Horses bought at auction in Texas are being butchered in Mexico before being sold in food products to consumers around the world, as these images purport to show.
The images, some of them distressing, allegedly show horses that were bought in the town of Bowie, in Montague County, in the US state of Texas, waiting to be butchered in Mexico after a 17-hour trip before they are turned into meat products and exported around the world to Russia, Japan, Vietnam and China, among others.
Newsflash obtained a statement from animal rights organisation ‘Igualdad Animal’ (‘Animal Equality’) today, on Thursday, 1st December, saying: “Animal Equality has documented the shipment of American horses to be slaughtered in Mexico and used for human consumption.
“A practice that is prohibited in the US since 2007. These animals, from areas such as the breeding or horse riding industries, suffer through trips of up to 17 hours.”
The organisation said that it carried out an undercover investigation that shows that horses are being exported from the United States to Mexico where they are then slaughtered before being processed into meat products.
The footage purports to show American horses waiting to be slaughtered in a slaughterhouse in Zacatecas, Mexico, which the animal rights organisation said belongs to a company called Carnicos de Jerez.
The Igualdad Animal statement said: “The yellow tag attached to the body of one of the horses, with the number 5036, and issued by the United States Department of Agriculture, shows that this horse, like the rest of the horses in the corral, is American. The Animal Equality investigator also recorded the testimony of a veterinarian confirming the American origin of this horse.”
The animal activists explained: “In 2007, Congress defunded USDA inspectors who oversaw horse slaughterhouses. This meant that horse meat could no longer be sold, as only USDA-approved meat is legal.
“Since then, the US horse meat industry has focused on transporting horses to Mexico and Canada as a means of continuing their business. In 2021, more than 24,000 horses were sent to slaughterhouses outside of US borders.
“According to the documents obtained by Animal Equality, the Carnicos de Jerez slaughterhouse receives some of its horses from auctions in Bowie, Texas. These animals are bought at auction when they are too old or injured after a lifetime of breeding or riding, among other purposes.”
They added: “The horses in this particular auction are transported across Texas for almost eight hours. Later they cross the border with Mexico at Eagle Pass and travel for more than nine hours until they reach the slaughterhouse of Carnicos de Jerez, in Zacatecas, a total of 17 hours of travel.
“Once slaughtered, Carnicos de Jerez sends the meat products to Russia, China, Vietnam and Japan, thus contributing to the world trade in horse meat, which totals EUR 383 million euros”
They said that the United States was continuing “to participate in this trade despite the fact that 83 per cent of Americans oppose the slaughter and consumption of horses, according to a survey conducted by Lake Research Partners and the ASPCA.”
Sharon Nunez, the President of Animal Equality, said: “The death of horse 5036, as well as the death of tens of thousands of American horses each year, is unnecessary and unacceptable.
“As our researchers have documented, the US ships these horses across its borders so that their slaughter is hidden from view for the majority of Americans who oppose the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Citizens consider this suffering to be wrong; now is the time for the US Government to ban it once and for all.”
Carnicos de Jerez says on its website: “The enterprise Carnicos de Jerez S.A. de C.V. was founded in 1971 as a company dedicated to the slaughter and processing of horse meat. Currently, it is an integrated enterprise in its operation, as has their pens collection, the slaughterhouse, cutting and boning; fridge and a fleet of trailers for gathering cattle and selling their products mainly to foreign markets. Carnicos de Jerez was created to sell their products to foreign markets around the world.”
Other images purport to show the treatment of horses in a slaughterhouse in Arriaga, Chiapas.
The images show how the animals “cannot walk and are forced to move while being beaten with sticks or hung from chains to immobilise them”. Workers routinely use electric shocks or a water hose to get horses unable to get up to move, according to the rights group.
Igualdad Animal said its investigators uncovered “serious breaches of the Official Mexican Standard that determines the methods of slaughtering animals to avoid unnecessary suffering. In the images, the horses are ineffectively stunned before slaughter. Some are shot multiple times in the head before falling unconscious. They also show how many are killed while still conscious.”
Igualdad Animal said: “Due to the lack of transparency in its labelling, horse meat slaughtered clandestinely is often sold as beef.”
They added that this was a dangerous practice because of “its high content in clenbuterol, a veterinary medicine that is harmful to humans and whose use is not permitted in animals intended for human consumption.”
The organisation has launched a petition to end the slaughter of horses. At the time of writing, it had been signed by over 107,000 people.