04. December 2018

Uruguay | Artigas, Canelones | Horse auction and transport to the slaughterhouse

Auction in Artigas: brutal handling at the entrance of the auction ring.

The auction ring is slippery and holds risks of injury.

The horse panics after being prodded with an electric device.

During the unloading at Clay, a worker beats the horses with a stick.

Our team inspects a horse auction in Artigas, a town in northern Uruguay. The handling of the horses at the entrance of the auction ring is extremely violent. Auction workers hit the frightened animals with sticks and leather whips. All horses go through the sale regardless of their condition. We even see a horse with a broken leg, heavily pregnant mares or very young foals. Numerous horses fall on the slippery floor of the auction ring, one of them is hurting himself badly. We note that a lot of horses do not have the mandatory brand mark. In Uruguay, it is prohibited by law to sell or transport unbranded horses. Two suppliers of EU-approved slaughterhouses, Ruben Bardanca and Walter Peña, buy horses without the mandatory brand mark.

On the next morning, we document the loading of the horses. They are crammed together and mistreated with electric prods and wooden sticks. We follow two trucks belonging to Bardanca to his nearby farm. This is where the horses are hot-branded and ear-tagged before being reloaded. The transport to the Clay slaughterhouse near Montevideo takes 16 hours. When the animals are finally unloaded, they are exhausted and thirsty.

Moreover, notice that the shelters, which Clay had repaired before the EU Commission’s audit in April, are broken again.