Investigative report by Animal’s Angels
USDA gives Misner a glance: 3 Questions
Following a USDA/IES investigation and dismissal of Animals’ Angels’ concerns that horse trader David Misner may have violated California law by knowingly selling and shipping California horses that were then sent to slaughter, the most basic questions remain:
1. If Misner, dba Misner & Sons Rodeo Company, is a rodeo company selling “bucking stock”, why are most of the horses he buys extremely cheap, of any age, breed, gender, or training, emaciated and/or injured?
2. Why, when there are several reputable horse sales much closer to him, does he choose two auctions in NM and TX that are over 700 miles from his location, and operated by major kill buyers?
3. Why did the USDA investigator fail to pursue apparently obvious violations of California law prohibiting activities related to horse slaughter?
The basis for the complaint against Misner is California Penal code 598c which says, “it is unlawful for any person to possess, to import into or export from the state, or to sell, buy, give away, hold, or accept any horse with the intent of killing, or having another kill, that horse, if that person knows or should have known that any part of that horse will be used for human consumption.”
Since 2008, Animals’ Angels has investigated Misner’s buying and selling habits, the condition of horses purchased, conditions at the feedlot and the locations chosen by Misner to sell his horses.
Additionally, AA investigated the individuals buying horses from Misner to determine if they were buying these horses for slaughter. AA also obtained records of a USDA/IES investigation, owner/shipper papers and consignment papers from USDA, California authorities and the New Mexico Livestock Board.
AA found that evidence solidly indicates Misner is selling California horses to, among others, well known kill buyer Dennis Chavez. Chavez is one of the bigger killer buyers in the country, shipping approx 9,800 horses to slaughter in Mexico in 2010. Chavez also operates the Southwest Livestock Auction in Los Lunas, NM. Misner consigns horses at Chavez’s auction 4 to 6 times per year.
There can be little if any doubt that Misner is well aware Chavez is a kill buyer, and would therefore appear to be in violation of CA law.
For his part, Chavez actually admits buying horses from Misner and later shipping them to slaughter to the USDA/IES investigator in 2008. He also admits during a 1999 investigation in California to knowing that it is against CA law to buy any CA horse for slaughter.
However, the IES investigator failed to question or act appropriately on the information provided. He did not check or attempt to determine how many of the horses Chavez bought from Misner went to slaughter. He did not question or investigate further when Chavez told him that, “there were probably not any records kept of these purchases [from Misner]”. Time after time the investigator did not investigate or follow thru though considerable opportunity and evidence were available.
As recently as August and October of this year, Animals’ Angels has documented Misner continuing to sell horses at Southwest Livestock Auction. Corroborating the hard evidence of consignment records obtained from the New Mexico Livestock Board, is the video footage showing Misner and Chavez maintaining a prominent presence in the auction ring, talking to each other often and at length. They appear to know each other very well.
As a regular visitor of the Southwest Livestock Auction, Misner should have known that Chavez is in the slaughter business – not only the poor condition of many horses inside the Chavez feedlot, but the USDA slaughter tags prominently attached to them should have been an indication.
Combined evidence from Animal’s Angels investigations and documents obtained through Freedom of information Act requests show that California horses shipped and sold by David Misner went to slaughter in Mexico.
The violation of California Penal Code 598c is “a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or two or three years.”
Animals’ Angels believes that based on all the information available, a new, more thoroughly conducted investigation carried out by California authorities with support of IES is warranted.
What can you do to help?
Please help us to urge California Authorities to initiate a new investigation. Contact the San Bernardino County District Attorney and the California Attorney General and ask them to investigate a possible violation of California’s penal code 598c.
Thank you so much!
San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office
316 N Mt View Ave
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0004
Attorney General’s Office
California Department of Justice
Attn: Public Inquiry Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
Phone: (916) 322-3360
Fax: (916) 323-5341
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