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WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 25, 2013, 08:57 PM

West Fargo horse auction attracts critics

West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A horse auction in West Fargo Friday brought out buyers of all sorts, and horse rescue groups say some of them are what they call "kill-buyers," who buy the animal for slaughter in Canada or Mexico.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A horse auction in West Fargo Friday brought out buyers of all sorts, and horse rescue groups say some of them are what they call "kill-buyers," who buy the animal for slaughter in Canada or Mexico.

They say it's inhumane. Others say it's necessary.

As bidders pack into a room for a horse auction, some are looking for the ones going for the lowest price.

Jordanne Hogenson and Nykky Rehovsky say these so-called "kill-buyers" are at every auction. They bring the horses to Canada or Mexico for slaughter.

Nykky Rehovsky- Horse-Owner: "It's a profit business for them. It's not an animal; it's just livestock."

Often, horse-lovers and rescue groups bid on the horses they think might go to kill, giving them another chance.

Jordanne Hogenson- Hooves in Motion Farrier Service: "A cowboy asked me why would you waste your time with these? And after a year, they were some of the most beautiful horses I've ever seen."

But others say sometimes "harvesting" horses is necessary.

Horse sale manager Kelly Waslaski says often when people rescue horses this way, they can't afford to take care of them.

Kelly Waslaski- Horse Sale Manager: "They have good intentions, but there is not enough money to care for all of the animals that are unwanted and need to be harvested."

He and Mike Hilde say they would like to see slaughterhouses reinstated in the U.S.

The last of them closed in 2007 after Congress cut off funding for horse meat inspections.

Mike Hilde- Branch Manager: "They're still getting harvested. It's just a longer truck ride. They're either going to Mexico or Canada."

Hogenson says she knows they'll never stop horse slaughter altogether, but if there is another option for an animal, they want to help.

Hogenson: "It's just the time, and grooming and care it takes to put into them, and they can turn out to be great horses."

Once slaughtered, horse meat is shipped overseas or often to U.S. zoos.

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