AA Investigation: Mexico Horse Slaughter Plants Continue to Be Non-Compliant with EU Standards
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.
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.
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…)
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)