Yet another trailer crammed with horses on their way to slaughter has crashed, and this time the US Department of Transportation (DOT) has stepped in to see that the company responsible loses its wheels—at least for now. DOT ordered Three Angels Farms of Tennessee to cease all transportation operations following their second deadly crash in six months, both involving horses bound for slaughter.
In June, a Three Angels horse trailer loaded down with 37 horses broke in half while traveling an interstate highway south of Nashville. One of the injured horses was euthanized. Inspectors later found holes rusted through support beams and brakes out of service. In January, a company trailer loaded with 38 horses crashed, killing three horses and seriously injuring two others. That trailer was found to have mostly bald tires, brakes out of adjustment, and rusted cross-members in the undercarriage—though authorities say the crash likely occurred not because of the trailer’s poor mechanical condition but rather because the driver fell asleep at the wheel after a shift at the farm in which he’d gotten 30 minutes rest during a 24-hour period. The company allowed its three drivers to operate without commercial licenses, and without proper testing for controlled substances, as required. (One, in fact, continued to drive after a prior positive test for drugs.)
The Tennessee Highway Patrol indicated that both trailers were bound for Presidio, Texas, a border town where horses are kept in pens until they're taken to slaughterhouses in Mexico. Unfortunately, Three Angels Farms will be allowed to resume operations should it come into compliance with federal trucking laws. And they’ll keep hauling horses to slaughter until Congress finally bans the practice for good.