It cost $14,000 to save just 25 horses at a recent Sugarcreek auction.
Three years ago, we brought you the tale of LeRoy Baker’s Sugarcreek horse auction – where unwanted steeds are bought up in the hundreds and sold off to the slaughterhouses every Friday
After our story ran, letters poured in from readers who were disturbed by the reality of this age-old tradition, and accused Baker of being a murderer. But the truth was, if no one else was going to cough up the money for these unwanted animals, what was Baker to do? …
So Ravenna's Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary managed to raise over $30,000 to buy up horses whose death warrants were seemingly signed. On May 9, the group’s executive director, Annette Fisher, headed over to Sugar Creek and sat side by side with the horsemeat buyers, attempting to outbid them. In the end, she paid $14,000 for 25 horses. You can read an account of her trials here
Still, Fisher wasn’t able to save every animal on the auction block – a blind mare ended up going to a meat supplier for $50. It also isn’t as if Fisher can outbid her competitors each week. She spent half of her money at just one auction out of 52 a year – and the cost of keeping and feeding the horses is much higher.
It’s just another example of a losing battle against the horsemeat market. This week, The New York Times reported
that while activists have managed to get the slaughtering of horses outlawed in most states, it isn’t stopping sellers like Baker from going across the border to make his money.
“The reforms haven’t solved the problem; they’ve just moved it further from our sight,” writes reporter Steve Zorn. “Instead of shipping to the slaughterhouses in Illinois and Texas, the horses unlucky enough to be picked up by the meat man, or that are sold at the “kill auctions” in Ohio, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, now must endure a long crowded van ride to Mexico or Canada, and then face death in ways even more barbaric than those that were the norm in the US.” – Denise Grollmus