We stood 20 metres from the west gate of the Macau Jockey Club on Taipa Island - watching and waiting for something awful to happen. Two lovely horses exercised on a small track skirting a red-bricked building known as the 'retirement barn' - reserved for the older equine stock of Macau's multibillion-dollar racing industry, and for the injured or those not considered good enough to continue. Inside the barn, five horses ate their final meals before being doped for what was to come. On a patch of land just outside the barn on this - and every other - Thursday, majestic horses are destroyed with a single bullet to the head. No attempt is made by the Macau Jockey Club to hide the killings, and such is the extent of the destruction, there are staff who see the weekly slaughter as entirely routine. Some horses may have been injured in the highly competitive races, many others - even the men who shoot them admit - have simply performed poorly and become a financial liability for their owners. Shortly after 9.30am, a mafoo led the first horse to the field. A man wearing a baseball cap and white shirt then appeared, holding a gun in his right hand. He aimed the pistol at the horse's forehead and fired. The sound was ear-splitting. The animal fell to the ground, its legs shaking for 10 seconds before it lay still. We watched as four more horses met their fate. Unlike the others, the fourth horse led to the area by a stable-hand was terrified. The beast struggled with the mafoo and tried to pull away, but was easily overpowered and shot. At 9.50am the man with the gun left. Five animals lay dead. Two workers covered the spreading stream of blood with sand. Shortly after 10.30am, a crane arrived and the carcasses were loaded on to the back of a truck, which drove for 10 minutes to a landfill on Coloane Island. The truck headed into an area marked 'construction waste' where a bulldozer was digging a large hole for the animals. The truck driver told me that he regularly took horses to the dump. 'Yes, we have been taking horses' bodies here every Thursday, the owners do not want to keep them,' he said. Once these animals are no longer able to generate money, their lives appear to be worthless.