SAN BERNABE IS THE LARGEST ILLEGAL UNREGULATED LIVESTOCK MARKET IN MEXICO. It makes a mockery of humanity and is one of the most shameful examples of animal brutality and ill health in Mexico. The San Bernabe market has existed for over 60 years. Origin of horses at the San Bernabe market – Estado de Mexico, Chihuahua, Michoacan and the United States.
It is located at the 22.5 km northeast of the city of Toluca, on the Toluca-Atlacomulco road which belongs to the Municipality of Almoloya de Juárez, and in turn the Mayorazgo community of Leon, Estado de Mexico.
The institutions and authorities, federal and local governments, have full powers of inspection and surveillance, and therefore have the capacity to solve the problem, but remain passive and sluggish. The market is a place for animal trafficking, extreme dirt and dismal sanitary conditions, and tremendous cruelty to the animals being sold. The San Bernabe footage and photos have appeared on many news reports and national TV, so the authorities cannot feign ignorance.
Seen for sale on site are donkeys, horses, mules, dogs and wildlife, whose origins are uncertain and many are visibly sick, arrive and depart transported in sadistic and deplorable conditions with exposed fractures, bleeding open wounds and ulcers. Others are hung with ropes, when they no longer have the strength to stand upright. These suffering “animal waste” are kept alive just because a kilo of live meat costs twice that of a dead one. If an animal finally ends its agony and dies it is cut open right there and its vescera is extracted and thrown on the ground in the middle of the market.
There is no animal health control. Animals are sold directly for two purposes either privately as live animals (for work or food) or to a slaughterhouse (called the “rastro”). Obviously, the sale of live animals is done in less cruel way than that of animals that are sold to the rastro, since the horses going to the slaughterhouse are considered waste and therefore are treated in a very brutal manner, they are kicked, poked with electric barbs that are prohibited for horses. Bats and pipes are used to hit animals, they are tied with ropes. Animals suffer fractures or they fall dead, others arrive with broken limbs because the owners want to get some extra money by selling them and the animals are forced to walk down to the transport truck in these conditions. In the best case, the animals are transported sick, infected with tumors or open wounds, and later sold to the highest bidder. At worst, their corpses are left on the ground without being buried, with animal viscera strewn about in violation of standard NOM-024-ZOO-1995.
Water troughs often don’t contain water, the pens are underutilized – some are overcrowded, others are empty. There is a shed that was scheduled to install a sacrifice room for broken or injured animals that cannot continue the trip. It is important to mention that it is a living sacrifice room and not a slaughterhouse, and has created problems of assessment with the authorities i.e. the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) because they do not accept the installation of a slaughterhouse, in the absence of the necessary infrastructure to do so.
Another problem is the presence of federal local police who sometimes, instead of asking for documentation and health guidance, ask for a financial share to allow access to trucks. Recently, it has become known that there is a dispute between groups to control the market of San Bernabe. Meanwhile, there is total anarchy in violation of animal protection laws, the state and official rules for the transportation of animals, and livestock markets.
Over the years, people of recognized knowledge, experts and advocacy groups for animal rights have talked with local, state and federal agencies, seeking to bring order to the problems of the San Bernabe market. However, the sanitary conditions and the treatment of the animals have not improved. Often laws and rules are not enforced, either because the authorities are unaware of their existence, or they simply ignore them. The Health Ministry has taken up the matter even though there are no laws in place of hygiene and public health. There are dead animals and scattered viscera in the trucks, along with live horses, since they are gutted and the carcasses are transported together with the live animals to the slaughterhouse. No water is available. There is no animal inspection by the SAGARPA, or monitoring of transport by the Federal Highway Police or the Ministry of Communications and Transport.
For several years the market has been controlled by a municipal councilor. The market is located on both sides of the road and while it also sells cars and clothes, most activity is in the trade in live animals. We know that this market has generated a lot of profit that is not quantified, including fees for land use, collection of bills for sale of animals in addition to other fees paid by those who provide service for the sellers of food, fruits, vegetables, shoes, clothing, etc.
The San Bernabe market is in violation of two federal and four state sanitary laws concerning animal health, ecological balance and environmental protection, which state the importance of dignified and respectful treatment of animals.
At San Bernabe, in many cases the cattle are slaughtered without any restriction. They are beaten with sticks, pipes, rods, or touches on the genitals causing them high levels of stress in breach of standard NOM-033-ZOO-1995. In addition, the market does not have appropriate landing ramps, so that the legs of the animals break constantly. Some animals are mixed in the pens, where cattle have injuries, trauma, fractures, wounds or worms. The most obvious abuse is called “scrap yards” where the animals are in poor condition and are sold to be taken directly to slaughterhouses.
A brief description of a horse slaughterhouse in Mexico:
“… The horse shakes its head frantically when the door killing box is closed and trapped within it. A worker buried in his back, around his neck, a small, sharp knife, seven, eight, nine times. She, with her eyes wide, frantically lowers and raises her head while the worker stabs her again and again. On the tenth stroke of the knife, she falls to the ground, bloodied and paralyzed, but still alive. She lays there for two minutes before being hoisted by her leg and lifted into the air, hung upside down to be bled slaughtered in the midst of terrible pain, fully conscious and terrified … “
What happens in San Bernabe is not a new topic, since the flea market has been operating for 60 years every Monday in the same place, and it is estimated that the site has sold over 10, 000 different animals of various species.
Since September 2007 Animal Protection Association of Mexico (APASDEM), has worked hard on a campaign to protect the animals sold at the San Bernabe Market.
En Almoloya de Juárez, Estado de México, se encuentra el Mercado llamado San Bernabé, donde se comercia principalmente, con caballos mulas y burros, en condiciones de crueldad y falta de higiene extremas, violando consistente y permanentemente, las leyes de protección animal y de sanidad. Las autoridades, teniendo plena facultad y pruebas para clausurar el sitio (a través de imágenes mostradas en múltiples medios), han hecho caso omiso a este reclamo.
Los animales en venta, en su mayoría, están visiblemente enfermos; son transportados en condiciones deplorables, y arrastrados sádicamente, sin importar que tengan fracturas expuestas, estén sangrando o tengan llagas. Cuando ya no pueden sostenerse en pie, son colgados con mecates para simular que aún tienen fuerza. Carecen de atención médica, agua y alimento y si mueren antes de llegar al rastro, son abiertos en el mismo sitio en que se encuentran, tirando sus vísceras al piso.
Les llaman "animales de desecho", y se les mantiene con vida hasta el último momento, en una lenta y gran agonía, porque el kilo de carne viva cuesta casi el doble que el de la muerta.