Did you know that Argentina is the largest exporter of horsemeat in the world?
Animals' Angels has remained dedicated to the horses and the fight to end horse slaughter. We were gratified that the amendments to defund USDA inspections at horse slaughter plants passed the House & Senate Appropriations Committees last week. However, our horses remain in danger. They can still be transported into Canada and Mexico for slaughter. We are hopeful that the SAFE Act will pass which would help to ensure the safety of our horses. However, we cannot slow down while waiting for this legislation to get passed. The momentum against horse slaughter must continue unabated.
There is no doubt that spreading awareness affects the choices of the primary consumer of horsemeat - we maintain that if we can end the demand, the supply aspect naturally dries up as well. Our expose that aired in Mexico, like the reports that aired previously on Swiss TV have created a firestorm of interest and outrage against the horse slaughter industry and have already had a widespread impact. (EU Campaign) However, the fight is far from over.
Animals' Angels EU consumer awareness campaign continues and a follow up investigation at slaughter plants in Argentina was conducted. If we want to end the demand for horsemeat, it's imperative that these issues remain in the forefront of the consumer's mind.
Equinox, one of Europe's largest horsemeat importers is the owner or co-owner of the horse slaughter plants Lamar and Indio Pampa, located in the Buenos Aires area. Both of these slaughter plants are approved by the EU to export meat to the European Union.
It should be noted that Equinox also imports meat from the Viande Richelieu plant in Canada as well as the Empacadora de Carnes de Fresnillo plant in Mexico. US horses are shipped for slaughter to both of these locations.
In 2010, the Belgian animal welfare organization GAIA investigated the Lamar and the Indio Pampa plants and documented horrible conditions. The photos below indicate the abuses found during this investigation.
|horse with horrific injury|
The aim of our recent investigation was to determine if conditions had improved since 2010 and whether or not these plants were now in full compliance with EU regulations.
|horse being loaded with broken leg|
During the course of this recent investigation, our team met with horse traders who buy horses for the Lamar slaughter plant. According to one of the kill buyers, the Lamar plant was closed down for three days, because the plant was deemed unsanitary.
Another kill buyer stated that the trade with stolen horses is booming in Argentina. Apparently veterinarians and police do not check the paperwork required by SENASA diligently enough. He claimed that a lot of veterinarians and policemen, responsible for the verification of the documents, are corrupt and bribed by the kill-buyers. He further advised that it would be very easy to get new papers for stolen horses.
Investigators were present when the kill buyer loaded horses for the Lamar plant. The handling was extremely rough with workers routinely using sticks and even dogs to move the horses. Several horses had large injuries or severe eye injuries.
|horses hit with sticks to move|
|dog biting horse's hind legs|
Transport trailers were overcrowded and even when the horses were on the trailer, the workers continued to hit them with sticks; At least one horse was observed falling down in the trailer and yet the workers continued to push horses onto the trailer by hitting at them with sticks.
|horse down in trailer, others being pushed in|
|horses on loading ramp, being hit|
The unloading at the slaughter plant was no better. Horses were seen weakened from the journey (18 hours) and with fresh injuries. One horse fell multiple times after being unloaded. Workers at the plant admitted it was common that horses fell and broke a leg.
|Horse unloaded with severe hind leg injury|
|horse falls down several times|
According to one of the drivers, currently more horses are arriving severely injured at the plant. Recently, 4 horses died during one of his transports. He believed it is due to the fact that many of the horses were delivered to the collecting stations from a long distance. Having been exhausted by their original lengthy trip, and with no chance to rest, they are then transported another long distance to the slaughter plant. The driver further commented that if the animals came directly from the pasture, reasonably fed and rested, there would be fewer problems.
- "Equinox obtains the meat from the source, in the meat country par excellence: Argentina. The horses run around freely and graze on the vast Argentinean pampas. The growth process of many years takes place in the pure countryside, and that ultimately yields high-quality meat."
- "Equinox, with the best abattoirs in the horse countries par excellence, watches over the quality of the meat from the source onwards."
Obviously these statements do not match our recent observations. Our footage proves that the conditions for slaughter horses in Argentina have not improved since 2010 and by far do not meet EU standards. In addition, we documented multiple violations of Argentinean law.
This new evidence from Argentina again confirms what we have already shown over and over again: Horse slaughter is a cruel and predatory business, no matter where it is conducted.
Slaughter in the US, as shown by our previous investigations, would be no different. And while our horses would be safe from slaughter on US soil for the time being should the Agriculture Appropriations Bill be ratified with the defunding language intact, they would still not be safe from transport. The only sure-fire way to end horse slaughter is to end the demand for horsemeat. Continued exposure of the horrific conditions in so-called EU regulated plants and feedlots such as these in Argentina and those in Canada and Mexico where so many US horses find themselves, is an effective and important step to accomplish this goal.
At Animals' Angels, we will also continue to have our legislators' numbers on speed dial and we will continue to strongly and diligently advocate for the SAFE Act. We encourage all of our supporters to do the same.
See full investigation report here.....
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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