The cruelty of horse slaughter is not limited to the
act of killing the animals. Horses bound for slaughter are shipped, frequently
for long distances, and are not rested, fed, or watered during travel.
Economics, not humane considerations, dictate the conditions, including
crowding as many horses into trucks as possible.
Often, terrified horses and ponies are crammed together and transported to
slaughter in double-deck trucks designed for cattle and pigs. The truck
ceilings are so low that the horses are not able to hold their heads in a
normal, balanced position. Inappropriate floor surfaces lead to slips and
falls, and sometimes even trampling. Some horses arrive at the slaughterhouse
seriously injured or dead. Although transportation accidents have largely
escaped public scrutiny, several tragic ones involving collapsed upper floors
and overturned double-deckers have caused human fatalities as well as suffering
and death for the horses.
Frightened horses are dragged off the trucks.
This horse's hoof and leg is caught in the slats of the truck.
Too weak to stand, these horses have collapsed.
Some of their legs are stuck in the slats.
Below is an excerpt from "The Texas Massacres - Horse Slaughter In America" By
Laura A. Moretti
In a sworn statement before Cook County, State of Illinois, a former employee
[name withheld] of Cavel International, a horse slaughtering plant, testified
In July 1991, they were unloading one of the double-decker trucks. A
horse got his leg caught in the side of the truck so the driver pulled the rig
up and the horse's leg popped off. The horse was still living, and it was
shaking. [Another employee] popped it on the head and we hung it up and split
it open. .... Sometimes we would kill near 390, 370 a day. Each double-decker
might have up to 100 on it. We would pull off the dead ones with chains. Ones
that were down on the truck, we would drag them off with chains and maybe put
them in a pen or we might drag them with an automatic chain to the knockbox.
Sometimes we would use an electric shocker to try to make them stand. To get
them into the knockbox, you have to shock them ... sometimes run them up the
[anus] with the shocker. ... When we killed a pregnant mare, we would take the
guts out and I would take the bag out and open it and cut the cord and put it
in the trash and sometimes the baby would still be living, and its heart would
be beating, but we would put it in the trashcan.