Investigative Report: Eagle Pass Horse Slaughter Pens

Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Equine Welfare Alliance Investigators recently completed an investigation at the Eagle Pass Export Pens and Mexico border. The investigation focused on the activity in relationship to the EU ban on horse meat from Mexico.

Release Date:

February 10, 2015

Report Date(s):

Jan 12, 2015 – Jan 16, 2015

Type:

Observation

Content:

Observe Eagle Pass Export Pens

[Run by the Texas Department of Agriculture]

Summary:

Slaughter BoundInvestigators were at the Eagle Pass, Texas export pens to observe the impact on activity resulting from the approaching Jan 15 European Union [EU] regulation banning horse meat from Mexico. Despite the declaration that US horse meat is not safe for consumers, during the time the investigators were observing it appeared that there was no apparent change in the number of US equines sent to Mexico for slaughter.

During the entire week a total of 20 loads shipped to Mexico for slaughter. The number of shipments did not decrease after Jan 15, as had been anticipated. The day with the highest number of loads exported was Jan 16. The investigators also discovered during their time at the export pens that there were multiple violations of the Commercial Transportation of Equines to Slaughter regulations [9CFR88]. Specifically, violations of the mandatory 6-hour offload rest period for the horses were noted. The investigators also observed one violation of a rejected blind horse.

On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday the investigators observed someone at the pens who appeared to be a USDA/APHIS Compliance Specialist for slaughter horse transportation. The investigators questioned the USDA to determine if there was a compliance officer present and are awaiting confirmation..

On Wednesday morning Jan. 14 the investigators contacted the USDA via email with questions regarding the EU ban and the responses were vague. The investigators contacted them again later in the week and informed them of violations that occurred during the week. They responded and indicated they were looking into it. On Friday the investigators contacted the USDA to inform them that they observed a hauler arriving too late for horses to get a 6-hour rest period and that this happened three times during the week. Later that day the investigators once again contacted them regarding a donkey that went down in a trailer being hauled by a regular pickup truck and was trampled by other equines. The animals all had slaughter tags.

Synopsis of Observations by the Investigators:

Monday Jan 12

  • The investigators observed three semi loads and two pick-up loads delivered to the pens and three semi loads departed the pens for Mexico.
  • The investigators determined that only one load met the legal requirement of a 6-hour rest period before leaving.

Tuesday Jan 13

  • The investigators observed three semi loads delivered to the pens and four semi loads that departed for Mexico.
  • The investigators determined that there was at least one violation per the 6-hour rest period requirement.

Wednesday Jan 14

  • The investigators observed four semi loads delivered to the pens and four semi loads that departed the pens for Mexico. Note: it is possible the investigators missed a load arriving at the pens as the pens opened before the investigators arrived in the morning.
  • The investigators determined there are two violations, one violation of the 6-hour rest period requirement and one blind horse.

Thursday Jan 15

  • Two semi loads and several pickup truck loads were observed being dropped off at the pens.
  • Four semi loads departed for Mexico.
  • The investigators determined that all loads, except the load that was dropped off at the pens the night before, were in violation of the 6-hour rest period requirement. The horses loaded for slaughter very early that day, making all loads dropped off during the morning and throughout the day in violation of the 6-hour requirement.

Friday Jan 16

  • Six semi loads and several pickup truck loads were delivered to the pens.
  • Five semi loads departed for Mexico.
  • The investigators believe one 6 hour rest period violation occurred before the [believed to be] USDA inspector arrived at the pens at 2:05p. No 6-hour rest violations appeared to have taken place after the person [believed to be] the USDA inspector arrived. The investigators believe this is because they informed the USDA of their findings.
  • At 2:40p a white pickup departed the pens hauling a mixture of horses, donkeys and burros. Upon leaving the pen property, a donkey fell down at the very back of the trailer. It tried to get up but could not. The investigators stopped the driver around the corner from the pens and informed them. They stopped but then continued on. The investigators followed them and watched the donkey struggle and get trampled by the other equines in the trailer. The investigators called law enforcement and provided information. At one point, the driver and passenger in the vehicle pulled over at a gas station and tried to get the donkey up. At that time the investigators observed a second animal down in the trailer. They did not succeed in getting the animals up and continued on. The investigators also called the Sheriff’s Department once the investigators left the town of Eagle Pass.
  • The investigators followed-up with Deputy Mario Garza of the Sheriff’s Department and were informed that the matter was taken care of. The investigators requested a report but were told that no report was ever made.
  • After the investigation was completed, multiple violations of 9CRF 88, USDA Commercial Transportation of Equines to Slaughter Regulations, were filed with USDA OIG.

Click (HERE) to download complete report with images

19 comments on “Investigative Report: Eagle Pass Horse Slaughter Pens

  1. I always wonder what kind of people can do this for a living, even government inspectors – how can they be unmoved by and indifferent to this disgusting activity – and even worse, the ones who seem to make it even more cruel than it is already. It’s hidden from the public and when people see the atrocity of it – they’ll be outraged. I have no sympathy for the parasites who take advantage of and are cruel and inhumane to animals. I dream of their companies going bankrupt at night – yes, I believe for some losing money is worse than death for them. Bringing them to justice makes me happy.

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  2. ~”As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of other living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.” – Pythagoras~

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  3. Thank you Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Equine Welfare Alliance for doing all that you do. Words cannot describe my sadness knowing this goes on day after day after day with no end in sight as long as some people have nothing but GREED where their heart is supposed to be.

    People like the two guys in the video and all their associates probably fall into this category:
    SERIAL KILLERS & ANIMAL ABUSE
    Many studies in psychology, sociology, and criminology during the last 25 years demonstrate that violent offenders frequently have childhood and adolescent histories of serious and repeated animal cruelty. The FBI has recognized this connection since the 1970s, when its analysis of the lives of serial killers suggested that most had killed or tortured animals as children. Other research shows consistent patterns of animal cruelty among perpetrators of more common forms of violence, including child abuse, spouse abuse and elder abuse.

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  4. So it’s business as usual in Mexico and of course this country. Those horses see dead by now and the meat has been shipped out probably through Texas and their air freight carrier. The evidence is gone, the horses are dead. The USDA failed to act in a timely manner, maybe even ignored the investigators. Where is the meat going? How many horses had banned drugs in their systems? Are the customers aware? Are they shipping it back here and calling it beef in frozen processed food?

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  5. Public Pressure and Consumer Power

    IKEA’s Famous Swedish Meatballs Will Now Be Vegan
    http://www.care2.com/causes/ikeas-famous-swedish-meatballs-will-now-be-vegan.html
    by Catherine Gill February 1, 2015

    After much controversy surrounding traces of HORSE MEAT that had been found in a batch of their famous Swedish meatballs, IKEA has announced that they’ve changed their renowned recipe, and it happens to be vegan-friendly. What had caused the furniture giant to alter their signature dish and add a “veggie ball” to the menu?

    The decision to make the switch over to plant-based could be due to the many online petitions requesting for the meatballs to be made in a manner that is suitable for vegetarians. IKEA states that the new recipe contains no animal products whatsoever and that the meatballs are now even appropriate for those who consume a vegan diet.

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  6. Shared on FB: This is how inhumanely slaughter bound horses, donkeys and burros are treated. Exports to Mexico have not decreased inspite of the EU ban. If this video disturbs you, DO SOMETHING ABOUT ENDING HORSE SLAUGHTER EXPORTS. Click on links to Anti-Horse Slaughter Advocates and join their Voices to speak up for our beloved equines that can’t! Please SHARE.

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  7. On the Canadian Horse Defence Blog I was sent yesterday gives a break down on the amount of money Canada is making on the slaughter of horses. It’s around $80 million dollars. So far they haven’t said anything about the EU stopping horse meat being shipped from that country other than the 6 month quarantine but there is more live horses being flown to Japan than before. They ship them in crates for the long flight. There is nothing stopping Mexico from sending horse meat to none EU countries so I doubt that US horses are safe from slaughter in Mexico. Mexico is well aware of the money they will be losing with a EU ban on US horses so they already have other countries other than the EU lined up to sell it to. The only thing that can stop this is bills passed by congress to stop it and so far that has failed the past ten years because of the lobbyist money poured to the crooked politicians. And its unlikely that the over breeding will ever be slowed down here in the US.

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  8. The cretins who do this for a living probably kick their own dog and beat their families.

    Regarding the Jan 15 deadline, this is a quote from Animals’ Angels FB page, under their post about Dennis Chavez’s feedlot:

    Animals’ Angels USA
    “It is a fact that the EU has banned horsemeat from Mexico. However, it is currently unknown how the EU is monitoring that Mexico really stopped slaughtering on 1/15/15. It is too early to draw any conclusions. We will know more at the end of the transitional period in March.”

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  9. You have to follow the money ALL the way to the top

    Horse Slaughter: Revealing The Truth, Part Five-The Money Trail
    http://www.habitatforhorses.org/horse-slaughter-the-money-trail/

    Pictured
    Conrad Burns ex-US Senator and AQHA lobbyist
    Rep Bob Goodlatte
    Rep Jack Kingston
    Senator Roy Blunt
    Senator Herb Kohl
    Larry Craig ex US senator
    “Chuck” Stenholm horsemeat lobbyist

    In the last part of this series, we will look at the money trail. In doing so, we will detail the identity, motivation and the not-so-clear connections that continue to put horse slaughter up as “a necessary evil.”

    The horse slaughter lobby is a set of fronts and organizations (in some cases comprised of just one or a few individuals) that make a monetary profit out of defending the existence of horse slaughtering, either directly or indirectly, or that use it as an excuse to further a concrete political agenda, which in almost every case implies an economical profit, be it merely from lobbying or by certain industrial strategies related to cutting down production costs.

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    • This is certainly a well written, well researched article & it sure does say it like it is! I went on & read the interview with the AQHA president pushing “humane” euthanasia by slaughter – or as he kept insisting – processing. What bs.
      Honestly, agribusiness should be nervous regarding peoples feeling about any form of animal slaughter! The more people who really look into & imagine the brutal inhumanity that occurs will realize – it aint just the horses!! Most of us – including myself – don’t dwell on exactly how that package of meat got to be a package of meat.
      Thinking about any animal be it cat dog or horse (or other) being unwanted – keeps me awake at night, as it does for most of us who read this blog.

      Like

  10. A lot of people misunderstood and thought the EU was going to stop slaughter in Mexico, but all EU did was stop PURCHASING horsemeat until the process is improved. I sent a message to the FDA today asking if the do any DNA tests on imported meats. It seems like a lot of shipments enter this country without even being inspected – today they posted one from Japan. Are these countries avoiding inspection because they are shipping horsemeat to Japanese markets here to satisfy their desire for it? (As has happened with endangered animals that are killed for food and shipped to Asian markets here). If that is the case, it should be exposed. A little off the track of this posting, but not so far off….sadly. And it may help to get laws passed to stop the export of horses for slaughter if people realize some of our imported meat may be from horses. The BIGGEST problem, imho, is the constant breeding of horses – the problem is so big and we keep shooting for stopping the end result, when a lot more effort should be used to stop the cause. imho

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  11. IcySpots I went to the site in your comment and it looks like some people in Mexico are fighting back about the horses in their area being stolen. They are either being hauled to one of the slaughter plants and sold or butchered for the thief to eat or sell the meat. This was what has happened in Florida the past few years. They buy horses and then fatten them up feeding them on scraps picked up from super markets and then kill them and sell the black market meat to the local immigrants legal and illegal. They sell pork by killing the pigs at their secret slaughter plants out in the rural areas of Florida too. A lot of these places have been raided and cleaned out the past few years. I haven’t read anymore about horses being killed in that state in a while.

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  12. The biggest question should be why the EU is not enforcing their own regulations. If the people on that end would refuse the horses, then and only then would changes come about. We all should be contacting the European Union and implore them to enforce their own regulations. The “Low Lifes” involved in the “Slaughter Pipeline” must know something we don’t when the situation continues. A total list of auction houses and names of owners posted. There are many large and small groups who try and buy the horses before the horses are shipped. If we shut the supply down just maybe there may be an I pact. Breed associations should provide help in saving them from slaughter. My horse club offers a free posting in our newsletter for horses needing homes. I think pictures should be taken of the US officials giving the bs answers. Then posted on UTube for all to see with the explanation of what is taking place. UTube spreads like wildfire and would be visable to all. We all can’t be present with the investigators, but we can support their critical efforts. If everyone reading these stories sent $5.00 to the organizations trying to pull the horses many could be saved. Read the stories about the people from the Colorado feedlot. Many horses are being saved. This just one group. The Anamli Farm in California has saved hundreds of PMU mares, foals and geldings. There are groups who check out the pens in Shipshewana, Indiana. Groups comb the Camelot feedlot in New Jersey. A lot can be down by each individual. In fact tomorrow I am going to send something off to the EU. Will it make a difference- I don’t know but I’m sure going to try for the sake if all our equine friends.

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  13. At this point, the sale of wild horses to slaughter is just a horrific way to finish off their eradication. It’s not about a meat industry or else they wouldn’t be trying to eradicate them.

    Like

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