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20 years

Starving horses illegally smuggled from Nicaragua had to be euthanized

(Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Public Security)

(Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Public Security)


August 29th, 2014 ( A total of 62 starving horses and four mules that were discovered on a farm in San Carlos which were illegally smuggled from Nicaragua had to be euthanized due to their extremely poor health, according to a National Animal Health Service (SENASA) official.


The official said that tests would be performed to determine if the animals’ meat is suitable for human consumption.


In addition to severe malnutrition, the horses were also suffering from numerous wounds, were infested with ticks and suffered other health problems.


A man by the last name of Artavia was arrested in the case.


Nicaragua has been suffering from record drought this year.  Costa Rica’s National Animal Health Service (SENASA) reported last week that hundreds of cattle were being illegally smuggled each week from Nicaragua to Costa Rica.  The trend is believed to be associated with the record drought affecting that country.


This year’s record drought has killed thousands of cattle and dried up crops throughout Central America.  In northern Nicaragua, vultures can be seen eating the carcasses of cows that are dropping dead in dried out pastures.


The lack of rain has been blamed on the probable arrival of the El Niño weather phenomenon, which is characterized by unusually warm Pacific Ocean temperatures that can trigger droughts.


Nicaragua’s government says the country is enduring its worst drought since 1976, which has also ravaged the country’s first harvest.



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  • expatin paradise

    I have seen severely malnourished horses (that looked like skeletons inside horsehides) that were rescued after being abandoned at a stable and brought back to health. If these amimals were still capable of standing, they had a chance. It strains credulity to maintain that all of these animals had to be destroyed. Certainly, some attempt to treat them should have been made. Did a veterinarian euthanize these animals, and, if so, who is he, and has he been reported to his professional association? One has to wonder if some government official is getting a kickback on the meat.

    • El Torito

      As a horse rancher, I can tell you the fact that they were smuggled in was more of a concern than their poor state of health. Equine Anemia and other nasty contagious diseases are a threat to the health and welfare of resident animals.
      It comes down, also, to cost. The blood tests required to detect these diseases are expensive. The cost to rehabilitate sick horses is also prohibitive on such a large scale, and so, on it goes. I agree that it is tragic to have to put potentially good animals down but sometimes, as heartbreaking as it is, it can be the only feasible option.

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