50,000? Something in my math is obviously incorrect.


it really does make a person sick that an animals life is so much per pound. that is what their life was worth. how sad is that, maybe at some point life will be regarded as just that life and all the loving and caring that goes into it will mean something there really has to be some greater good at some point that will come and say stop these are all gods animals and they deserve so much more than we humans give them it is sickening how we treat not only our domestic animals but our wild animals as well. man really has a lot to learn about compassion and love. end of my lecture.


A lifetime commitment, that is what each and every domestic animal should be. When my horse became ill and had to be put down, the vet asked if I wanted to get a few hundred bucks for him and send him to slaughter. I wanted to throw up. No way. Never.


when we were at the auction a couple of years ago...the staff person who was helping us get our guys (cuz i am a total auction moron) said the going rate then for both cows and horses, was about 50 cents/per pound on the hoof (this was to give us a rough idea of what we were going to have to spend to out bid the kill buyers). it was pretty close to what he had said..the goats at that time were going for more than that. but meat prices fluctuate..i actually have no idea what they are now.,,could be higher or lower, who knows?


The meat man pays $50 per pound for an old, broken horse? Is that a typo?

What I know about horses wouldnt fill a thimble, but I do know that they deserve much better than we as a society give them; much, much, MUCH better.

The whole concept of "trading up" is completely foreign to me, and for that, I am grateful.


I had a free lease horse as a teenager.. I remember going to pick her up & she was skin & bones with a horrible wound that hadn't been treated, the woman had a young yearling as well & he appeared OK so I guess that is where the money went... I had her for about a year...when the owner wanted her back.. I was heartbroken. I had nursed this horse back to great health, we went for rides up Bby Mtn, I'd skip school just to hang with her..I cried hard when she left and still to this day will think & wonder what became of her.. When I bought my 1st horse as a adult, I purchased him from his original owner who loved him dearly , but her kids were now at the age of starting to ride & she had no time for herself to ride & care for him . When I was no longer interested in riding, I simply could not just sell him.. my mind kept saying I could do everything to ensure the home was perfect...but what would happen to him after that ??? I continued to pay for boarding, training, farrier, vets for about another year... then his original owner( who I had always kept in contact with ) had the thought that perhaps he would be perfect for her daughter who was now quite an accomplished rider, we did a week trial & it was a match made in heaven. Nikki went back to his original owner, I got to sleep at night knowing he was safe & loved & I vowed never again unless I can afford the lifetime commitment.

Bunny Horne

It never ceases to SHOCK me at how little regard we have for life in general. We toss relationships with humans and especially those with our furry and feathered friends out as if they were Tupperware, and seemingly purge them from our minds forever. Carol, I do not know how you do it.

Cheryl Stef

yup that is it to a tea, no wonder i have no money in my bank account....but i would have it no other way....They are my family as much as my children are...oh accept the children do eventually get married and move away....

carol just give us some dates for Lahanie and i can have a look at stefs work schedule. she would be happy to give him a nice shave


Ayup. Animals used as commodities = horrible death. Gotta get the last pound of flesh out of them!


Great post, Carol. I think people need to be informed about the circumstances horses face in North America. It is far from rosy.