Horse 5036: American Horses Facing Slaughter, Investigation Shows
November 23, 2022—In a new two-part undercover investigation by international animal protection organization Animal Equality, undercover investigators show American horses awaiting slaughter at a facility in Zacatecas, Mexico.
In the footage released today from the Cárnicas de Jerez slaughterhouse in Zacatecas, Mexico, a horse approaches an undercover investigator for Animal Equality. The yellow tag stuck to his body is his only identification. It reads 5036.
The tag was put there by the United States Department of Agriculture. This horse and the other horses in the corral are American. An on-site veterinarian was filmed by Animal Equality’s investigator further confirming this horse’s origin: “5036, which you can read there. He is from the USA.”
American horse 5036 is part of a global meat trade despite horse slaughter being effectively banned in the US. In 2007, the US Congress took funding away from USDA inspectors to oversee horse slaughterhouses. This meant horse meat could no longer be sold since only USDA-approved meat is legal.
The US shifted its focus to transporting horses to Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered as a way to continue profiting off this animal product. In 2021, over 24,000 horses were sent to slaughterhouses outside of US borders. Horse 5036 was one of them.
In documents obtained by Animal Equality, the Cárnicas de Jerez slaughterhouse receives some of its horses from an auction in Bowie, Texas. These animals are purchased at auction when they become too old or injured after a life of breeding, ranching and horse riding, among other purposes.
Horses from this particular auction are transported across Texas for nearly eight hours. They then cross the border into Mexico in Eagle Pass and travel for more than 9 hours until they arrive at the Cárnicas de Jerez slaughterhouse in Zacatecas—a total of 17 hours of travel.
Once the animals are slaughtered, Cárnicas de Jerez ships the meat products to Russia, China, Vietnam and Japan—contributing to the $397 million global horse meat trade. The US continues to partake in this trade despite 83% of Americans opposing the slaughter and consumption of horses, as a poll conducted by Lake Research Partners and the ASPCA found.
The death of horse 5036, as well as the death of tens of thousands of American horses every year, is unnecessary and unacceptable. As our investigators documented, the US is sending these horses outside of our borders so that their killing is out of sight of the majority of Americans that oppose the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Our citizens agree this suffering is wrong—now it’s time for the US Government to ban it once and for all.-Sharon Núñez, President of Animal Equality
In the second part of this investigation, never-before-seen footage shows the treatment of horses inside a slaughterhouse in Arriaga, Chiapas. The images were captured during multiple years of investigations by Animal Equality inside the horse meat trade in Mexico, Italy, and Spain.1
As seen in the footage, animals who could not walk were forced to move by being beaten with sticks or hung with chains to suffocate them. Workers routinely use electric shock or a water hose to spray horses in the face in an attempt to herd these animals.
Animal Equality investigators also found serious non-compliance with the Mexican Official Standard that determines methods for killing animals to avoid unnecessary suffering. In the investigative footage, horses are shown ineffectively stunned before slaughter. Some are shot in the head multiple times before falling unconscious. Horses were also found to be killed while conscious.
This two-part investigation comes a month after Animal Equality released an international campaign to end horse slaughter. Nearly 100,000 supporters worldwide have already signed the petition to end this practice.
There is currently no permanent federal ban on the exportation or slaughter of American horses in the US. Congress may be presented with an end-of-year package that includes language to end this ongoing practice permanently. This past Wednesday, Animal Equality and the ASPCA urged supporters to tweet Congress leaders Charles Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, as well as call their US Representatives to demand a ban.
Animal Equality is continuing to raise awareness of the continued slaughter of US horses, like 5036, who was killed the day after the investigation.
Interviews available upon request:
Email or call Claire Roberson, Communications Manager, to schedule an interview with Animal Equality’s President & Co-founder Sharon Núñez:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (424) 902-2122
1The horses filmed during the Chiapas, Mexico investigation were not identified as American. The images captured show the type of slaughterhouses US horses could end up in.
ABOUT ANIMAL EQUALITY:
Animal Equality is an international animal protection organization working with society, governments, and companies to end cruelty to farmed animals. Through undercover investigations, Animal Equality works in eight countries—the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, and India—to create and change animal protection laws, educate the public and work with corporations to improve the lives of farmed animals.