Uruguay | Canelones | Slaughterhouse Sarel | Horsemeat import
When we arrive at the slaughterhouse Sarel, we are surprised to see that the large paddocks next to the main road, which were empty on our last visit in October, are very crowded today. Altogether, there are approximately 250 horses on the slaughterhouse premises. The temperature reaches 28°C today. We note that two small shelters have been built, which are however completely insufficient in number and size. Only a few horses find protection under the corrugated iron roofs.
We observe that the horses are hungry and searching the floor for something to eat. Some are eating the few remnants of straw scattered around on the dirt floor, others are nibbling at the grass that grows in some parts of the paddocks but is very scarce. Several horses are seen scratching the ground, which could be a sign of hunger.
We detect a large number of horses that are thin, with ribs and hip bones clearly showing. Quite a few horses are lying down and appear exhausted. Two mares that appear to be pregnant. Furthermore, we observe several horses with clear or suspected health issues. A thin dark-brown horse is lame on the hind legs and has great difficulty walking. A dun gelding is standing completely motionless with an abnormal posture, which could be a sign of distress. We notice a chestnut that holds up his right hind leg – a sign of pain. Another chestnut has a swollen carpal joint on the right front leg. A palomino horse is severely lame on the left hind leg and cannot bear any weight on the hurting leg.
Like Clay, Sarel is not only a slaughterhouse but also a registered collecting station, where horses have to stay for 40 days prior to slaughter. Anti-inflammatory painkillers like phenylbutazone or dipyrone cannot be administered to the horses for food safety reasons, meaning that lame and injured horses receive no pain therapy during this period.