Bouvry Exports Attempts (and Fails) to hide Abuse Behind Alberta's Ag-Gag Law

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 - 08:21
Investigation Category: 

Earlier this year, Animals’ Angels released a heartbreaking report on the suffering and abuse that goes on at Bouvry Exports, Canada’s largest importer of U.S. horses.

After witnessing the appalling conditions of their facilities in Alberta and calling out the cruel and callous treatment of the innocent horses in their care, we designated the slaughter company as “Investigative Target #1” in our mission to stop horse slaughter for good.

Now, six months later, our mission continues stronger than ever, despite the attempt by Bouvry Exports to hide behind the existing “Ag-Gag Law” intended to stop whistle-blowers from exposing the vile abuse of the animals in their care.

This month’s newsletter presents the disturbing findings of Animals’ Angels’ latest undercover investigation at the Bouvry Exports facility and provides a detailed account of the shocking violations and offenses documented by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Alberta’s “Bill 27” Targets Animal Advocates

In a blatant attempt to stop undercover investigators and animal advocates from witnessing and documenting abuse and neglect at slaughterhouses and feedlots, lawmakers in Alberta previously passed Bill 27, an “Ag-Gag” law intended to prevent the public from learning about animal cruelty.

Bill 27, which was officially passed into Alberta law in November 2019, radically overhauled Alberta’s trespass laws, directly targeting individuals and organizations seeking to expose cruel and abusive treatment of the animals at industrial farms and facilities.

However, this new law, which sharply increased the maximum fine for a first-time trespassing offense from $2,000 to as much as $200,000, and possibly even jail time, hasn’t stopped Animals’ Angels from continuing our undercover investigations.

Our team knows how incredibly important it is for us to continue monitoring and documenting the miserable conditions at Bouvry’s operation, and we remain firmly committed to reporting our findings back to the EU Commission, despite Bill 27.

Proof of Abuse and Neglect Apparent in Alberta

During our latest investigation Animals’ Angels investigators were able to access Bouvry’s Prime feedlot and his slaughter plant lot, despite the heightened security measures and patrols they’ve recently implemented. Our team was outraged by what we observed, which included:

  • Horses with hooves in horrific condition. Many horses’ hooves were splintered, cracked, overgrown, and curled-up.
  • Horses demonstrating a high level of aggression. Horses at the feedlots were fighting, biting, and kicking each other.
  • Coughing horses due to very dry conditions. The prime feedlot was extremely dry, turning it into a “dustbowl” and making it hard for the horses and our investigators to breathe.
  • Horses without any shelter or protection from the sun in 90°F temperatures.
  • A very thin, weak foal who had every rib visible.
  • A grey horse with a hurt rear hind leg. The horse was observed holding up the leg when attempting to walk.
  • Dead horses and even dead baby foals dumped into an area of the feedlot after dying in the pens. The dead horses were observed in various states of decomposition, and there was evidence scavengers had been feeding on the carcasses.

Violations and Offenses Documented by the CFIA

Our investigation also turned up many horrifying accounts of Bouvry Exports’ total disregard for following food safety regulations or ensuring the humane treatment of animals as documented in public records obtained from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

The paperwork, photos, and videos provide evidence of the carelessness and ruthlessness of the Bouvry plant management, who is fully aware of the operation’s animal welfare issues, but who chooses to willfully ignore them. We’ve included just a few documented examples of their shameful behavior below.

Interviews with plant employees show that the plant takes in horses who are visibly hurt, injured, or suffering. Statements by Bouvry Export employees include:

“We used to take every horse, like the ones with broken legs and they would be down in the trailer and…they would just drag them off and slaughter them…” (Statement given on March 8, 2021, regarding a bay filly that was unloaded at the plant with horrific overgrown feet).

“We have been dealing with this kind of crap for years…You couldn’t say that we haven’t been warned.” (Statement given by prime feedlot manager regarding bay filly).

“The bay filly came from the US…and already likely had been foundered and had long feet. …their condition gets worse as they get heavier, but we can’t treat them because of the EU program.”

A report from 10/6/20 documented an extremely thin blue roan gelding (BCS1) arriving at the plant dehydrated, with labored breathing. The poor animal collapsed in the alley after a few feet and was unable to rise again. The same load included a sorrel gelding whose right hind leg was completely lame. A postmortem inspection found an abscess with multiple pockets of yellowish, foul-smelling pus.

A report from 1/7/21 documented that a mare was down in the trailer at arrival at the plant. The plant employees proceeded to tie a rope around her neck and drag her all the way through the 53ft trailer. The mare was then lifted into a pen using a forklift, where she suffered for the next eight hours until she was finally euthanized.

A report from 4/21/21 documented a CFIA inspector’s observation of a Bouvry Export employee attempting to shoot a horse in the kill box five times with a .22 rifle. The inspector stopped the procedure after determining there was no captive bolt available on the kill floor. The inspector was also informed that the gun they routinely used “blew up in their hands” the week before and had been sent in for repair and thus they were using a .22 long rifle instead of the allowed .22 magnum rifle.

A report for 4/22/21 documented that four horses were found with two bullet holes in their heads due to continued use of the wrong rifle.

A report for 7/20/21 documented the delivery of five significantly lame horses to the plant. A lethargic grey horse with drastically overgrown hooves and a hind club foot, who was exhausted and unable to move, was trapped under the fence at the plant and euthanized. A bay horse, who was unable to put weight on his right hind leg, collapsed in the alleyway to slaughter and was euthanized on the spot.

Bouvry Exports Can’t Hide Their Abuse Behind Bill 27

The heartbreaking findings of our most recent investigation confirmed what we already knew: Bouvry exports is a ruthlessly cruel operation that shows no concern for the welfare of the horses in their care, despite being well-aware of the suffering and death that goes on in their facilities.

We remain committed to exposing the atrocities witnessed and documented at the plant, regardless of Bill 27 and the attempts made by plant management to hide their actions from the public. Going forward, we will present our findings to the EU Commission and to the US Congress, urging them again to put a stop to the predatory slaughter industry once and for all.

Join Us in Advocating for the Animals

We hope you will share this month’s newsletter with as many people as possible. Together, we can act as a voice for the animals who suffer at the cruel hands of Bouvry Exports.