Written by: Heather Clemenceau
This has been a most difficult blog post to write. I have watched it many times and cried many tears, especially after adding the Brian Eno soundtrack (from The Lovely Bones) The horses being transported in this video are likely already dead.
You are watching the dash cam of an anti-slaughter advocate, recording the “Roping J” rig with a load of horses heading eastbound on the 401 highway towards Richelieu slaughterhouse in Quebec on November 27, 2013. The video was taken on the 401 eastbound between London and Woodstock Ontario. Jeron/Jeroslav Gold is the owner of Roping J Ranch in Fairhaven, Michigan. He’s a large scale kill buyer who gets many of his horses from traders in Ohio, Minnesota, Louisiana, and Kentucky. Animals Angels reported on the collecting facility in Fairhaven, where the outdoor pen was full of horses and the Roping J truck was backed up to the loading ramp. Gold typically drives up to Canada through the Port Huron border crossing, which is about 1 1/2 hours west from where this rig was filmed.
The original audio track has been removed to preserve the anonymity of the supporter. It has been replaced by a transcript of the driver’s original comments. As the supporter’s car approaches Gold’s rig in the centre lane, you can see clearly that he has attached a horse’s tail above the latch. The trailer has been seen and photographed on previous occasions with this odious “middle finger salute” to animal lovers. It’s a real tail, and he quite often positions it to appear as though a horse is jammed into the hinge or latch. What’s new this time is that there appears to be an actual horse tail jammed in the door at the bottom right side above the door hinge. It is visible from multiple angles in the video. Also notice from the video that the driver of the rig appears to have noticed that his information is being taken, as he encroaches into the driving lane where our videographer is driving. The person who mocks horse lovers by flying a horse tail “flag” and who tries to squeeze the videographer in their own lane is the type of person that is going to be signing off on documents stating the horses are drug free, while putting adulterated meat into the food chain. This is the type of person that we allow control and input into the food chain, someone who is perhaps close to the furthest end of the spectrum of immorality.
Notice that the video was shot late in the afternoon – we can see this via the long shadows of the vehicles travelling eastbound – it is perhaps after 4 pm. From somewhere between London and Woodstock Ontario, it’s just under 9 hours until the driver reaches Massueville QC (excluding stops) and about 8 hours to St. Andre-Avellin, so the horses would arrive very late the same day or possibly the next day. The earliest he could possibly arrive would be 11 pm if he went to St. Andre-Avellin (Les viands de la petite nations slaughterhouse) and even later if he went to Massueville as expected (Richelieu slaughterhouse). What time did he expect to get there?
There wouldn’t be an inspector at the plant at this time – they only work regular hours. And they can no longer unload the trailers without inspectors present, so the horses will have had to spend the night on the trailer until the next morning.
:40 – US DOT 289445
:50 – Got the whole Roping J Ranch Michigan US DOT Number 289445 KYU 243688
1:21 – Michigan Trailer License B675540
2:20 – Truck begins to encroach into driving lane – driver aware that his information is being taken and is squeezing the driver in their own lane?
2:25 – Truck moves back into its own lane and weaves slightly after doing so
A very comprehensively written article by 13 Investigates followed slaughter bound horses journey from the Shipshewana auction in Indiana, near the Michigan border, where Gold purchased almost all the horses offered for sale. He was also quoted in A Toronto Life article about the horsemeat trade in Canada, arguing: “There is an end life for everything. I’d like to know what people want to do with all these horses that nobody wants. I’d like somebody to answer that. [Every day] I see…horses mistreated, skinny, didn’t have proper care and there’s nobody to take care of them. Who’s going to take care of them?”
“I killed every one of those f—ing horses, over 120 of them, if they only knew. I only have five left and the ones that you have. Every one of them is dead. I don’t even know their names and there wasn’t a goddamn thing they could do about it…” ~ Kelsey Lefever
Circle of Death – This is where some of Gold’s “product” ends up – at La Palette in Toronto, where horse advocates have held dozens of protests. Here is co-owner Shamez Amlani (on the left) arguing with protester.
This is not how you do end-of-life. Can’t you give horses “mistreated, skinny” horses a humane death without eating them? And I bet there are no skinny horses on Gold’s trailer. The USDA reports 92% of horses going to slaughter are in good condition and able to live healthy and productive lives. The existence of horse slaughter actually hinders rescue efforts, as rescuers are routinely outbid at auctions by people like Jeron Gold, seeking healthy animals that bring the best price per pound.
Gold’s driving is perhaps typical for kill buyers – in the video One Horse’s Last Steps, which has over 50,000 views, you can plainly see the driver run over a curb and swerve into the curb lane a number of time with a load of horses. And yet another tail can be seen caught in the door.
We will fight you until our dying breath is taken, just like Mary Nash did. Please support these currently active programs:
Canadian Horse Defence Coalition – Latest Postcard Campaign (click to follow link)
Animals’ Angels – Light the Sky – December 7th (click to follow link)