Investigators arrived at the plant at 7:45 a.m. and immediately noticed that there was a great deal of activity with a large workforce being present. The pens adjacent to the plant contained 70 – 100 horses each, most of them hot branded with large numbers on their right shoulders. Each pen had 1 or 2 large metal water containers and a number of hay feeders, which were not protected from the elements. Only one pen with shelter was visible in the entire area.
Investigators noted that some of the pens contained bison, while others held large groups of mares with their foals. The pens holding adult horses were segregated by gender and consisted of mainly Quarter Horses with some Drafts and Ponies mixed in.
The pens with mares and their offspring held foals of all ages as well as heavily pregnant mares. Some foals had severe nasal discharge, others were coughing. One particular foal was observed coughing repeatedly. A Paint foal appeared to be very sick, either from advanced strangles infection or an abscessed tooth. His entire face was swollen and he was very thin.
A mare and her foal had escaped the pens and were much thinner than the other horses, most likely due to lack of access to the feed troughs inside the pen area. The mare showed signs of an ongoing strangles infection and had several bald spots, which could also be signs of an ongoing disease.
Several more horses were observed in bad condition: A dark chestnut had injuries on both hind legs, with the legs severely swollen.
Another chestnut was severely lame and barely able to put weight on the right front leg. His left front leg showed signs of an older injury. A dark bay horse was lame on both front legs and had overgrown hooves.
In the middle of one of the large pens investigators found an emaciated mare, which was covered in scars and appeared to be very sick. She stood completely still in between the other horses, almost as if in a complete daze.
Bouvry Exports and the conditions under which they operate remain a serious concern. Animals’ Angels will continue to monitor this location and will report these findings to the European Commission.