Surviving horses in Illinois crash not out of woods (Update)

A double decker trailer carrying 59 horses crashed in northern Illinois, killing 16 authorities now say.

Belgian draft horse yearlings were being shipped from Indiana to Minnesota. Illinois State Police safety inspectors checked the tractor-trailer for equipment violations and the USDA is investigating possible violations of the Commercial Transportation of Horses to Slaughter Regulations.

The horses are under care at a local farm. At this time the fate of the surviving horses is still undetermined. However, unless someone intervenes, they will continue their journey to slaughter.

The 43 surviving horses from a weekend crash continued to improve Tuesday; however, veterinarians say it will be at least another week before they are out of danger.

Veterinarians considered euthanizing two more horses Monday, but their conditions improved overnight, said Leslie Szalla, with Bristol Veterinary Service in Union Grove, Wis.

In all, 16 draft horses have died or been euthanized following a rollover crash Saturday night involving the double-decker semitrailer truck they were being transported in.

“Given what we saw when we got to the wreck, I’m shocked as many came off the truck alive as they did,” Szalla said. “Today, the majority were doing better than worse, but it will be at least another week before there are not potential complications.”

Source: Daily Herald

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recognize that transporting horses in double-deck trailers is both inhumane and unsafe. The loophole in the regulations that bans double-deck trailer use is only for hauling directly to slaughter plants.

Horses in the slaughter pipeline can still legally be hauled in double-deck trailers to feedlots or other holding points (sometimes in close proximity to the slaughterhouses), provided they are off-loaded and transferred to single-deck trailers for final delivery.

The animals were being transported from an auction in Shepshewana, Ind., to Minnesota.

Sheriff’s officials have said the animals are owned by a Minnesota-based breeder and were not being taken to a slaughterhouse. Shepshewana is a notorious auction haunted by killer buyers who have contracts to supply Canadian slaughterhouses with thousands of horses a week. The breeder is not being identified.

Read more at Driver in crash that killed horses could face additional charges, Tragedy avoidable and inexcusable, Lake County sheriff says, Chicago Tribune