Horse slaughterhouse Bouvry loses a big customer

333                                                                              photo of Bouvry slaughterhouse by Animals Angels

Brandi Turner, Head of Investigations in Colorado for Animals Angels sends the following:

Migros, Switzerland’s largest retail company & supermarket chain has decided to terminate its contract with Bouvry Exports and will no longer buy meat from the Canadian supplier. The decision was made after Migros was confronted again with horrific images from the Bouvry feedlots provided by Animals’ Angels (AA) and its Swiss partner organization Tierschutzbund Zuerich (TSB). The footage obtained by AA and TSB in October of 2013 showed mares left to die and decompose inside the pen area as well as horses with apparent, contagious diseases and severely overgrown hooves.

The graphic pictures were the “straw that broke the camel’s back” – Migros had been monitoring Bouvry Exports very closely ever since AA’s 2012 exposure of substandard conditions & horses in severe distress at the company’s Canadian feedlots. This decision is a MAJOR loss for Bouvry Exports, since Migros was one of their biggest customers and it is expected to result in a significant decrease of US horses shipped to slaughter.

source: Presseportal

AA Investigation: Mexico Horse Slaughter Plants Continue to be Non-Compliant with EU Standards

Article/Report by Animals Angels

BLM Wild Horse Freeze Brands Clearly Visible on Horses in Plant

Animals’ Angels investigators observed harsh conditions in EU approved Mexican slaughterhouses during an intensive investigation conducted in September 2012. The goal of this follow up investigation was to check if any improvements had been made since the 2007/2008 investigations had revealed abhorrent conditions. Animal welfare investigators are accustomed to observing the most egregious treatment of animals. Even the slightest improvements are welcome, but do not bring a cease fire to the battle for humane treatment of all animals transported to slaughter.

EU inspections of Mexican slaughter houses are scheduled in advance, clearly giving notice to the slaughterhouses to comply with regulations on that one day of inspection.
Animals’ Angels arrived unannounced at several of the EU approved plants as they observed multiple trucks carrying horses from the US to slaughter. Horses were jammed into transport trailers, resulting in biting and fighting among them. The common use of trailers with no roof is cruel as the intensive sun in the transport areas beats down upon horses already over-heated due to over-crowding and long waiting times inside parked trailers at US broker offices and the border. (Please read more about this issue here…)

One transport trailer observed arriving at the Inter Meats plant contained many emaciated horses and others with snotty noses and discharge-clotted eyes. After traveling at least 16 hours with no food or water, they were unloaded in pens with no food or water during observance by the investigators.

Alarmingly, amongst them were BLM branded horses. These mustangs were shipped by Triple Crown Ranch from Meeker,OK. Examination of owner/shipper paperwork by Triple Crown Ranch reveals identical information as to previous certificates, as if Triple Crown has shipped the same group of horses over and over again. This is in clear violation of paperwork intended to track contaminated meat. Investigators left when told by slaughterhouse personnel to cease filming.

The following day, investigators arrived at Carnicos de Jerez slaughterhouse in Jerez, MX observing that a solid block wall and manned security gate had been erected around the premises blocking all view from outside the premises.

Investigators proceeded to Empacadora de Ganadera de Camargo, the newest EU approved plant. The horses were held in open pens at the Carmargo plant, exposed to the hot Mexican sun, with limited access to food and water. Many of the horses were extremely emaciated and investigators found a downed horse that slaughterhouse staff did not check during the time of the observation.

A large pit holding horse carcasses was found. The bodies were left uncovered for vultures to eat. There were bones and body parts scattered throughout the area. The smell of decomposition filled the air. Horses’ tails and hair could be seen drying on wooden planks with the USDA tags still attached, some stuffed into feedbags.

While being moved the horses were forced to walk through areas with no bedding or traction. The slippery floors caused several to fall with full force.

Prior to entering the killbox, horses are subjected to a pressurized water shower resulting in one horse to panic during our time of observation. The horse tried to jump the chute’s concrete wall; workers forced him back into the chute, but he obtained a bleeding face injury in this struggle.

Our investigators were able to obtain documentation of the slaughter process. Led into a kill pen, the horse is stunned by a captive bolt. The left hind leg is secured with a chain in order to hang the horse from a beam.  Blood is drawn for testing. They are then cut open and bled out.

As explained in our full investigative report (Warning – report contains graphic images) , the investigation revealed several areas of concern.

Council Directive 2002/99/EC states that third countries importing meat into the European Union have to comply with Community Legislation.Obviously this is not happening. Specifically, animal welfare requirements at slaughter must be met in accordance with Council Directive 93/119/EC.

Observations at the Camargo plant show that horses slip and fall during movement to the plant due to slippery surfaces. Additionally, one horse panicked after being showered and tried to escape over the concrete wall of the chute obtaining a bleeding face injury. A non-ambulatory horse was observed which did not receive immediate attention. Observations at the Camargo plant as well as the Aguacalientes plant show that horses did not have access to water at all times.

Horses are transported to the plant in open roof trailers that offer absolutely no protection from the desert sun. Loaded trailers are parked for an extended time at border crossings and checkpoints, causing overheating.

Evidence obtained by Animals’ Angels shows that the paperwork used to identify the horses in the individual shipment is often falsified and therefore not reliable. The information regarding sex, breed and age of the horses in different shipments is identical on multiple owner/shipper certificates. Consequently, it can’t be determined where the horses in such shipments originated.

Slaughterhouses and suppliers are in clear violation of EU standards yet the violations continue unabated with no repercussions. Animals’ Angels investigations are used to educate consumers in the EU, citing mistreatment and possible contamination of the American horse meat they pay a premium for.

Link to the full investigation report…
(Warning – report contains graphic images)
Watch the undercover video from the Camargo plant investigation..
(Warning – video contains extremely graphic images that might the disturbing to some. Viewer discretion is advised)

Animal’s Angels Auction Goes Live

Animals’ Angels second online Art Auction has started!

Still looking for the perfect gift? Animal’s Angels have received some incredible artwork from remarkable wild horse photographers such as  Carol Walker, Terry Fitch, Cat Kindsfather, Melody Perez, Katleen Selig, Ellen Holcumb, Craig Downer, and many more, who kindly donated their works to support our cause. The proceeds of this auction will be used to help finance a wild horse investigation. Please check out the listings (HERE)

 

Kathleen Selig-_Do_you_see_me  

Wild Horse Print “Do you see me? by Katleen Selig / Art Hills Studios, Gorgeous Pastel on 18 x 24 paper not framed. Artwork will be shipped by artist directly to highest bidder after payment has been received by Animals’ Angels. http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/art-hill-studios.html

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

 


Melody Perez_-_Picassos_Palette  

 

 

Wild Horse Print “Picasso’s Palette” by Melody Perez, Gorgeous print of Picasso signed by author and limited edition. Retail value $175.00 and Matted. www.runninghorses.org

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!
 

Melody Perez_-_Wild_Innocence

 

 

 

Wild Horse Print “Wild Innocence (Picasso’s colt of 2010)” by Melody Perez, Stunning print of a Picasso’s colt. Retail value $55.00 Matted.

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!
 

Ellen Holcomb_-_Jupiter_and_Moonshadow  

 

 

Wild Horse Print “Jupiter, Blue Moon & Moon-shadow” by Ellen Holcomb, Gorgeous print of three stallions and the full moon. 13 x 19 glossy photo paper. These three stallions were captured during the final days of Triple B roundup in August 2011.  They were sent to Palomino Valley Complex instead of Gunnison UT. Artwork will be shipped by artist directly to highest bidder after payment has been received by Animals’ Angels. http://sundancedigitalstudio.com/Home.html

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!
 

Ellen Holcomb_-Lobos_herd_kicking_up_the_dust  

 

 

Wild Horse Print “Lobos Herd kicking up the dust” by Ellen Holcomb, Gorgeous print of the Lobos Herd. 13 x 19 glossy photo paper. Artwork will be shipped by artist directly to highest bidder after payment has been received by Animals’ Angels.

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

 

Ellen Holcomb_-_VR_band_of_boys_filmstrip

 

 

 

Wild Horse Print “VR Band of Boys” by Ellen Holcomb, Fantastic Wild Horse print. 13 x 19 glossy photo paper. Artwork will be shipped by artist directly to highest bidder after payment has been received by Animals’ Angels.

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

Craig Downer_Wild_horse_band_1

 

 

 

 

Beautiful print of Wild Horse Band of the Desatoya Range by Craig Downer, 8 x 12 glossy photo paper, signed. Image shows a wild horse band just south of New Pass in the northern escarpments of the Desatoya Range in central Nevada. Picture taken June 30, 2011. Black stallion on the left.

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

 

Craig Downer_Wild_horse_band_3

 

 

 

 

Stunning print of Wild Horse Band of the Desatoya Range by Craig Downer, 8 x 12 glossy photo paper, signed. Image shows a wild horse band just south of New Pass in the northern escarpments of the Desatoya Range in central Nevada. Picture taken June 30, 2011. Black stallion on the left.

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!
 

Craig Downer_Three_mares

 

Beautiful print of Wild Horses of the Desatoya Range by Craig Downer, 8 x 12 glossy photo paper, signed. Image shows a wild horse band just south of New Pass in the northern escarpments of the Desatoya Range in central Nevada. Picture taken June 30, 2011.

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

 

Cat Kindsfather_-_sad_foal_1

 

 

 

 Beautiful print of a “Sad Foal” at Broken Arrow by Cat Kindsfather, 8 x 12 glossy photo paper, signed. Image shows a foal was from the Calico Mountains. Picture taken at the Broken Arrow/Indian Lakes facility near Fallon, NV.

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

 

 

 


Cat Kindsfather_-_Shadow_of_my_prison
 

 

 

Beautiful print of a mare at Broken Arrow “The Shadow of my prison” by Cat Kindsfather, 8 x 12 glossy photo paper, signed. Mare was from the calico mountains. Picture taken at the Broken Arrow/Indian Lakes facility near Fallon, NV.

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

 
 

Cat Kindsfather_-_Wild_Diva

 

Gorgeous Wild Horse Print “Wild Diva” by Cat Kindsfather.  8 x 10

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

 

Cat Kindsfather_-_Nevada_Family_Band  
 

Beautiful Print “Nevada Family Band”, by Cat Kindsfather.  A proud Stallion & his family, which includes a sweet pinto yearling, 8 x 10

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

Cat Kindsfather_-_Fairy_Knots  

 

Great Print “Fairy Knots” by Cat Kindsfather.  Two pinto horse portrait, 8 x 10.

Click Here to place your big on ebay now

Terry Finch_-_Bachelor_Stallions  

 

Gorgeous Print “Bachelor Stallions” by Terry Fitch, 8 x 10 signed by artist.  Picture was taking in Pryor Mountains. www.wildhorsefreedomfederation.org

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!


 

 

 

Terry Finch_-_Wild_Burros  

 


 

 

Gorgeous Wild Burro Print by Terry Fitch, 8 x 10 signed by artist.  Picture was taking in Big Bend State Park. www.wildhorsefreedomfederation.org

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

Terry Fitch_-_Flint  

 


 

Remarkable Print of Stallion “Flint” by Terry Fitch, signed by artist.  Flint is Cloud’s Stepson, picture was taken at the Pryor Mountains. www.wildhorsefreedomfederation.org

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

Terry Fitch_-_Frolicking_Foals  



 
Stunning Print “Frolicking Foal” by Terry Fitch, 8 x 10 signed by artist.  Picture was taking at the Pryor Mountains. www.wildhorsefreedomfederation.org

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

 

Carol Walker_-_Black__White_Stallion_Comes_Close  


Beautiful print of “Black and White Stallion Comes Close” by Carol Walker, 11 x 17 print, signed. Image shows a stallion named Washakie in a quiet moment in McCullough Peaks, WY www.livingimagesCJW.com

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!


 

 

Carol Walker_-_Horse_Photography  

Horse Photography Signed Book by Carol Walker www.LivingImagesCJW.com

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

Carol Walker_-_Red_Roan_Stallion_Waiting_for_His_Family Beautiful print of “Red Road Stallion Waiting for His Family” by Carol Walker, 11 x 17 print, signed. Image shows a red road stallion pauses, waiting for his family as the helicopter chases them in Adobe Town, WY. www.livingimagesCJW.com

 

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

Carol Walker_-_Running_into_the_Storm Beautiful print of “Running into the Storm” by Carol Walker, 11 x 14 print, signed. Image shows a stallion and his two year old son run as a storm is coming in Adobe Town, WY http://www.livingimagesCJW.com

 

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

 Carol Walker_-_Sax_at_play Beautiful print of “Sax at Play” by Carol Walker, 5 x 7 print, signed. Image shows Sax rearing up behink his mother Phoenix in the Pryor Mountains of MT. www.livingimagesCJW.com

 

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

 Carol Walker_-_Still_Free Beautiful print of “Still Free” by Carol Walker, 11 x 14 print, signed. Image shows a small wild band in Adobe Town, WY after the 2010 roundup.www.livingimagesCJW.com

 

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

Carol Walker_-_Tail_Chewer Beautiful print of “Tail Chewer” by Carol Walker, 11 x 14 print, signed. Image shows Firecracker, a wild foal, chews on Bolder’s tail in the Pryor Mountains of MT. www.livingimagesCJW.com

 

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

 Carol Walker_-_The_Red_Roan_Stallion  

Beautiful print of “The Red Roan Stallion” by Carol Walker, 8 x 10 print, signed. Image shows a Red Roan band stallion in the White Mountain Herd Area in WY http://www.livingimagesCJW.com

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

Carol Walker_-_Wild_Hoofbeats_Book_Signed  

Wild Hoofbeats Signed Book by Carol Walker www.LivingImagesCJW.com

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

Edwina Garcia_-_Among_the_Yucca Gorgeous print named “Among the Yucca”, by artist Edwina Garcia, 8×10, signed on
back. Picture was taken January 13, 2012 in New Mexico.

 

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

Edwina Garcia_-_Silver_Soul Gorgeous print named “Silver Soul”, by artist Edwina Garcia, 8×10, signed on
back. Picture was taken January 13, 2012 in New Mexico.

 

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

Edwina Garcia_-_Family Gorgeous print named “Family”, by artist Edwina Garcia, 8×10, signed on
back. Picture was taken January 13, 2012 in New Mexico.

 

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

 Edwina Garcia_-_Spain Gorgeous print named “Spain”, by artist Edwina Garcia, 8×10, signed on
back. Picture was taken January 13, 2012 in New Mexico.

 

Click here to place your bid on ebay now!

NM Horse Slaughter Dealer Dodged Bullet in Past

By Colleen Heild / Journal Investigative Reporter of the ABQJournal
Dennis Chaves May Not Be That Lucky This Time Around

             The 35 to 40 horses were destined for slaughter, but many already appeared half-dead

photo by Animal's Angels

Crammed into a small pen, they were so emaciated their hip and rib bones were showing. Some were crippled, and others listless with swollen jaws consistent with equine distemper, according to interviews and sheriff’s reports. Witnesses reported no food or water in the pen, located in Albuquerque’s South Valley.

A Bernalillo County deputy, with help from the District Attorney’s Office, filed 16 counts of animal cruelty and neglect against the owner of the horses, Dennis V. Chavez.

That was more than 20 years ago.

Now that same Dennis V. Chavez faces new allegations of animal cruelty and neglect involving horses at his Los Lunas livestock auction business in a case that has made international news.

Chavez prevailed in 1991. All but one of the 16 misdemeanor counts were dismissed, and he was acquitted of the remaining charge.

“I remember the deal,” Chavez said in a brief phone interview on Friday, “and for sure, I’m not guilty this time.”

Back in 1990, then-BCSO Deputy Jeannie Webb was relatively new to the job when she launched the investigation.

“I prepared as good as I knew how,” said Webb, who retired in 2004. “I didn’t know near what I knew later on about animal cruelty cases.”

Seizing the sick and starving horses wasn’t possible. And the evidence collected was problematic, former assistant district attorney Loretta Lopez said recently.

The prosecution was “jinxed,” Lopez recalled, and most of the ailing horses were gone by the time she inherited the case.

“I had no way to prosecute it; it’s kind of like trying to prosecute for damage to a ghost,” she said. “What a perfect crime, you know. You get to slaughter the evidence.”

New Allegations

This time around, there is a different investigative agency and a different prosecutor.

The state Livestock Board launched an inquiry last month after representatives from a national livestock welfare group videotaped four suffering downed horses at Chavez’s Southwest Livestock Auction — and begged auction workers to put them out of their misery.

Myles Culbertson, the board’s executive director, said last week he wasn’t aware of the prior case against Chavez in Bernalillo County.

Livestock Board Deputy Director Robert Pierce told the Journal his agency has no prior written complaints or investigations of Chavez or his Los Lunas business.

But he added, “we’ve gotten phone call complaints.”

“Most of what I heard from out there, it’s not a real pretty situation out there,” Pierce said last week. “They have taken colts off mares too early, but there’s really no laws broken; it’s just morally and ethically wrong.”

District Attorney Lemuel Martinez in Valencia County said the matter is still under review. But he has warned that because of a lack of resources, another agency would have to prosecute any misdemeanor charges filed.

Chavez, 53, said on Friday that he has been in contact with attorneys and declined to comment about the videotape or the specific allegations.

“When this all gets sorted out there will be absolutely no question that we didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “It’s just the nature of the business; some of that stuff can’t be helped.”

The International Equine Business Association released a statement last week praising Chavez and denouncing “this vicious, uncalled for public vilification” of him.

“Dennis Chavez and Southwest Livestock deserve appreciation and support for the care and feeding of otherwise doomed horses,” the association said in a letter.

Rescue

Janet Goldberg said she isn’t a member of an organized animal welfare group, but wanted to rescue horses she heard were being held at Chavez’s DC Livestock Auction on Broadway SE in 1989.

Goldberg, a Placitas resident, said in a recent interview that she bought two ailing horses, but only one survived.

The first horse was a small young gray filly who was very thin and barely able to stand because one front leg was hanging useless. The opposite rear leg was wounded, according to a statement she gave to the sheriff’s department back then.

On the way home, she took the filly to a veterinarian, who diagnosed a broken shoulder and ended up euthanizing the animal. The second filly she bought from Chavez showed signs of equine distemper but recovered and Goldberg gave her away.

“I was pretty disgusted and disillusioned (at the outcome of the 1990 prosecution against Chavez),” she said last week. “I thought it was just awful what’s happening here in New Mexico.”

Though horses in Chavez’s custody were primarily bound for slaughterhouses, they were “subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment, given just enough sustenance to stay alive and have no veterinary care, prior to shipping them to their death,” BCSO Deputy Webb wrote in an April 1990 report.

Slaughterhouses only accept live horses, and the USDA has set up standards for their transport that require they receive food and water before and after.

Back in 1990, Chavez maintained he wasn’t responsible for the condition of the horses because he had just come into possession of them, former prosecutor Lopez recalled last week.

There were no ownership records to disprove that, Lopez said, and some of the evidence collected was less than desirable.

Photos of the ailing horses and their living conditions weren’t time stamped. And it was difficult to prove which horse was which.

“At the time I didn’t have a fancy camera to get good zoom pictures,” Webb said recently, during an interview from her home in Colorado.

Seizing the horses was out of the question, Webb said, because the sheriff’s department had no trailer to transport them, no place to hold them and no funds to pay for their keep.

Lopez said she was assigned the case, originally handled by another prosecutor, months after the charges were filed.

“When we took a tour out there, there were a couple of horses standing around in a dirt field,” she said. “All of these animals that were so badly abused and neglected weren’t there.”

There were horses that had been destroyed “that there had been no pictures of, that there had been no documentation for,” she said.

Of the one or two sick and starved horses that remained as part of the case, the prosecution “had no proof that any of these animals weren’t delivered to him in that fashion,” Lopez added.

“He had an excuse with every single element of the few charges we could put together.”

Asked whether the Livestock Board could have helped in the investigation, former deputy Webb scoffed, “They were worthless, they were absolutely worthless.”

Her report stated that a Livestock Board supervisor took a veterinarian to examine the horses and found no evidence of abuse.

The Albuquerque Metro Court file on the case has been destroyed.

Video uproar

Back in 1990, it was the Albuquerque-based Alliance Against Animal Abuse that complained to the sheriff’s department about the health of Chavez’s horses.

The news media was contacted and aired stories, complete with videotape of the horses.

“There was quite an uproar about it,”said Lopez, now a family law attorney.

This time, the videotape by Animals’ Angels unleashed a furor and calls for action from around the world.

The equine business association said last week that Chavez and his family have been the target of hate mail and death threats.

The association said its own investigation showed “an alarming picture of special interest group stalking and harassment of a legitimate livestock business.”

The association said it “works to protect the international horse industry, and to promote the use of horses and equine products in commercial enterprises.”

So far, the Livestock Board inquiry has been limited to the four dying horses seen downed and struggling in the March 10 video. Animals’ Angels reported finding multiple other horses in bad condition that day.

They alleged horses had untreated wounds, open cuts, infections, eye injuries or were lame or emaciated.

The equine association said the four dying horses in the videotape were in a “hospital pen” and not up for auction.

Animals’ Angels says its representatives had to beg the auction management and a Livestock Board inspector to euthanize the four horses that day. The inspector, they contended, refused to interrupt the horse auction occurring elsewhere on the premises. Finally, an auction worker agreed to shoot three of the horses; the fourth had already died.

More training needed

The state Livestock Board has 57 inspectors, of which 24 are certified law enforcement officers.

Animals’ Angels blamed inspector B.J. Winchester for allowing the “obvious suffering of the horses” on March 10 and contend he should have inspected them and initiated cruelty charges against Chavez.

Pierce said Winchester has no law enforcement authority because he is a brand inspector, who inspects animals coming and leaving a livestock auction for proof of ownership. Such inspectors also look for health problems in those animals.

On March 10, Winchester was working at the nearby horse auction, livestock board officials say.

He is on paid administrative leave pending a personnel inquiry into the allegations by Animals’ Angels.

Even before the Los Lunas case surfaced, Pierce said the Livestock Board realized more staff training was needed.

For instance, Pierce said the livestock board has an investigation under way in Alamogordo “and the inspector probably hasn’t worked a case for five years.” So a supervisor was asked to assist.

With animal cruelty complaints on the increase in New Mexico, Pierce said “we need more training on how to act on it. We’re all somewhat sentimental, and we’d rather make a responsible horse owner out of it than to go to court on a criminal charge.”

Pierce said his agency is also installing an electronic records system, “that will enable us at the office to see what’s happening out there quicker, to make sure we’re getting the proper paperwork in here.”

Webb, who was riding Pearl, her palomino quarter horse, during the recent Journal phone interview, said she has no regrets about pursuing the case 22 years ago.

“These guys (horses), they don’t have anybody to speak for them. I think it’s our obligation, if we’ve got the power to do something, we should do it.”

— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal

Animals’ Angels: Dennis Chavez Slaughter Horse Feedlot in New Mexico

Information supplied by Animals’ Angels.org

Kill Buyer Cruelty Runs Rampant

A Note from Sonja:

Six years of cruelty investigations have made it absolutely clear: Horse slaughter means a free pass, in effect, kill buyer amnesty for abuse, neglect and animal cruelty. But never has one single location screamed horse slaughter‘s cruelty more than at our March 10 investigation. Horse after horse after horse – yet completely typical of what goes on unabated in the slaughter pipeline. No feeling person could help but be heartbroken, and very angry.

But this investigation showed that obviously there are unfeeling, remorseless people with no empathy for these animals in their suffering. I do not wonder that ‘ag’ gag’ laws are being promoted in state after state. Though it is difficult to imagine how much worse it could be, without pictures and documentation to tell the damning tale, animals would undoubtedly suffer even more at the hands of such people.

But it also needs your help–to say we care, it matters, and pressure authorities to make this matter to them. The suffering of these horses was not useless if we make a difference for better treatment for others to come, and punish those responsible. Please support our call for action at the bottom of the article. Your voices have made a difference before; please make a difference now.

The Feedlot:

Investigators knew the history of kill buyer Dennis Chavez beforehand:

  • major kill buyer, shipped 10,000 horses to slaughter last year
  • repeatedly cited for violations to equine to slaughter regulations
  • frequent complaints received by AA about Chavez’s operation, all referencing significant abuse, neglect and animals suffering with no vet care or obviously necessary euthanasia

But it was not enough to prepare investigators for what they found. AA investigators arrived at Chavez’s Southwest Auction & Feedlot on March 10th for the auction’s quarterly horse sale. ‘Summit of the Horse’ flyers were plastered everywhere.

After a walk-thru of the auction house pens, investigators noted a vast empty pen area, and behind this additional pens. Back here they find approximately 700 horses. Almost all are extremely thin with body scores well below 2. Many have serious injuries.

“I’ve never seen horses like that,” said one of the investigators. “Suffering was bad, busted up faces, even body scores of 1or less, and the injuries and wounds. There was so much.”

In one of the first of the back pens, all are geldings and stallions that appeared to be recently gelded. Ungelded horses are rejected at the border because Mexican slaughter plants do not accept stallions. Dried blood covers the back legs, penises are extremely swollen and the horses stand motionless with heads down. One horse’s penis is grotesquely swollen, strangulated looking, as if something has been wound tightly around it several times.

In the next pen an emaciated mare barely able to stand, sniffs a recently aborted dead foal, remaining near it the entire time investigators are present. There are several thin to emaciated thoroughbreds, one with a body score 1 and teeth so overgrown they protrude out of his mouth and probably prevent him from eating. “He was just so thin and weak standing in the corner alone, you knew he was about to go down,” said the investigator.

In the next pen a beautiful palomino stood quietly with blood dripping from her eye. But then there was the emaciated grey horse nearby with both eyes destroyed. He stayed close to a chestnut ‘seeing’ companion. Marked with a large ‘X,’ he wore a slaughter tag. Investigators believed he was rejected at the export pens. Since last year’s EU Report mentioning horses rejected at the border, AA has found that nothing is done for these distressed horses, that no one takes any responsibility or tracks them. Yet horses arriving in conditions that qualify as animal cruelty or in violation of Commercial Transport of Equines to Slaughter Regulations should be reported by pen operators to APHIS and local authorities. As AA said last year, “To run a cover up for offenders is intolerable.

Whatever the cause of his scarred and blinded condition, this horse has been dealt with harshly, yet even then he licked the investigator’s hand.

In the last pen, 4 horses were down. The grey mare had a body score less than 1 and a large bleeding wound. It appeared the injury was from bone on ground impact as she kept trying to get up and falling. She had made trenches from repeated attempts to rise, lying flat for a while and then trying again. Her will to live and her complete betrayal were terrible to see.

Next to her was a horribly thin palomino mare with her back legs tangled in hay baling twine, barely moving her front legs. On the other side of the pen was a light bay/buckskin mare that did not move at all. When investigators approached her ears moved. She looked at them with the whites of her eyes showing, afraid. Her body score may have been 1.

The last of the 4 dying horses was a light grey mare, emaciated, her tongue was hanging out and she was biting it. She appeared to be in great distress and physical pain, her legs moving.

Investigators observed from a distance to see if auction staff, the vet, or the livestock inspector would come. After a long hour, nothing.

AA investigators then spoke with Mrs. Chavez in the auction office, who to her credit called the auction vet. Though investigators had been told Dr. Brasmer was present at the auction, no one was ever able to reach him .

Eventually livestock manager BJ Winchester came in and reluctantly began to walk very slowly to the back pens with the investigators. He was quick to defend Chavez, calling the horses ‘rescues,’ that Chavez was trying to ‘nurture them back to health,’ and that he was giving them, ‘a chance to live.’ He confirmed that the horses are Chavez’s property.

Winchester became angry when investigators continued to insist that the suffering and dying horses should be euthanized. ‘Nothing will be done right away,’ he said. He asked if they were ‘animal rights’ and asserted he would not interrupt the auction. When they finally got to the last pen, the grey mare that was in so much distress had died. Vultures had already landed near her. Winchester had no reaction.

The impasse was broken when an auction worker arrived saying he could put the horses down right away. The ‘inspector’ no longer had a say and the horses were euthanized.

The rest of the horses in all kinds of terrible conditions will get no help, not from Winchester or the vet that no one can find.

In New Mexico the livestock inspector is supposed to inspect and enforce cruelty laws. In itself this seems an unworkable and inadequate premise, made even clearer by BJ Winchester. It is difficult to imagine what it would take for him to file cruelty charges.The NM Livestock Board is appointed by the governor, 9 people representing livestock industry interests. These 9 also hire the inspectors who are charged with enforcing laws for livestock.

AA has sent all evidence by certified mail and has not received any response yet.

Watch the video…(Warning: Images are graphic and might be disturbing to some viewers)

Read the full length report…

Update: Animal’s Angels Recent Horse Slaughter Auction Investigations

Information supplied by Animal’s Angels

Middleburg Horse Auction, PA 1/28/12

Investigators attended the monthly horse auction in Middleburg, PA. There were approx 150 horses present in the pen area. The “slaughter prospects” were kept in groups of 4 – 6 horses per pen in the darkest area of the barn. Several of them were thin, one mule had a swollen hind leg and one chestnut mare had several open sores on her body. The sale started at 11:48am. The usual kill buyers Rotz and Moore were present and buying many of the horses under $500.00. An unknown buyer with the buyer number 500 was purchasing several horses the kill buyers didn’t want for as low as $10. Brian Moore was there with his large tractor/trailer and so was Bruce Rotz.

While the investigators were checking the parking lot, they noticed that the truck from Diamond K Ranch (kill buyer Arlow Kiehl) was also present. There were already several horses inside the trailer, including a not segregated stallion. Additionally, for the first time a Canadian truck from Capron Trucking in Ontario was observed. The truck was parked in front of Brian Moore’s truck and ready to load horses. Animals’ Angels will continue to monitor this auction.

Hoover Horse Auction, New Holland, PA 2/4/12

Animals’ Angels investigators arrived at the monthly auction at 8:40am. There were close to 350 horses in the barn and several more in an outside pen.  Hoover announced prior to the sale that there were horses present from states as far away as Minnesota. The inside pens were packed full and horses were observed fighting and kicking. Several horses were quit thin. One pen contained a group of 17 mules and one of them had a bleeding eye injury. In most pens the plastic water buckets were empty. The outside pen, that had never been occupied during previous visits, contained horses without sales tags. They were standing in deep mud and we were told by an auction visitor that these horses would ship straight to slaughter. Kill buyer Bruce Rotz arrived with his stock trailer at 10:00am. His large tractor/trailer was parked empty at the New Holland Auction parking lot. Kill buyer Brian Moore arrived with his truck 10 minutes later.

Animal’s Angels Investigates European Horse Meat Trade

Information supplied by Animal’s Angels

Consumers of Horse Meat May be at Risk

Horse Meat ~ photo courtesy of Animal's Angels

Animals’ Angels went to Europe and met with veterinarians and other animal welfare organizations to discuss the issues involved with the horse meat imports from Canada and Mexico. Animals’ Angels believes that it is of utmost importance to create more awareness among European consumers in regards to where the horses meat is coming from, the cruelty involved in this trade as well as the potential risk of drug residues. The meetings went well and we are excited about the possibility of a campaign on both sides of the Atlantic.

Additionally, the investigators looked into pricing of horse meat at butcher shops and the protection offered by the “Equine Passport”. While the ways to obtain the passport are slightly different in the member states (http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/identification/equine/ms_information_en.htm), all passports require the owner to fill in information if the horse can later be slaughtered or not. This decision can’t be changed later, even if the animal is sold. If the owner chooses that the horse can be slaughtered, all medicine ever given to the horse has to be recorded in the passport by the administering veterinarian. However, there is no guarantee that the veterinarian really does that.

Once a slaughter horse arrives at the plant, the passport is checked. According to a veterinarian, who used to work at a horse slaughter plant, he has witnessed horses arriving with a “no-slaughter” passport and all of them were rejected. A violation could carry a fine of several thousand Euros for both the plant and the shipper.

Prices for horse meat found at butcher shops were $17.80/lbs -$19.00/ lbs for the filet, $13.00/lbs-$16.00/lbs for a roast and $10.00/lbs-$13.00/lbs for horse meat sausage.

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Congressional Conference Committee Appropriations Bill Would Require Taxpayers to Subsidize Foreign Horse Meat Industry

Equine welfare organizations denounce the agricultural  appropriations bill that if passed, would make equine slaughter for human consumption legal again in the US  and dump horsemeat that is unfit and unsafe on foreign markets

Washington, D.C. – Last night, November 14, 2011, a Congressional Conference Committee tasked with reconciling differing House and Senate versions of the FY 2012 consolidated appropriations for Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science and Transportation, issued a report failing to recommend de-funding of inspections of equines for slaughter for human consumption. This means for the first time since 2006, and in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, Americans would be required to subsidize a foreign owned industry that exports horsemeat served as a delicacy in fine restaurants in some European and other countries.

Americans don’t consume horsemeat. Polls have consistently revealed over 70% of Americans oppose horse slaughter. “It is outrageous,” says Vicki Tobin, vice president of Illinois-based Equine Welfare Alliance, “that American taxpayers would be required to subsidize foreign owned businesses that Americans oppose and that produces meat from animals that are not raised for food”.

Simone Netherlands, founder of Respect4Horses, added, “In this time when the focus of Congress is supposedly on reducing spending and creating jobs it is a ludicrous measure to spend tax dollars in order to reinstate an inherently cruel predatory business, from which Americans stand to gain nothing. Horse slaughter plants operating until 2007 have never created a total of more than 178 jobs.”

And, they are not good jobs, according to Paula Bacon, former mayor of Kaufman, Texas where a horse slaughter facility operated for years. “Horse slaughter means very few, very low wage jobs, meaning workers and their families overtaxed local resources like the hospitals and government services. This so called business brought in virtually no tax revenues and local governments incurred substantial enforcement costs in trying to regulate these facilities. The standard of living dropped during the time horse slaughter facilities operated. Having a horse slaughter facility drove away good businesses.” Equine slaughter has also been found to increase and abet horse theft in areas where facilities are located or horses are held for transport to slaughter.

In addition, American horses are not raised, fed and medicated within the FDA and European Union guidelines established for food animals, making them unfit and unsafe for human consumption. Equines are given many drugs banned in food animals such as pain killers, steroids, de-wormers and ointments throughout their lives.

A 2010 study in the Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal showed a drug given routinely to equines like aspirin, phenylbutazone or Bute, is a carcinogen and can cause aplastic anemia in humans. It has no withdrawal period. The FDA bans bute in all food producing animals because of this serious danger to human health. The recent EU FVO reports on U.S. equines exported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter show banned drug residues and falsified drug affidavits. (http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/Horse_Slaughter.html)

The unsubstantiated claims of pro horse slaughter legislators such as Jack Kingston (Georgia) are that it will solve neglect and abandonment. All we have to do is look at Canada to confirm that this erroneous. They have had the same increases in neglect cases as we have here in the US. The often talked about GAO report states: We cannot rule out the effect of the economy. The demographic of people who hang on to their horses in spite of their inability to care for them, is the kind of demographic that does not want to send their horses to slaughter, therefore horse slaughter is not a solution for that demographic. One could argue that horse slaughter in fact makes people afraid to sell their horses to anyone for fear of them ending up in the slaughter pipeline. Even Kentucky Derby winners such as Ferdinand have ended up on someone’s dinner plate in a foreign country.

“In fact, it creates the problems it claims to solve,” says R.T. Fitch, co-founder and President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation “As a convenient and lucrative means of disposal, Horse slaughter has created an over-population problem of horses, by enabling irresponsible breeding, and encouraging a quick turn around and dumping of horses. Very much like the housing market and the banking industry, the horse breeding industry is self destructing by saturating the market and horse slaughter is the bail out”.

Equine Slaughter is a grave risk to public health, it is inherently inhumane and it causes the very problems it claims to solve. It is fiscally irresponsible for Congress even to consider re-funding these inspections.  The focus should be on stopping the risk altogether by ending the export of American equines for slaughter for human consumption.

“After all, there is a large market for dog and cat meat as well in China and Japan, does that mean that American tax payers should foot the bill to pay for the USDA to start inspecting dog and cat meat?” asks Richard “Kudo” Couto, founder of Animal Recovery Mission.

These equine welfare groups ask Congress to de-fund horse inspections and also protect the welfare of American equines by taking immediate action to pass the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011:

Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA)

Respect4Horses (R4H)

Animal Law Coalition (ALC)

Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF)

The Cloud Foundation (TCF)

Animal Recovery Mission (ARM)

Americans Against Horse Slaughter (AAHS)

The Celebrate the Horse Network  (CTHN)

Animals’ Angels (AA)

 

Animal’s Angels “Light the Sky 2011”

Open Letter from Sonja Meadows of Animal’s Angels

Dear Straight from the Horse’s Heart Readers:

It is a pleasure to invite you to take part in Animals’ Angels third fundraising event on Saturday, December 10, 2011.

Animals’ Angels employees and friends will meet on this night with thousands of candles to Light the Sky for the animals – to cast a light against the darkness and symbolically alleviate suffering. This is a time to step back and reflect on our purpose and our respect for the animals, their fates and the conditions. It is all of us, our collective message of hope and commitment.

Light the Sky is also a time when our investigators remember the animals who have crossed their paths during 2011 – the many horses, cows, calves, pigs, sheep, goats, chicken, turkeys and dogs that we met at auctions, feedlots and slaughter plants. And it is a time to renew our resolve.

We hope you will take part on this night with a small donation of $5 per candle. We want to include your personal message and light your candle(s) of hope.

Watch the video of our 2010 event…

Click here to participate now!

Here’s how it works:

Please click on the link above to buy your candle(s). Share with us who you want to light the candle(s) for and the story or personal message of hope. If you can, please include a photo of an animal close to your heart.

During the event, all the flyers and photos will go on the “Tree of Hope”.

We will light all the candles donated – our goal is 6,000! Proceeds will be used to help finance 2012 investigations.

Animals’ Angels work is possible because of you, your candle and your support. AA investigators are “there with the animals” to fight cruelty and improve lives-thanks so much to you.

Saturday December 10, 2011 from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM EST

Light the sky! 

Sincerely,

Sonja Meadows

Animals’ Angels
sonja@animalsangels.org
410 848 3153

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Texas A&M Fined for Horse Slaughter Transportation Violations

Information and report supplied by Animal’s Angels

Dead Horse found in “Deluxe” Transport Trailer

Rig used for Transport

AA has gained information through a Freedom of information Act Request (FOIA) that powerfully underscores the cruelty of horse slaughter on U.S. soil. Under the most ideal conditions possible – including watering stops during single-deck transport, less packed conditions and multiple cameras with a team of monitors – a horse died in the bottom of a trailer during transport. The study adds to ever increasing evidence that demonstrates horse slaughter cannot be ‘improved’ into something that is humane.

The subject of the FOIA is a graduate program study orchestrated by Texas A&M University veterinary professor Dr. Ted H. Friend. The USDA paid for the study. A kill buyer was chosen and TX A&M transported his horses for free to the slaughter plant. The study was designed to ‘improve’ transport to slaughter by “relieving transport stress.” Specifically, the study was to document the effect of providing water to horses in transport at 8 hour intervals.

Inside of Trailer

In his statement, Dr. Friend said that 8 hours was, “the most frequent interval that we could reasonably expect truckers to stop to water horses.” USDA regulations require checking all horses every six hours.

The researchers would also be taking blood samples to monitor stress levels in the horses. However, no blood sample was taken from the horse that later died.

Monte Clark of CO, a well known kill buyer, was the owner of the 26 horses. Texas A&M acted as shipper/transporter of the horses, moving them at no charge from Hudson, CO to Dallas Crown in Kaufman, TX.

Conditions were as ideal as possible. There had been several practice runs before the study began. A&M used a specially outfitted trailer with 12 video cameras, lighting and watering system.

There were 2 drivers instead of the usual 1 seen on most hauls, and 3 graduate students that followed the trailer to monitor the cameras and water the horses. The professor stated that “our densest compartment [of the trailer] could be increased by 60% and still be under what the USDA considers to be acceptable density.”

As unlikely as it sounds, all involved stated that cameras and lighting in the trailer “malfunctioned” where the dead horse was, though the cameras in other parts of the trailer continued to work properly.

AA believes it is due the presence of a USDA APHIS inspector at the slaughter plant that documentation of the incident exists. He stated that he “overheard” a graduate student telling the plant manager a trailer with a dead horse had arrived. APHIS inspectors are responsible for enforcement of transport to slaughter regulations (9 CFR, Part 88).

In his affidavit it is the driver who most frankly describes the journey’s start. He seems more in touch with the condition of horses as they were being loaded in CO than the ‘experts’, recalling,

“[S]ome horses had cuts above their eyes or cheeks. The horse that fell was one of our main concerns. He did not seem to be in too good of health. He was walking real slow and hair was fallen out. But [ the] owners son, if I am not mistaken said the horse would be alright for the trip….I may not know too much about horses, but I myself know when one is not in good health….”

Graduate student 1 seemed far less concerned with any horses’ welfare. In his affidavit he states Clark let him select additional horses from his “cripples pen“, choosing the “healthiest soundest looking horses.” However, as they began loading he sees the horse that would die in transport urinate, “the urine looked highly saturated with blood.” The student said that later ‘Monty’ commented that the horse was “going to the right place.” The student also states that after they arrived at Dallas Crown and found the dead horse, he told Chris the manager; “He did not seem surprised so I assumed this was a fairly common occurrence.”

Student 1 ends his affidavit by saying, “Many of the horses transported to slaughter look pretty bad and this one [the horse that died] did not look any worse off than the majority. I know in the future we will not be transporting any horses that have blood in their urine.”

A second graduate student gave an affidavit and also describes the pen of horses with “lower limb deformities”. He remembers that the palomino gelding in question had “abnormally long, curly hair” and “appeared lethargic”. However, neither of the graduate students in veterinary medicine hesitated when the decision was made to load this horse.

The trip took approx. 18 hours with one stop for watering the horses in Amarillo. Temperatures inside the trailer reached 97 degrees. Texas A & M was later fined $2,000 for failure to “at least once every six hours check on the physical conditions of all horses,” and for incomplete owner/shipper certifications showing any prior conditions of the horse that arrived dead.

During the stop in Amarillo, the students monitoring the cameras stated they were having problems with the lighting system of the trailer and did not notice any horses down in the trailer.

According to the APHIS inspector’s affidavit, he “did not ask if there was any tape of the horses or the dead horse” received that day.  No explanation was provided. Nobody took blood samples from the dead horse.

Slaughter Tag

Conclusion:

A university study with watering stops, lower loading density and video camera monitoring, select horses, yet still a horse dies during transport – How bad is the reality of typical transport to slaughter with nothing that approaches such luxuries? These transports were planned for months, test runs were conducted at the university and graduate students in veterinary medicine were monitoring the horses’ welfare en route.

Still this poor horse died a grim death. According to Monte Clark, the palomino was, “going to the right place.” No doubt giving horses water is an improvement, but does it make horse slaughter humane? According to every bit of evidence Animals’ Angels has gathered since 2006, the answer is unquestionably No.