The large FOIA document contains hundreds of photographs
that graphically depict horses with open fractures, legs missing,
battered and bloody faces, eyeballs dangling and what appears
to be horses left to bleed to death. The document provides
unimpeachable evidence for the immediate ban on the slaughter
of American horses.
The photographs included in the FOIA document were taken
between January 17, 2005 and November 17, 2005 at Beltex,
the Belgian owned plant in Fort Worth, Texas. Beltex was
forced to close this plant in 2007, after courts upheld Texas
law that has banned horse slaughter since 1949. Beltex has
since focused on its operations in Fresnillo, Mexico where it
continues to slaughter American horses. In addition, Beltex
still runs the second largest slaughter horse feedlot in the
U.S. Horses from all over the country are tranported to the
feedlot in Morton,TX before being sent to the Beltex slaughter
plant in Mexico.
The FOIA request was submitted by Animals’ Angels investigator
Julie Caramante in November 2005 “I’ve been an equine cruelty investigator for a number of years,” said Caramante, “and I’ve
witnessed many horrific incidents of animal cruelty. But nothing
could prepare me for the images contained in the FOIA. These
pictures shocked me to the core. The pain and terror these horses
endured is criminal. This just should not be, no excuses.”
In commenting on the photographs, Sonja Meadows, Executive Director of Animals’ Angels USA said:
“The pro-horse slaughter lobby continues to lobby for the
domestic slaughter of horses, railing that transportation and
slaughter of horses inside the United States is ever so much
better, so much more humane than what happens in Mexico.
These people say that U.S. humane laws protect the horses,
that Mexico has no such laws. But this rhetoric is now exposed
as nothing but disingenuous talk. The FOIA reveals unimaginable
suffering was being perpetuated upon large numbers of horses
on a long-term basis here in the U.S. We can only shudder at
the scale of the suffering over the years. Animals’ Angels will be investigating what actions were taken against those responsible
for this horrific abuse.”Animals’ Angels continues to send out its investigators to expose the abuse and suffering of horses and
to ensure that those responsible within this brutal industry are
held accountable for their actions. “However difficult and
traumatic these investigations are,” said Meadows, “Animals’
Angels will remain true to its motto – ‘We are there with the animals'”
Meadows is firm in her support of a Federal ban of horse slaughter. “From our own weekly investigations at auctions, feedlots and slaughter plants, the barbaric and inhumane treatment of horses goes on and will continue to do so until a Federal law is passed to end once and for all, the transportation and slaughter of horses for human consumption. The horse has played such an important part in the history of the United States and continues to be such an integral part in the lives of millions of its citizens. It is well overdue, past time for Congress to act and to pass a law to bring this miserable trade in horses for human consumption to an end.”
Further information, video and pictures….
Notes to Editors:
1. In 2007, the slaughter of horses on US soil came to an end
when a court ruling upheld a Texas law banning horse slaughter,
and similar legislation was passed in Illinois.
However, failure by the US Senate to pass the American
Horse Slaughter Prevention Act into law has resulted in American
horses still being slaughtered for human consumption abroad.
Tens of thousands are shipped to Mexico and Canada annually,
where they are killed under inhumane conditions so their meat
can be sent to markets in Belgium, France, Italy and Japan.
Additionally, without the federal law, there remains the threat
of horse slaughter plants being established in states that have
no laws against the practice. In the beginning of 2008,
unsuccessful attempts were made to open a horse slaughter
plant in South Dakota. It is likely that pro-horse slaughter
organizations will try again elsewhere in the United States.
While a handful of horses are purposely sold into slaughter
by irresponsible owners, most arrive at the slaughter plant
via livestock auction, where unsuspecting owners sell the
animals to slaughter plant middlemen known as “killer buyers”.
Despite the fact that the US plants are no longer in operation,
killer buyers continue to purchase and haul as many horses
as possible from livestock auctions around the country to the slaughterhouses that have now relocated to Mexico and Canada.
Prevention of Equines Cruelty Act of 2008 (H.R. 6598) was
introduced to the 110th Congress by Rep. John Conyers and Representative Dan Burton. H.R. 6598 prohibits the slaughter
of horses for human consumption in the United States and the
export of slaughter horses to Canada and Mexico.
2. Animals’ Angels is a 501 (c)(3) non profit organization
incorporated in Maryland with fulltime investigators working
in the United States and Canada. Our focus is on improving
conditions for farm animals. We work primarily in the field,
trailing livestock trucks on highways, visiting markets,
collecting stations and slaughterhouses. We seek to cooperate
with auction managers, transport companies and other
authorities, including the police, veterinarians and the
United States Department of Agriculture.