Slaughter Horse Export Investigation, TX May 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 16:00
Investigation Category: 

Animals’ Angels recently investigated the Morton, TX Feedlot and 2 export pens (Del Rio, TX and Eagle Pass, TX) On this investigation AA found that horses rejected at the border are not provided food, water or rest but are immediately reloaded for the kill buyer to take away – In some cases, horses go without food or water for 25+ hours by the time they are returned by the shipper.No accountability and no systems are in place for refused horses at the export pens. We found no records of the export pens or the Beltex feedlot reporting cases of unfit horses to APHIS or to local law enforcement. The rejected horses are not monitored or linked to their shipper since APHIS does not maintain a database to trace slaughter tags of individual horses. In addition, AA observations confirm that only horses that spend the night at the export pens receive any food. In many cases, horses that go to slaughter arrive at the pens in the morning from locations as far as 12+ hours away, remain at the pens for 6-8 hours, are loaded back on the trailer and then face another 17 hour transport to the plants - Many horses are without food for 35 hours by the time they finally arrive at the slaughter plant. Our investigation also revealed that at all pens operated by the Texas Department of AG, they habitually allow the use of trailers that are a deadly risk to horses. We observed trailers with large holes in the metal sides capable of terrible injuries, even cutting feet and legs off; trailers with gaps and holes in roofs capable of puncturing eyes or even decapitation; trailers with exposed nails and broken flooring. We observed many open roof trailers with no protection from wind or sun during the 17 hour transport.Animals’ Angels will share these findings and a list of suggestions with USDA/APHIS and the Texas Department of Agriculture and urge them to improve this unacceptable situation. Please also watch for our next newsletter with more information about the issue and ways to help!