Ariz. — More horses are being sent to
grueling cross-border journeys stretch for hundreds of miles with horses
crammed in double-decker trailers. They face deaths there that are sometimes far
more gruesome than they would have been in the
U.S. Department of Agriculture says more than 45,000 horses went to
"People have no place to go with them," said Wayne Earven, a former state livestock inspector who was recently selling a horse at a Willcox auction. "To be real honest with you, we haven't seen the worst of it yet."
road to Mexican slaughterhouses usually begins at auction, either in Willcox or Benson. From there, horses are bought and taken
plants in the
groups across the country have pushed for legislation to outlaw the export of
Versions of the bill are in the U.S. House and Senate. Southern Arizona Reps. Gabrielle Giffords and Raul Grijalva, both Democrats, are co-sponsors.
Cordes, senior staff veterinarian for the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, said a ban would almost certainly do nothing to stop
the movement of horses to
"Horses are going as riders rather than as killers," he said. "A horse can cross the border as a rider, and once it's in the sworn country it can become anything at that point. There are a number of clever ways to get horses across the border."
Dane, director of equine protection for the Humane Society of the
He added that instead of slaughtering horses, some of the healthier animals still could be used on ranches and the rest could live out their lives at horse sanctuaries, such as Equine Voices.
"We believe there are plenty of options for these horses," he said. "For decades the horse industry has used slaughter as a method for culling the over-breeding that they do. They basically are intentionally breeding horses that they know are going to slaughter."
cowboy Herb Cook said he's seen how horses are killed in
it's a lot cruder than in the