24. February 2020

Australia | Mooroopna, Victoria | Horse assembly centres of Peter Loffel

An emaciated thoroughbred mare, discarded by the racing industry at Loffel’s assembly centre.

The horses are constantly searching for food in the dust.

The food supply at Loffel’s assembly centres is insufficient.

A hungry horse chews on a net. It can be deadly if the horse swallows the netting.

Our team is investigating two assembly centres in Mooroopna, Victoria. They belong to kill buyer Peter Loffel. The first one is located next to a main road and is visible to the public, while the second assembly centre is well hidden in the forest. Peter Loffel has been supplying Meramist abattoir for many years. The abattoir is over 1,500 km away from his assembly centres in Mooroopna. He transports the horses to Meramist in open cattle trailers for up to 30 hours without food or water and without any protection from heat or wind.

We observe Loffel’s assembly centres for five days. During our investigation, the temperatures reach almost 40°C. At one assembly centre, the horses have a little shade from surrounding trees, at the other they are fully exposed to the blazing sun. They are kept on barren, dusty land, where no grass grows. Food is provided only sporadically, and it is straw, which has little nutritional value. The horses keep searching for food remains in the dust. We observe horses eating manure out of sheer hunger. One horse even chews on a net. Eating bale netting can lead to a colic and can be deadly for the horse.

Most of the horses in Peter Loffel’s assembly centres are former racehorses. The brands on their shoulders or their neck give away their identity. They have been discarded by the racing industry because they are no longer considered profitable. This is why the industry refers to them as “wastage”. We document several horses that are extremely emaciated. In both places we detect horses that are severely lame. They should have been separated from the other horses in order to receive medical treatment. However, no money is spent on the care of horses that are discarded like waste and destined for the slaughterhouse.