KPHO Channel 5  Phoenix, AZ
September 9, 2004

Livestock Auction Faces Abuse Allegations

A valley livestock auction is at the center of a debate over alleged animal abuse. Experts say four foals found were lucky to be alive.

Horse owner Joey Ogburn bought the foals in June.

"I basically slept in the barn for about two days with the first babies that I got," says Ogburn.

They had been rounded up on an Indian reservation, separated from their mothers and sold at the Pacific Livestock Auction. Ogburn said not all the babies that were sold at the auction survived.

Valley veterinarian Alan Finlayson says foals need their mother's milk for nutrition for at least the first three months of life. He recommends six months.

"Mare's milk is very special. It's different from cow's milk. It's different from goat's milk," explains Finlayson.

The 5 i-Team took our hidden camera to the Pacific Livestock Auction and saw foals being sold separate from their mothers. People we talked to said the mares were sold to slaughter and the foals rescued by caring horse owners. Auction managers told us they are not breaking any laws, and they believe they are saving the babies by allowing people like Joey Ogburn to buy them.

Ogburn and other horse owners Wednesday morning lobbied Congress to get a bill passed that would outlaw the commercial slaughter of horses.

Right now horse meat is shipped out of the country for human consumption. Horse owners say a ban would reduce the number of horses auctioned and keep more babies with their mothers.

Arizona congressmen J.D. Hayworth and Raul Grijalva are co-sponsors of the "anti-slaughter" bill.