Uruguay | San Antonio | Horse Auction | Horsemeat Import
The horse auction in San Antonio is organised by horse dealer Richard Prego, who is one of Clay’s largest suppliers of slaughter horses. The sale starts at 15:00. Theauctioneer announces through loudspeakers that 400 horses are offered for sale. Both riding and loose horses are chased through the auction ring for about two minutes. The handling by the auction employees is very rough. The horses are frequently beaten, also on their heads. They show strong signs of fear, many of them panic. We observe a yearling that is so frightened that he jumps against the gate in order to escape the auction ring.
Children of different ages ride horses in the auction ring and help move groups of horses from the pens to the forecourt. The youngest child is only about six years old. We observe that the children also beat the animals. Numerous horses offered for sale are injured, sick or very thin. We see animals withopen wounds, broken legs and strangles. Many horses are lame. A chestnut gelding is extremely emaciated and very weak. He should never have been accepted forsale. The severely lame yearling we saw the day before is also chased through theauction ring. The thin horse with the broken left front leg, which can bear weight on three legs only, also hobbles through the ring. After the horses have been sold, they are moved to different pens and mixed in new groups. A lot of fighting can be observed in the holding pens.
The sale lasts until 21:00. Some single horses are loaded after the auction, but most horses stay overnight. In the holding pens, the animals do not have access to water or food. We observe that hungry horss are searching the dirt floor fo something to eat.