Animals' Angels FOIA Request Provides Windfall of Information

January 2013

Animals' Angels
PO Box 1056 Westminster, MD 21158



     New evidence secured refutes the myth surrounding the return of horse slaughter in the U.S.


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 violations, injuries, and penalties. The information was provided after submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to the USDA on July 28, 2012.  


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 the Illinois plant from 2004 to 2007. 


horse with face injury (Cavel)


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 deplorable conditions & horrific injuries documented in the USDA records are identical to those found during our numerous investigations as well as in USDA records pertaining to the Beltex horse slaughter plant in Texas, obtained by Animals' Angels in 2008. 



 Click here to review the Beltex records...

 (Warning - Graphic content)  

 horse at beltex 1


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. 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.  


horse down on trailer (Cavel) 


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


Click here to review the Cavel records...

 (Warning - Graphic content)


Click here to review the Summery File...


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.


chest injury (cavel) 
These pictures were taken by USDA inspectors over a four 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.  

Click here to review Commercial Transport of Equines to Slaughter Violations 2002-2012...


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.  


  horse and foal down (cavel)     


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 our countless investigations as well as straight from the USDA in 2008/2012 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 our horses.  It is strictly for the benefit of those who 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.


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About us

Animals' Angels works to improve conditions for farm animals. We closely cooperate with law enforcement and government agencies to fight animal cruelty. Our investigators are out in the field nationwide, visiting auctions, feedlots and slaughter plants.



Animals' Angels Inc.

PO Box 1056

Westminster, MD 21158



[email protected]