Animals’ Angels recently obtained interesting records from the Montana Department of Livestock regarding the Bar S slaughter horse feedlot in Shelby, MT. Every year, the Montana Department of Livestock has Bouvry Exports sign a “Memo of Understanding”, in which Bouvry agrees to maintain certain conditions at his feedlot in Shelby. The most important obligations are that downer/dying animals have to be euthanized immediately, mares with foals as well as lame horses have to be separated from the general population and the lot itself has to be kept clean and in good state of repair.
The Department of Livestock conducts periodic compliance inspections at the feedlot to check if all the conditions are being met. In 2015, after our expose of the poor conditions at the Shelby feedlot, a total of 14 inspections were conducted.
However, according to the most recent paperwork provided, only 2 such inspections were carried out in 2018. Even more upsetting, one of the two inspections is merely a three-sentence email, basically stating that “everything looked good” – no pictures were taken, no inspection form was filled out, nothing.
It is completely unacceptable that the number of inspections apparently has dropped down to this level, especially since our January 2019 investigation at the Shelby lot documented numerous violations of the agreement: Horses were left to die without assistance in the pen area, dead horses were left in the pen for an extended period of time and mares with foals as well as lame horses were not segregated from the other horses. All these are problems that were already documented years ago and that obviously have not been addressed.
It is clear that the lot does not operate within the standards set forth in the MOU and therefore there should be repercussions. Additionally, the lax way the 2nd inspection was carried out really raises concerns if the inspector even walked the pen area to check all the animals/pens since no photographic evidence is available.
Animals’ Angels will provide the findings from our latest investigation in Shelby to the Montana Department of Livestock to show that Bouvry Exports is violating several conditions of the MOU and urge them to significantly increase inspections. Furthermore, to ensure proper documentation during each inspection, taking pictures of different areas of the feedlot and the use of the proper inspection report form should be mandatory for all inspectors.