So much for taking a break. Lots in the news.......
By Horsetalk.co.nz on Jul 04, 2012 in News
A trucking firm in the US has been ordered off the road following safety concerns. File image
Ongoing safety violation have resulted in a firm that hauls horses being ordered off the road. Incidents include two accidents involving poorly maintained vehicles and fatigued or disqualified drivers, which resulted in the deaths of four horses.
In June, a trailer from Three Angels Farm carrying 37 horses collapsed on a highway in Tennessee. One horse was so badly injured that the animal needed to be euthanized, while the rest were put on another truck and sent back to Lebanon.
In February, a trailer from Three Angels Farms crashed while carrying 36 horses, and three horses died as a result.
In both cases, the trailers were destined for Presidio, Texas, a border town where horses are kept at a holding facility until they are sold for slaughter in Mexico.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), part of the US Department of Transportation, found that the Tennessee-based truck company Three Angels Farms presented an imminent safety hazard
It ordered Three Angels Farms and its owners, Edwin Ayache and Dorian Ayache, to immediately cease all transportation services.
The decision, it said, was based on serious safety violations that posed an imminent hazard to public safety.
The Humane Society of the United States welcomed the decision, saying the accidents were examples of the welfare and safety issues involved with horse slaughter.
The shutdown order follows an extensive review of the truck company’s operations by the FMCSA, which found multiple federal violations in hours-of-service compliance, driver qualification requirements, drug and alcohol testing and vehicle maintenance.
“If a truck company ignores federal safety rules and places the traveling public at risk, we will remove them from the road,” US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.
FMCSA immediately put Three Angels Farms, its officers and vehicles out of service after safety investigators found multiple safety infractions that substantially increased the likelihood of serious injury to the traveling public.
Among the findings, investigators discovered that the company permitted its drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles without commercial driver’s licenses and did not conduct proper controlled substances testing of its drivers.
In addition, during the past six months, Three Angels Farms has had two accidents involving poorly maintained vehicles and fatigued or disqualified drivers, which resulted in the deaths of four horses.
FMCSA administrator Anne Ferro said: “We will continue to use every resource within our current authority to weed out the unsafe operators.”
The Humane Society applauded the agency’s ban.
“These accidents are examples of the many animal welfare and human safety issues involved with the horse slaughter pipeline,” said the society’s director of equine protection, Keith Dane.
“The Humane Society of the United States is grateful that US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is taking the necessary steps to prevent Three Angels Farm from causing more catastrophic accidents while transporting horses to slaughter.”
The society is an outspoken critic of the slaughter trade, pointing to cruel long-distance trucking of horses in cramped condition to slaughter in Mexico and Canada.
Horses, it says, may remain on trailers for days at a time, with no food, rest or water.
The society is also concerned about drug contamination of horse meat, given that US horses are not specifically raised to enter the human food chain.
It is urging the US Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration to classify all meat from American horses as adulterated unless American horses sold for slaughter are accompanied with lifetime medical records.
The society is also urging Congress to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, which will ban the slaughter of American horses for human consumption, including the export of live horses across the border for slaughter.
A copy of the imminent hazard out-of-service order can be viewed here.
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