In Uruguay, horses have to stay 40 days at a registered "acopio" (collecting station) prior to slaughter. Before horses enter the "acopio", they have to get an ear tag for identification. The ear tag number has to be noted on the affidavit of the last owner regarding medical treatments during the last 180 days. If horses without an eartag arrive at a slaughter plant, they are supposed to stay 40 days at the plant before they can legally be slaughtered. However, investigations showed horses without eartags being unloaded straight at the plants, so enforcement of this rule is obviously unreliable.
The conditions of the holding pens at all of the slaughter plants are extremely poor. Of particular note:
Agroindustrial Del Este Horse Slaughter Plant
Behind this dilapidated slaughter plant building were some empty pastures, overgrown with waist-high bushes. Behind one of these bushes, investigators found a dead horse in an advanced state of decay. Next to the decaying carcass was another horse skull. There were several more skulls visible throughout the area. None of them had any bullet holes, indicating that the horses had been left to die instead of being euthanized.