The Silent Echoes in Feedlots: 08/16/2016 UPDATE
In the midst of torrential downpours and catastrophic flooding in South and Central Louisiana, when 10,000 plus displaced Louisiana citizens have sought refuge in shelters because they have lost everything, rescues of every size and type are desperately trying to absorb the great need of feeding and caring for abandoned and lost small and large animals. As if Louisianan’s had not lost enough, Fort Polk Army Base made the choice to announce their intent to proceed with elimination of the migratory historic wild horse herds, some of which have made parts of 604,000 acres their home for over a century. Rescues that take in large animals will be filled to capacity for several months because many animals will now be displaced due to their owners loosing their homes. From a tactical standpoint, they have their hands full, with the current catastrophic mass flooding and resulting efforts to help the displaced animals.
Despite this, Fort Polk has sent emails to individuals from a now largely antiquated “contact list” they had gathered late August of 2015 (that’s right, almost a year ago) of rescues, groups or individuals offering to help back then. Some report that Fort Polk’s contracted Environmental Services personnel have another list, which is a list of kill buyers (horse traders) that sell equines into the slaughter business. Some individuals have already profited from selling Fort Polk and Kisatchie Region horses to slaughter. They too will likely be watching and waiting for their chance to purchase the animals at auctions or stockyards. A trailer load of 20 to 30 horses could yield $6,000-$9,000 or more for meat price.
See Info Here: http://www.jrtc-polk.army.mil/trespass_horses.html
See #KATC article: http://www.katc.com/story/32761054/decision-made-on-fort-polk-wild-horses
If you are willing to provide any assistance at all, please message this page or email email@example.com AND Contact the Army using information provided by them below:
The next step in the process is to begin developing lists of animal welfare groups and citizens interested in taking the horses. Interested parties can find the full details of the process on page 31 of the environmental assessment at
Animal welfare groups and local citizens can sign up to be added to one of the two lists Fort Polk is developing by sending an e-mail to
Animal welfare groups should send appropriate documentation so that Fort Polk officials can verify their status as 501(c)(3) groups. Everyone signing up for the program should include good contact information including email address and telephone numbers and the quantity of horses they are interested in taking.
For any reader that mistakenly thinks that commercial horse slaughter is humane, that the horses are of no value or that horses are not native to North America and that it is humane to “cull” them in this manner, this writing is for you.
It is generally understood that *domesticated* horses were introduced into North America beginning with the Spanish conquest, and that escaped or intentionally range bred horses spread throughout the American Great Plains and other areas of the United States. See link to early distribution map of horses in North America here: http://galiceno.org/history-of-horses-in-the-americas.html
Unlike the native horses that died out in North America at the end of the Pleistocene, the wild horses that survive today are regarded as “feral” and intrusive by some. However, the fact that horses were domesticated before they were reintroduced back to the North American continent matters little from a biological standpoint. Indeed, as horses naturally revert to ancient behavioral patterns if left alone to live in the wild, they demonstrate that domestication has altered them little.
The Kisatchie Region has been home to a land race type of horse that, along with other livestock and crops was raised by area families. USDA acknowledges Caddo Native American tribes trading horses in this region in the 1790’s. Besides mules and horses brought in with early settlers in the mid 1850’s, they were brought into the region during the railroading business of the early 1900’s, through the WWII era. These local animals were used for Camp Polk training operations to help prepare over 60,000 troops to fight in WWII. Many of the wild and free roaming horses in the Fort Polk, Peason Ridge and Kisatchie National Forest region of Louisiana are generational wild remnants of those that helped to shape Louisiana history. An archaeologist conducting an excavation of 1200 AD Native American artifacts reported seeing the wild horses in the 1970’s. Even the army referred to them as wild in the 1990’s. This Louisiana heritage should not be forgotten, but preserved.
Fort Polk Army Base Officials, the area’s good ole’ boy horse trader kill buyers and the hunters that don’t want the horses grazing in areas where deer and other wildlife that they KILL in South Central Louisiana will have blood of these Louisiana Heritage Animals on their hands if they continue this apathetic, irresponsible and unethical push to inhumanely rid these herds from the 604,000 plus acres that is their home. This Note is for them, the horse slaughter industry is not something for them to be proud of, it is shameful and is an American disgrace.
The Silent Echoes In the Feedlot is about the horrific conditions that American wild and domestic horses, ponies, mules, burros and donkeys fall victim to in transport, feedlots and at slaughter plants where they are butchered for their meat and sold to foreign markets. Documented numbers of equines from the United States that perished to slaughter in Canada, Mexico and overseas exceeded 130,000 in 2015 and already exceeds 50,000 ytd for 2016.
In addition to inhumane treatment at every level of their journey, at no point are these equines tested for levels of banned or residual chemicals (that are not ever administered to other species of livestock intentionally raised for meat) in their tissues.
While the aforementioned is not applicable to the truly wild horses that Fort Polk intends to eliminate, what does apply is some states don’t require and/or enforce presentation of Health Certs or Coggins results (Equine Infectious Anemia).
In reality, those that do generally don’t enforce presentation of the documents as the trailers cross state borders with full trailers and nowhere to unload and match the documentation with the loose, horses. Whether of domestic or wild origin, they are all victims of the slaughter industry. The horse traders and kill buyers that profit from their suffering contribute a never ending supply of livestock that yields disease, drug and medication-tainted meat into food exports originating in the United States. They need to be exposed for the horrific conditions they keep the animals in, many contract communicable viruses and diseases in their cramped and filthy manure ridden lots.
Horse traders that feed equines into the slaughter pipeline often pick up their displaced victims for by-the-pound prices from auctions or for FREE from irresponsible entities and individuals that want to “get rid of them”, with little or no regard for their future whereabouts. Like a car sold at auctions, the equines then *change hands* before reaching their slaughter destination. Along with selling horses to the public, horse traders sell to others whose sole intent is to ship them to the slaughter plants. A kill buyer that has the contract with the slaughter plant is actually involved the transaction of selling the equines for slaughter. This is how some horse traders say they aren’t “selling horses for slaughter” (it is only because they themselves are not selling the animals directly to the slaughter plants).
While many equines that go to slaughter plants are from the racing or breed registry industries, thousands are are discarded for various other reasons. Tens of thousands of American equines lost to the slaughter industry annually are the young, the old, the healthy and injured. They are retired carriage, camp or trail string horses, rodeo horses, Amish and logging horses, police and prison horses, lab horses, PMU (Pregnant Mare Urine) horses and their foals; or when someone dies or goes to college. Thousands of America’s free roaming wild horses and burros, that are not managed by the BLM or BLM titled or “Sale Authority” animals (defined in the Burns Amendment), have also been lost into the slaughter pipeline.
As horrific as the horse slaughter process itself actually is, the untold suffering many horses, ponies, mules and burros go through from point of sale and transport to feedlots or then to slaughter is astounding. Year around, including in the fall before winter and in the spring, countless equines are dumped at auctions, often thin and undernourished from ravages of winter and not enough groceries. Every spring and summer, young foals can be seen with their dams (mothers, mares) at auctions all over the United States. When mares are purchased by horse traders at auctions, the foals are often left behind and orphaned. Some perish due to stress, scours and dehydration because they have been separated from their dams who they depended on for nutritional and emotional sustenance. Others, considered to be of no value are clubbed or shot and killed.
Because so many mares and foals and equines of every type are dumped at auctions, there are too many for rescuers to purchase and save them all. Foals can easily be injured in trailers or large feedlots and often do not thrive, due to stress and dehydration that their mothers also suffer from. Some pregnant mares abort their foals, whose frail bodies are trampled in cramped quarters. While ponies or smaller horses generally are not accepted for slaughter due to weight, they along with senior equines, as well as injured, foundered or sick animals suffer in the disease ridden feedlots. The equines suffer due to stress and dehydration once they reach the larger disease ridden, urine and manure soaked feedlots many others before them were kept in; where they often compete for food and water, causing lower immunity.
In these crowded conditions, horses of all ages including stallions, geldings, mares, younger horses, burros, ponies and donkeys often contract contagious viruses and respiratory illness that should (but most often are not) treated with antibiotics. Equines of all ages also suffer from fever, colic, fungal, mange or bacterial skin infections from wounds they have endured, before meeting brutal practices in Mexican non-European Union regulated slaughter plants. Other equines fall victim to the live animal export trade where they are shipped in cramped crates that are fork lifted onto large ships for long journeys in severe heat conditions, with limited or no food or water; only to be slaughtered for markets in foreign countries upon their arrival.
Some of these animals are networked and sold to the public for hundreds of dollars more than the kill buyer purchased them for instead of shipping to the slaughter plant. Many have been used hard in their lives, others are gentle and well trained. Young equines with limited experience, or those that have vices from mistreatment will require patience and horsemanship in order to overcome them. Once removed from feed lots, these animals must be quarantined from other livestock for 21-30 days and often require antibiotics for contagious respiratory illnesses they were exposed to at the feedlots. Many need veterinary, dental or hoof care due to injuries sustained during transport, in the feedlot; or from neglect, abuse or founder they endured in their previous lives.
For those left behind, illness or injuries cause some to weaken to a point that they are suspected to collapse in trailers or be rejected by the slaughter plant. They are sometimes destroyed or abandoned by kill buyers in remote areas or enclosed lots because they are of no monetary value whatsoever to them. Some of these locations are hours away from any town or city, or there is no rescue intervention or assistance for them; and they are left to die of starvation and dehydration. Those who endured hunger, thirst, complications from injuries or fever from their illness and needed help the most never received a kind human hand or the mercy of euthanasia in their last days. Mass graves have been found where animals have been buried, while skeletal remains or weak animals have also been found right where they dropped in the feedlot among live animals in various stages of suffering.
For those that leave the kill buyer feedlots and ship toward the slaughter processing plants: The animals are loaded on carrier trailers or large crowded tractor semi-trailers, where they will not receive food or water or rest in the cramped, crowded trailers for the duration of the journey; and many become injured. Regardless of whether they are hauled in bitter, freezing wet cold or blistering heat toward slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico, there is no place to unload again until they reach the holding lot for inspection before crossing the border on the last leg of their journey to be slaughtered. Many laws are commonly broken with each load of equines that suffer immensely during the transport to slaughter process.
- DOT and USDA Laws are often broken by driving too many hours. CDL drivers hauling slaughter bound animals too long without resting themselves have caused serious highway accidents, maiming/killing people and animals they are hauling.
- Regardless of country horses are slaughtered in, horses are not provided rest, food and water at required intervals that are set forth in the Transport to Slaughter Act because places to unload may be miles from the main transport to slaughter routes (and they cost MONEY and TIME) or they simply do not exist on the roads the haulers travel. The majority of equines hauled in and outside of the United States travel hundreds of miles in crowded trailers (year around) for anywhere from 16, 24 or more hours without food, water or rest. (Requirements vary by state; however there is often no place to unload the animals to even cross check the paperwork for positive identification). This is why it is not possible for State Patrols or any other inspectors to check any documentation whatsoever against a crowded trailer load of loose horses, who also may not have distinguishing markings, going across state lines (over 100,000 annually) in transport trailers.
- All equines crossing state lines should also have accompanying documentation that can include Health Certifications and Coggins Papers (negative test results for Equine Infectious Anemia, a disease transferred by mosquitos) **that would be based on individually drawn blood testing for each equine) and general health inspections. For more information on publicly available information pertaining to documented violations and slaughter issues.
The fate of these weary and often sick or injured souls is now sealed because their ownership has been transferred to the slaughter plants and they can no longer be helped or rescued. Equines with a Canadian slaughter plant destination ship from the kill buyer lot many hours straight across the border; being unloaded only for a few hours for inspection. For those animals shipping to Mexico: Upon arrival at the crowded Export Pens closer to the border, they are only unloaded long enough to meet the regulations; where they are forced to compete for food, water and shelter, if it exists one last time. They are then reloaded in less that 10 hours to cross the border to Mexico toward the processing plants; ending their journey to the unthinkable brutality surrounding their suffering and death that awaits them.
Regardless of how well regulated equine slaughter processes are, there is no way to make their slaughtering humane; nor was there when it was legal in the US for the purpose of human consumption. No designs or processes have changed; the processes merely moved across the border into Mexico. As with slaughter plants in Canada, once the equines are unloaded into small lots, they will be herded into the plant, following one after another; with no way to turn back or escape as they are prodded forward to the kill box and slaughter area.
Unlike with other species of livestock, often several attempts (multiple bone shattering strikes) are required to render equines unconscious; resulting in immense suffering of each animal prior to its slaughter and death. When a horse is in this extreme fear state, not only do they have explosive strength; but their head continually moves with a range of motion during the multiple captive bolt or 22 type fire arm shots used to render them unconscious. Multiple head injuries occur before the strike that finally renders them unconscious. This is due to the anatomy of a long neck and strong flight instinct in an equine; who’s head is a moving target as he desperately tries to flee and avoid the excruciating blows to his skull.
It is important to note that the captive bolt device nor 22 type firearm bullets are used to actually kill the equine because during the slaughter process, the heart MUST be pumping in order to bleed out of the animal’s tissues prior to slaughtering them. As many as 4 minutes have been documented that a horse was conscious during & after these injuries to render him unconscious. Film has shown a horse flailing on its side in the kill box after regaining consciousness in excruciating pain from the horrific skull injuries it had already experienced.
Once the chains are applied to the back legs of the animal now on its side in the kill box and the throat is slit; the horse then goes down the production line (now unconscious) hanging upside down by the hind legs. This animals is behind the horses he saw and heard screaming before him, as he smelled their blood before his own death experience.
For different reasons, pregnant mares have been accepted into the slaughterhouse and are slit in the abdomen when they are vivisected; and close to full term foals have been photographed hitting the slaughter house floor. They don’t survive the trauma; and are piled with waste from the slaughter process.
Clearly, despite any pro horse slaughter argument, there is and can be NO humane horse slaughter in the United States or abroad. In addition to the humane issues already discussed, the captive bolt and 22 type fire arm shots were also used in the United States when slaughterhouses for the purpose of human consumption were operational in the United States. In the past, regardless of what authorities witnessed during planned European Union ( EU ) inspections, documented unplanned investigations revealed the harsh reality that brutal activities in these commercial horse slaughter plants that process many animals are heinous and inhumane, regardless of the country the plant was in. Note: Because of the January 2015 ban of horse-meat from slaughter plants in Mexico going to Europe, Canada has sometimes been flooded with hundreds of equines headed for slaughter every week this year, because the kill buyers get a higher by the pound price. However, equines going into Mexico and South American countries are still slaughtered with the meat going to South American countries and others including Japan; where the EU(European Union) doesn’t regulate that commodity. And the handling and slaughter methods are very brutal.
While we should direct attention to animal welfare issues affecting all livestock, those that try to justify horse slaughter as an equalizer or solution to manage the “unwanted horses problem” in the United States must realize that equines (unlike other livestock) are not raised for the purpose of human consumption.
Slaughter is only the band aid, ***NOT*** a solution for “getting rid of” horses that don’t make the “cut” due to over breeding and other exploitive equine industries. Additionally experts are against humans (regardless of the country) eating meat tainted with chemicals that cause health problems including cancer.
It is important to note that discussions are looming to potentially open slaughter plants in the United States again. With this, there will be new international implications that will be revealed; with regard to shipping United States horse meat overseas that is tainted with medications (due to its very source). Because the sources of equines for these slaughter plants will not change, morally there are repercussions for our nation to knowingly ship off tainted meat of any species.
For a visual, put commonly used fly spray insecticide, wormer, bute, tranquilizer, or other chemicals banned for use in animals for human consumption on a dinner plate. That is what is in horse meat being shipped off to foreign countries by virtue of what the horse has been exposed to in its life. Only a small percentage of the >140,000 annually slaughtered American equines have *not been exposed to these chemicals (BANNED for use in food animals, while others have a 6 month residual period by law).
The phrase “From Stable to Table in Seven Days” says it all because from the point of purchase, that is how quickly many equines are slaughtered. If horses slaughter were legalized in US for human consumption, those poisons still are there, except more tainted meat may possibly stay in the US, instead of ship to European countries. In some pro slaughter circles, it has been suggested that our school children eat it (if slaughter were to be legalized for human consumption) in the United States. But even if our children don’t eat it, other people in South America and European countries do and it is dangerous due to the common medications used in America’s Equines.
Chemical and biological warfare itself is designed on the very premise of harmful agents entering the human body. Yet tens of thousands of pounds of horse meat that originated in the United States is purchased at grocery stores and served to school children and people in institutions. They are served this tainted meat in European countries including France, Belgium and Japan. http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/meat-and-poultry-products/manual-of-procedures/chapter-17/annex-e/eng/1370023131206/1370023203607
What about USDA statutes and inspections? There has always been complacency with regard to enforcing regulations and enforcing prosecution for USDA violations to begin with. The humanity and morals that a society has can be seen in how it treats its animals. This is a heinous industry that is no way justified by any Animal Welfare or Slaughter Animal Laws in the United States.
Breeders who keep only the best of the best, and whose registries sometimes REWARD them for breeding/registering with incentives; as well as individuals who allow horses to breed and then dump them at auctions and feedlots need to be exposed. But equally to blame, the culture needs to change and individuals that contribute to and profit from equine exploitation and suffering need to be held accountable. Just like the environmentally dangerous act of dumping tankers of slaughter house blood into soils and water tables, disposal is simply disposal. It is *not* a solution to a the bigger problem~ nor are events leading up to and the slaughter act itself of unwanted living breathing equines people have given away, sold cheaply or dumped at auctions a solution for poor choices.
NOTE: The atrocities animals of many species endure at *illegal slaughter facilities that are periodically discovered and disbanded are too many to be mentioned. Please read more here: http://www.local10.com/news/florida/loxahatchee-animal-cruelty-bust-largest-in-u-s-history- http://www.animalrecoverymission.org/operations/illegal-horse-slaughter/
Many Americans are unaware we are losing a precious part of our American Heritage~ Mustangs (Wild Horses and Burros) have been slaughtered and exterminated now for over a century. At the turn of the 20th century, over a million roamed our landscape. Now there are less than 30,000 in the Wild.
Tens of thousands of Wild and Free Roaming Horses, mules and burros living in State and National Forests and OUR Public Lands intended as safe haven for them, have been brutally rounded up and separated from their family bands, destroyed or gone to holding facilities where they are incarcerated for months or years. Many have gone into the slaughter pipeline and kill pens at an alarming rate.
Overview of The Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burros Act of 1971 Public Law 92-195 (includes Burns Amendment information). By Mary Brown
Reference: https://wildhorseeducation.org/burns-amendment/ R
Wild Horses and Burros:
Please also write and urge politicians to lobby to Repeal the Burns Amendment
“The future of America’s Wild Horses and Burros is of huge concern. The Burns Amendment of 2004 has legalized slaughter of wild equines over the age of 10 and those that have not been adopted after three adoption attempts. Within the past year, Politicians (who are for grazing livestock on Our Public Lands) have pushed for “Wild Horse Oversight Act” (2015) and the “Stewart Amendment” (2016). This Legislation (that calls for transfer of management/oversight of wild equines from Federal to *State* would put every single Wild, Captured, Free Roaming, Blm, non Blm (Bureau of Land Management), or “Feral” Equine (all 80,000 of them) in the *VERY SAME* predicament that the below non- BLM Managed herds currently face. Wild Horses and Burros are not just in the Western states, they have been rounded up and put up for sale at auction for meat prices for decades.Examples are:THE WEST DOUGLAS, PICEANCE-EAST DOUGLAS HERD(Colorado), FORT POLK, PEASON RIDGE & KISATCHIE REGION WILD HORSES(Louisiana), THE HEBER HERD, PLACITAS WILD HORSES(New Mexico), VIRGINIA RANGE HORSES.Likewise, it is extremely doubtful that individual states will budget money for holding facilities or adoptions, when several are already trying to eliminate them once and for all to male way for agriculture and energy agenda. It is more likely removals of the Blm horses will continue. They could be destroyed or be used for something else, including experimentation and surgical sterilization procedures with no anesthetic (as the University in Burns Oregon has planned). Please help to preserve a place on our American landscapes for our Wild Horses and Burros~they are part of our Heritage.”
In order to OPPOSE Horse Slaughter of ALL equines, we must urge our elected officials to become familiar with the atrocities of equine slaughter:
SUPPORT Passage of the SAFE ACT Hr1942 S1214.
Please urge them also to support to support more severe penalties for animal cruelty slaughter and non-slaughter equines in their state:
Read more about Safe Act Legislation here: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/federal-legislation-introduced-to-prohibit-slaughter-of-american-horses-300070663.html
Please monitor the growing list of H.R. 1942 SAFE ACT supporters here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1942/cosponsors
Contact your State’s Representative and two Senators and request or thank them for their support. Find ALL contacts by clicking here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members
Find House of Representative contacts by clicking here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/
By Kimberly Sheppard. Last Edited 08/16/2016. Photo courtesy of Animals’ Angels. This document will be updated as needed. kcs