In The Media

At a feedlot in Alberta, Canada, up to 10,000 horses await their death. In the winter, when temperatures can drop to -30 degrees Fahrenheit, the snow-covered equines huddle together for warmth. On multiple occasions, only a handful of employees were around to check on the animals, and scavengers have picked over neglected carcasses. In 2019, a dead newborn foal was found frozen to the ground.

“Pure agony” is how Sonja Meadows, president of the nonprofit Animals’ Angels, describes these animals’ situation. She’s visited the Prime Feedlot, owned by meat exporter Bouvry Exports—and others—many times, but this, “I can never forget,” she says. (Bouvry Exports did not respond to a request for comment.)

An eastern Iowa sales barn is part of a "horse slaughter pipeline" that sells U.S. animals to foreign processing plants in Canada and Mexico for human consumption in countries that consider the meat a delicacy, three animal welfare groups allege in a new report.

Kalona Sales Barn sells about 300 horses a month to "kill buyers," according to the report released Thursday by the Center for a Humane Economy, Animal Wellness Action and Animals’ Angels. It also alleges that the horses, often already ill or injured, are frequently mistreated along the way.

Eating pork has long been associated with the exploitation of pigs – one of the planet’s most intelligent yet industrialised animals. But there’s another innocent creature embroiled in the mass production of sausages, pork chops and bacon: horses and the race for red gold.

Thousands of mares are being abused in Iceland, Russia, Mongolia, China, Argentina and Uruguay to make farm animals ovulate on command so they produce more offspring to feed the population’s appetite for red meat.

Systematically impregnated on barbaric ‘vampire farms’, the mares’ precious blood is drained for a hormone called Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotropin (PMSG). In its concentrated form, 100 grams of PMSG is worth far more than gold.

An investigation by animal welfare groups followed horses from auctions to holding facilities to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, where they were exported for human consumption.

Colorado and other states are sending an estimated 20,000 horses per year to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, which export them to other countries that eat horse meat, according to an investigation by three animal welfare groups. 

The release of the investigation, which followed horses from auctions to holding pens to slaughterhouses across the northern and southern borders, coincides with Colorado legislation that would prohibit the sale of horses if there is reason to believe they could end up being used for human consumption. 

FORNEY, Texas — Mike McBarron stepped out of the 96-degree heat and into a shed on his feedlot after loading 37 horses onto a truck. They were headed to Mexico, where they would be slaughtered and shipped around the world for human consumption.

“It’s just a job to me,” McBarron told USA TODAY Sports. “I mean, I don’t attach myself to them. I don’t fall in love with them.”

McBarron, 48, is one of the country’s most prolific “kill buyers,” people who buy horses and sell them to slaughterhouses. 

Keith and Sonja Meadows, a husband-and-wife team from Westminster, Md., founded Animals’ Angels. Traveling exhaustively and obsessively through rural America, Canada, and Mexico, they infiltrate livestock auctions and slaughterhouses, surreptitiously recording diseased and abused animals and posting the videos on the Internet, along with detailed investigative reports.

The Meadows’ work has made them important figures in the emotional debate over horse slaughter in the United States. Their exposé of a horse auction in New Mexico created a statewide uproar that pushed the attorney general and the legislature into taking a stand against a proposal for a new slaughterhouse.

Bernard Goldberg examines why thousands of horses die while racing in the United States every year. The show also takes a close look at what happens with race horses that are no longer fast enough. The threat of being shipped to slaughter is very real. Animals’ Angels provided background information about the horse slaughter industry as well as video footage from our investigations to the production team.


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Pennsylvania is home to one of the largest auctions dealing in horses – New Holland. It is a frequented by kill buyers, individuals whose sole purpose is to purchase horses and ship them to slaughter plants in Canada or Mexico for monetary gain. This particular livestock auction house has a notorious reputation for animal cruelty. There have been countless reports of extreme abuse and neglect.


Animals Angels, a Maryland-based group that investigates farm animal cruelty, has conducted undercover filming of the New Holland auctions since 2006. Their work has resulted in three cruelty convictions. The most recent case, ended in January with an auction employee, John King, being convicted for failing to get help for a live pig on the so-called “dead pile” of animals. The pig later had to be euthanized.

“I am very frustrated by the decision, it’s a step backward,” said Sonja Meadows, founder of Animals Angels. “Instead of fixing the issue at hand, an animal welfare issue, they put up signs to restrict photography.”

We’re thrilled that our ongoing EU Campaign, and especially our latest report, appears to be shaking up Europe and raising awareness to the stark truth behind the horse slaughter industry.  The below article was published in the well-known French veterinary magazine, Vétitude. This exposure can only have a positive impact in the fight against horse slaughter.

You can find the translated version here