May 1, 2008
Animals' Angels complaint successful: Sugarcreek Livestock Trucking fined $6900!

Spring is finally here!

Looking across the fields we see the foals frolicking, baby goats playing "king of the mountain", lambs basking in the sun and chickens clucking joyously with all the new bugs arriving.

lamb at sanctuary

Even though we might wish we could watch this peaceful scenery all day - there are so many other animals in need of help and unable to enjoy this beautiful world they were born into.

Our investigators are busy throughout the United States gathering evidence of farm animal abuse and reporting the numerous violations that happen at auctions, slaughter plants and during transport each day.

"Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goals" (Joseph Cossman) We are Animals' Angels and we will always be here for them.      


Sonja Meadows

Animals' Angels speaks at the Americans Against Horse Slaughter Convention in Washington, DC

Americans against Horse Slaughter, supporters of a federal ban on the slaughter of American horses for human consumption overseas, joined celebrities and lawmakers in the largest anti-slaughter lobbying effort to date. The attendees met with their representatives and key congressional leaders to push for the passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R.503/ S.311)


A reception was held on Tuesday evening, attended by volunteers, leaders of the anti-slaughter movement, members of Congress and the media. Sonja Meadows, Executive Director of Animals' Angels, was invited as a speaker and presented the findings of Animals' Angels latest investigation into horse transport.

Sonja Meadows



The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, which at that point had 193 cosponsors in the House and 38 cosponsors in the Senate, immediately gained two cosponsors with indications more would soon follow. Of particular significance, the top candidates for president, Senators Clinton, McCain and Obama, are already among the supporters of the legislation.



ANIMALS' ANGELS complaint successful: Sugarcreek Livestock Trucking convicted and fined $6,900!
Sugarcreek Livestock Trucking
Animals' Angels complaint filed against Sugarcreek Livestock trucking was successful: A complience review conducted by the Public Utilities Commission revealed several violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the transport company had to pay $6900 in fines. The complaint was based on evidence gathered by Animals' Angels investigators who followed a truck loaded with horses destined for slaughter from Sugarcreek auction in 2007.
Animals' Angels investigation reveals: Horses transported on double deck trailer for 34 hours without food, water or a chance to rest

Animals' Angels February 2008 investigation into the transport of American horses from Ohio to Texas for slaughter in Mexico has revealed that the horses are enduring terrible circumstances as they are heading south.  Numerous federal laws and regulations were broken throughout this transport.   

horse in double deck trailer


Following a truck that loaded 43 horses in Sugarcreek, Ohio, we witnessed horses in poor condition at the start. The horses were never rested after the auction. They were immediately loaded onto both decks of the double deck trailer, where they are unable to stand normally and forced to hold their heads low during the whole transport.

inside the double deck trailer

They did not receive food or water at auction, as required by law.  There was only one driver for this 34 hour trip from Sugarcreek, Ohio to the collecting station in Morton, Texas - a clear violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Such regulations are in place to protect all who travel the highways.  And yet with this animal transport, highway safety was simply ignored.


This driver stopped enroute for gas and several coffee breaks, but never checked on the horses. When the horses finally arrived at the destination and were unloaded into a holding pen, one horse was already down and several others showed bleeding leg injuries. We witnessed a process that displayed complete disregard for the fact that live animals were being transported.  The driver may as well have been hauling wood.

Morton feedlot Texas


Animals' Angels took action as a result of this disturbing investigation.  With videotape footage, photos and interviews as proof, our investigators have approached the County Attorneys, the State Departments of Agriculture in Ohio and Texas and the USDA offices in Washington, DC to force the powers that be to seriously address the above issues. 


Our recommendations include:

+ Sugarcreek Livestock Trucking Inc. should be punished for the violation of the 28 hour law, which limits the maximum transport time for all animals to 28 hours.
+ USDA should start monitoring the few large auctions where horses are sold for slaughter.
+ The Commericial Transport of Equines to Slaughter Regulations have to be changed; the transport of horses on two decks should be illegal no matter what the destination is.


In addition, Animals' Angels again contacted the Department of Transportation to advocate for severe civil penalties against the transport company - especially since the same company was already found guilty of the same violations in 2007.

Animals' Angels pushes for guidelines regarding the handling of downed animals at Pennsylvania markets

For over a year now, Animals' Angels investigators have been visiting numerous auctions in Pennsylvania to document the way animals are treated. They found that at most auctions, animals have insufficient access to food or water and no shelter against the summer sun in the outside pens. At many auctions, the pens are overcrowded and electric prods are used unreasonably to move the animals to the auction ring. Very seldom did they find a market veterinarian who is doing his job.



But our main concern is the way downed animals, animals that are unable to stand or walk, are handled. Our investigators documented horrific scenes at several different markets. Animals were pushed with fork lifts or bobcats in order to get them up. The auction employees made excessive use of electric prod or wooden sticks. Cows unable to get up, were thrown on the dead pile alive and left there without food, water or veterinary care until they died.


Animals' Angels informed humane officers, police and the Department of Agriculture about the unbearable situation. A video was released to show them exactly what is going on and where. One market was convicted of animal cruelty based on our exposure. Another market agreed to cooperate and improve handling.

Downer pig


But it appears that now Pennsylvania officials are taken an even bigger step to improve the situation: During a recent meeting with humane officers and animal industry, it was agreed upon to establish downed animal handling guidelines for auctions and stockyards, as well as for drivers who transport these animals to auctions and slaughter plants. These guidelines will be sent out to all transport companies and stockyards in the state of Pennsylvania.  During the meeting, Animals' Angels recommendations regarding the handling and euthanasia of downed animals were given out and discussed.


Animals' Angels hopes that Pennsylvania officials will realize this very important project quickly. With official guidelines in place and the information sent out to all the markets and transport companies, nobody will have the excuse anymore of not knowing how to address the situation and what to do with a non-ambulatory animal.

In This Issue
1.Americans Against Horse Slaughter Convention
2.Successful complaint
3.Horse Transport Investigation
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About Our Mission

Animals' Angels works to end farm animal abuse in the United States.  Our mission is to improve conditions for farm animals. We work primarily in the field, inspecting livestock trucks on highways, visiting markets and slaughterhouses.  Our documented reports and video footage are provided to news media as a public service.  We present our investigation results to auction and slaughterhouse management, to encourage positive change in the way farm animals are handled during transportation, at auction, and at slaughter.