State of Texas Export Pens Feed Mexico’s Horse Slaughter Trade

Contribution of Animal’s Angels

Texas Taxpayers Funding Horse Slaughter?

Recent investigations at several Texas export pens reveal some disturbing issues. The pens, located in Eagle Pass, Socorro and Del Rio, are all operated by the Texas Department of Agriculture. Problems and concerns include: Despite the fact that horses will spend 38 hours or more in transit, no food is provided for the horses at the pens. This is a clear violation of the commercial transport of equines to slaughter regulations.

In the early morning, horses arrive at the export pens from locations as far as 15 hours away.  They are unloaded into barren pens, where they remain for the day.

truck with horses on route in MexicoIn the evening, the horses are loaded onto Mexican trucks and  transported to the horse slaughter plants in Jerez & Fresnillo, Mexico, both approx. 800 miles away from the border. Animals’ Angels followed one of the trucks from the Socorro export pen to the Jerez plant –  the journey took 16 hours and 30 minutes.

Horses are transported across the border in open roof trailers designed for cattle.

Horses on open roof  trailerThese trailers are too low to afford adequate head room, so horses hit their heads on the metal pipes and get stuck between the pipes. The trailers offer no protection from the elements, exposing horses to intense sun, wind and rain on the 800 mile long transport to the plant.


Particularly unacceptable is the practice of returning lame, sick,blind or injured horses with the shipper.

horses inside trailerHorses that do not pass the inspection by the Mexican veterinarian are loaded back onto the truck of the owner/shipper immediately – exposing the horse to another long distance transport and an unknown fate. No records are kept about the refusal of the horse and no charges against the shipper are filed. Horses in such condition should not be allowed to leave the export pens. Protection laws require veterinary care and possible euthanasia.

In addition, new information about the cost to taxpayers to run these export pens truly begs the question: Why should the American taxpayer subsidize wealthy Belgian horse slaughter companies, an industry a very significant majority of Americans oppose? Documents obtained by Animals’ Angels prove that the cost of operating the pens far exceeds the modest fees collected on the horses awaiting export for slaughter.

Why would we want to subsidize wealthy foreign interests whose profits require inherently cruel and inhumane treatment, a business which thrives on overbreeding and even horse theft, and an industry that makes responsible horse owners sick at the prospect of selling a horse because it can so easily end up in the wrong hands?

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44 comments on “State of Texas Export Pens Feed Mexico’s Horse Slaughter Trade

  1. Propping up any foreign industry in this country is shear folly. They circumvent our laws and customs with the help of our tax monies? This is so wrong on so many levels…


  2. This is so wrong on so many levels. Hideous trade. These poor horses end up killed with the use of puntilla knifes! How much worse can it get?


  3. This is terrible animal abuse. Horses are a wonderful animal that America built its country using their backbone. The least we can do to repay the out and out slavery and abuse they have suffered at our human (the higher species) hand is to ensure they have adequate care on their imprisoned journey. Please feed, water and issue medical care to an American beast who helped us be a stronger nation and peoples. Care for all our animals and stop all animal abuse. We need stronger, enforced laws against all forms of animal neglect and abuse.


  4. Measured just by the number of victims, there is no close second place to government as the biggest lawbreaker. Measured in terms of impact, government lawbreaking is disabling our entire society.

    When an individual or collection of individuals (such as a business) violates the law, there are victims who are harmed directly, and the law provides remedies. The law also recognizes that lawbreakers create harm to society as a whole, since the costs of lawbreaking are borne by society as well as by the direct victims. The law therefore exacts civil or criminal punishments on lawbreakers.

    When government breaks the law, not just individuals, but entire industries are often the direct victims. Government lawbreakers, however, are not subject to the same standards as are individuals. Government lawbreakers have become arrogant, and government lawbreaking has therefore proliferated. If government were held to the same standards of legal sanctions for individuals, the weight of those punishments would actually crush government.

    Excerpt from qui tam central


    • Very well said Simone.

      When the rule of law is ignored, dismissed or flat out broken by the regulating and enforcing agencies, anarcy ensues. Laws and regulations were ignored with the latest US mine explasions, the Gulf blowout, food recalls, illegal immigration and the list goes on.

      I just would like to know how these state sanctioned equine abusers are allowed to not do the minimum re: water, foodstuffs, medically appraisals and the coup de grace…shipping animals that even the freaking Mexicans won’t take.

      BTW, anyone want to guess where the rejected equines for EU plants go? Take a puntilla stab at it, because those crud transporters ain’t gonna bring ’em back.

      Good LORD!


    • Now, if only those who profit were subject to the same standards as individuals–the corporations. But 8 years of Bush (and 30 years post Reaganonimcs) has sold out our country to the highest bidders where unchecked capitalism reigns supreme. Our country is survival of the fittest now, not the land of the brave and free. We are owned lock, stock and barrel by corporate interests. Need proof? Look at the recent Supreme Court ruling saying corporations can spend any amount of money on elections. Do you have that same right? No. Need more proof? Look at the Gulf. Why did we allow BP, a foreign company known for egregious safety violations to ruin our Gulf just so they could make even more obscene profits? Republicans view any interference into the practices of business and the free market as a violation of their right to plunder and pillage. Unregulated capitalism without the strong presence of government oversight eventually turns everything into a horror show. Want a stronger USDA? Fund them as much as the politicians get funded by corporations. But that might mean raising taxes and Americans won’t stand for that.


  5. So where are our Humane Societies? Is this cruelty allowed because there’s some kind of treaty or agreement between the U.S. and Mexico? Is it allowed to happen without oversight since the horses spend part of the time here and part in Mexico?

    Many of the trailers are clearly illegal under our laws. If horses need to be euthanized, it should happen at the slaughterhouse. The the people WE sent to Washington need to get off their self-serving butts and pass the anti-slaughter bill that’s been stuck in committee for how long?

    I believe the majority of our citizens are still ethical and moral, but once our elected officials hit Washington (or state legislatures) the “art of the deal” is in play.


  6. I want to add that the cozy relationship between fed and state inspectors is so problematic. It would be interesting to see how many food operations have been turned over to overwhelmed or comprimised state agencies via federal MOUs.

    Hmmm…how much of the USDA budget is for farm subsidies versus food inspection? Anyone know? I also believe the USDA with USAID has an abundence of international “aid” programs. I’m all for helping others, but when your own house isn’t in order, how can international programs and farm subsidies (mostly benefiting corporate farms and antiquated from the days of the Great Depression) be justified or even reasonable. Beats me.

    Good stuff RT, no matter how depressing. Think there is a hell pit in New Mexico called Santa Tereasa(?) doing the same garbage human behavior as Tejas. Anyone know? I think there are sh*tholes in AZ and CA too, but not like TX or NM.


    • It pains me, Denise, that this is going on in our home state of Texas, of course, having 2 of the last e slaughterhouses located here wasn’t anything to be proud of, either.

      But with any luck, and a lot of support, we may be able to stop this abuse also.


  7. I am just getting so angry at my government(s) failure to perform, competence, special interest involvement and EXCUSE MAKING.

    Example: Some US governments and peoples are outraged at the immigration Act in Arizona.

    Well folks, I understand their frustration. I understand that the dead weight wood of government apathy and malaise (especially when they say (or would that be whine?)…”we don’t have enough money, we don’t have enough people”. BULLSH**!!!!! I know in my area local law enforcement catches the bad guys, realizes through discovery that they are illegally in the country but turn them loose because the stinking Feds NEVER SHOW UP!!!! And guess who winds up paying for the arrest and holding costs waiting for the deadbeat Feds to pick up the illegals? That’s right…the localities. If some get deported, most turn around and come right back because of the freaking Feds. Look at prison populations…it is appalling.

    I mean this is just getting retarded (not an offense toward truly mentally challenged humans).

    All I’m saying is I’m tired of excuses and lack of action. This kind of abuse and disregard is what sets taxpayers off. I’m all for paying for government services through taxes; what ticks me off is not getting any with a ton of excuse making and arrogance (like Slaughterczar). The icing on the cake is the lack of transparency and road blocks from trolls like DOI, DHS, etc when concerned citizens try to petition their government for consideration, right to participate, change and acknowledging disagreement with an attempt at resolution to all interested parties.

    Anyway RT, Tejas is not alone in this. But they seem to have some of the nastiest lots for slaughter. Thought Montana and Idaho had some disgusting ones too. There is one in MT that is huge, but I guess it will start sending down south with the tightening of the anti-slaughter noose.


  8. This subject sends me on a jag, but I was thinking….I wonder how much of this TX Dept of Ag involvement is related to the power of the AQHA, meat and oil powerplayers involved in the good old boy system? I wonder if former Gov Ann Richards or my fav, Kinky Friedman would go along with sloppy business as usual for the famed TX equines? Is this going on because the powerful in TX have got the power to do this and in the end, possibly love it to get rid of their culls?

    Utah executes people via firing squad (God, how barbaric without the controversy of capital punishment) and that nut in Austin has an express lane (quote from Ron White) for CP. Nice group. I honestly think these are beautiful states with wonderful people with a ton of arrogant, prehistoric asshats running the joints.


  9. Qualifier: White didn’t say the Gov was a nut (recent former or current), I did. He said his state excellerates the executions.


  10. This is most disturbing. what people do for $ is appalling. The congress just sits on the horse protection bills, they do not seem to ever come up for a vote. Guess they figure, no skin off my back, just horses and who cares? WE the people care.


  11. oh God those export pens are full of skinny, dehydrated horses. The USDA should be charged with animal cruelty along with the horse traders and transport companies and auction houses that sent them there!

    my god usda, if you want to help feed the low-class mexicans some cheap meat why don’t you send that country canned cheap meat foods.

    instead the USDA is another big fat animal abuser!!!


  12. and our own american Gov. manuals current for the care of special forces horses used overseas states clearly— HORSES NEED SHADE FROM THE SUN!!

    They can’t even follow their own BASIC RULES!!


    • All the great works are those of Animal’s Angels, Barb. They spend weeks and months pulling all this information together. I only hope to be able to assist and help on one of their investigations, someday.

      You too, keep getting the word out!!!


  13. This is truly sickening, and corrupt to the bone! WE MUST TAKE THIS FIGHT TO THE MAIN STREAM MEDIA!! Media rules, instead of the trash and gossip; famous people’s infedelities, we need to bring something worthwhile into public attention and SAVE HORSES LIVES!! Let those “FISCAL CONSERVATIVES SEE FIGURES $$$$ , how much are we spending on torturing animals, to support foreign and private enterprises! I have spent 2 days on the phone to “Federal agencies” trying to gain help for the Calico horses held captive in BLM prisons. I have witnessed 2 highly contagious diseases rampant, not treated. Ad insult to injury, the BLM spreads the disease by dispersing these animals intra and interstate! Well, the health Dept. referred me back to BLM! Ridiculous…..they seem to be above the Law?! So now let’s go on the offensive and UNITE our forces! Contact any major broadcasting agency, or celebrity, investigative reporter, and go after these heartless cruel bastards wth all vengeance!!!


  14. We do need to start bringing criminal charges (or atleast complaints) against government agencies, in ways similar to those brought against the Fallon mustang feedlot in Nevada (although to date I have not seen charges result).

    And put pressure on federal lawmakers.

    And get the issue out to mainstream media.

    And support organizations that do the investigations into these ghastly practices. I’m sure there is more but those are the first few off the top of my head.

    It is a major battle but it can be done, especially knowing that Canada and the EU are beginning to apply pressure on the other side of the vice. Now is not the time to let up, it is the time to push the pedal to the metal (atleast in my book).


  15. Great job, Animal Angels. I will forward the link to many people.
    I wish I could watch the video, but it makes me cry. Great work.


  16. It is illegal to transport horses over the California border to Mexico for slaughter. Any other states care to fight for that?


  17. Both political parties look the other way and do nothing. Animal abuse, an equal opportunity employer.
    I don’t care who is or was President of the US. It’s not just the horrific abuse the equines suffer; it’s that these agencies don’t do their jobs.

    As it stands now, I think we can now add President Obama’s name to the list of executive branch losers.


  18. Transport and processing is completely devoid of sensitivity to any animals. Obviously, we are talking about horses here. But any time animals are stuffed into trucks on our freeways, or pens in a processing plant, they endure a time frame, however long, where their stamina and endurance are pushed beyond reasonable limits.


  19. Perhaps, I did not emphasis the energetic vacuum quite strongly enough. This, and all laboratory facilities as well – where 24 noise from machinery etc interferes with the energetic flow of the environment – positions animals to endure hell on earth. I do not know how the soul transitions from this. Certainly the time frame in this condition drains their essential life force, days/years before death by slaughter.

    Not all people are aware or sensitive to this energetic phenomenon. This is the perpetual, unchanging moment – the “Now” of the situation – for the animals on a constant, daily, routine basis. And this existence in a vacuum, for many, constitutes their entire lifetime here. Look at their hides, their faces – the spirit has receded so far inside it is barely functioning for them — a defense mechanism and natural reaction, meant to be temporary but in cases of manmade containment – eternal?

    Of course, I’m preaching to the choir here. How to convey this to the insensitive is the epic challenge of our times, and my main interest.


  20. This is horrible & inexcusable!! WHY can’t these places be shut down, since they & the people working there are BREAKING the laws!!?? WHY should ANY American taxpayer be FORCED to help pay for this cruelty, animal abuse, & subsequent brutal slaughter of these poor, beautiful horses!!?? How in the world can someone even accept the “job” of being the truck driver, transporting these poor animals?? I would rather go hungry & live on the streets, than do that awful “job”, NO amount of money in the world, is worth what must torment them, or be on their minds, or give them nightmares!!


  21. On a lighter note…the states of Texas and Alaska keep wanting to suceed from the union..I say get a jump on it..sell Texas to Mexico and Alaska to Russia and see how they like their lifestyle then..You want to act like a third world can belong to one..( my texas friends are welcome to move to oregon..LOL)


  22. Living down here in far West Texas I have seen it all. This isn’t “news” for those of us down here trying to stop this. So many of the poor people who work on the Port of Entry have called me completely disturbed by what they see.
    I can’t tell you how many trailers of horses in open stocks roll through in the dark…heartbreaking.
    Fingers crossed maybe our voices will be heard now.

    If anyone is rescuing horses from the border contact me I am happy to help house horses that need to go to good rescue people. They are safe here.

    Rachael Waller
    The Firelight South Ranch
    Alpine Texas


  23. This whole problem starts with “us” humans. We have people who breed horses without any thought just because they’re able to reproduce. You see the ads I’m talking about “Throws color, good bloodlines, not shown due to injury” and so on. We need to think about the future of the horse we intend to produce. Is there a market for the breed and it’s intended purpose? The breeding stock should be of the highest quality that has demonstrated it’s ability to perform in it’s discipline so they are marketable. I know there are people who want an offspring from a loved horse that may not have a show record, I fall in that category, that’s fine as long as you intend to keep the resulting foal. I’m talking about the backyard breeders who indiscriminately breed to anything with four legs with no thought but to make a buck.


  24. Animal Angels, Thanks so much for this work. You have helped us see it all. This will be used to stop the ongoing disregard for the horses in this pipeline. I won’t forget this. mar


  25. all of this is coming together… we prettymuch stopped slaughtering horses in the United States because of the cruelty that was, and in some areas still being committed.. So lets just send our loyal, loving 4 legged friends to Mexico were cruelty is a givin, and people there are so poor they will get blood on their hands to make a buck, and all of our government,including the Bushes ,( being most of this is happening in their state , do absolutely nothing). Just like whats being done in Elko Nevada with the wild horses i can foresee almost all of these horses including babys will go to slaughter in Mexico even though they tell us they will be sold to people that want horses or put on ranches thru out the United States….They must think we are soooooo stupid…I mean doesn’t it look good for the U.S. to let other country such as Mexico slaughter our loved horses it looks better for our government and no blood on their hands. What about ELM for one million dollars runs our wild horses to actual DEATH and they still have 2 more times to do this wild horse round up…All these political and money hungry jerks i hope will fall one day and fall hard..because they say (what goes around comes around)…


  26. Hey, here’s a crazy idea. Why don’t we CHARGE an EXPORT fee of $1000 per horse that covers the cost of the oversight of horses at the border.

    That would solve 2 problems. It would cover the governments expense of regulating horses going out of the country. Secondly, and more importantly, it would be expensive enough to prohibit people from exporting slaughter horses, so there would probably not even be any.

    They need to make it expensive and lots of red tape to export a horse. Right now, all it takes is ONE USDA Health Certificate for a whole truck load of horses. The rest of us have to have a coggins and health cert per horse. Why do they get off so easy to begin with?

    If we take their profit out, they will stop doing it, It is that simple. This could be a short cut to stopping all exports for slaughter. Make it expense and a pain in the butt. Why are we subsidizing their greed?


    • I like that idea Valorie, because we all know it is about nothing more than the money. Our corrupt government cares not at all about the wild horses or burros, or for that matter, the wolves and other predators. If there is a buck to be made and a pocket to be lined, our government is right in the thick of it. I wish there was some kind of virus that was not dangerous to the equines, but completely toxic to humans, as in instant suffering and a long painful death if their meat was consumed. Instead of darting with the pesticide PZP they could be darted with this virus, and domestic equines could also be treated with it. Take away the demand, and the money, and slaughter would no longer be a lucrative venture.


  27. We’ve been dealing with the Belgian’s for years. How utterly disgusting. Instead of slaughter now we pay for the export pens for the same horses to go to slaughter. It’s insane.

    I thought as of Jan 15 the flow of horses into Mexico would slow because of that new law. Looks like it was passed to placate us but there was NEVER any intention to enforce it.

    Thanks to advocates who’ve answered my questions about going vegetarian–I’m off red meat now for the rest of my life. I went off my boycott a few weeks ago for about a week. I tried to stomach the beef. But it made me so sick.

    My real fear in WY is the ranchers will trade in their grazing permits not for the wild horses but for fracking. And that would be an environmental disaster.

    What an utter mess.


  28. This has to stop. All of it. Horse slaughter is barbaric and cruel and senseless, and I’m sickened that my hard earned money is subsidizing it. I have donated to Animals Angels for just this reason. Can this group get National Media coverage on this, including holding those in our government who are allowing this responsible?


  29. This is wrong, Please stop killing our precious Horses, And it has to stop, I’m not eating anymore red meat, You people need to be put away for this cruel and senseless things your doing to our horses


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