Trent Ward is a kill buyer who has been in the horse slaughter business for a very long time. When the horse slaughter plants in Texas were still open, Ward supplied horses to the Kaufman plant. Ward used to run T & M Horse Company with large scale kill buyer Mike McBarron and is still shipping horses to slaughter for McBarron today.
No stranger to violations, Trent Ward was fined $21,450 by the USDA for shipping injured horses and non-segregated stallions. However, Ward has not allowed these fines to slow him down. From past research and investigations, we know that Ward frequents Texas sales such as Cleburne & Stephenville to obtain horses for shipments to the Jerez plant in Mexico.
Our investigators arrived at Ward’s property on July 13, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. The property has a rancher style private residence and a small pen area which is partially sheltered as well as a large, overgrown pasture.
Upon arrival, our investigators noted one flatbed trailer parked out front loaded with bales of hay. There were several pick-up trucks and one SUV parked on the premises. One of the pick-up trucks was equipped with a large, canvas-top stock trailer and had two horses inside, apparently delivering them to Ward.
There was a pony in the backyard which was evidently used to maintain the grass level and keep it low. Investigators observed 6 to 7 horses in the back pen, 1 horse in a pole building located on the property, and 3 horses with 1 burro in the overgrown pasture.
There was nothing untoward observed and no activity. Due to the lack of activity, the location of this property and the fact that it has a private residence, investigators chose not to draw attention to themselves on this particular visit and left at 11:55 a.m.