Investigations by Topics:

28. February 2020

Australia | Echuca, Victoria | Horse auction

The auctioneer, accompanied by several people, walks on a bridge above the horses.

The horse auction in Echuca is where kill buyers purchase their horses. Kill buyer Peter Loffel, whose assembly centres we have been observing in the previous days, also buys horses at this auction. Equipped with hidden cameras, we are going to the auction as a team of three. The auctioneer moves from pen to pen above the horses. His roaring voice…

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.

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…

24. February 2020

Australia | Victoria | Horsemeat imports: Interview with informant Kim

The label of phenylbutazone states: “Not to be used in horses intended for human consumption.”

We meet up with informant Kim. She wants to remain anonymous. Her name has been changed. Kim has been investigating the fate of retired racing horses for a long time.

We talk to Kim about traceability and food safety issues. She explains that the owner has to fill out a horse vendor declaration stating any medical treatments the horse has…

11. February 2020

Argentina | Mercedes, province of Buenos Aires | Slaughterhouse Lamar

A new tarpaulin has recently been erected for visual protection.

We observe the Lamar slaughterhouse on two consecutive days. It is very hot, 34°C. The outdoor pens are crowded. The horses have no protection from the sun and heat, which contravenes applicable EU regulations.

Three months earlier, in November 2019, this place was inspected by auditors from the University of Louvain in Belgium on behalf of…

09. February 2020

Argentina | Venado Tuerto, province of Santa Fe | Acopio

Barbed wire can cause such serious injuries.

There are hundreds of horse assembly centres in Argentina, so-called acopios. Most are unknown to the European auditors. The Argentinian authorities select assembly centres for audits. Usually, they pick model farms. So, we decide to visit assembly centres that are hidden from inspection.

We pay a visit to the acopio outside the town of Venado…

09. February 2020

Argentina | Río Cuarto, province of Córdoba | Slaughterhouse Land L

Horses exposed to the rain and sinking deep into the mud.

When we arrive at the Land L slaughterhouse on Friday morning, it is raining heavily and will continue raining until Monday. The horses are standing crowded together in the open, soaking wet. There are shelters in some of the pens, but their size is insufficient for the number of horses. In a few places, we see hay lying in the mud. According to a…

06. February 2020

Argentina | Santiago Temple, Province of Córdoba | Acopio of Arroyo

Horses kept without food and without any shade from the sun.

We drive to the acopio (horse assembly centre) in Santiago Temple, which is vast. We have been here many times before. What we find is always the same. In the middle of the acopio, there is a huge pile of carcasses with hundreds of dead horses.

A storm has passed recently. Trees and branches are lying around. The holding pens and feeding places…

03. February 2020

Argentina | Ibicuy, province of Entre Ríos | Acopio of “El Turco”

Dead horse at the roadside close to Turco’s farm.

There are hundreds of horse assembly centres in Argentina, so-called acopios. Today, we visit once again the acopio in Ibicuy with the sacred name of “Espiritu Santo”. It belongs to the slaughter horse dealer Jorge Saap, known as “El Turco”.

The temperature has reached 38°C, but the horses have no shade available, not even from trees. We see…

13. November 2019

Argentina | San Vicente, province of Buenos Aires | Raúl Onorato’s farm

An emaciated mare with prominent bones on Onorato’s pasture.

We first visited Raúl Onorato’s farm in San Vicente at the end of August, after the confiscation of some of his horses in the “field of horror” in Ezeiza. At that time, we saw no horses at his farm. Today, 2½ months later, there are several hundreds of horses on his pastures. It is a sunny day but the animals have no shade available, not even from…