Five years after the original complaints filed by Animals’ Angels regarding the operations of these notorious kill buyers, USDA Administrative Law Judge Jill Clifton ordered Gregory & Mitchell Stanley d/b/a/ Stanley Bros Farms, LLC to pay a civil penalty of $4,000.00 for violating the Commercial Transport of Equines to Slaughter Regulations.
The judge concluded that the Stanley Brothers, who operate a large kill pen in Bastrop, LA and also lease the Chula Vista pens in Eagle Pass, TX for their slaughter horse shipments to Mexico, have violated the Commercial Transport of Equines to Slaughter Regulations multiple times. The violations include using inauthentic origin health certificates (the veterinarian signature used on the certificate was apparently not the veterinarian’s real signature), the removal of the official USDA backtags to conceal the real origin of the horses, failure to prepare the required owner/shipper certificates and failure to report time and location of loading of the horses on the certificate.
Animals’ Angels conducted several investigations into the Stanley Brothers and the Chula Vista pens in Eagle Pass, TX and alerted USDA APHIS and the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) about the observed unloading of horses at the Chula Vista pens and reloading the same animals later for presentation at the official Texas Department of Agriculture export pen. AA also reported that many of the horse shipments arriving in Eagle Pass were coming from a different location and carried out by a different shipper than the one listed on the actual owner/shipper paperwork.
The official investigation conducted by APHIS and TAHC shortly thereafter was able to confirm Animals’ Angels findings and that 9 C.F.R. Part 88 indeed had been violated multiple times. While it is frustrating that it took five years to achieve a decision and while the fine definitely should be higher, we are grateful to see that official action was taken. And – given that Animals’ Angels has filed countless complaints since then – we are hopeful that several other decisions are still “in the works” and we will see more and more kill buyers being held accountable for their actions.