A tractor-trailer carrying 59 Belgian draft horses was involved in a collision with a pickup truck in Northern Illinois this past Saturday.
41 horses have survived, while eight were killed in the accident, and 10 were euthanized because of the extent of their injuries.
Many of the horses have bruised legs, swollen eyes, and other injuries. The horses have been taken to a private farm to recover.
State and federal officials are investigating the crash. The driver had been hired by the horses’ owner to drive them from Indiana to Minnesota for an auction. The horses had numbered stickers taped to their backs.
Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran said, “We don’t have any concrete evidence that they were on their way to slaughter.”
Illinois investigators also are looking into the ways the horses were transported. The trailer that the horses were found in is suited for cattle and pigs.
“We’ll be looking at whether there was any violation of the Humane Care for Animals Act,” said Mark Ernst, the Illinois state veterinarian, whose office is part of the state Department of Agriculture. “If there was animal cruelty, when we get done with our investigation we’ll provide that information to the Lake County state’s attorney.”
A memorial has been made at the scene of the accident. Flowers, horse trophies, stuffed animals, and carrots have been placed in memory of the horses that have died.
A volunteer who helped at the scene said, “We were trying to do whatever we could. We were able to see inside the trailer. Those horses were just stacked like bodies on top of each other. They were crying and kicking. . . . It’s in front of you, but you don’t believe what you’re seeing.”
Vicki Carney, who volunteered up her stables as a shelter, said the remaining horses are expected to survive and recover from their injuries.
A veterinarian who has been helping the horses added, “This is not something that’s going to be swept under the carpet.”
Source: Chicago Tribune