Inside the hall, the main auction was about to begin in front of a packed audience. As horses were led into the ring, the auctioneer read a list of their attributes. These were racing, riding, and show horses, and some of the prices topped $3,000. But the slaughterhouse buyers were there, too, to bid on the least expensive horses. Toward the end of the auction, around 4 p.m., the cheapest horses were brought in, and the amphitheater started to clear out. The kill buyers became the main bidders. One actually sat at the auctioneer's desk, bidding by leaning forward and waving his hand.
Then the buyers loaded up their horses. The semi-trailers backed up to the barn were obviously those of the purchasers for slaughterhouses--they had come to buy in bulk. A young couple took a look at these horses waiting to be loaded. "I have come here every year since I was a kid," the woman said. "I love the horses, but not horse slaughter. I can't say that too loud around here, because my view isn't popular." She and her husband wanted to rescue one of them. She negotiated with the buyer, but couldn't afford his $700 price. Her eyes filled with tears and her husband walked away. "He can't stand to see this," she said.