DECEMBER 20, 2022 - A six month investigation by the EWA and other animal investigation organizations has finally determined the predominant source of abandoned horses in the Southwestern US. Until now articles about their discovery have speculated that they were abandoned by individual owners because they could no longer afford to feed them.
In August, the first piece of the puzzle fell into place when approximately 300 horses were spotted from the air starving and dead in a remote feedlot near the port-of-entry town of Presidio, Texas. The fact that living horses were found in different stages of starvation and the dead horses were in various stages of decomposition, indicated they had been dumped there at different times.
The question was of course why they had left the horses to perish only a few miles from the border crossing where they could have been sold to the slaughter plants in Mexico.
An answer came in the European Union’s (EU’s) report (DG(SANCO) 2010-8524 – MR) from the 2010 audit of their horse slaughter plants in Mexico. In section 22.214.171.124, the report divulged that Mexico had rejected 5,336 slaughter horses out of 62,560 between January and October 2010. The horses were rejected under a new system of controls implemented in December, 2009. Reasons for rejection included health problems, advanced pregnancy and injuries.
Normally kill buyers who haul slaughter horses to Mexico try to fill their trailers with cattle and other animals on the return journey. So clearly they need to dispose of the rejected horses, and the most economical way to do so is to simply abandon them on a deserted stretch of road or in an isolated lot.
Ironically, while the horse slaughter lobby has been claiming abandonment was a result of a lack of slaughter, it now appears it is in large part a result of the practice.