Costs to Adopt and Save a Horse off a Kill Pen or Feedlot:

There are people out there connected to the kill pens/feedlots that mark up the prices on these horses to make extra money off people who are trying to save the horses. This is unconscionable behavior as they are playing on the emotions of all of us who work so hard to save the horses. These unscrupulous individuals will go as far as to let horses go to slaughter rather than lower their prices. They ask prices they would certainly not get if they were selling the horse by the pound to a packing facility. It is unfortunate this type of behavior takes place, but the horses need our help and we pay the asking price so the horses can live.

Some people wonder why anyone would want to pay more money for a horse on a feedlot headed for slaughter when they are cheaper from other sources. The reason is simple; horse slaughter is THE cruelest way to kill an animal. Slaughter houses are not set up for horses and you simply cannot imagine the suffering and pain that a horse has to endure before dying. I won't go into specifics. Many of us can't stand to hear it, because it is so unbelievably horrifying. I cannot look at the images because they stay with me for the rest of my life. It is the suffering of innocent horses that drives all of us who try so desperately every week to save them, and it is what breaks our hearts when we loose even one horse to the truck.


During warmer times of the year, if someone has a place to put a horse the costs are relatively low. However, during fall and winter months the costs can become higher because many horses become sick with Strangles. Strangles is a bacterial infection that is very contagious to other horses. All year costs for horse saving organizations mount, especially if the organization tries to gather horses at the last moment so that the horse does not end up in the slaughter system. Many of these organizations carry the high costs of board, vet bills, etcetera, and then re-home the horses for much less than what they have put into them - without regret.

I wanted to include this section in order for people to understand extra costs involved with saving a slaughter bound horse. Hopefully it will help educate folks who are thinking of purchasing a rescue horse (which is GREAT)! This section is also to provide information for folks who are interested in donating money to save a horse. Please note that most of these costs would be incurred for any horse someone may buy from any other place, so why not buy one that will save a life?

  • Bail $ to get the horse off the feed lot or out of the kill pen

  • Transport fees (if someone doesn't have a horse trailer) to the buyer's home, boarding facility or a foster home

  • Boarding fees (if a person needs to board the horse or to have the horse placed in quarantine)

  • Vet costs (all feedlot horses should be checked by a vet at minimum for worms, teeth, etcetera)

  • Hay & grain

  • Farrier fees

  • Blankets, brushes, etc.

  • Out of state horses may need brand inspection certificates, vet certificates for appropriate shots, health certificates, and extended quarantine if the horse is under weight or recovering from Strangles.

  • Quarantine (QT)
    NOTE: As a precaution all feedlot/kill pen horses should be kept away from other horses by placing them in quarantine just in case the new horse is sick. They may not show symptoms at the time but may still be sick. The suggested amount of time for quarantine is about 1 month. Cost of quarantine.

  • If the horse is sick: QT of up to 90 days. Add extra for vet bills, boarding fees (if not at buyers home) and other possible special needs the horse may have.

Networking to help each other with these costs is HUGE. If you can provide foster care, transport for a horse, provide feed or used horse items, veterinary services, donate money, volunteer time... Please contact one of the listed groups on this site or any other reputable organization. We can all use a little help.