Horse News

Mystery Surrounding Abandoned Horses Finally Solved

Information supplied by the Equine Welfare Alliance

 Deceit and Cruelty Exposed in Predatory Horse Slaughter Business

Ironically, while the horse slaughter lobby has been claiming abandonment was a result of a lack of slaughter, it now appears it is in large part a result of the practice.

Chicago (EWA) – A six month investigation by the EWA and other animal investigation organizations has finally determined the predominant source of abandoned horses in the Southwestern US. The findings show that most or all of more than 5,000 horses a year are being abandoned after being rejected for slaughter at the Mexican border.

The investigation explains the source and reason for abandonments, most of which have been reported in the vast stretches of isolated land north of the Mexican border since 2009. Most of these horses could clearly be identified as domestic stock from such indications as nail holes in their hooves (where shoes had recently been removed) but no other clues to their source were found.

Until now articles about their discovery have speculated that they were abandoned by individual owners because they could no longer afford to feed them. The horse slaughter lobby has further suggested that this was made worse because individuals “no longer had a slaughter option”.

Equine advocates countered this hypothesis by pointing out that there had been no decrease in slaughter to force such actions, and that the areas where they were being found did not have significant domestic horse populations.

Moreover, it made no sense that someone who could not afford to euthanize and bury a horse would elect instead to pay for hauling it hundreds or thousands of miles only to turn it loose. In fact, many horse advocates had good reason to suspect the reports were bogus.

Following the closure of US horse slaughter plants in 2007, there were a large number of stories published claiming horses were being abandoned because of a lack of slaughter. These reports ranged from reclaimed strip mines in Kentucky to the Florida Everglades and Oregon ranches. For a year each of these was investigated and found to be false or hugely distorted.

But in the past two years there have been an increasing number of authenticated reports of abandoned horses, mostly in the remote stretches of the southwest Border States. A few of these horses actually had hide removed, apparently to obscure a brand.

In August, the first piece of the puzzle fell into place when approximately 300 horses were spotted from the air starving and dead in a remote feedlot near the port-of-entry town of Presidio, Texas. The fact that living horses were found in different stages of starvation and the dead horses were in various stages of decomposition, indicated they had been dumped there at different times.

The situation became all the more puzzling when it was revealed that the feedlot was operated by the C4 Cattle Company and Intermeat Inc./Dallas Crown the Belgian meat company that had formerly operated the Dallas Crown horse slaughter plant in Kaufman, Texas. The company buys horses for slaughter in Mexico. It was also discovered that about 40 of the horses came from kill buyer Trenton Saulters.

The question was of course why they had left the horses to perish only a few miles from the border crossing where they could have been sold to the slaughter plants in Mexico.

An answer came in the European Union’s (EU’s) report (DG(SANCO) 2010-8524 – MR) from the 2010 audit of their horse slaughter plants in Mexico. In section, the report divulged that Mexico had rejected 5,336 slaughter horses out of 62,560 presented at six OISAs (Border Crossing Offices) during the audit period between January and October 2010.

The horses were rejected under a new system of controls implemented in December, 2009. Reasons for rejection included health problems, advanced pregnancy and injuries.

The final piece of the puzzle came from an investigation by EWA on how the USDA’s APHIS (Animal and Plant Inspection Service) tracks horses bound for slaughter. EWA’s Valerie James-Patton was researching the Owner/Shipper certificate system which is supposed to allow APHIS to assure humane regulations are being followed. When asked what happens to horses rejected at the Mexican border, she was told simply “they fall out of the system.”

Normally kill buyers who haul slaughter horses to Mexico try to fill their trailers with cattle and other animals on the return journey. So clearly they need to dispose of the rejected horses, and the most economical way to do so is to simply abandon them on a deserted stretch of road or in an isolated lot.

Ironically, while the horse slaughter lobby has been claiming abandonment was a result of a lack of slaughter, it now appears it is in large part a result of the practice.

26 replies »

  1. OMG! This needs to be spread far and wide! I get so sick of pro-slaughter nut bags claiming constantly horses are abandoned because there is no slaughter plants!! This busts the myth once and for all!!!!


  2. Just an FYI –

    Dave Duquette, president of the pro-slaughter organization United Horsemen, along with his flock, are mocking this very report on his Facebook page as we speak. I understand that we must consider the source (a heartless and rather ignorant individual) but I thought Mr. Fitch and his readers should be made aware.

    Kindly and thank you for fighting on behalf of the voiceless!
    F Bela


    • He can’t read. We didn’t say the “whole” abandonment issue…. Notice, he didn’t say where the rejected horses are going, or why, with slaughter as available as when the plants were open, people are abandoning their horses. If slaughter was the answer, you wouldn’t be seeing any neglect or abandonment. I wonder what excuse he has on why people were neglecting and abandoning their horses when the plants in the US were open.

      Plants or no plants on US soil, they’re still only going to buy the same number of horses so the abandoned and neglected horses aren’t going away. So once again, they’re not addressing the problem and it’s only going to get worse when the passport system kicks in and they can’t falsify paperwork. They keep ignoring the cause and it’s about to blow up. What a mess they have created. Nothing in this country is going to turn around until we are out of this financial crisis and killing horses isn’t going to make the economy improve.

      It’s just common sense but that seems to be a trait sorely lacking with slaughter supporters.


  3. You have to wonder WHO or WHAT is dangling money in front of “them”. My mind keeps going back to this letter that was in the comments on Animal Law Coalition, featuring Paula Bacon’s letter:

    Conrad MT or Hardin MT ?
    On January 27th, 2010 Kim Hammond (not verified) says:
    I was privy to a meeting of a Chinese delegation that is interested in building a horse slaughter facility in either Conrad MT or Hardin MT. Senator Butcher was the presenter at the meeting in Hardin MT. I am the newly elected mayor of Hardin MT. I am not an animal rights activist. But, I am all about the humane treatment of all animals, and humans. I have done some layman research into horse slaughtering facilities and am appalled at the findings–keeping in mind that some of these were activist propaganda. However, I found that the letter you forwarded to our State Legislators, confirmed my fears about allowing a horse slaughtering facility to be built just outside of our town to be unnerving. I would be grateful for any further insight you could PERSONALLY supply.
    -Kimberly A. Hammond


    • Louie, yesterday on the MSN page was an article about North Korea, and the Obama administration and Hilary Clinton are talking about offering food to North Korea to get nucular talks started again. Just a coincidence? ~~ what do you think.


  4. All this just makes me physically ill. Maybe my thoughts are juvenile but I think all those responsible for this treatment of horses should be treated exactly the same way as their punishment on earth and then worse by our Greater power after death!


  5. We’ve known all along there were horses rejected. Now this needs to be put before our bought and paid for elected officials and the media! It is high time there was complete exposure of this predatory, lying, deceitful, manipulative group of unsavory characters. Thanks once again R.T. for putting the truth out!


    • I’m not so sure they have always been rejected at the Ports of Entry/Exit on international borders…but equine welfare advocates have been viewing, pulling, leaving behind, documenting animals that were obviously very sick, injured, pregnant, etc that had no business being at auctions (going to KBs) and the Fed and state Ag vets did NOTHING. Where did those animals GO????…and how???

      I want to know what the POEE vets are doing documentation wise and what the followup protocols are????????????


  6. This is a predatory industry, disguised as compassion. Like in any criminal investigation, one must follow the money trail. In any case, beyond creating videos to raise awareness, calling this and that official and signing a million petitions that most likely go no where, the common everyday horseman (woman) needs advice on what more to do. Powers much greater than me are at work. Lastly, have the major players in our fight reached out to all media outlets? The only thing I have seen is when CNN allow Sue Wallis to speak unopposed on the Brook Baldwin show! The major players in our fight need to (if they have not already) be getting in-front of the media! Horse Slaughter paid for by taxes!! An Obama flip flop!! This has FOX news written all over it, no?


    • Yes, it is a predatory, revulsive industry they try to dress as virtuous, the same way Jerry Sandusky believes he is a child’s best friend and just playing around.


  7. Agreed but, as we are doing nothing more than preaching to the same caring choir, further instructions on how to bring about true change is needed. I have exhausted my last passionate statement on behalf of God’s most noble creature via online publications. Most blogs and ‘comments welcomed’ news articles are riddled with childish and frighteningly ignorant remarks such as, “Pass the barque sauce!” and “The useless need a place to go!” There most be something more I can do with my time and passion on the subject.


  8. Every one of my state reps is a co sponsor of the the Anti-Slaughter Prevention Act. And, as I already stated, I have made the calls, sent the emails and signed all the petitions. Trust me. I am not the silent type 😉


    • You were asking what to do, after all you have done….I said don’t go away (at the end).

      Remind your reps (again) and go after the real killers like Goodlatte etc. Make your reps take a stand; signing something they know won’t go anywhere is one thing….burning down the house (lyrically, figuratively and literally are way different) And yes, many reps are sincere….many, however are not.


  9. “Signing something they know won’t go anywhere is one thing…” That’s encouraging! Though when one considers that the house majority leader (the tan man) is pro-slaughter…

    I can share one thing I am about to do. I just requested information/sent request for evaluation on an adoption via LAPS (Large Animal Protection Society). Not only are my words true, so are my actions.


  10. I am desperate for a horse! I would have taken any one of these animals and given it a good home. If you have a horse that needs a home because you cant afford to care for it, please contact me.


  11. My local Canadian MP Bruce Stanton informs me that 1/3 of horses slaughtered in Canada are raised on farms here & bred for this purpose. When I asked for where & who …NO reply. …MR. Stanton & MP Tony Clement are not worried about drugs in horses?????? In my last email to them both I asked if they were going to continue to ignore article after article & investigation after investigation into the inhumane treatment of horses…the drugs ect….NO reply! I think they ALL know what is going on. Either that or they are living under a rock somewhere!


  12. Its a sad state of affairs because it seems that they are all connected. Where are the inspectors at these border points? I guess it doesn’t matter if they are taken to illegal places. We can never give up the calling, the emailing and the letters because that is exactly what these slime balls want. After we got rid of Cavel in Illinois, I will do everything in my power to keep these people out of our country. I would say this is just the tip of the iceberg. I think letters to all of the horse publications with pictures and docmentation should be done. I would like to put some type of legal article in the newspapers and on-line about these practices regarding these auctions. I know that there are several people around the country that attend these auctions to outbid the Scum Bags.
    I pray for them too because they all can’t be saved. It makes me so sick when I think of all the horses especially the mares carrying their foals. Just digusting and dregs of the under world. They should be caught and prosecuted to the fulliest extent of the law. They are truly immoral people.


  13. What happened to the “abandoned” horses that were spotted near the Mexican boarder. Did anyone help the surviving ones?


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