Horse News

Horse Slaughter Applicant Gives Up After Being Fined $86,400 For Mountain of Dead Animals on Property

Information supplied by Front Range Equine Rescue

Roswell, New Mexico’s Valley Meat Company Cited by New Mexico Environmental Board’s Solid Waste Division for Years-Long Violations of State Law

Roswell, New Mexico, August 15 — When the first applicant for an American horse slaughterhouse operation surfaced earlier this year, Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) immediately investigated in order to determine the nature of the applicant’s business.  FRER discovered that the applicant, Valley Meat Company, had a fifteen-foot high pile of dead cattle rotting on its property, creating a health hazard for the community and placing into serious question the operator’s ability to start up his new operation, slaughtering former American companion, work and competition horses for human consumption.  Pictures of the pile taken by both state and federal officials showed a horrific sight.  FRER determined that Valley Meat had been in violation of New Mexico law for years, specifically because its owners had been maintaining this massive public health and safety hazard on their property, without any proper or responsible abatement.  FRER presented extensive documentation to the state Environmental Board, urging the state to take a careful look at Valley Meat’s operation.  In response the state Environmental Board, and its Solid Waste division, undertook a detailed evaluation which this week resulted in a finding that Valley Meat was in grave violation of the solid waste laws, and that it should be fined $86,400 for what amounts to one of the highest penalties for a solid waste violation issued in New Mexico.

FRER and its partners are committed to preventing the inhumane and unsafe production of horse meat to ever start again in America, and to  stop the slaughter of American horses  outside of the U.S..  FRER and The Humane Society of the United States  had also filed legal petitions with two federal agencies, demonstrating the dangerous nature of horse slaughter to horses and the environment, along with the dangers of horse meat consumption by humans.  The groups urged the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration, to engage in extended consideration of the problems inherent in horse slaughter by any business, including one with as many red flags as Valley Meat.

Apparently, the groups’ efforts have been a success.  In a recent article, Valley Meat’s lawyer stated that the company was “suspending any plans for the horse-slaughter plant,” because “it doesn’t look like anybody is going to get a grant of inspection for horse slaughter.”  The $86,400 fine certainly helped make that decision as well.  A clear victory has been won for the horses who would have been brutally killed if this plant opened.

The “dead pile” in Roswell is simply another in a long list of reasons why stopping horse slaughter is critical.  “We are glad to have been a part of the team that stopped Valley Meat, which was eager to butcher American horses, and which was at the center of environmental and animal cruelty violations,” said Hilary Wood, president of FRER.  “Every time the horse slaughter industry has attempted to set up shop, it has made clear that it has no concern for the public, for the law, or for the horses.  FRER will continue, along with its partners, to challenge anyone who tries to start killing America’s for foreign (or domestic) food.”

•    More than 100,000 American horses are sent to slaughter each year, mainly for consumption in Europe and Asia.
•    The slaughter pipeline is horribly cruel, with many of the horses suffering immensely during transport and the misguided and often repeated attempts to render them unconscious. USDA has documented the abuse and misery horses suffered at slaughterhouses in the U.S.
•    Virtually all the horses used for meat spend most of their lives as work, competition or sport horses, companion animals, or wild horses.
•    During their lives, horses who end up at slaughter are given a constant regimen of drugs and other substances which are either illegal for food animals, or are potentially dangerous to people who eat them.
•    Under the current rules and regulations, there is no safeguard in place that can protect against the consumption of unsafe toxins in horse meat.
•    Consumers do not know of the inherent dangers because there is no control over the drug residues.

34 replies »

  1. Thanks, R.T. This is of course totally repulsive but at least this effort has been stopped, despite the damage already done. Glad that at least there was a hefty fine.


      • Yes I am a bit sick and tired of slaughterhouses that don’t pay fines, auction houses that don’t pay fines and trucking firms who not only don’t pay fines but put their @#$@$ trucks out on the road again after being shut down. I owe a small amount to the IRS and you can bet that if I don’t send them every last cent that they will be coming after me. If you owe it pay it, if not get your business liened and then the government should sue and take assets to pay off the debt. They can shut your bank accounts down in two shakes of a horse’s tail.


      • Dear Morgan, We have a KB here in Ohio Leroy Baker owes $64,000.00 for 5 yrs still hasnt paid ????????????/


      • Yes he was one of the people I was referring to. Perhaps its time for the communities to quit crying “broke” and go after the people who owe them. I’m sure a few thousand could go to fix infrastructure, create jobs or whatever. What is a penalty if it is completely overlooked and the crooks know this will happen. Time to crack the whip on Leroy and his scurvilous, sewer-scum ilk.


  2. Facts Have proven without a shadow of a doubt, horse meat is unfit for Human consumption, with that it should be end of STORY !!!! with that said and understood , why do these people keep trying to shove it down other peoples throats????? Horses have long been our prestigious allies, they are environmentally needed for other wildlife to survive, these are facts……………..there are many more, but just these are enough !!!!! Leave the Horses alone…………….maybe they should investigate the possibility of eating rats, they are plentiful, and useless………..


  3. Kudos to FRER for their work in preventing horse slaughter from returning to US soil, while advocates across the country continue to promote passage of legislation which would forever ban horses from being shipped across our borders for the purpose of slaughter. Bravo FRER!


  4. Is there a link to a file for the fine by the New Mexico Environmental Board’s decision? That might be helpful to have.


  5. Why did not the news stations covering this “family business” and painting the sob story of the family’s suffering with “regulations and red tape” —why did they not seem to know about the dead pile and the environmental violations? Maybe they just didn’t dig very deep?


    • all they had to do is go there and stand upwind. If the people in NM are gungho for slaughter let them drink their morning coffee to a picture of the “mountain”. Yummy!


    • Susan, I thought this looked canned—or sort of like it had been done as a “press release” might have been done in print media. Perhaps lobbyists hoping to get this started in NM helped him make connections with CBS and other media outlets…CBS morning crew did not look happy to be showing this segment. Rick De Los Santos attorney is General Counsel for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, so it is interesting that he would end up being the attorney mentioned in yesterday’s story.

      So grateful to Hillary, R. T., EWA, and the HSUS for their work stopping, or at least slowing this monster down. Given the quality of the work in the FRER and HSUS Petition to the USDA for rule making, the USDA would have a lot of questions to answer if it had hastily issued these permits. They had a complete list of 115 drugs commonly used in horses that could be carcinogenic or toxic to people, a list of their known risk factors, and the specific CFR number for those drugs forbidden for use in all food animals.


  6. It is so wonderful to see a real, true punishment For these people who want to murder our horses. We seem to be making progress. Go, go, go.


  7. FRER…good effort and post.

    If this has been piling up forever (15 years?) where have the Feds and the state agencies been?


  8. Excellent work Front Line Equine Rescue!!!! It’s awful people right from start to finish in the horse slaughter industry from the owner and breeders who send their horses to auctions that don’t care. The kill buyer and truckers to the slaughter houses. Just a whole lot of people who don’t care for anything but a buck. Such a sad lot. God bless the horses and donkeys.


  9. Perhaps the citizens of the county or state where these events have taken place can put press on the appropriate governmental authority to put pressure on the owner to pay the fine, or else sentence him to some fail time or take his license to work in the meat industry can be confiscated by a certain date if he fails to make an effort to pay the fine. It makes no sense at all to have laws if we are not going to enforce them.


  10. Got away with a ‘horror show’ towards cattle….for how long?? The news media, who did the recent story, walking thru the plant & him & his wife ready to cry if they couldn’t kill horses soon,need to be called so that they can finish their story of these two POS. Yes what about Bakers fines & is he being watched like a hawk? Also, another place I heard about on fb ‘Bravo Meats’ … not sure where they are, but a son recently died(boowhooo), are they still killing horses?


  11. Did they take away the land that the illegal activity was taking place on? …. just saying… and how long do they have to pay this fine and if they don’t then what? Punishments need to fit the crimes which I often don’t think they do when lives or treatment of animals are involved.

    So many animals are sadly mistreated and not just by backyard people look at the wild mustang round-ups and our tax dollars are paying them and allowing them to do it. Then they try to hide the fact that many will make a horrific journey to go to slaughter. Mustang meat however doesn’t have the drugs so better for human consumption :-(. I recently saw a picture of a Foal yes a mustang Foal hog tied!!! I couldn’t believe anyone with a heart could do such a thing, so sad.

    *I think people in positions especially government positions and especially when dealing with the welfare of animals should have to pass a background check. Violence, drugs, etc if they have a record they Don’t get hired there are many other good people looking for work that would not mistreat, abuse or torture.

    Many things need to be re-evaluated…look at the burrows that people are allowed to hunt via bow and arrow Seriously!!! It is a sad world we live in, and the military that will deafen whales and dolphins while doing testing off the southern coasts. It all needs to stop. People are becoming more aware with you tube videos, and Facebook, but we still need to make things change. I am very glad these people’s dreams of legally killing horses will not be happening any time soon.. hopefully never!

    ***Please help save the Wild Horse herds before they are gone, they are in danger right Now! ***


    • Valley Meat Co. should be put out of business for their treatment of cattle. Someone who knows how to treat livestock should be in business not some uncaring, callous, sickos.


      • YUK!!!! How could Anyone EAT any sort of “meat product ” from there?? I don’t understand? How these “valley meats” ppl still BE in- business @ all?? ReVolting!(a LG Turkey plant was put out o Busn up here – for much much fewer violations than this!…..then n0 one would EAT their stuff ; stores quit buying to sell — they had n0 choice but to give Up ). Even restaurants , having 1-2. “tiny” health inspec Violations –are Listed in newspaper lpublic notices.. So , I don’t get it- who EaTS meats (or anythg else) from this “co.” ??


  12. Great reporting…And yes why didn’t media cover this disgusting mess? I do believe Cavel, Intl left the state of Illinois oweing thousands of dollars to the county of DeKalb in fines.


  13. USDA has documented the abuse and misery horses suffered at slaughterhouses in the U.S.” So why don’t they DO something about it. Thanks RT and FRER.


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