Animals’ Angels investigators returned to Mexico to check the conditions and the treatment of slaughter horses exported from the US. We started our investigation in Ojinaga, the Mexican town right at the border crossing to Presidio. On 8/19/13, five trucks loaded with slaughter horses from Presidio were observed crossing the border. At the first Zoosanitaria checkpoint, investigators checked the trailers and saw a bay horse with a severe injury on its cheek. They were informed that some of the trucks were heading to the Camargo plant, while others were going to Aguascalientes. They decided to follow the Aguascalientes truck, since the transport time would be close to 16 hours. At 4:00am, the trucks pulled into the Santa Clara Zoosanitaria checkpoint and investigators were able to check the horses inside the trailers again. One of them was down and the other horses were trampling all over it.
The driver attempted to get the horse to rise by hitting it with a golf club and an iron bar. When these attempts failed, he got an electric prod out of his truck and used it on the suffering animal. After prodding the horse 4 times, it managed to get up. The trucks continued driving and stopped again an hour before arrival at the plant to check if all horses were standing. They arrived at the Aguascalientes plant at 8:15am. Investigators were not allowed to enter the premises and nothing could be seen from the outside. We decided to drive back North and attempt another trailing, this time at the Eagle Pass crossing.
On 8/22/13, six trucks loaded with horses from the Eagle Pass export pens crossed into Mexico. At 7:00pm, Investigators decided to follow a yellow Charrito’s truck, since they were informed that it was heading to the Beltex plant in Fresnillo. The trailer appeared to be a former “Dollar Store” merchandise trailer, which had been converted into a livestock trailer. The trailer still had the original TN plates and the tiny holes that had been cut into the trailer sides offered only very limited airflow.
At 3:00am, the truck stopped at the Zoosanitaria checkpoint in Tanque Escondido and investigators were able to check the horses inside the trailer. They all were standing and no injuries were observed. After close to 12 hours of transport, the truck arrived at the Fresnillo plant at 6:37am.
Investigators returned to the Santa Clara Zoosanitaria checkpoint to wait for more trucks to arrive loaded with horses from the US. Around 10:00am, two trucks loaded with horses from NM kill buyer Dennis Chavez arrived at the checkpoint. One of them, an open roof trailer with completely boarded up sides, originated from Presidio. The horses inside the trailer were of extremely poor condition, many were severely emaciated, covered in old scars and looked very weak. One horse had an abscess on the face, another one an inflamed wound on the neck. Several had nasal discharge, eye infections and swollen knees. There were at least two foals in between the adult horses.
The investigation showed that the situation for US slaughter horses exported to Mexico remained the same and no improvements were made. Animals’ Angels will report these findings to European authorities.