The Bar S Feedlot serves as Bouvry’s collecting station for horses purchased for him across the United States. They are kept in the feedlot for several weeks to be fattened up. The feedlot holds close to 1700 horses at any given time. Once they are deemed “ready”, they are transported across the border to Bouvry’s Alberta slaughter plant in Fort McLeod.
The investigators arrived at the feedlot at 10:10 am. It was raining hard and the horses had no shelter from the rain. The foals had a little bit of straw to lie down, but it was soaked from the heavy rain. Horses of all breeds and genders were visible. The holding pens appeared very crowded. The front paddock with mares and foals was more spacious, but there was no grass growing and it was surrounded by barbwire fencing.
At 11:00 am, a Whitford truck loaded with horses arrived at the feedlot. The driver and some workers started to unload the horses, using moving paddles and sticks. Investigators noticed some foals and colts among the adult horses, which should have been segregated since the risk of them being trampled is very high. At 11:27 am, the unloading was finished and the horses were moved into a holding pen. The horses in the surrounding pens were very agitated. Some were fighting, others were just playing. Some horses appeared aggressive, a behavior some animals develop in crowded conditions.
At 3:50 pm, a black D & J truck from Great Falls, MT arrived empty at the feedlot and parked next to the holding pens. The workers were observed moving horses around, but the truck was not loaded until the next morning.
Overnight, the temperature had dropped to 38°F. When the investigators returned to the feedlot at 8:00 am, the D & J truck was already backed up to the loading ramp. Feeding activity was observed. At 9:10 am, the loading started. All horses were slaughter tagged. The worker used a plastic stick with a flag to move the horses. One horse was particularly reluctant to go into the trailer. The worker started hitting it hard with the plastic stick. At 10:00 am, the truck left the feedlot and headed north towards the Canadian border.
At 2:10 pm, a white truck with single deck trailer from Dally Farms arrived loaded at the feedlot and immediately started unloading the horses. They all seemed to be in good condition and walked off the trailer without problems. The investigators observed the feedlot’s back pens from a nearby hill. These pens were also very crowded. Fighting and other aggressive behavior was observed. Most horses were in good physical condition, some rather overweight. However, the investigators noticed several very thin horses in a pen in the middle of the feedlot. There was no more activity that day. Investigators will continue to monitor this location.