Black market horse meat. Cockfighting. Ritual sacrifice. Puppy mill breeding. All in one massive raid that amounts to the largest animal cruelty bust in history.
Officials in Palm Beach County, Florida swooped down on three illegal slaughterhouses Tuesday, October 13, 2015, and found so much cruelty to animals, it’s hard to wrap your mind around.
Aided by Animal Recovery Mission, authorities found about 1,000 animals still living in deplorable conditions at the slaughterhouses. The torture and killing that had gone on for decades was finally put to an end. The video below offers an idea of the scope of the cruelty:
The three slaughterhouses, all located in Loxahatchee, Florida, included Rancho Garcia at 15703 Orange Blvd, G.A. Paso Fino at 14873 Collecting Canal Road, and Medina Farm at 2151 C. Road. Of these farms, just six people, including owners and employees, were arrested and charged.
Jorge Garcia, who runs Rancho Garcia, bought horses from auctions and off of Craigslist, and allegedly sold them for meat on the black market, as well as for sacrifice and black magic rituals. The cruelty did not stop there. Officials reported that Garcia was “violently stabbing pigs in the heart and boiling them alive, slitting throats of goats and rams before hoisting them by their hind legs then skinning them alive, and brutally stomping on ducks, slitting their throats and drowning them in their own blood.”
As if that weren’t enough, a portion of his farm of horrors was a puppy mill.
At G.A. Paso Fino, owner Orlando Guzman was allegedly breeding horses for slaughter on the black market. On the grounds, part of which were rented out to Edgar Sr. Bica and Edgar Jr. Bica, were also found chickens, pigs, goats and a puppy mill, where dogs were discovered in tiny cages “riddled with excrement and rust and no water available.” Cock fighting roosters were also seized from the property.
Medina Farm was incorporated as a legal slaughterhouse, but was responsible for some decidedly legal – and sickeningly cruel – activities. “ARM investigators have witnessed…slitting goat’s necks while they are restrained on their backs, forced to suffocate in their own blood, as well as slitting and severing the throats of cows with extremely dull blades before hoisting them by their hind legs and skinning them alive, often dragging out their death for over 20 minutes,” authorities said.
Why it took decades for this kind of torture and killing to be stopped is unclear – and frankly, unacceptable – but the massive bust does bring some hope for the future. It’s time to treat cruelty to animals as the serious offense that it truly is.