NY: Tractor-Trailer Fire Claims 30 Horses

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A tractor-trailer fire claimed the lives of 30 horses Monday night along I-81 in Lisle, New York.

According to a report in the Observer-Dispatch, the horses were being transported from Shippensburg, Pa., to a rendering plant in Massueville, Quebec, by Clarence Phelps of Watertown, NY. Phelps was driving along I-81 when he noticed flames coming from the passenger side of the vehicle. He pulled over and attempted to extinguish the fire, but was unsuccessful.

By the time police and firefighters arrived, the vehicle was completely engulfed, and officials were unable to save any of the horses.

Read more in the Observer-Dispatch

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  • old horse lover

    If they had not been on the way to be ground up they would still be alive under the sweet sunshine.

    • ziggypop

      There are way too many of these killer trailers accidents.

      • betterthannothing

        Yes, there are. How many more tragedies will it take to end the horrible horse slaughter trade?

        Why were those horses being trucked all the way into Quebec to be rendered when rendering plants are available in the US?

        Why rendering plants instead of slaughter houses available in Quebec?

        Were those horses not fit for slaughter? Starved? Sick? Pregnant? Drugged?

        • old horse lover

          I think they have to be already dead to render.Not sure but would think they where on the way to slaughter not render.

          • betterthannothing

            I think some animals are taken alive to rendering plants. I would like to know more about them as well as about the above tragedy.

          • betterthannothing
          • swiss305

            That’s a sad eye-opener. Thank you.

        • DressageQueen

          There are plants in the US but no federal people to inspect them so there is no horse slaughter in the US. They truck the horses to Canada or Mexico

  • Colleen Segarra

    These horses were not going for rendering…. They were going for slaughter. Viandes Richelieu is in Massueville, Quebec.

    • betterthannothing

      Thank you!

  • Jan

    30 horses on 1 truck? Where are the transportation laws?

    • ziggypop

      The biggest voices against humane transportation of our horses have been, year after year, those who are the biggest supporters of horse slaughter. imagine that!!!

  • Beach

    Prayers that the horses were delivered from pain and fear. SICKENING

    • ziggypop

      the transport of our horses to their deaths happens by the thousands every day…every fricken day. We, you and I betray them, every day. It must stop. Karmic-ly, it must stop, or this industry is doomed.

      • Beach

        1. I find it all sickening;

        2. I utterly refuse to bet on racing;

        3. I love the horses;

        4. I do not believe in disposable animals or “junk foals” or the like;

        5. If something is wrong and unfixable the animal should be humanely euthanized;

        6. I am not a racing person who spouts nonsense about the “love of the animal” despite what he/she is doing to the animals that don’t make any money;

        7. I give every last nickel I can to reputable horse rescues;

        8. I no longer even give to small animal rescue, because I strongly believe the horses need it more. At least the(sadly) unwanted small animals are usually getting euthanized, not slaughtered.

        9. I don’t “betray them”, I’m trying as hard as I can to help them.

        • giftoffaith

          I just feel the need to reply to your post. I understand and can apreciate your feelings on the racing industry. However, there are many, many good people who truly take very good care of their horses and find them a good home when they can no longer race. I have 1 that came from one of these people, 2 that i retired, and an other that unable to race was found a home, but ended with up with us. Racing is not made up of all bad people. There are people good and bad in all things. People mistreat each other and dogs and cats. What we need to do is penalize the bad ones and stop this slaughter business.

        • nu-fan

          I have to agree with giftoffaith. There is no one sector of our society that is immune to those who are reprehensible. Regarding racing: If it wasn’t for racing, I would not know about the many things that need to be done to improve the welfare of its horses. Fans, if exposed to this, can become your allies in getting the much needed reforms needed. This is the one area or sport that is more organized and has a bigger impact on such knowledge being made available to the public. And, should you be great at handicapping, you might be able to make some extra money to contribute to these causes. But, yes, I can understand your frustrations at what seems to be such a slow process of making certain that horses, whether racing ones or not, be kept safe and in good care.

  • Francis Bush

    How could this horrible mess develop? Probably a lighted cigarette was left in the trailer at sometime shortly before the fire. Why is smoking allowed around the barns and care areas for these horses. Imagine how the horses felt being fried inside of a trailer that roasted their bones. The company should be extinguished that transported the poor devils.

  • old horse lover

    If you want to help stop this call the Ag Comittee and tell them you want them to ban horse slaughter in the 2013 budget and de fund it in the 2014 budget. You get look up a list that will give you the names and states of each member call just yours or call them all and speak for those who have no voice and do not deserve this happening to them.Then ask them to ban horse slaughter and the transportation to slaughter with in and out side of our borders.If you don’t let the people in Washington that decide all this then they just do whant ever they want and do what the Lobbist that offer the most want them to do.Please call and get everyone you know to call.

    • ziggypop

      and then, the equine industry, themselves, vote notorious horse slaughter advocates into “horses’ best interest” organizations, that promote slaughter to deal with the “puppy -millification” of our beloved horses.

  • betterthannothing

    It was supposed to be a long 600 Mile ordeal for 30 horses packed in a truck
    without food, water, care, pity, names, history, medical records, nothing left of them
    but meat on hooves.

  • Otis

    Guess who is based in Shippensburg, PA? Bruce Rotz! Phelps driving for him. Article from a NY paper reads that the fuel tank ruptured. Foul, foul end for those poor horses. RIP.

    • betterthannothing

      May 7, 2013
      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

      Thirty horses burned alive in tractor trailer fire

      Equine Welfare Alliance (Chicago) –

      An estimated 30 horses died in a truck fire on I-81 in Lisle, PA Monday night. According to police the truck was driven by Clarence Phelps of Watertown, but the owner of the horses was kill buyer Bruce Rotz. When contacted about the accident by Equine Welfare Alliance, Rotz indicated he would have no comment, saying only “if it burned it burned.”

      Local reports say the truck caught fire and the driver stopped but neither he nor
      first responders were able to extinguish the flames. No reason was given for
      keeping the horses trapped in the trailer as it burned. The truck was pulled
      over in New York on March 13, 2013 and ordered out of service until repairs and
      maintenance could be performed. Nine violations were noted in 2011, one of
      which was a discharged or unsecured fire extinguisher.

      The horses were reportedly destined for the Viande Richelieu Meat, Inc.
      slaughterhouse in Massueville, Quebec. Local reports misidentified the destination as a “rendering plant”, an operation that recycles dead animals and animal products into protein based compounds. Richelieu is not a renderer but a plant that slaughters horses for their meat.

      Rotz routinely buys horses from the weekly New Holland, PA horse auction and other
      sources and delivers them to Canada for slaughter for human consumption. For
      its part, the Richelieu plant has been involved in multiple scandals.

      In February of 2010, the Richelieu plant was embroiled in controversy when an undercover videowas released showing horses being shot multiple times with a 22
      caliber, bolt action rifle. The images of the horses struggling after improperly placed shots, while the shooter casually walked back and forth to a table to reload his rifle, were seen around the world.

      More recently, Canadian slaughter houses, which depend on the US for an estimated
      60% of the horses they slaughter, came under scrutiny when testing showed horses carcasses contained the banned substance phenylbutazone.

      The meat from Canadian horse slaughter houses is sold mostly in the EU, where horse meat has been found in a wide variety of products marked as “beef” since January.

      Over 59,000 US horses were slaughtered in Canada in 2012 according to the USDA.
      Federal legislation is pending that would ensure our food supply and exports to
      foreign countries remain safe by banning the “sale or transport of equines or equine parts” in interstate or foreign commerce for human consumption.

      USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has stated on several occasions the need for Congress to find an alternative to slaughtering horses.

      – # -

      The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) is a dues-free 501c4, umbrella organization with over 280 member organizations and over 1,000 individual members worldwide in 21 countries. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids. http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org – Contacts:
      John Holland 540.268.5693 john@equinewelfarealliance.org
      Vicki Tobin 630.961.9292 vicki@equinewelfarealliance.org

  • giftoffaith

    There are more slugs in the Shippensburg are than Bruce Rotz. Hopefully there is someway to identify some of the horses. We have got to get this stopped. It is horrific at the slaughter house, and a horrific ride there, yet we are civilized. I imagine that at least some people thought they were doing the right thing with there horses and they ended up with these slime balls. That’s why we have our retirees. You can never be sure where they will end up, they will live out their lives in peace.

    • Lina_TX

      At the point they enter the truck, these horses are at best a number that coincides with a health certificate, and that worthless piece of paper has likely little connection with the horse’s actual medical history.

  • WT

    There’s a simple solution to keeping horses in the US from ending up in foreign slaughter plants. Ban the transportation of them on these tractor trailers designed for livestock. If the dealers can’t cram 30 horses on a truck like sardines the transport will be way more costly and not worth the effort because their profits would go way down. Take away the ability to ship them and they won’t leave the country. And why don’t we stop them at the border? You need health papers just to ship state to state. How do these trucks get across the border in the first place? I highly doubt each of these 30 horses had legitimate health papers for transport.

  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    I kind of find it odd that while both the driver and the first responders tried to put out the fire, no one though of opening the back to let the horses out?? Perhaps because there would have been evidence of violations they could have been cited for??

  • ziggypop

    The driver and passenger did nothing to help the horses, “they were going to die anyway”.

    Witnesses said the screams of the horses were “unearthly”.

  • Genellen

    Bruce Rotz should burn in hell, alive preferably.

  • ziggypop
    • gliderhg

      ok my friends.. most of you know NOTHING about what you are talking about nor know anything about the horse slaughter industry. I get sick and tired of people whining about certain perceived atrocities in the equine slaughter world. I get sick and tired of rescues trying to stay afloat because they are the ones saving horses from slaughter, and they never have enough money to buy feed and hay to rehab these horses. So stop all your whining and put your money where your mouth is..support your local horse rescue operations. But no, you all keep on whining about horse slaughter and how we should send letters to petition our govt to ban transport and slaughter. its a waste of time folks..take matters in your own hands and support your local rescues and quarantine barns, so we can save more, or maybe adopt a horse so they can have a good home. its not up to others to save horses,,,,its up to you. I am saddedned by this accident, and I am in the rescue business, however we cannot blame the govt or the trucker. Its all our faults that these horses were shipped to Canada. Support your local rescue, and if you cannot find one to support, respond to my post.

  • Jennifer

    I certainly hope all the people involved in horse slaughter end up rotting in Hell for Eternity.

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