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Terri Farley
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Friday, August 16, 2013

My First Trip to a WILD HORSE Slaughter Auction

Rambles, a dwarf mustang with her mother

Rambles in the ring at the Fallon slaughter auction

Dear Readers, 
I'm counting down the minutes. 
Federal Judge Miranda Du set a hearing by teleconference for 1:30 p.m. today to decide whether to grant a temporary restraining order suspending the auction of over 400 wild horses. 
It's 3:35 p.m. 
I don't want to return to the Fallon Livestock Exchange tomorrow.  My heart hasn't mended from the first time.

  My First Trip to a Slaughter Auction

For years, I've known that wild horses and their tame cousins are sent to livestock auctions where they face "kill buyers." I wrote such an auction in GIFT HORSE. It was based on interviews and research.
On January 9 of this year, I attended a slaughter auction. My heart falls heavy in my chest when I think about it and my throat aches like it's full of splinters when I try to talk about it.

I went to this auction to find 41 wild horses which had been trapped by the Nevada Department of Agriculture. Members of the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Preservation Campaign hoped to use donations -- from people around the world! -- to buy back the wild ones.

But the horses that I can't forget were domestic horses. Trailered for miles and then left in strange corrals, they neighed and whinnied after their owners. Before the auction Shannon Windle and I walked around looking for the mustangs, but the horses that came up to fences, puzzled and friendly, were cow ponies, race horses, a burned-out endurance horse and mounts that had helped children learn to ride.

Herded down a chute and into the auction ring, many realized they were in danger. So, they did what they'd learned to do. They trotted up to the edge of the auction ring and nudged at boots of audience members.
Those horses had been raised as pets or at least, trained to trust humans.

They didn't know where they were. They didn't understand what was expected of them. They didn't know why they were in an unfamiliar place that smelled of fear. Ironically, they turned for help to the species that had betrayed them.
I think the only thing that kept me using my head during that long, long day, was doing a series of live posts via Twitter, for horse lovers far away.
I hope I don't ever have to do it again. 

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Posted by Terri Farley @ 4:36 PM

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Comments: Omg I'm just sad, please tell us what we can do ?
  Heartbreaking! What became of Rambles and her mother? Are they among the 149 mustangs who may be allowed to go back to their HMA?
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