June 27, 2023 (Westminster, MD) – Animals’ Angels, along with their EU partner the Animal Welfare Foundation, today released a new film containing shocking footage of the slaughter operations at Bouvry Exports and the US auctions that supply Bouvry with horses. The film’s release accompanies an urgent call on the U.S. Congress to pass the SAFE Act, and on the EU Commission to finally enact a total ban on horse meat imports from Canada.
“This new film provides the U.S. Congress and the EU Commission with 10,000 reasons why horse slaughter needs to stop immediately,” states Sonja Meadows, founder of Animals’ Angels. “We hope these legislators will finally act after seeing the nightmare endured by the horses trapped in the slaughter pipeline.”
Bouvry Exports runs the largest horse slaughter operation in Canada, which means the vast majority of horses exported from the U.S. to Canada end up at their plant. Investigating the company has become a top priority for Animals’ Angels over the last few years.
“Every year, our investigators manage to infiltrate Bouvry’s U.S. and Canadian feedlots, as well as the holding pens of the slaughter plant,” Meadows says. “And every year we find sick and injured horses in deplorable conditions. It breaks your heart. It has to end.”
She points to an investigation in August of 2022 when Animals’ Angels investigators documented an entire group of dead horses and foals discarded in a remote area of Bouvry’s Prime Feedlot in Alberta. All the foals and mature horses had been ripped apart by scavengers.
“The horses who were still alive were in dreadful condition,” Meadows recalls. “Their hooves were splintered, cracked, and overgrown. The animals couldn’t put weight on all four legs. They were in obvious pain.”
Meadows is quick to point out that much has changed since her team first started investigating Bouvry Exports. Most significantly, the number of U.S. horses slaughtered in Canada has plummeted drastically over the last eight years, from 43,513 horses in 2014 to 3,627 in 2022.
The rapid decrease in the number of horses being slaughtered in Canada has resulted in a significant decline in the volume of horse meat being exported from Canada, as well.
“One of the most encouraging signs that the Bouvry Exports empire is crumbling, along with the slaughter industry as a whole, took place last September,” Meadows adds. “That’s when Bouvry permanently closed the Bar S Feedlot, their only U.S. feedlot, which in past years held well over a thousand horses.”
Unfortunately, around the same time period, Animals’ Angels discovered further atrocities at the Bouvry slaughter plant through a Public Information Request. Details of the abuse were horrific, including live horses being dragged off trailers with chains, horses struggling to walk in from the Prime Feedlot, and several horses in the “kill box” who had been shot multiple times after employees used the wrong gun.
In addition, serious concerns around food safety were raised and documented in public records obtained from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). These concerns eventually led to the temporary suspension of Bouvry’s license.
Then in April of 2023, the Animals’ Angels team carried out another investigation.
“We wanted to see how the company had been impacted by the closure of the Bar S Feedlot and the other issues they were going through,” Meadows explains. “Our investigators saw right away that many of the pens at Bouvry’s Prime Feedlot and the slaughter plant were empty, and that there were only a few trucks unloading horses. But it wasn’t all good news.”
It didn’t take long for the Animals’ Angels team to see that the appalling conditions of the horses on the premises hadn’t improved. Several horses had overgrown, curled-up hooves that made it nearly impossible for the animals to walk, and newborn foals were found in the pen area, mixed in with mature horses, while the decaying remains of foals and adult horses were discovered under a pile of manure.
“The new film we’ve released will expose all the atrocities our investigators uncovered,” Meadows says. “We believe it will serve as a strong tool for animal advocates both here in the U.S. and abroad.”
The highly anticipated film is intended to be shared with legislators and accompanies a strong push for the passage of the SAFE Act and the end of horse slaughter in the U.S.
To view the film and the trailer, please click here:
At the same time, Animals’ Angels and their EU partners will present the newly released film as evidence to the EU Commission and will continue to urge its members to finally ban the import of Canadian horse meat in the EU.
What is the SAFE Act, and How Can You Support It?
The Save America's Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act (S.2037/H.R.3475) was reintroduced this month by a bipartisan group of U.S. legislators. If passed, the legislation would prohibit the slaughter of U.S. horses and end their export for that purpose abroad.
The bill was introduced shortly after Animals’ Angels, in conjunction with the Center for a Humane Economy, released an in-depth investigative report about the suffering of horses caught in the slaughter pipeline.
The task at hand now is to make sure that the SAFE Act, which amends the 2018 Dog & Cat Meat Prohibition Act to include the word “equine”, is included in the Farm bill.
To add your voice to those calling for the SAFE Act’s passage, Animals’ Angels urges you to ask your legislators to act now to end horse slaughter.
We need to get additional cosponsors AND (most importantly) convince members of the House and the Senate Agriculture Committees to support inclusion of the SAFE Act in the Farm bill.