Sugarcreek auction fined $162,800 for equine violations

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SALEM, Ohio — Leroy Baker Jr., owner and operator of Sugarcreek Livestock Auction, has been fined more than $162,000 by the USDA for violating equine transport laws.

Order of events

Baker has been in the business of buying and selling horses since 1985 and Sugarcreek Livestock Auction regularly shipped more than 1,000 horses per year to slaughter plants in Texas, according to USDA.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) filed a complaint against Baker in March 2008, alleging he violated the Commercial Transportation of Equines for Slaughter Act.

The allegations spanned 2003-2007 and included not completely and properly filling out required owner-shipper paperwork for horses shipped from the auction facility; not contacting USDA officials to report horses that died during shipment; incorrectly identifying stallions as geldings and not separating them from the rest of the shipment; and not handling blind or injured horses “expeditiously and as carefully as possible.”

USDA also claimed multiple loads of horses were missing a written statement that indicated the animals had been rested, watered and fed for at least six consecutive hours prior to being loaded and transported.

It total, the claims pertained to some 1,345 horses hauled in 35 loads to slaughter plants.

USDA said the allegations applied not only to Baker, but also to any truck drivers who hauled for him and failed to fill in the paperwork.

Rights

USDA documents indicate Baker never responded to the allegations, which waived his right to a hearing on the matter and, by fault, admitted guilt.

USDA subsequently filed cease and desist orders against Baker, which required him to stop violations of the equine act.

The agency also fined Baker $162,800, which was to be paid by mid-February. To date, that fine has not been paid, and Baker says he can’t afford to pay it.

USDA public affairs specialist Madelaine Fletcher said if the debt isn’t paid before it’s 180 days delinquent, Baker will be responsible for paying it, plus additional fees of up to 30 percent. There are a number of other penalties that can also apply, including seizing income tax refunds, economic stimulus payments or any federal payment, Fletcher said.

Fighting back

In December, Leroy Baker filed a petition with USDA asking them to reconsider their decision, which was denied because he didn’t respond within the allotted time.

Baker says 95 percent of the allegations are false and he questioned why infractions of the transport act weren’t brought to his attention sooner.

“I wanted to know why, if there was a problem, they waited five or six years to do anything,” Baker said. “If there’s something wrong, you fix it now.”

“They’ve got their paperwork all mixed up, and their investigator doesn’t even know what is going on. They’ve got me going to two different [slaughter plants] with the exact same load,” he said.

“They’re bogus charges.”

Photo proof?

Baker said he’s been shown photos that USDA is using to prove certain claims, but even those photos show inconsistencies.

For instance, a fat horse with a short tail shipped from Sugarcreek was claimed to be emaciated when it arrived in Texas 12 hours later. However, photos of that horse taken in Texas showed it with a long tail and with identification tags in different places than when the horse left Ohio.

“Now you tell me that’s the same animal,” Baker said. “If there’s a mix-up or if a horse is injured once it gets [to the plant], that’s not my responsibility.

“Everybody who gets stopped for bank robbery says they didn’t do it. But if I did wrong, I will admit it and pay for my troubles.”

Animal rights

Baker, whose auction facility is frequented by animal rights activists and animal rescuers, said he’s aware that horse slaughter isn’t popular with the American public. He defends it anyhow.

“What’s worse, slaughtering a horse someone can’t or won’t care for anymore, or letting it die painfully?

“I tell the animal rights people if you want to buy all the horses in the world, go ahead. But don’t prolong their agony.”

About the Author

Former staff reporter Andrea Zippay wrote for Farm and Dairy from 2001 to 2009. More Stories by Andrea Zippay

96 Comments

  1. Dear Andrea

    I am so grateful to see your article ,on May 23rd 2008 i purchased close to 200 hundred horses from Mr Baker at the cost of over 78,000.00 if that is any indication of a normal day for Mr Baker than i do believe he can afford the fines he has had been directed towards him ,the conditions at his facility are overwhelming the cruelty that i witnessed are still a haunting nightmare that i will never forget
    The truth that has been lost in the translation of this story is although Mr Baker has learned to close his eyes to his senses that i believe he once possessed he is only the vehicle for this weekly tragedy for of the 164 horses i shipped to Florida to house in beautiful farms and show to the equine world that mares in foal ,foals ,yearlings, two year olds three four and five year olds by the tens donkeys and ponies that are wonderful useful young healthy and loving deserve better than that which we have given ,it is the act of callus disposal that is unforgivable the truth that there is no accountability of ownership from those who have been given service companionship and income to the truth of that purchase was to prove that over 89% of the horses i bought are truly perfectly healthy with lives that should be honored of those horses not one had training issues or behavioral problems and as of this date with the aid and direction of the Pure Thoughts Horse Rescue we have found loving homes for over 110 of these horses so far

    There is no “agony to prolong” only the agony that we induce by causing such a prolific number of horses to become a harvest to profiteers of cruelty .The double deck cattle trailers are all waiting the whips and impatient are there to escort and the end of their journey is completely impossible to justify .

    On that day in May there was a reprieve , and i will continue to fight in Washington until one day very soon Mr Leroy Baker will only be selling cattle For perhaps Mr Baker can sleep at night but i refuse to allow such a sub species of human intellect to define the nature of an American

    • laurie mattern says:

      Something to chew on.. what happen’s to the horses that are so crippled that they can not walk or the one’s blind that are scared to death and hurt themselfs or other’s? there are so many horses right now starving because there owners can not feed them.. yeh yeh I know they should not have them. But who they going to sell that crippled horse to? No not all horses need to go the kill , but there are a number of them out there now that are just hurting and starving and no one buys these guys from the kill pens !! You only buy the one’s that you can resell or lease out! I was at 2 actions today and seen what happen’s to the horses no one wants, they go back home were maybe the person lost there job and can not feed them…….

    • Melanie says:

      There has to be another option for owners who no longer want/can’t afford their horses. For those horse that can go on to find loving forever homes a rescue or “surrender” farm would be ideal. The problem is there aren’t enough of them. There needs to be a better network or foster farms to hold thesee horses, something that could be worked out with rescue’s and local humane agencies. The other horses that are either too old or have other problems, there needs to be low cost euthanasia and disposal. I have heard way too many people who have lost jobs, just dump their horses because they felt they had no other option. This has to change otherwise there will always be a “Sugar Creek” around….

  2. Bill Smith says:

    With the cruelty Leroy Baker has forced so many horses to endure he got off extremely easy. He should have been put in prison for ten years are so for his criminal activities. To those of you that neglect abuse and abandon horses take heed we are watching. Hay Baker how many horses will you have to torture to make up $162,000.

  3. Dear Andrea,

    Have you seen how Horses are slaughtered? All you have to do is Google Horse Slaughter, and you will become painfully aware of their plight. Also, I would recommend reading Nathan Winograd’s book regarding a No Kill Solution. There is always work involved when dealing with Life & Death, so, as humans, we always look for the easier softer way. Horses are Living, Sentient Creatures, and deserve our utmost attention to their lives and well-being. Rather than blaming organizations for their views, why not become a part of the solution, so we can ultimately eliminate unnecessary killing of these Magnificent Creatures.

    Respectfully,

    Rich Russom
    Rich@Russom.com
    http://www.Hornhead.Russom.com
    http://www.iacmusic.com/RichRussom
    http://www.soundclick.com/RichRussom

    Compassion – By Sharing Our Warmth, We Create a Supportive Environment.

    The Greatness of a Nation and its Moral Progress can be Judged by the way its Animals are Treated. [Gandhi]

  4. jfl says:

    I have seen the neglect at the auctions and the horses loaded. It is no wonder they arrive in horrible conditions. The transporters to slaughter to abide by any current humane laws.

  5. MJ Wilson says:

    Good job USDA! Hope this hell hole is closed for good. Hope Baker has to pay for what he’s done.

  6. B, Oliver says:

    Pay the fine, Leroy. You are guilty and COUNTLESS numbers of people know the truth. I have been there and have seen with my own eyes. The place represents a living hell for horses and this is only the first step. The next step is to board your double-decker for the long and nightmarish journey to the slaughter house. Reports have been written and made public. Leroy Baker is guilty of monstrous wrongs and he must pay up. It is the law. To the good people of Ohio: CLOSE DOWN SUGARCREEK slaughter auction. Americans do not butcher their horses.

  7. Judgement Day will come for him, we all are judged by God for are actions here on earth. If he doesn’t pay here on earth, he surely will pay in hell.

  8. Bryttanie Shaffer says:

    Wow. I can not believe you guys. Wake up and have some common sense. The process of slaughter is bad, i agree and needs to be a bit moer human, but it is a nessesity. Seriously. What would you do with a broke down horse, who can bairly walk, blind, and skitish as hell? Keep it for a pasture pet? It would only be missrable and cant be like a normal horse. I have seen the horses dumped at his auction and if anything he is helping. Fix the other problems that are with slaughter. like PMU mares. Stop that b/c once they are no good they are slaughtered, same with thier foals. Find a sub. for their urin. And how are you even going to attack this issue. They are a form of live stock. ya we can ride them and they can be out best friend, but some cant be saved. What would you do with the Grey hound racing dogs? They are put down. The humansociety who puts dogs and cats down because they cant find a home. The price to have a vet come out and have them put down or even to have the haul away is costing alot now a days. But guarenteed your guys would start a fit if you knew someone put their horse down who was in good health beacuse they could not care for it. your never happy. This is not a perfect world. What about cattle? We eat them yet they are used at rodeos, and for 4-h and pets. That is no different. Wake up. Leroy is a good friend of mine and he is doing nothing wrong. Shame on you all. If anything, if you wouldnt have closed the US slaughter houses, it could of been regulated and fixed to the point where it was more humane for the horse if thats all your crazy about. But no. You all flipped! USDA has lost all common sense and does not see anything realisticly. You cant save every human let alont every animal. This is just going to cost taxpayers more money. Again. I STRONGLY support Leroy!

    • Y T karashinski says:

      So, we just kill kill kill to get rid of the surplus that WE overbred? We send horses screaming to their deaths in the slaughterhouses where a bolt through the head does not always kill — and the horse behind that one sees it writhing in agony and smells the blood and the TERROR. We kill cats and dogs because manKIND was NOT kind enough to understand their responsibilities of pet ownership – to spay and neuter, to keep cats INDOORS, not to breed our pets and NOT to give up our pets because we “don’t want them any more”. We take the easy way out, eh? This only reinforces my belief that the Bible was right- ONLY the HUMANS were thrown out of Paradise, and because of that the innocent animals suffer every day. Let’s see if we can find some way to redeem our miserable selves – by performing EXCEPTIONAL acts of kindness and NOT murder or cruelty — to all living beings!!!

    • Lora says:

      I agree with Bryttanie! Horses are LIVESTOCK!!!! Yes I love horses. I own quite a few. They are my “best friends” but I still think that we should be legally able to sale horses for slaughter. The markets are over ran with horses that no one wants or can feed. There used to be good money in selling horses but now you can’t hardly give them away. Grain prices are thru the roof and hay is short. With the dry summers we have been having pasture doen’t last long. Horses are like any other animal, you have the good and the bad. Not all horses are Black Beauty!! You have your screws in there too. Along with your old and crippled horses. I have a horse now that is over 30 years old. His health is declining and the vet says that each day is just a gift now. I can’t sale him because it would cost me more to sale him then I would gt out of him but if the slaughter houses were still opened I could have sold him while he still looked half way descent. But now I am just waiting for him to die so I can haul him off!!! That may sound cruel but it is life. It is hard to sale a good horse because of all of the cheap horses out there. To sale a horse you have a sale bill and a coggins test that you have ot pay for. That is at least 40 dollars. Some horses won;t even bring that. Now people are taking their horses and turning them loose because they can’t afford to feed them and they can’t afford to sale them. You guys need to realize that non of the farmers and horse people want to see every horse go to the kill floor but there is a need to slaughter the undesirables!

      • charles kasten says:

        haul your dead horse off-shouldn’t you bury it? $40.00 for a coggins test? didn’t you count on some expenses in owning a horse? flea drops for a cat cost that much these days.

      • Beverly Costner says:

        I am just glad you would not consider me your best friend. If an animal is your friend you care for it when it has outlived it’s usefulness to you. What an attitude. You may own horses,you don’t love them.

      • Janie says:

        Lora, that is the most assign response I’ve read to date! This shows you’re no better then Leroy Baker…I too am glad I’m not your “best friend”! If you have a problem “hauling” your dead horses somewhere because it costs you money, don’t freakin own them!!

      • Eve says:

        The opinion expressed by Lora is that of an irresponsible and greedy individual.

        Many people decide to take on the responsibility of caring for horses and other animals and then when times get hard, they simply get rid of them. Of course, the almighty dollar is of utmost importance to these greedy individuals who attempt to get every penny they can.

        I worry that Lora’s parents and other loved ones will one day become old and unable to care for themselves. She will no doubt haul them off to the cheapest nursing home she can find. After-all, they have become a burden to her and are simply dead weight.

        Lora, to quote you “Horses are like any other animal, you have the good and the bad”. People are that way too.

    • Robert Owen says:

      We all need to pull our heads out of the sand, we do need slaughter facilities to help control equine overabundance, but that does not give the right to anyone to be cruel to horses or any other animal,BUT we will condemn someone for not being able to keep their animals in perfect show condition, even though they love them and working with them, hey and for the people who says WE don’t eat horse meat, take a good look back in history and you will find that our own Armed Service men were fed canned horse meat in World War #2, because the government had destroyed huge amounts of cattle due to disease and draught, prior to the war,causing us not to be able to feed our own troops with beef, then there are those of us who don’t need or have the true ability to care for a horse, so why do we get them? This only leads to more unneccasary horses that will sooner or later , flood the market causing the people like the man in question to have to handle them. The average person can’t afford to pay for the correct health care of these horses, so why do they have them? Is Baker the real problem, there is always two sides to every story, it’s just that no one wants to share the blame.Look around people, we have very wealthy people who are championing for the noble wild mustangs, Or BLM horses, they offer their large acreages to let the horses run on (for a price) which is paid by our government.Even the rich exploit the overabundance of the horse. Who am I, I am a horse lover, have been ever since I learned to read, but just like you, I’m not perfect. Some times a buzzard has to clean up our messes.

  9. Rose says:

    Leroy Baker will meet his maker one day! All the abuse he has put upon these unfortunate horses will catch up with him!

    For those that wish to see the USDA Report with the pictures go to http://www.kaufmanzoning.net A wealth of information on the abuse horses endure from auctions like Bakers then the path to hell of the slaughter house!

    Being a professional horse person over 35 years,I have seen plenty.

    A passing of HR 503 will put a end to the likes of Baker,cons,self proclaimed horse trainers and the irresponsible.

  10. JBernier says:

    You’ve been busted, Leroy. Man up and pay the fine.

  11. Chris says:

    Guess if I had a broke down, can barely walk, blind, skittish horse I’d sell him to Leroy, as he would have no ethical issues loading this poor, unfortunate creature on a truck to hell.

    Good selling feature of Leroy’s strong points.

  12. CTeal says:

    Ms Shaffer, Perhaps it most befitting for you to take your personal horse to your friend Leroy Baker and go through the auction. I would like for you to be the one to watch your horse from the auction through all chain of events as your best friend makes it’s way to Mexico to the slaughter plant. Is your horse old? Maybe “broken down and cannot walk”? Or skittish and spooky from poor handling and training? Then you need to watch as your dear friend be put through those same horrors from start to finish. With no intervening as you witness the incredible treatment your horse would receive. Maybe that horse was your best friend. But you were certainly no friend to him. If you can do that to a horse, you are no human being.
    Slaughter a necessary evil? Evil, yes. Necessary? Only to those who choose it as a means of disposal for their own lack of responsibilities. If you are such friends with Leroy Baker, then you know as well as anyone that the horses going through auction are not sick or infirmed, but healthy and young. The sick and injured should have been euthanized before coming to the auction. That is a crime in itself. People like yourself see horses as a commodity and are opportunists. You’re a hypocrite to the equine world.

  13. Bonnie Buron says:

    I sure hope that this puts Baker out of business and shuts down that hell hole he has been using to send our noble horses to a torturous death.
    My beloved, young Tennessee Walker, Baron, was rescued from Sugarcreek in November’ 07 by Pure Thoughts Horse rescue. I can only imagine the fear, sadness, and confusion he must have known during that time. To see him now I believe that Sugarcreek is erased from his memeory as it will one day be long gone from ours as well. You’re getting yours now, Leroy boy!

  14. starkfarm says:

    you wouldn’t have been able to buy “or rescue” those horses IF Mr. Baker didn’t PROVIDE THE SERVICE of holding the auction. There are ads of horses for sale in several newspapers, do you buy those as well or only the ones at the auction. If the ones in the paper never get adopted where do you think they will go??

    As for bashing Mr. Baker- have you all forgot his comments he made when a similar story ran earlier last year? Baker disapproves of the technique and said not all plants use it. In Canada, he explained, horses are shot in the head. Baker argued there’s nothing wrong with butchering horses. In most cases, the horses sold for slaughter are old and unwanted. Baker said it must be done for environmental reasons. ‘If you start burying 100,000 horses a year in American farms, that’s going to get into the water supply,’ Baker said. (by Tom Meyer WKYC channel 3 news posted 5-16-08)

    Now all the advocates of euthanizing and burying all the horses, what do you think Sodium Pentobarbital (euthanasia formula) is going to do when it gets in YOUR groundwater? Or is it as long as its not YOUR water its okay.

    Also if Mr. Baker didnt allow ALL buyers including those who want to rescue horses, just buy a horse, and the kill buyers; then Im sure the next lawsuit and article in the news would that he is discriminating against certain groups.

    Horses are livestock same as dairy cows, beef cows, pigs, sheep.etc. just because we aren’t accustom to it, doesn’t mean other cultures are wrong.

    I ALSO STRONGLY SUPPORT LEROY!!!

  15. Sara says:

    Seriously I had a 37 year old pony with cushings who I owned for 19 years he was retired and loved life on the farm he was put to rest last March. I have a retired 27 year old mare along with my show horses. You people that support this piece of crap in Sugarcreek are heartless and should not own animals. They serve us and they deserve to be taken care of throuhgout their years. Lets send you all to homes when you are old and worthless. This is why the horse world gets a bad name because of ignorance. You should not own an animal that you are not able to care for.

  16. Ann says:

    I think perhaps both sides have a touch of tunnel vision. The truth is that Mr. Baker provides a legitimate, and yes, unfortunately necessary social function. The comment that we do not slaughter our horses in America is simply untrue and to think that we are above it is unrealistic, naive and prude. (Watch the Lion King if you need to familiarize yourself with the “Circle of Life”) It is not possible for every horse to be taken care of by a loving 12-year-old girl until it dies a peaceful, natural death, over which tears are shed. Nor should the idea of consumption of horse meat by humans or other animals be offensive. Cows make amazing companions if you spend enough time with one- the importance we have placed on horses as companion pets is purely conditioned and societal. While kill buyers may be viewed in a similar light as human traffickers or war profiteers, with a little perspective, you can see that there is an overabundance of people who will not, or cannot care for horses beyond a certain age. Those horses can either become neglected, or they can die. I don’t want to be a butcher, but I don’t have a problem with what they do.
    The fine he was charged however, is perfectly legitimate, whether or not you agree with the comments I have already made. Regardless of what type of end they are facing, all creatures should be treated as well as possible while living. He clearly was not adhering to the standard of the law. The article states that not only was he ignoring the law by not filing necessary paperwork, but also not taking proper care of the animals in his possession while they were alive. His profession is lucrative enough without this unnecessary and inhumane corner-cutting. The conditions described could easily be called animal torture. If you’re going to run such a controversial business, do it with integrity, so that you can defend yourself without shame. As is, if he was completely shut down it would be well deserved because of the lack of respect he has displayed- not only for the people whose horses he buys and the horses themselves, but for the law.

  17. Chase Galloway says:

    Hey look here all you guppy’s we buy almost all of our cattle from Sugar Creek all’s you guys do is try to put the people that feed your ignorant soles out of business. Get a life maybe you guys should be taken to the slaughter houses and we’ll feed the horses maybe they’ll appreciate an honest days work seeing as you guys probably pay to get your lawn mowed. As for Bill Smith the “hay” you used is to feed the horses you so much want to protect, “hey” is the correct word……GET A LIFE PEOPLE LEAVE US ALONE!!!

  18. Kit says:

    To Ms. Shaffer: If the horse racing industry would cease, there wouldn’t be unwanted, non-winning race horses; if the Amish would join the 21st century and stop working horses to near death, that population of horses would not exist either. But we all know neither of those things will ever happen and there will always be unwanted, broken-down, used-up horses. So if that is the reality, one would think that at least these horses could be HUMANELY put down if that is the ONLY option left for them. Inhumane transport and then slaughter of unwanted horses, just so those who already squeezed the life and every dollar out of them can squeeze out a few more dollars, is inhumane, unethical, and irresponsible for us as humans. Don’t forget we claim to be superior to animals because of our ability to think intelligently and our ability to show sympathy. So, Ms. Shaffer, do you honestly believe that for these horses, the best we can come up with is inhumane transport and slaughter? Have you never heard of humane euthanasia by lethal injection? Oh, that’s right, there’s no profit in that….

    • Luke says:

      what do the amish have to do with any of this they mind there own bisness and take care of there horses they use them yes but they take pretty good care of them because they are equipment for them so they need to keep them in good working shape the real people that started this whole thing are the people who have horses and dont do anythimg with them and the people who think if they have a couple of mares then they need a stud also then they think they will make a fortune on selling these colts that knowbody wants because evey dumb horse owner is doing the same thing

  19. Amy says:

    O.k So you bought $78,000 worth of horses. Good for you! Mr. Baker probably only made commission off that money say $25 per horse….That is Roughly $4100. Now did you take payroll out, electricity, feed and water available at the barn? What about the money you have to pay every time some on comes in there with a bad check that you have to cover? Most Livestock facilities are barely making enough money to keep the doors open. It must be nice to have enough money to provide a safe haven for these animals. But, for the rest of the working class we barely have enough money to feed our families let alone a horse that eats 4 times as much as we do. I would rather see my animal go to auction then watch it starve in my backyard. Hopefully, you will have enough funds to keep you going so your horses don’t starve in yours.

  20. Kit says:

    One has to wonder why a family who could barely feed itself would have a horse to begin with. So, if the horse was starving in the backyard, does that mean that the ONLY option the “owner” has it to sell it at auction to be inhumanely handled, transported, killed, skinned and cut up; or is there the option of a more humane euthanasia? The auction though, is the only one that will also provide some bucks for the owner in the process of “getting rid of” unwanted horses, right?

  21. Harold says:

    Kit – I find fault in your first sentence, though I may agree with the rest of what you said. A family owning a horse when they can barely feed themselves may be a product of buying a horse when they could still amply afford to have one. Many families have financial downturns through no fault of their own and have to make very tough decisions.

  22. starkfarm says:

    You guys fight to close down Sugarcreek, think about the damage you will be doing, other animals are sold there- beef, sheep, pigs…. seriously. I have dairy cattle and one can get very attached to them, but when its their time its their time to go to the sale barn that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop eating hamburger and steaks. The Bakers are good people. If people such as yourselves wouldn’t have had the horse slaughter plants shut down, you could have instead fought for better regulation of the palnts. That way you could ensure better methods of slaughtering, but no you pushed it out to Mexico where the US has no control over their methods. People need to step back and think before you destroy American Agriculture! Right now 2% of Americans feed the rest of the US and others, you keep butting in and we’ll be importing everything. Thanks I would like to see my children be the four generation of farmers in our family, but the way activists are after agriculture I don’t see that happening.

  23. Kit says:

    Activists aren’t “after agriculture”. There is nothing wrong with expecting the agricultural community, everyone for that matter, to be humane. Isn’t it unbelievable that we actually have to argue about not transporting horses thousands of miles inhumanely, handling them inhumanely, killing them inhumanely? Why do we have to pass legislation so mares carrying foals, including donkeys, don’t have to give birth on a tractor-trailer and get trampled in the process, along with other horror stories? Why do we have to beg our lawmakers and fight the commercial dog breeders in order to pass laws so dogs don’t have to live in wire-bottom cages which cut up their feet, live in a cage their ENTIRE lives often with only 6 inches to spare on all sides, never get treated for any conditions or illnesses, to suffer the horror of having pipes shoved down their throats to damage their vocal cords (a dog miller’s version of debarking), to suffer a dog miller’s version of C-sections and other surgical procedures, and to serve as nothing more than puppy-making machines their entire lives, only to be disposed of when the millers are done with them? ISN’T IT OBVIOUS? No one is against agriculture; but everyone should be against this blatant animal abuse.

  24. Chase Galloway says:

    Hey Vivtoria only half of those 168 horses were sent to Flordia, which Baker even trucked for you, the other half stayed here in Ohio, in which you payed a veterinarian to care for and due to the lack of health at the time of purchase half of those horses died. In turn the veterinarian had to file a lawsuit against you to get his boarding and medical costs back. And as for Sara we do support Leroy Baker and we have a very well established farm and if you buy meat out of the stores…your welcome. Horses are ANIMALS along with the cattle we raise here at our farm they are not pets. For all you against Leroy Baker don’t own a dog how do you thinkl they are fed. And Sara also any piece of meat you have ever indulged upon has went through a sale barn.

  25. Meadowbrook says:

    I am constantly amazed when I read the moronic opinions of you extreme leftests. So you outlaw horse slaughter, now you frame a guy cause hes shipping them to Mexico. Thats about what I would expect from you, cant see the forest through the trees. All you people that think Mr Baker will suffer some eternal effects for his so called “wrong doing” make me laugh. Animals don’t have souls and they are not going to heaven, nor is humans treatment of them going to apply to judgement. I have one question that I would like all you do-gooders to answer…..

    HOW MANY OF YOU ARE “PRO-CHOICE”?

    I am going to assume most of you, I would be alot more concerned with the eternal effects of killing babies than horses.

  26. ALT says:

    I have been to sugar creek on many occasions. I actually have pictures of 2 DEAD horses in the sale barns. The condition of those horses was deplorable. I can not personally attack Mr. Baker, as I do not know him or his values.I also understand that if a mostly dead horse is dropped off, it is not his fault. I have found homes for many horses off of the track and I currently own a retired racehorse. I think that responsibility is the issue. If Mr. Baker is transporting the horses, and he is guilty, than the fines should be paid. I don’t think that personal attacks are going to get us anywhere. The economy is only going to send more horses to the auction and if no one is buying them…..than where are they going to go? I am 100% against horse slaughter, but I also am realistic. I make alot of money, but even I am hesitant to got another horse. The price of hay has tripled in the last 2 years, and many loving horse owners are finding themselves unable to pay for farriers and vets. If you think that there is a better feasible way, than try to do something about it. Don’t post nasty personal comments. I am aware of the horrifying inhumane way that horses are treated when they go to slaughter, but until such a time that people can work together to solve this problem, than it is going to continue.

  27. Just a note of clarification: As the article states, there are no longer any slaughterhouses for horses open in the United States. The fines levied against Mr. Baker are for infractions between 2003-2007.

    • Luke says:

      its a shame they need to open the slaughter plants back up so horse prices will rebound if the price goes up less people will be able to afford them so ther wont be as many horses going to slaughter and atleast if they would open them back up in the us then they could keep better taps on the slaughter plants

  28. Mary says:

    Dear Meadowbrook: Unless you happen to be God, who are you to state which creatures “have souls”? Perhaps ALL living beings have souls. And does the absence of a soul make it “okay” for other living beings, presumably with souls, to abuse, neglect and otherwise bring unspeakable cruelty upon those “without souls”? Does the fact that I don’t believe any living creature should be abused and cruelly treated make me a “do-gooder”? What exacly is a “do-gooder”, and why is “bad’? Hmmm, maybe those of us who don’t believe animals should be neglected, abused and used inhumanely for profit might just have more compassion and empathy than you do. Your ridiculous notion than anyone cares about other creatures MUST believe in killing babies is the most ludicrous, laughable statement I have EVER HEARD. I would NOT want to be an animal under YOUR care, or I should say, lack of care. And complete lack of compassion, if you know what that is.

  29. Valarie says:

    Leroy, I support you 100%. Horses are livestock just like pigs and cattle. Just because there are complete morons who do not know that doesn’t make it untrue. I have been to your auction house and have no problem with your operation. As a matter of fact, I appreciate your services!!! When will people wake up and realize animals do NOT have a higher priority than people?! THEY ARE ANIMALS….As a nurse, I have seen people treat their own family worse than they demand an animal be treated! IGNORANCE, plain and simple.

  30. Chase Galloway says:

    Also Susan as the article states: “I wanted to know why, if there was a problem, they waited five or six years to do anything,” Baker said. “If there’s something wrong, you fix it now.”….Why would they wait six years from the time it started to put any charges against him? Answer that.

  31. June67 says:

    Meadowbrook: I don’t like to see horses abused and neglected. Guess that automatically makes me a crazy leftist. And if I’m a do-gooder (and I agree with Mary, does doing good make me bad?), what does that make you, a non-do-gooder, and wouldn’t that be worse than a do-gooder? And leave the discussions of eternity out of this–this is simply about not being cruel and abusive to horses, period.

  32. Kathy says:

    Horses need a place to go too.Not every animal lover is going to put their horse to sleep when it comes their time. You people are not saving the horse, you are prolonging their death. Broke down,blind ,mean horses need to go to slaughter.You want them to stand behind the barn and starve to death because no one is going to feel sorry for them. This is the real world folks.You are fooling no one but yourself. Then take all the unwanted ones in and feed them. You are a joke. I was their the day the animal rights people were buying all the horses. They sat beside each other and bid the prices up on each other. I just shook my head. What a joke.Do gooders. Leave Leroy alone.He doesn’t bring in those skinny horses.Your neighbors do and some are so sick or skinny they don’t make it. Don’t blame that on Mr.Baker. Not too many people are going to bury old Betsy. You are just making the horse situation worse. Shame on you.

  33. MJ says:

    Bravo to the USDA – it’s about time.

    This guy should be shut down, immediately. Mr. Baker is well known for his cruelty.

    Mr. Calloway, that auction house does not feed my shoes, nor me. I don’t eat beef.

    It’s all about Karma, and now Mr. Baker has to at least partially pay the piper.

    I still say, shut him down.

  34. M says:

    Victoria, it must be a blessing to have $78,000 lying around to buy horses…..let me ask you this….WOULDN’T IT HAVE BEEN NICER TO SPEND THE $78,000 TO HELP FEED AND TAKE OF THE NEGLECTED CHILDREN IN THE US?????? Think about it….oh by the way, wasn’t it nice of Brady (Leroy’s son) to haul some of those horses to Florida for you. What a joke you are.

    I support horse slaughter and feel the peta people have a rude awakening coming in the near future.

  35. Linda says:

    What happens to the horses now the they are not sold at Sugarcreek? Someone is going to fill this void and with no oversight? Or will people just leave them with in fields to fend for them selves to die of starvation like the 29 in Washington Pa, Which is the lesser of two evils?

  36. Mike says:

    I hope that when I am old and decrepid that there is somebody like Leroy that will put me out of business!

  37. Chase Galloway says:

    Well Mr. MJ good for you, do you want a cookie for not eating beef?….Do you think everyone is like you? I believe not, but maybe I”m worng. I don’t understand why you people believe it is necassary to shut him down. Do you morons not understand how many people that will effect? For one it is going to effect our farm because as I stated above we buy almost all our cattle from there? You morons that think the USDA is god….get a life we deal with them all the time and they are worthless and all’s they do to us is make our jobs more difficult and they are affraid to let a good thing be.

  38. starkfarm says:

    There wouldn’t be any horses to auction at Sugarcreek if owners didn’t bring them there, its not Leroy’s or any of the Baker’s fault that kill buyers come in and buy them. They haul the horses for them same as they did for Victoria. Also do you all know how She was able to afford all those horses?? let me post what Victoria posted in the Canton Rep in Feb. with a similar article.

    “My name is Victoria McCullough and on May 23rd 2008 i personally purchased 164 horses at the Sugar Creek Auction .I am not an activist or an advocate ,instead i am a college graduate holding two master degrees and the owner of one of the largest independent petroleum companies in our Nation .It was my intention to purchase the entire slaughter auction to demonstrate the hideous truth that within the walls of facilities such as Mr Bakers lies the stimulus for an industry created and sustained by cruelty ,the facts presented to me there are of the 164 horse purchased we have put down six ,over 89% were under the age of eight the majority of horses are quarter horses and racehorse countless mares in foal tens of foals and yearlings and perfectly wonderful useful animals that this purchase can prove that no the ‘Old Infirm and Lame are not the make up of horses at the auctions they are the product of a Society that has virtually a complete lack of accountability these horses foals yearlings ponies donkeys minis and mares in foal are ‘DISCARDED’ and sent to auctions such as Mr Bakers where neglect and abuse are rewarded on that day these horses had the opportunity to show our Country what the truth is verified by the Department of Agriculture and their own documents of health certificates and Coggins tests .Today over 100 of those horses are now living in wonderful homes giving each day all of us a reminder that The cruelty of executing horses after service and companionship is not justifiable in these conditions and at some point we must accept to own a horse does not give us the right to end a life without responsibility if you cannot afford to humanely euthanize a horse than perhaps you should not have one and to breed horses without consequence is unacceptable
    Mr Baker was not unkind to me and knew that i did not see him as the problem the problem is that with a venue such a his it is a receptacle to accept all that we do not steward and on that day in May i came very close to losing my faith until i later learned i could make a true change ,and that i will” (http://www.cantonrep.com/archive/x545175549/Horses-led-to-slaughter)

  39. shaffer says:

    Again . This is something that has to be done. you can’t save them all and p strongly agree with you all who say they are livestock. You all who disagree just view them as pets. Okay. Yes they are however what do you call the d 4h steer that a teen becomes attatched to then sells. Are you going to cut them down now. How is that any different. Its not.FOR KIT horse racing will never stop and the amish culture will never change. Congress will still have two year old western pleasure classes and cattle will still be branded. Welcome to life glad you could make it. This country was built using horse powered equipment and for you to critisize their culture is wrong. You have no common sense what so ever and live in a fantasy world. Go back and hide in it FOR TEAL first off I wouldn’t take a pet to sugarcreek. Oviously the horses that go there are not beloved pets of someone so let’s clear that up now.their is a difference so get it straight. I agree the process should be more humane but again if you all would have kept the us slaughter plants they could have been more regulated and it would have been done in a better manner we wouldn’t have to listen to you people bitch about this. Are you saying my deer and bear hunting is wrong. Are you going to cut that down now. Leroy is helping fix a human made issue that won’t stop. Leroy I strongly stand beside you

  40. HORSIE says:

    I have a horse who is approximately 6 years old. His name is Kenny and Pure Thoughts rescued him from a tortorous death at Mr.Baker’s slaughterhouse last year, 2008. Now, he is happy living in my backyard, contently grazing when I let him out. I also have a Standardbred named Renagade who was rescued by Pure Thoughts. The two fight alot but they are best buddies. If they were slaughtered, they would never would have met me, my old pony Blessing (we sold her), or eachother. See what I mean?

  41. HORSIE says:

    I’d say that slaughtering horses is cruel and a horrible way to end a horse’s life. I am againts the idea of horse slaughter and you should be, too. I am thankful that Pure Thoughts rescues at laest some. Wouldn’t you? I strongly support Brad, and the rest of the Pure Thoughts crew.

    THANK YOU PURE THOUGHTS!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. HORSIE says:

    I know horses are considered as livestock, but the law clearly states that Americans should not butcher horses. Leroy is doing something that many people don’t like and I agree with them, horse slaughter needs to stop.

  43. Amy says:

    The law states that horses cannot be slaughtered in the United States. They are being slaughtered outside of the U.S.

  44. Sarah says:

    I’ve been to the sugarcreek auction many times and do not find fault in Mr. Baker’s Facility. On the contrary, it’s a little nicer than most. What happens to the horses on the way to or from the auction cannot be blamed on him.
    For those of you on the horse slaughter kick, shutting down the facilities in this country was one of the worst things that could have been done to the equine industry… the plants here were monitored and much more humane than the plants elsewhere. And yes I’ve seen how the process works and am not bothered by it.
    In closing, for all you feel-good-warm-and-fuzzy-let’s-save-all-the-poor-neglected-animals-persons, your time and money would be better spent HELPING PEOPLE!

  45. starkfarm says:

    Horsie-”I’d say that slaughtering horses is cruel and a horrible way to end a horse’s life. I am againts the idea of horse slaughter and you should be, too.” So only horses are the only livestock worthy enough not to be slaughtered? Are you a Vegetarian? You do realize that ALL OTHER livestock gets slaughter, right? Horses only have a higher “worth and pet status” because you put it there, your livelyhood must not coming from farming, get with the program. I raise my animals from babies to full grown and give them all names to, but the reality is at some point they’re going to the slaughter barn, its a fact of life, deal with it.

    Stop blashing Baker, what is the next auction barn you all are going to go after? Kidron? Damascus? Carrollton? be real if you don’t want horse to have the potential of going to slaughter then don’t take it to the auction barn.

  46. Woodrow says:

    You people against horses being sold at sugarcreek are stupid for thinking that there is a better life for some of them. I personally owned over 60-70 horses in my lifetime and of those 3 of them had to be sold at sugarcreek because they were a danger to the public. I have trained horses for 25 years and always had great sucess except when those horses are crazy. Would you prefer I just turn them loose to run in your fields? I think horse slaught is necessary, although it may need some regulations it’s a fact of life. If you own a crazy cow that attacks people or can no longer get around well you don’t think anything about shipping it off to auction, it should be the same for a horse. As far as what the amish do to their horses. I know many amish that take excellent care of their animals, it’s part of their living. Who are you to judge them anyway? Are you god? Which also means you should not judge Mr. Baker. It states in the bible thou shall not judge! So therefore I am taking this into account and saying you are no god, nor do you have the right to judge. Shame on you people, you’ll all be in hell for judging someone else. Horse meat is just the same in other cultures as beef, pork, and chicken is to ours!!!!!

  47. Brian says:

    To all you people that think that slaughter is cruel it not it is not any different then pigs or cows.And if I remember right our own US GOV. used to run wild Mustangs off cliffs to control the population of these horses.So who has the right to JUDGE anyone no one does. You all wonder why our econ is bad well look at all the slaugther houses you all have bitch about and all them jobs lost.And not only that people worry more about animals then they do the human race when there are millions of childern starving in this country and all anybody can worry about is these poor animals.Well when it come to starving or eating your going to eat no matter what is so all you animal rights people are out of your minds.So what it boils down to is people who can spend 78000 on horses and not take that money and feed some of the starving kids in the US or make new jobs for people then there morals are totally wrong they only out for one thing and that is fame for what they did.So leave the Baker’s and the sale barn alone because it is not a slaughter house it is a sale barn alone and if these horse are taken to slaughter then so be it!!!!

  48. Marie says:

    I have owned and raised horses all my life. It is a sad truth but horse auctions do serve a purpose. Some do go to good homes, but I am sure a great many of them do end up going to slaughter. The horse market has had the bottom fall out of it. I cannot even give away horses now. So what am I to do? There is a time and place when auction is appropriate and yes, slaughter too. We are pampered, spoiled people in the USA. Other countries do not have the stigma of consuming horse meat. Why is it not OK for them to have a final purpose rather than just digging a hole and wasting them. People that have horses for “pets” generally do not send them to auction, they find homes for them. I have delt with several horses that really were not fit to be people companions, these are large animals that can HURT or KILL you if their minds are not right. They are livestock, plain and simple, and there is a time and place for some to go to auction. I am not saying there could not be improvement in the slaughter process, with ALL animals, not just horses. I am FOR reopening slaughter facilities in the US. This would be more human than having to travel clear to mexico. I have invested thousands of dollars in horses, only to see the market get so bad that you get a bill for selling them. So I guess I can thank legislation and activists for making it impossible for me to find homes for my horses. Slaughter horses set the BASE of the industry, without it, the rest of the industry crumbles. In a way, they have given me no choice BUT to send them to auction. PETA people have too much time on their hands and need to get a life (get out of “fairy land” where everything is milk and honey, opps those are animal products too). What is the next step, no human consumption of Beef, Pork, lamb, goat, or poultry? Since when is their lives any less important? CIRCLE OF LIFE PEOPLE!!!! WAKE UP!!!!!!

  49. HORSIE says:

    Shut up you cornheads. You are cold and heartless just like you other dubbed monkeys. I want horse slaughter to stop. You don’t, you don’t care about the poor horses that die. The mares being ripped from their foals. Loaded in the back of a truck. Broken hearts. No food. No water. The foals stay behind crying for their mothers. Wondering who is going to care for them, who will love them, how they will live. They won’t. Their death at the human hands will soon come. They will be skinned for their hide or fattened for a tortorous death to come. Do you see why I don’t like it. You fat faces can go on YouTube and watch horse slaughter videos all day long.

  50. HORSIE says:

    Susan. I hope you got my message. Why are you friends with a slaughterhouse pest? I have heard many sad stories about horses that were slaughtered. I have heard many wonderful stories of the ones that were saved. Each living horse has a story to tell. When they are dead, their voices are buried in tragity,and the blood of their rotting bodiBODIES. nOW CAN YOU SEE WHY i hate horse slaughter?

  51. HORSIE says:

    starkfarm, I DO NOT think slaughter is the answer but death may be the only option left for the brave souls that need to be put out of their misery. starkfarm, you need to understand that a marksman with one bullet can end agony for a horse. Man knows right from wrong. The fact that man does wrong is horrible- Mark Twain

  52. starkfarm says:

    Horsie- “Man knows right from wrong. The fact that man does wrong is horrible- Mark Twain” I agree with the quote you posted, but in whose opinion or idea of wrong we are talking about? In your opinion it may be wrong, yet in some of ours its not wrong. Besides all that Baker’s aren’t the ones slaughtering the horses, they are sold at auction to the highest bidder. All some of you care about is horses, did you ever stop to consider what all you complaining could do? It could close down an auction barn that supports farmers in getting their livestock (and not just horses)sold and a good price. The auction barn provides JOBS, people are employed and working there, in todays lay-offs and shutdowns that’s a pretty darn good thing. Get a new hobby before you ruin a good thing. Just remember that Sugarcreek doesn’t just auction horses, so consider other people and their lively hood once in a while.
    Why is it ok for my cows (that all have names mind you) to go to the auction barn and be sold to WHOMEVER the HIGHEST BIDDER is, be it another farm or the slaughter house, but not a horse?

    Is a horse better than my cattle?

    Do only cattle, sheep and pigs deserve to be slaughter, since you have not befriended them and put them at “pet status”?

    My animals are pets too but when it comes down to it horses, cows, sheep, pigs……etc ARE IN FACT LIVESTOCK.

    I said it previously and will say it again, I ALSO STRONGLY SUPPORT BAKER’S AND SUGAR CREEK AUCTION BARN!!!

    (now don’t go getting all technical on me since I previously said I ALSO STRONGLY SUPPORT LEROY- I had include more this time.)

  53. enraged horse owner says:

    i stummbled across this blog. If there are cruelty issues at Sugarcreek than YES, something should be done. Do you so called americans know who helped start this country? THE HORSE!!! All that are for the slaughter of horses should be ashamed. But yes, the sick, hurt, and far to gone horses should be HUMANLY put down. And the question of horses being livestock, do americans eat horse? NO!! They are different from cows, sheep, pigs. We dont slaughter them for meat. The mexicans in mexicos slaughterhouses have a grand old time when they have a horse fighting for its life. Bets are even made. So is that a nessicary evil? The amish, wow and they call themselves spirtual people.God says “take care of thy creatures” not use them up and throw them away. To all the horse breeders out there….STOP BREEDING. We would not have so many horses then. People wonder why our planet is dying. Look at what we are doing! All the people that are for slaughtering of fine, health, horses need a bolt thru their skulls. Maybe the mexicans will bet on you!!

    • Chase Galloway says:

      What happens when everyone starves to death because of you guys? Oh wait it’s still gonna be our fault. You guys cannot take any blame just like the rest of the liberals in the government. Accept the fact that slaughter (of any kind) feeds this pitiful world. If it weren’t for slaughter….well you probably would be in six feet under and look like people that you see in africa who would give anything for for any kind of food….Maybe that’s what we can start doing so it’s a win win situation, start loading all these unwanted and starved horses onto a ship send them to africa drop the door let them run wild and then the people that are starving over there will have something to eat. Or wait would that be unethical to let people that are starving over there eat our unwanted animals over here…..really let’s grow up people.

    • jimmy says:

      you are right. Horses are like family. I just had a horse to die that was 28 years old. I owned him for 23 of those years. Believe me, a horse is a family member. When he started to go backward I knew that there would come a day when I knew what to do. But I prayed that I would not have to do that and I would wake one morning and he would be gone. Before he got to bad I woke one one saturday morning and I walked to the barn and he had died. If you do not think that hurts, you are wrong, I felt I had lost a member of my family. Never could I send a horse to a meat plant. I am 50 years old and it was really hard accepting the fact that he was gone. So everyone is not like me. Those who have them and send them to a meat plant dont have a heart.

  54. Jessi Mac says:

    If Leroy Baker didn’t have his auction there would be no place for theses unwanted horses to go. I got 2 horses from Sugarcreek a week ago and they are GREAT horses and if that sale was shut down I wouldnt have had a chance to purchase them and they would be rotting a pasture somewere. Its not Bakers fault its the people who don’t take care of their animals. He doesn’t MAKE people bring their horses there. They do that on their own. I’m not against slaughter but I am against the way it is done. Horses need to die with some dignity and at least treat them well before you take their lives. It doesn’t have to be so cruel. It is a slow and painful process from the auction house to slaughter. I don’t think its asking too much to make sure they don’t suffer too much. If someone brings their horse to Bakers sale thats on them not him. Its no secret were horses end up if they go to auction so don’t bring a horse there if you don’t want them killed. When I went to the sale only 5 horses went to private bidders. All others went to kill buyers. Sure its really sad to think my 2 wonderful 4 year old mares could have been on their way to such a horriable fate but am I mad at Baker? No I’m furious at the people who decided to be lazy and not sell them on their own and instead take them to auction. So yeah I support the auction house because it gave me a chance to give 2 sound healthy horses a new life.

  55. Brian says:

    To all Who thinks slaughter need to find out how wild mustangs heards are controled you would be shocked. Do you just think that the wild mustang population just stops I have had horses to all my life but there is some that are just not right and what if you would have one that wasn’t right and hurt or killed your own child or loved one what would you do with it give it a cube of sugar and hope it don’t happen again!!!!!

  56. w.m. says:

    I was at the sale today you no what makes me sick ? is you can take a good horse to be sold and they go for 20 and 30 dollars. Were are all the people who want to save them? ILL tell you this someone is making money………All YOU GOOD DOERS AND KILLERS are killing the market for good horses and hurting alot of people,Baker does what hes there for to buy and sell horses, and the people that buy them to save them, guess what they make money on them to.Yes horses deserve to be handled correctly. And it is true that some good ones go,but there is also alot of bad ones out there that gould take anyone of your family away from you in a heart beat.I no with all the good doers and other wise and the plants here in our u.s.a. closing, and things not handled the smart humane way,someone is getting rich and it IS NOT THE GOOD HORSE SELLERS OR BUYERS.When you go to a sale with more than one good horse sound young and healthy, and they sell for 20 and 30 dollars and you have to pay commission and you end up paying to give them away somethings WRONG and you no what its everyones fault. THE HORSES SHOULD BE SELLING US.

  57. G.G. says:

    all you people who support the slaughtering of horses are heartless and stupid.

  58. HORSIE says:

    I agree with you G.G. they are heartless and stupid. I may be a 10 year old girl but I know a whole lot about the subject and yes I am strongly against the idea of Leroy butchering horses.

  59. HORSIE says:

    Yes, a horse is better then your cattle.

  60. HORSIE says:

    Alright Starkfarm, YOU aren’t going to win this battle because you don’t have a HEART. WE NON HORSE SLAUGHTER PEOPLE are going to win it because WE CARE, YOU DONT!!!!!!! You and the rest of those cornheads that support Leroy 100% probably don’t know the difference between neglect and a loving home. No wonder all we peoople call you stupid. I have two words for you Starkfarm: GIVE UP. WE are going to stop Loco Leroy from transporting horses to horrible deaths in other countries and continents. So give up, sucker.

  61. I support HORSIE 100%. She’s right. You guys really are cornheads. You really don’t know the difference between slaughter and the good people like HORSIE that are horse crazy. I don’t support Leroy at all. Leroy is mental you all should know that by now.

  62. Ayshia says:

    Everyone here knows that we cant save them all ,but remember what this is all about ” The humane treatment of these animals ” something that is not happening out of Sugarcreek Baker will pay his fine and keep doing what he has been , so keep up the good work and keep on the USDA to keep enforcing the animal welfare act and maybe we can get something resolved about how they are being treated at the barn and on their journey to slaughter.

  63. V says:

    For you, ignorant one, YES!

    Bear hunting IS WRONG!

    That IS what I’m telling you.

    You strap RFID tags on starved dogs, make them chase down 200lb TINY bears, then you follow in your VEHICLE, get out, point, and shoot.

    Then, you have it mounted. You don’t eat it.

    It is wrong.

    Deer hunting, or hunting an animal for food is RIGHT.

    Hunting to KILL is WRONG, and YOU deserve HELL.

  64. Alexandra says:

    @ Valerie – There is no concrete proof that horses don’t have souls.
    How do you know where animals go or what their worth is compared to humans? Humans have ruled the earth only briefly compared to other species. Yet you can assert we are the only “worthy” souls. Whether or not you believe in horse slaughter is irrelevant. This man is being cited for cruelty – plain and simple. Both sides should agree on this. If we must over breed and over sell animals let’s treat them with decency. Till the very end. Not sell them and turn a blind eye. I am sure your Bible can echo this train of thought.

    Maybe someday we can regulate breeders, even give licenses just to own a horse. I would love to see this for dogs as well. Way too many people own animals without the knowledge of how to care for them. Shutting down slaughter was progress but curbing the over breeding is the next challenge.

  65. Alexandra says:

    Another funny fact Europe has BANNED American horse meat. Apparently it was poisoning them. Karma, Karma, Karma. Means it kills dogs too.

    “European Union Bans American Horsemeat

    Europeans focus on food safety issue: no more poisoned American Horse Meat

    August 6, 2009 — Hitchcock, Texas — For decades, the gourmet diners of Europe and Japan have eaten American horse meat poisoned by chemical contamination. The horse flesh exporting by unscrupulous producers and horse slaughter plants will come to an end in April of 2010. The new rules enacted by the European Union will mandate chemical free horse meat entering those countries.

    American horses are routinely given powerful chemicals prohibited for human consumption such as wormers, Phenylbutazone (Bute), and a host of other deadly medications which are life giving to a horse but cause serious medical issues when ingested by humans. Like DDT, banned for similar reasons, some of these compounds such as Bute remain in a horse’s body long after administered. Studies indicate medical issues such as birth defects, anemia, and cancer are brought on when these dangerous chemicals are consumed by humans.

    The ban was quietly announced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in late July. It quickly exploded across the Internet as news of it made its way to anti-slaughter websites and finally to mainstream equine media worldwide. With the new ban in place, the slaughter of horses exposed to these drugs will stop and the production of commercially available horse meat will grind to a halt.

    “We have known of the dangers of chemicals in American horsemeat for years, but our warnings have often fallen on deaf ears,” said Jerry Finch, founder of Habitat for Horses, the nation’s largest all breed equine rescue organization.

    “Thankfully, agencies in the European Union responsible for health safety realized that there is virtually no testing for dangerous chemicals in American horses being sold for food,” he said. “Foreign governments will inadvertently bring the slaughter of American horses to a halt while the American government, with their failure to pass legislation, has simply ignored the health of the European people.”

    Finch says that the same EU rules will halt the export of American horses slaughtered in Mexico for European consumption.

    Habitat for Horses (HfH) is a not-for-profit equine protection agency committed to the prevention, rescue and rehabilitation of neglected and abused horses. The largest organization of its kind in North America, HfH operates a rehabilitation ranch in Hitchcock, Texas, as well as a growing network of foster homes throughout the United States.

  66. Alexandra says:

    So while you are all blaming the lefties for stopping horse slaughter the SAD and obvious truth is that the legislation passed due to Europe’s ban.

  67. casey raber says:

    I think everyone should be thanking Mr. Baker, hes helping all of the horses that come to his sale barn, all of you people from the animal cruelty need to realize that because atleast when they butcher horses they are putting them out of there suffering its alot better than letting them starve to death out in some field and then they are getting used for something instead of digging a hole. So keep doing what your doing Mr. Baker

  68. Olga says:

    First of all, not every horse that ends up in this auction is sick. They are healthy horses sent to the slaughterhouses. Hasn’t anyone heard of euthanizing , if the horse is severely sick. This is the only humane way of putting and animal down. Not shipping to Mexico or Canada, where they will endure pain. These poor horses are dragged to their deaths and even stabbed in their spinal cord and killed slowly. So this needs to stop. For all those Baker supporters, why don’t you do some soul searching and have a heart.

  69. clay says:

    i support leroy in the sale of horses through an auction. i do not support the unneeded abuse. but to all the people who say shut them down you need to step back and think about who it would impact. many other farmers sell there cattle, sheep, and swine there. when a livestock barn shuts down that effects alot of people. to the people that wanted the slaughter houses shut down i laugh at you. beside fighting for better regulations you forced the animals to mexico and other countries with no regulations. lol. u cuased more people to be unemployed in this hard time. i support the sluaghtering of horses.the ones supporting the shut downs are the reason horses prices have fallin. now it cost more to take a horse to the sale than it will bring. and to the lady that spent 78000 on the horses, you could have fed alot of children who would love to have a horse steak smothered in a-1. lol! anyone that thinks slaughtering a horse is cruel should not be aloud to eat any meat. have u ever seen how the kill chickens or sheep?

  70. clay says:

    oh and to olga, they arent stabbed in the spinal cord they are shot with a bolt gun. i have seen this done to cattle and it drops em instantly. and have you ever priced euthanizaton? if you cant afford to take it to the sale cause you people have drove the price so low how do you expect to afford euthanization? and to alexandra who do you think gives the horses the meds that are suppose to poison people? not the sluaghter houses, the people that sold the horse. lol!

  71. Lisa says:

    i OWN HORSES AND HAVE HAD HE SAME HORSE FOR THE LAST 6 YEARS IM NOT RICH AND IM NOT POOR EITHER BUT i LOVE GOING TO HORSE AUCTIONS FOR CHEAP TACK AND TO WATCH THE HORSES GO THREW IF YOU DONT WANT YOUR HORSE TO GO TO SLAUGHTER DONT TAKE IT THERE OR NO SALE IT AND TAKE IT HOME YOU CAN DO THAT. BUT I AGREE IF AL YOU MORONS HADNT SHUT DOWN OUR USA SLAUGHTER HOUSEES THE HORSES WOULDNT HAVE TO TRAVEL SO FAR. I WOULD NEVER TAKE A HORSE TO AN AUCTION THAT I DIDNT MAKE SURE WAS PRIVATLY SALED OR DIDNT DESERVE TO GO TO SLAUGHTER I HAVE A GOOD FRIEND THAT RUNS A HORSE AUCTION IN MICHIGAN HE HAS TURNED PEOPLE AWAY BECASUE THEY DIDNT HAVE THE PROPER PAPER WORK THEN THE OWNER TAKES THE HORSE PUTS IN THE BACK OF THE BARN AND JUST LEAVES NOW WHAT?? WE JUST LEAVE THE HORSE THERE? nO YOU CANT DO THAT SO GUESS WHO JUST GOT A FREE HORSE THE KILL BUYER. PEOPLE CHOOSE THERE HORSES FATE NOT KIL BUYERS AND ACTION OWNERS
    STOP BREEDING HORSES THEN THERE WOULDNT BE HORSES FOR THEM TO KILL you are right horses shouldnt be abused on there way to slaughter but there never gonna stop using catle trailers at least there not double deckers anymore horses kick bite and stomp each other you cant stop that
    and im sorrry if my horse ever needs to be put dowm it wont be with a needle until vets will do it for fre instead of 300-500 a piece no body can afford that so a shot gone wil have to do the job I would rahter see the slaughter horses shot with a gun then with that bolt gun or the stabbing meathod but there not in the us anymore (thank you very much) so we have no say

  72. okiestorm1 says:

    I thank the horse slaughter houses need to be reopened but they need to be regulated to more human ways like a shot gun to the head, also transportation and careing for the animal before it is killed,not just horses need this but all livestock. Why do animals have to be tortured and degrated, they should be shown at least a little respect even if they are going to be slaughtered. There is no reason for a young horse or pregnate mare to be slaughtered that in it self is inhuman, I dont thank any young animals should be slaughtered though but there is a market for it so it happens,when I send my young billy’s to the sale I can only hope they dont go for meat but in reality they probally do.I have two cows that I bottle raised and a horse that will never be sold, they will live out thier lives here on the farm, when it is thier time, we will put them down our selves, I have three jursey bull calves that have to be sold but I just hope when it is thier time they will be shown some kind of dignity and respect.The gov. is all for human killing of horses but they shoot hundreds of wild mustangs every year for population control. I thank that is wrong,They have set the standards for adopting a mustang so high it is hard for regular people to get one so they are rounded up put in a pen and shot,that is very unnerving to me.Horses need respect,They have brought us through wars,plowed our fields, been our best friends, brought us suppies when nothing else could get through, They deserve a little respect from all of us.

  73. okiestorm1 says:

    Horses are livestock. all livestock goes to slaughter at some point in thier life. If you think horses are not livestock then don’t use your farm tax exempt to buy thier food anylonger it is for livestock uas only.People can’t sell thier horses to individulas anymore cause no one wants them.Why spent 100s of dollars an a horse when you can pick up a good one at the sale barn for 25 to 50. If the slaughter plants wre opened back up in the USA then they could be watched and have more strict regulations put on them, now horses are being shiped tp slaughter in Mexico and Canada where we have no say. A quick death at a plant is better then starving to death,left on thier own to fend for them selves.Before anyone says over breeding is the problem I say it is a big problem but stopping breeding dose not fix the problem right now.

  74. Jessi says:

    Just have to agree, livestock animals get slaughtered. Plain and simple. That’s not even the issue at hand, it’s the way they were transported. Rules are rules. There’s restrictions on how cows and pigs trucked before slaughter, it’s the same with horses. You don’t follow the rules, you get fines.

  75. Melanie says:

    As a horse owner, slaughter has to come to an end for horses. If an owner doesn’t want a horse and can’t find them a home or can’t afford them, they should CALL A VET AND HAVE THEM EUTHANIZED. Many vets will work with an owner to reduce the cost or take payments. It’s the lack of regard for the horses welfare that is most disturbing. These kill buyers don’t care about the animals…they only care about the ALL MIGHTY BUCK. Just like the slaughterhouses, they don’t care how the animal goes down, they only care that it does and they have a “buyer” for what’s left over. It’s all about the money….its like that with anything we humans touch….follow the money….

  76. Sally says:

    I’d like to see a slaughter house in every single state regulated to the extreme. I’d like to be able to take my horse (God forbid it should ever happen to me) there myself and watch it humanely put down. I’d like for them to be open at any time for visits from concerned citizens. Auctions are any easy way to dispose of unwanted animals…..If you can’t sell your horse at auction and can’t even give it away then this is an option and there wouldn’t be the horrible transport problem. A horse carcus is not easy to dispose of. Even farms can only bury so many and they have to be so deep, etc. And, how many of us own backhoes? In all my years, I’ve never seen so many emanciated horses…..and good quality, well bred ones at that. It’s sad that people keep breeding. There is no money in backyard breeding of horses. STOP, STOP, STOP IT~~~

  77. Lisa says:

    I am a horseowner who frequents Sugarcreek Livestock Sale to purchase tack and I also have bought to keep from being slaughtered several nice young horses which I feel were there due to irresponsible owners who never took the time or perhaps did not have the ability to train and care for these animals. I still own one and have made sure the others went to good homes. We can’t save them all but we do need to do what we can I don’t feel that closing down the slaughterhouses has helped anyone and I do wish that stronger regulations could have been the answer. It breaks my heart to see the starving neglected and uncared for horses that come through the auction barn but where is the blame on the owners of these poor animals. I have seen acts of cruelty where boys whip the horses coming out to make them move faster and then they slip and fall going into the pens and have witnessed those boys shut the gates on top of their legs with no reguard and it is a game, but I also let the boys no of my disapproval and I then reported these incidents to. I do feel that as hard as it is to find a home for a horse today there is a need for a way to take these unfortunates to a better end. I have all registered stock except for my one meat horse who was a vibrant 5yr old at the time of purchase for which I purchased directly off the meat truck after seeing him sold through the ring and paid Robbie $50 more than he had purchased him for his only fault was an irresponsible owner who gave him no training. I don’t feel that I am the type of person who could ever subject my own horse to slaughter but I do feel there is a need for others to be able to dispose of there horses I just want it to be a humane option and the only way for that to happen is stronger regulations and reopening slaughterhouses in the U.S. I do think Baker was deserving of the fines but I would also like to say in his defense I have seen on more than one occasion when a meat horse comes through the ring and a customer other than the meat buyer bids on him Baker made sure if it was a healthy horse the bidding go to the customer going to give the horse a home. I have also seen him let buyers know if a horse appearred unsound for purchase. The meathorse I still own was a conflict with my husband and I only because he thought the untrained horse would hurt me so we took him to a resistance free trainer and to this day he remains one of our best horses aven without his papers and crossbreeding {morgan-arab}and we own all registered quarter horses He is now 15yrs. old has been used by a college for schooling and is now back at home and raises our quarter babies and does a beautiful job by keeping them out of trouble but not so tuff on them that they don’t get to be babies. I don’t want anyone to think I SUPPORT SLAUGHTER I just understand the reality is there needs to be a way for these irresponsible owners to dispose of these wonderful creatures. I have a friend with 10 horses that she can no longer afford due to divorce and we have been able to find homes for several but it is hard and we have tried shelters but they all say they cannot take on more horses she is considereing putting several down due to age and one is blind but does’nt have the heart to do it. They are all healthy and her options are limited she goes without to ensure they don’t I help when I can but there needs to be options and Sugarcreek is not an option in her eyes so what is? She is not not an irresponsible owner she has just fallen on hard times.THERE NEEDS TO BE OPTIONS and I do feel if we could make slaughter regulated and adhere to these regulations that slaughter should be an option for those who feel they have no other option. I personally have and will continue to use a vet to humanely put my pet down but I also understand they are livestock to some and a business so I do think through laws and regulations we need to make slaughter a humane choice until there is better answer for those without options.

  78. Eve says:

    You sound like a decent enough person except that as a purchaser of horses for slaughter you are part of the problem. Your public proclamation of support for a monster like Leroy Baker and the slaughtering of these unfortunate creatures needs further thought on your part. We produce way too many animals in this country for human consumption/use and this results in a surplus of unwanted animals and no suitable means to care for them. The slaughtering of these creatures is not the answer. Regulating and capping the number of animals, horses, cattle, pigs, etc that are farmed or bred is a better option. What fails to be recognized is that these are living creatures who feel pain and suffer. We cannot simply send them off to be killed when we have no further use for them. You are correct, however, that those individuals who originally “owned” them need to be held responsible for their care and treatment. They are the source of the problem. Any person who profits off of the backs of others, be it human or animal, is no better than a common drug dealer or pimp. We need to figure out better ways to earn a buck as that is what it all boils down to-How can I make some money-regardless of who has to suffer?

  79. Meg says:

    Frankly, I’m apauled at a large section of these comments.
    Do you people even realize just WHAT this post is about?
    This is not about some contest of what animal is better, or if the slaughter of horses is right or wrong.
    This is about the INHUMANE treatment of the horses at this auction.
    There really is NO excuse for the condition of the majority of these horses at the auction.
    Baker is to blame for this, it is HIS auction, HE is in charge of the livestock and how they are treated.
    This doesn’t mean the entire auction should be shut down, it just means treat these animals with a little bit more respect and dignity.
    Yes, I understand horses are livestock just like cows, pigs, etc. But this post is NOT about cows, pigs, etc.
    So quit bringing it up!

  80. Butch says:

    I KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THE HORSES THAT NO ONE WANTS TAKE THEM TO THE LOCAL SHELTER LET THEM NUTS FIND FOREVER HOMES FOR THEM THEY ARE LIVESTOCK YES WE AMERICANS DON’T EAT HORSE BUT THE OTHER COUNTRYS DO BUTCHER THEM SEND THE TO CHINA HELL MAKE THEM BUY SOMETHING FROM US MAKE THEM SPEND SOME OF THEIR MONEY HERE WE SPEND ALL ARE MONEY OVER THERE

  81. Amy says:

    NO horse deserves to be sent to a slaugher and subjected to these horrible conditions. I don’t care how old or crippled to sick they are. They deserve to be treated well- with love and dignity. Do we send people who are sick or elderly to slaughter??? It is PEOPLE’s fault for over breeding and being irresponsible. If you can’t afford to properly care for and love a horse DON’T buy one and especially DON’T breed them. This should just be common sdesne and I cannot understand why so many people are so stupid and ingorant (or both). If you have a horse you can no longer afford to care for properly it is YOUR responsibilty to find that horse a new, caring home or to find a rescue that will. Honestly how can people be so heartless and selfish??

  82. breanna says:

    i went there and they had had complaints about their being no food or water in their pens for the duration of there stay. what they have now will only colic the horses. its moldy straw and thee water is disgusting. i know you cant help all the horses, and im not against horse slaughter, but at least keep the conditions for these horses decent for their final dyas.

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