Equine “kill pen bail-outs” are deceitful and harmful operations that buy and sell horses, and threaten legitimate equine welfare efforts across the nation. Buyers who participate in bail-outs are defined as those who acquire horses, then market them to the public as crisis cases, claiming they will be sent to slaughter by a specified date if they are not “rescued” through payment of a fee, commonly referred to as “bail.”
Why “Bail-outs” Don’t Work
As well-intentioned as the practice of “saving” an at-risk horse might seem on the surface, in reality, participation in the bail-out scheme actually fuels the cruel practice of horse slaughter by putting money into the pockets of those who profit off of slaughter.
Kill pen bail-outs also endanger the health of horses. Horses entering bail-out situations rarely receive proper veterinary care and are mixed with horses from many different backgrounds, creating an unhealthy and unsafe environment. Horses purchased often arrive at their new locations sick, injured, stressed, and capable of spreading diseases to existing horse population.
How You Can Help
Shelters and rescues are encouraged to create a sustainable solution for equine welfare by avoiding kill pen bail-outs.
Here are 3 practices your organization can adopt to help horses in need and support intervention to prevent horses from ending up in the low-end auction market:
Help horses long before they end up in bail-out situations by sourcing from law enforcement/animal control, owner surrenders, direct sources such as off-the-track racehorses, Bureau of Land Management (BLM)/wild horse corrals, or if necessary, purchases from legitimate livestock auctions.
Urge your community to acquire horses from reputable adoption organizations rather than purchasing (or donating towards the purchase of) a horse from a bail-out situation.
Avoid the temptation to take “donations” from your community to bail a horse from a kill pen. Sellers with ill intent mislead the public by convincing them they are saving horses. While the lure of free money can be appealing, the horse care spent will ultimately cost your organization by limiting the number of horses you can help. Though it can be difficult to turn away from horses who find themselves in kill pen bail-outs, keep the larger picture in mind. By sourcing horses sooner, and not financially supporting kill pen bail-outs, we can work together to create sustainable, humane support systems for horses in transition.
Learn more about the truth behind kill pen bail-outs.
For any questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.