Horse News

New Evidence Secured Refutes Myth Surrounding Return of Horse Slaughter in the U.S.

Information and Report Supplied by Animals’ Angels

Violations documented at the Cavel Horse Slaughter Plant in Illinois

Warning: Graphic content that might be disturbing to some viewers

Files are too large for browser viewing, please download and save to your computer to view

Cavel Transport Violations Part 1

Cavel Transport Violations Part 2

Cavel Transport Violations Part 3

Cavel Transport Violations Part 4

Cavel Humane Slaughter Act Violations

Cavel Photos (Selection)

Response to Animals’ Angels FOIA request

In a windfall of information, Animals’ Angels recently received over a thousand pages of documentation confirming violations and horrific treatment of horses transported to the Cavel slaughter plant in DeKalb, IL. Almost 1,100 photographs were provided along with written documentation describing the extent of the violations, injuries, and penalties. This information was provided to us after we submitted a Freedom of Information Act request on July 28, 2012 to the USDA.

Documented in the information Animals’ Angels received were well over 100 incidents; each individual case detailing a multitude of violations involving the transport of horses for slaughter to Illinois from 2005 to 2007.

The conditions shown were dreadful and are clearly indicative of the horrific suffering perpetuated upon horses caught in the slaughter pipeline.The photographs brought to light by our FOIA request demonstrate the true horrors of slaughter & transport on US soil.

The vast majority of violations listed in the file deal with injuries horses obtained during transport to the plant. The deplorable conditions & horrific injuries documented in the USDA records are identical to those found in USDA FOIA records pertaining to the Beltex horse slaughter plant in Texas, obtained by Animals’ Angels in 2008.

Horses lay dead or dying on the floor of an overcrowded trailer with other horses forced to stand over them due to the lack of room. Other photos  showed horses with double eye injuries, missing eyes, deep gashes on forehead, nose and mouth. Many photos showed broken legs with bones exposed and deep gashes exposing muscle.

Additional violations involved countless instances of missing documentation, lost back tags, severe overcrowding, and slipshod or improper paperwork

The Myth

Some would still like you to believe that the conditions for transporting horses to slaughter in the US would be better than crossing our borders to Mexico or Canada. This evidence, once again, unmistakably proves otherwise. The photos we received at Animals’ Angels highlight how in recent history horses suffered intense pain, injury, and intolerable conditions -all for slaughter within our very own country.

Others depict horses with their hooves and legs caught in the sides walls of the trailer,causing devastating injuries. Pools of blood could be seen on the floors of the trailers along with copious amounts of blood splatter all along the trailer side walls. In one particularly gruesome view, a horse appears to have had his hoof/foot severed after it became stuck in the side wall. In a subsequent photograph, the hoof could be seen, still lodged in the side wall.

These pictures were taken by USDA inspectors over a three year period.  It is important to stress that the evidence of mistreatment continued to pile up during this time -all while the transport companies continued to operate.

The USDA did not shut them down. Instead, simple fines were imposed in some instances, but not all. Many offenders received nothing but a warning letter. And in those cases where fines were imposed, it sometimes took years to get a hearing and judgment.

Most upsetting of all is the fact that the few offenders that received high fines such as Charles Carter ($234,000) or Leroy Baker ($173,000), are still allowed to operate without having ever paid for their egregious violations.

Do not be mislead. The propaganda promoting horse slaughter in the U.S. wants people to believe that it is in the best interest of the animals to be transported and slaughtered here – that they will receive better treatment as a result. The overwhelming evidence we have received directly from the USDA in 2008 as well as in 2012 clearly demonstrates this “myth” is simply not true.

Kill buyers and transport companies will not suddenly follow regulations they have routinely flouted in the past because of the change in destination for their cargo.

And as is made clear by the USDA records, there appears to be no violation egregious enough to warrant or secure significant repercussions. What good does it do to impose fines of $150,000 or more, if these fines are never collected and offenders are allowed to continue to operate?

Do not be tricked into thinking that re-opening slaughter plants in the US is for the “benefit” of the horses.  It is strictly for the benefit of those who will make money from the suffering of these fine animals. In the U.S. we do not eat horses. We should not transport them or slaughter them for those countries that do.  Please support the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act!

22 replies »

  1. The USDA freely admits & shows pictures of the inhumane brutality in AMERICA’s horse slaughter plants? And the pro-slaughter advocates are saying its BETTER than Canada or Mexico? Makes it harder for their followers to believe if this gets shoved in their faces – which it should be.
    The US Dept. of Agriculture should be so ashamed & humiliated that they allowed this to go on without punishing everyone responsible, and anyone who stood by & watched & did nothing – they dont deserve to be called human.
    This needs to be publicized everywhere – whether people want to see it or not…


    • the US Fed govt agencies are a sham and don’t care about us or the horses! they do nothing and are just there for show! what a waste of life they are! instead of actually doing something for a change esp about this disgusting slaughtering going on in this country they sit on their fat asses and do nothing cause they can! I say close all these depts down! lets have our citizens run the fed govt instead! wow would things get done then! we all should be riding these horses instead of slaughtering them! cars and trucks are only getting us deeper into global warming debocle and a dangerous game that is soon to be without remedy if we all keep waiting for our govts to do something to fix it! sad that we all could be so powerful if we just got together for change! we nd to start doing something now to fix pollution or this catastrophe happening now will only escalate faster over next few yrs to the pt of no return! hello? wake up Americans/world!


  2. I posted to Skye McNeil, Rep of Oklahoma who along with Mr. Allen are proposing re-opening in OK even though they have voted it down a multitude of times since 1963… It’s no better here than in Mexico or Canada…it’s a dirty, foul, disgusting, barbaric operation to say the least.


      • Is Representative Dan Burton ( R ) Indianna going to continue to spornsor this bill in the House or has Congressman Moran assumed the sponsorship of this bill? I know Congressman Moran has been a terrific liaison, but just wondered if a new bill has been introduced yet.


    • You’d think with all the supposed ‘funding shortfalls’ in the USDA’s budget – which they blame over and over again for the Dept.’s own lack of enforcement – they’d want to FINE EVERYONE they caught in violation of ANYTHING.

      Budget shortfalls, my arse … they just don’t give a damn … and the responsible employees at USDA should be fired. if they’re so starved for funds they can’t do their jobs, there should be a PRIORITY on revenue generating enforcement activities. Period.


  3. Please, please, we can only hope that these house of horrors will NEVER EVER open in this country again. Those of us living in Illinois fought very hard to close Cavel down and keep it closed down. The evidence is without a doubt the worse than any individual could stand. This documentation should be sent to every mayor, county president, governor, state and federal legislators. These people are the lowest of the lowest. Destroying the environment and most of all
    perpetrating inhumane treatment and death to our equines. The information here is totally correct. The treatment will be no different because the players are exactly the same. You have to be a demented person to kill a horse especially a foal, mare & foal. It makes me sick to think about this. I can only hope that the EU regulations are implemented soon..We need to pass legislation to protect our Wild Horses and Burros, stop transportation of our horses to foreign countries and stop the slaughter of our equine friends.


  4. I want to sincerely, because of this documented cruelty to equines want to vomit.

    I also believe this happens to bovines, swine and sheep, poultry for different reasons….but nothing like what happens to equines.

    And the government apathy, wink and a nod approval band plays on.

    How many cows were in the inaugural parade?…how many dogs and equines.?

    This is just vomit generating disgusting information that needs to be shoved (politely) down every state and federal rep..
    I appreciate AAs efforts and getting the word out. Now, why exactly don’t the Kay Bailey-Hutchison’s/John Cornyn’s (TX), Rep Boren’s (OK), and all those other scum like Cantor and even Rep Clyburn (D-SC) NOT UNDERSTAND OR EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE THIS HORRIFIC TREATMENT OF A NONMEAT ANIMAL LIKE THE EQUINES OF THE US.

    “….from Seneca to Selma to Stonewall…” Mr President remember the people asked, begged, pleaded and you continue to ignore our pleas, the screams of the equines and the safety of humans.


  5. Why not sending those documentations, those pictures, from the hELL THOSE HORSES, are in,on their way to the slaughter houses., to be slaughtered. into congress, send them all over,into the white house, into the mails, everywhere!!!!!!!!!! when i saw today the thousands of people waving their flags to Obama, i bet, perhaps 27 of them know about te horses. Pictures don.t lie, they have to be seen everywhere. this evil has to STOP!!!! i am now in rehab. hospital, with a paralized arm, due to a stroke, i am thinking about the pain, the horror those horses are in, … how can we stop this, those pictures HAVE TO BE SEEN EVERYWHERE.


  6. Some comments from the betrayed sheeple here still don’t get it. Regardless of the myth that conditions for transporting horses to slaughter in the US would be better than crossing borders to Mexico or Canada. Even if this myth is blown up, all the documentation and real time proof of this ongoing cruel demonic transport and slaughter of innocent animals continues unabated and without an end in sight.

    The slaughter mentality of the men who do these deeds will never end. The few good humans in congress cannot stop this because the majority in Congress are for it. No amount of evidentiary documentation will stop the slaughtermen from their dirty business and profit. The only way to stop them, is to find ways to eliminate them. Creative thinking does work.

    Don’t think that “your” apathetic congressperson, or Mr. President, or the government is going to stop these atrocities which have been going on forever. They are too busy making money and condoning and approving the killing of humanity with endless wars that are not even legal.

    This is truly a disgusting reality.



    • The number of equines has already been reduced due to the large numbers being slaughtered in Mexico and Canada and God knows where else. If you have a twitter account, you can copy this link and send it to anyone that has a twitter account, including Congress and other publlic officials. Of course, every tweet we send is part of our public record as well as part of the public record we send them to.


      • gives 5 FREE faxes per day. We can FAX these pictures to our Senators and Reps, too. And any television show we can think of, too, like the morning talk shows.


  7. Sending these documents to the crooked, bribed senators will do nothing to help the horses, all will ignore it like they have always done. You might get more coverage if you sent it to newspaper editors in you cities and towns. When you understand what you are dealing with as far as the US senate goes you can probably make some headway.


  8. Very heartbreaking and disturbing. Our horses go through hell before being slaughtered. These are graphic. I could not even finish watching them without having tears rolling down my eyes and want to vomit. Our horses deserve more than this. We need to keep pushing to stop this inhumane treatment.

    After I watched these videos I cannot get the horror out of my head. It makes me so sad these horses are treated this way.

    May these sweet angles have peace someday!


  9. Wyoming….at it again:
    Protecting the wrong people
    January 20, 2013 12:00 am • KERRY DRAKE
    (7) Comments
    I don’t think anyone can watch the undercover video at Wyoming Premium Farms in Wheatland without being sickened.
    Employees — some of whom have since been fired — are shown striking mother pigs with their fists and kicking them, swinging sick piglets in circles by their hind legs and kicking live piglets.
    The video and report by the Humane Society of the United States led to investigations by local and state authorities, and resulted in nine people charged with various acts of animal cruelty last month. Their cases are pending.
    Watching the video, I hoped that at least this incident could persuade the Legislature to enact stricter laws and penalties for the torture of livestock. All animals deserve to be treated humanely, not abused for someone’s twisted amusement.
    The video was the motivation for Rep. Sue Wallis, a Republican rancher from Recluse, to sponsor House Bill 126, which establishes a new misdemeanor that could put those convicted in jail for up to six months, and/or a fine up to $750.
    But the perpetrators of animal cruelty aren’t Wallis’ target. If her measure passes, the people punished will actually be the ones who shot the video of farm workers’ criminal acts.
    When it comes to protecting animals from abuse, I’ve seen lawmakers in this state do some incredibly stupid things. Topping the list was the House’s refusal to ban horse tripping, a rodeo event that has led to the painful deaths of many horses in the few states where it is still legal.
    But Wallis’ shameful bill is a new low for Wyoming. Flying under the radar this session under the innocuous title of ”Agriculture operations,” it should really be dubbed the ”Factory Farm Protection Act.”
    Criminalizing undercover investigations at such farm operations would effectively tell the owners that they can do anything they want to their livestock. If Wallis’ bill was in effect, the animal abuse that was rampant at Wyoming Premium Farms would never have come to light, and still continuing.
    HB126 includes a provision that requires anyone who knows a livestock animal is being cruelly treated to report it to the farm owner or manager, a peace officer or the Wyoming Livestock Board.
    But if there is a culture of animal abuse at a factory farm, it’s highly unlikely any employee will risk becoming a whistleblower. Even if they did, under the bill it would be the accuser’s word against the alleged abuser, since it bars anyone, including employees, from placing any type of recording device on the premises.
    Nationally, undercover investigations have been key to exposing animal welfare and food safety issues related to industrialized agriculture. In 2008, a Humane Society undercover probe at a slaughter plant in Chino, Calif., resulted in the largest meat recall in U.S. history. Accused of sending meat from sick and injured animals to a federal school lunch program, the company settled the matter for $500 million.
    ”Whistleblower suppression bills like HB126 show just how much factory farms have to hide,” says Jennifer Hillman, the Humane Society’s Western regional director.
    The Wheatland probe revealed that a woman worker who weighed more than 200 pounds sat on a sow that couldn’t walk because of a broken leg and was screaming in agony. Workers allegedly cut off the testicles of piglets and fed them to their sow.
    These are the people Wallis’ bill would protect from prosecution, while someone who has gathered visual or audio evidence of the workers’ wrongdoing would be sent to jail. It’s simply unbelievable.
    I really don’t think Wyoming lawmakers are so out of touch with reality that they would pass this outrageous bill. We’ll soon find out. But the fact that it’s even under serious consideration is another stain on our state’s reputation


  10. I’m glad you posted this to refute this argument for the return of horse slaughterhouses in the US – that it is ‘more humane’ than than trasporting them to Mexico or Canada. It is only the difference between very bad and even worse. These people were monsters at that pork plant in WY, and we will have fallen even further as a nation if we bring this horrible thing back for horses. Pure hell on earth for animals. I was told years ago by someone that if I ever saw what went on in a factory slaughterhouse, I’d never eat meat again. And guess what? They were right. What is wrong with us as a species.


Care to make a comment?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.