How to Rescue a Horse From a Kill Pen?

Horse slaughter is a practice that has been going on for hundreds of years. The horse kill pen, the place where horses are slaughtered, was invented to make horse slaughter easier and faster. Horse rescue organizations have made strides in changing horse slaughter practices. But there’s still plenty more work to be done. As evidenced by the continued existence of horse kill pens. This article will explore what horse slaughter is and how to rescue a horse from a kill pen.

What Are Horse Kill Pens?

Horse kill pens are facilities where horses are bought and sold for the purpose of slaughter. They’re often called “kill auctions”. Because that’s ultimately what will happen to most of the horses that go through them. Horses are typically shipped to horse kill pens from all over the country. Sometimes they’re brought in from other countries too. If you want to rescue a horse, search for “horse kill pens near me” and find out what you need to take a horse.

horse rescued from the slaughterhouse

Horse Kill Pens – Why They Exist

Horse kill pens exist because horse slaughter is still legal in the United States. Although horse meat isn’t eaten here, it’s a huge industry in other countries like Canada and Mexico. Here, horse burgers are considered a delicacy.

Horse Slaughter for Food – The Horse Meat Industry:

The meat industry doesn’t just exist because people want to eat horse burgers though. Horses are used extensively in the horse meat industry because they’re easy to transport and cheap to purchase.

Who Are Kill Buyers?

Kill pen buyers are the people who purchase horses from horse kill pens. They look for healthy horses to sell them for meat. Kill buyers look for auctions, Craigslist ads, “Feed lot Frenzy”, and more. Kill buyers are usually paid by the pound, that’s why such people buy horses in a bulk. They’re often in it for the money and don’t really care where the horses come from or what happens to them after they’ve been purchased. In some auctions, kill buyers are given more priority when outbidding a horse. So they can fulfill their bulk order. Keep that in mind when rescuing a horse from a slaughter pipeline.

How Much Do Kill Buyers Pay for Horses?

Kill buyers can pay as little as $25 per horse. But the average cost is around $400. A kill buyer can get a discount if they purchase more than one horse at a time. This is why horse kill pens are often filled with horses who were once used for riding or breeding. As a kill pen buyer is paid by the pound, they need to close a weekly quota for meat buyers.

Brown horse mare on the farm

Is Horse Slaughter Legal in the USA?

No, horse slaughter is not legal in the USA. However, horse meat can still be exported to other countries for human consumption. The last slaughterhouses were shuttered in 2007. They were located in Texas and Illinois. Tens of thousands of horses had been killed there before the houses were shuttered. The horse meat was shipped overseas.

The Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act was introduced in 2021. It aims to stop killing horses for human consumption. This bill would ban exporting horse meat abroad for that purpose.

Horse Slaughter Pen Regulations: What Are They?

If you want to save a horse from a kill pen, you need to know the horse slaughter regulations. There are specific requirements that must be met in order for horses to be slaughtered for human consumption. The process of horse slaughter is also tightly regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA has been involved in horse meat production and trade since horses were first brought over from Europe. In 1891, Congress gave the USDA responsibility for inspecting horse carcasses.

In 1963, Congress banned the sale of horse meat for human consumption. However, it was still allowed to be exported.

The ban on selling horse meat domestically was lifted in 1991. However, the export of horse meat remained prohibited until 2006. That’s when President George W. Bush lifted the export ban. Horse slaughterhouses in the United States were closed in 2007. After Congress failed to renew funding for horse meat inspections.

Today, horse meat can only be sold as a pet food ingredient in the United States. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is one of the most vocal opponents of horse slaughter. The HSUS believes that horses are not raised for human consumption and that they should not be slaughtered for their meat.

people attending horse fair

How to Save a Horse From Slaughter

There are several ways that people can save horses from slaughter. One way is to buy a horse from a kill pen. The cost of rescuing a horse from a kill pen can range from $100 to $600. However, the average price for a horse in a kill pen is between $250 and $300.

Another way to save horses from slaughter is by sponsoring them through rescue organizations. These organizations work with horse sanctuaries. They foster homes to find safe places for rescued horses. Sponsorship donations typically start at $25 per month.

People can also contact their state representatives and ask them to support the legislation. That would prohibit horse slaughter in the United States. In 2013, California became the first state to pass such legislation.

How Much Does It Cost to Rescue a Horse From a Kill Pen?

The real cost of horse rescues from slaughter is about $400. This money will cover the transport and care for your horse until it’s ready to be rehomed or adopted out. After you rescue a horse from a kill pen, you need to provide food and shelter. Check the prices for common needs for horses.


After you visit a reputable rescue, you need to quarantine all the horses separately from other animals on the farm for 30 days. If you don’t have enough space on your territory to keep your equine quarantined, look for a horse boarding facility near you. The price for horse boarding varies from $100 to $1000 per month.

Horses need shelter from the sun and rain. If your horse is recovering from an injury, he will also appreciate some extra TLC in the form of a stall or barn.

You can’t just leave your new horse where he is once you’ve brought him home. You’ll need to set up fencing for containment. Plan on spending around $200-$300 for safe, adequate fencing that will keep your horse on your property.


Let your horse turn out regularly to spend some time outdoors. You’ll need at least an acre of land for each horse you own. Fencing costs will increase if you decide to pasture your horse. The price of a horse fence ranges from $2000 to $5000, depending on the height and materials used.

horse herd drinking water

Food and Water

The average horse feed costs about $25 a month. Keep in mind that you should provide the best quality of food for your rescued horse and spend more than this amount if necessary. Also, get hay at an additional cost because it’s not included in yearly horse feed prices. Provide fresh grass in warm seasons as well.

Get supplements or vitamins that will keep your horse healthy during its recovery period too. Get wormers and other medications as well: they also come with different price tags depending on how many horses do you need help with.

A horse should get constant access to clean and fresh water. If you’re rescuing more than one horse, make sure to have a trough or two available. In winter, consider installing an automatic horse waterer with a heater to keep it warm. The cost of the water bill isn’t cheap, so factor that into your horse rescue budget as well.

Vet Check

Regular veterinary care is essential for keeping your horse healthy. Annual exams, deworming, vaccinations, and other treatments can add up quickly. Plan to spend at least $500 annually on routine care.

Emergency Veterinary Care

Accidents happen, and when they do you’ll want to be prepared financially. Emergency bills can range from a few hundred dollars to $20,000 or more. The average horse owner can expect to pay between $500 and $2000 per year for emergency care.

Farrier Check

If your rescue horse is going to be doing any work – even light riding – he will need shoes. Shoes cost around $30 a pair. And most horses need new shoes every six weeks or so.

female hand stroking a brown horse


Resuing a horse from slaughter might be difficult but it’s worth it. Your horse will be happy that you saved his life. Check a local rescue near you to adopt or lease a horse or donkeys. Before rescuing kill pen horses, consider the costs of rescue and care.

Carefully plan horse kill pen rescues. Consider shelter, feed & nutrition, health care expenses, and farrier check-ups.

If you are unsure about any aspect of horse ownership, it is best to consult with an expert before adopting a horse into your family – especially if he comes from kill pen auctions.

On average, horse owners spend between $1000 and $4000 per year on a single horse. However, this number can vary widely depending on the care required. Horses are expensive animals – but they’re worth every penny!