Uruguay | Cerro Largo | Bocking’s farm “Biomega SA” | Blood farms for hormone production
In the early morning, two gauchos on horseback move about 200 horses from the pastures into the holding pens of the blood farm. Another worker is observed hanging empty blood bags over a fence to dry. At 8:35, three employees start moving horses from the holding pens towards the building, using wooden sticks. They are hitting the horses repeatedly, also on their heads, sometimes with full force. The procedure is very chaotic and unprofessional. The mares are extremely agitated and stressed, they run up and down the raceway.
In the blood extraction area, workers are observed repeatedly slapping horses with their hats or hands, including on their heads. Some mares struggle in the restraint box and rear up several times. Others look very weak and support their trembling head on the exit door. With some mares, employees are observed doing something at their backside, what looks like an abortion. With other mares, they are busy doing something at their neck, possibly inserting a cannula into the jugular vein.
A lot of mares look dazed and disoriented when coming out of the restraint box, some appear weak and stagger. We observe that even lame horses, some of which are severely limping or hobbling on three legs, have to go through the process as well as a few mares with foals, who risk being trampled by the adult horses. An emaciated dun mare looks very weak and is severely lame. Later, we observe her lying flat on the ground without moving, very close to the building, but nobody cares about her.
After being released from the blood extraction area, the mares are chased away by a Dobermann dog, who frightens them by barking and running after them. At 11:05, the last mare is released. Out of approximately 200 mares that have been processed today, only seven have foals. This strongly indicates that the foals are systematically aborted.
At noon, we encounter two seriously injured white mares on a nearby pasture. One of them is extremely emaciated and cannot bear any weight on her right hind leg. It looks like an open fracture. The wound is badly infected and pus is dropping down. The other mare is observed repeatedly licking the bleeding wound on her hind leg. Both injuries have obviously not yet been treated. Later, the second mare is lying flat on the ground without moving.
In the afternoon, we observe about 16 drum containers, holding up to 800 litres of blood plasma, being emptied into large storage tanks.