Thirty horses die in Pennsylvania truck fire

Map of New York with I-81 in red.
Map of New York with I-81 in red.

An estimated 30 horses perished in a truck fire on I-81 in Lisle, about 55 miles south of Syracuse, New York, on Monday night.

According to police the truck was driven by Clarence Phelps of Watertown. The owner of the horses was understood to be a kill buyer.

Local reports indicated the truck caught fire and the driver stopped, but neither he nor emergency services were able to extinguish the flames.

The horses were reportedly destined for the Viande Richelieu Meat slaughterhouse in Massueville, Quebec.

Local reports misidentified the destination as a “rendering plant”, an operation that recycles dead animals and animal products into protein based compounds.

More than 59,000 US horses were slaughtered in Canada in 2012, according to the US Department of Agriculture.


5 thoughts on “Thirty horses die in Pennsylvania truck fire

  • May 8, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    This horrific story is business as usual for the low lifes of the US horse slaughter trade. In addition to the info in this piece, we understand the truck was ruled off the road for safety violations as recently as March 2013, and nine violations in 2011.

    The rampant disregard of safety laws protecting people on the road is no surprise, given the brutal treatment of horses by the slaughter traders.

    NY State Legislature is considering bills that will stop horse slaughter and keep these dangerous transporters off the road once and for all.

    NYers are invited to join the growing chorus of voters asking for swift passage of this long-overdue protection for our horses, and roads.

    Bills are in the Ag committee, where the Farm Bureau is trying to exert pressure over the will of the taxpayers.

    The Farm Bureau’s position is misguided. Using the food supply as a disposal service for a man made problem – irresponsible breeding – is unacceptable.

    Since they sell auto and health insurance, it makes sense for the Farm Bureau to support measures that would keep these death traps off the road.

    With the drugs US horses get, horse slaughter is a danger to our food supply, and the trucks are dangerous to families traveling on public highways.

    NY Legislature has an opportunity to pass this law before a horse slaughter truck catches fire next to a school bus, or ambulance. Nobody wants horse slaughter, it’s time to stop it.

    For more information please check out

  • May 9, 2013 at 3:18 am

    Bruce Rotz was the kill buyer who owned the trucks and horses. He didn’t care about the horses at all. His comment to EWA President John Holland was, “if it burned, it burned.”

  • May 9, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I wonder if all you uneducated people feel this way while standing in the super market line purchasing your meat to feed your families. ( i bet u enjoy your steaks on a saturday night). Because we live in America everyone is quick to judge and all you hear about is the horse slaughter houses what about the slaughter houses for pork, beef, veal, etc.50% of what reporters say is incorrect. People should stop worrying about a man making a living, keeping the unemployment rate down while providing employment to others’ here in your own country, providing meals for others in other countries. if you really want to look at it this is a man providing world peace. He’s making everyone happy (except all u people who have nothing better to do) Worry about more important things in life like homeless people living on the streets in your very own town, about the neighbor who just lost their home because of the economy, worry about innocent lives being taken by abortion. Dont knock it till ya try it <3

    • May 9, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      The only thing I want knock right now is your
      big fat lips

    • May 9, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      I can’t help but agree do some extent.
      If it had said “Thirty top show-jumpers die in trick fire”, no one would question who the owner was.
      It’s nice that you’re petitioning for the end of horse slaughter but by golly I hope you’re prepared to feed and care for all the unwanted horses that you’ll be taking home from the abbatior yards. The issue is that there are too many horses for the amount of people who are willing to care for them. Horse neglect and abuse is already rife, and how many more thousands of horses would be abandoned to fend for themselves with the removal of the last-option for families desperately strapped for cash that cannot afford to care for a horse? It’s not a pleasant industry, but it is a necessary evil.
      Why not (as stated above) try and provide for the homeless, the poverty-stricken and those who can afford to eat only because of their job at the slaughter plant?


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