Undercover Investigation Reveals Little Oversight At California Horse Auctions

She said even California horses, protected by law from slaughter, quietly disappear into the pipeline, simply by crossing first into neighboring states where exporting for slaughter is legal.

“It’s really easy to get around the system,” Jacobson said.

KPIX 5 found no one monitoring horse sales either. The California Department of Agriculture requires auctions to keep records, but the auction houses don’t have to report the transactions to the state. And the state admits there’s no budget for inspections.

On the night our KPIX 5 crew visited the auction, we noticed one person – who appeared to be an auction employee – buying up most of the horses for sale. The auction’s owner turned down a request for an interview, but confirmed the person was his employee, and does buy a lot of horses. He said it’s their business what they do with the animals.

So what about Rino-U? Like all thoroughbreds, he had a tattoo that auction houses are supposed to keep records of. We wanted to know who brought him in. The auction owner refused to show us his records. For Tawnee Preisner and her rescue group it’s all very frustrating.

His former owner never returned KPIX 5 calls, but his trainer said he gave the racehorse away for free to a man in San Jose whose name he doesn’t remember.

“It’s just swept under the rug, and no one cares. We are a civil country. We don’t just butcher our pets, but we are doing it to our horses,” said Preisner.

The auction employee denied sending any horses to slaughter, but said the horses are sold on the internet. And again, there is no documented evidence of killer buyers buying horses at the auction we attended.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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