Horse News

US Animal Advocacy Groups: ‘Nay’ to Horse Slaughter Plan

Source: By Carey Gillam of Reuters

horse meat cannot be sold in the United States for human consumption…”

horsestoslaughterAnimal rights groups are threatening to sue the U.S. government if officials move ahead with plans to allow meat-packing companies to resume the slaughter of horses for human consumption, a practice that was banned in 2006.

“It’s a big fight,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. “We will sue if we have to. We’re also working with Congress to stop this.”

Congress lifted a 2006 ban in the fiscal 2012 appropriations act and since then “several” companies have asked for government inspections that would allow them to start slaughtering horses, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Without new action by Congress, the department has no choice but to allow slaughterhouse inspections to proceed, USDA said. Though horse meat cannot be sold in the United States for human consumption, it could exported.

Indeed, USDA notified Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, New Mexico, this week that the company’s application for inspections would be approved after an extended delay, according to Valley Meat owner Ricardo De Los Santos.

Valley Meat filed suit against the USDA for delaying the process after it shut down beef operations and retrofitted its plant to allow for horse slaughter, said De Los Santos.

The company slaughtered cattle for two decades but closed that business down as drought and poor market conditions eroded profits, said De Los Santos. With roughly 130,000 horses currently estimated to be shipped out of the United States annually to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, horse slaughtering seems like a viable market, he said.

“We’ve always killed cows. But business has slowed down and we’re looking at things we can do to keep operating,” De Los Santos told Reuters.

The last U.S. plants to slaughter horses for human consumption were shut in 2007, after Congress banned the USDA from funding the required inspections of the plants. That measure was renewed every year until 2011.

Horse meat is sold for human consumption in China, Russia, Mexico and other foreign countries, and is sometimes used as feed for zoo animals.

A scandal continues to roll in Europe after testing in Ireland in January found that some products marketed as beef contained equine DNA.

The contamination has since been found in Taco Bell products as well as spaghetti Bolognese and beef lasagna, according to British regulators, in the meatballs sold by Sweden’s IKEA furniture superstore in much of Europe, and in other outlets.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Front Range Equine Rescue, and Animal Protection of New Mexico joined the Humane Society in saying they would try to beat back the decision to process inspection applications for horse slaughter…(CONTINUED)

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28 replies »

  1. It is sad when the trusted steed that was there for us for labor, war and friendship is being killed off to feed other Countries. The United States should not allow the Horse Slaughtering Plants to be allowed to start up again. I myself would hate to find out that a horse or burro that I or someone that I know went looking to buy back that horse or burro and was told that it was slaughtered to feed another Country ! Congress needs to reject any bill that would allow anyone to slaughter horses or burros !

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  2. OMG!! USDA is approving Valley Meat in New Mexico application….Owner Rick De Los Santos..
    Seriously this guy is the biggest Unethical Moran in this Industry..Seen many pictures and heard about his practices. Many horses suffered at his facility………Things are out of control in this country declining in to new lows…Facilities popping up everywhere to start this Barbaric process..USDA and FDA all Corrupt boys club over GREED.

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  3. Reuters gets an F for fail in the above story.

    “animal rights”????? Valley Meats IS approved? Valley Meats was shut down because of owner choice, not USDA violations?

    As long as media CONTINUES to inaccurately present information on this subject. Americans will remain ignorant, Congress and USDA get a free pass and equines will suffer…..oh, and humans will eat dangerously unqualified meat.

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  4. Again Corruption in USDA.. by allowing this guy to operate and reopen with all the evidence that was on him and not violated???

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  5. Please don’t jump the gun here…the USDA has said it would approve the application for inspection of the facility…It does NOT mean the facility has passed inspection. One USDA Veterinarian I spoke with seemed quite disgusted with the idea of butchering horses. He said that by law they do have to inspect the slaughterhouse because the application was made…BUT it doesn’t mean they will pass. The rules and regulations are different for horses than they are for livestock.

    We need to focus on requiring the USDA to develop a test to determine if the animal has been exposed to vetinary drugs, making it unfit for human consumption, prior to killing the animal. Currently the meat is only inspected post mortem. Why torture the animal if you’re just going to discard the carcass? The animals that test positive could be, depending on condition, rescued, re-homed, or humanely euthanized rather than being butchered by the slaughterhouse lackeys.

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    • Actually we need to get Congress to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act but my thoughts about developing and testing the animal I think would delay for quite some time the actual beginning of any operation until we could get Congress to move.

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      • Yes, Steve….the Act and a new Wild Horse/Burro Act with NO loopholes and funding for enforcement is the perfect solution to this hell.

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    • When the 3 (4?) Congressional scum bags lifted the verbal ban on US Horseslaughter in the Farm Bill or was it a Continuing Resolution (CR…believe the next one comes next month)….THEY DID NOT APPROPRIATE OR AUTHORIZE FUNDING FOR SAID INSPECTION.

      The best test is a medical history that is infallible, verifiable and unalterable (forgery).

      Since there is no such guarantee, best test is if it is an equine, it ain’t meat. Beside, the numbers of equines butchered do not warrant such an investment….not profitable for the scum purveyors.

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  6. As long as the people of this country keep overbreeding and not taking their responsibilites of horse ownership seriously and treating these poor animals as though they are a material object, then there will always be those that want to get rich quick on their blood! The solution to the problem lies in stopping the overbreeding!! We have to stop this by drying up their market! Reputable auctions should stop allowing known kill buyers to buy at their sales, people should stop advertising horses for sale on craigslist for cheap or free. If you cant find a permanent, qualified, home for your animals, then do the decent thing and euthanize them so at least they have a peaceful death! It is not the innocent animals fault that there are so many of unwanted horses, it is only the greed and irresponsibility of the human and if we all really cared, we would be putting in the effort to stop this horrible abuse, torture and death of the sweetest, smartest, most trusting of animals in all the world. The kill buyers, feedlot owners, truckers, slaugherhouse owners and auction personel are among the most vile creatures that are nothing short of criminals whose only concern is how much these animals are worth by the pound! I am appaulled that the US government would back this horrible practice by spending the tax dollars of the people of this country who are mostly all against this slaughter of the beautiful horses! This is so morally wrong and nothing short of barbarianism!

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    • Well said…and so correct in your comments…. Being a horse owner I’ve experienced euthanasia to one of mine due to colic, it’s fast, painless, peaceful. So HUMANE….. as said we have entirely too many horses in this country and irresponsible ownership…WE NEED CHANGE FAST!!….Our Country is sinking into new lower lows….

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  7. OK guys it’s time to take action, yes maybe you can get the NM legislator to pass a horse slaughter ban, just like the new jersey one, if that happened then meat valley would stay shut.

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  8. Somewhere I read that Valley Meats was shut down due to inhumane handling of cows and improper disposal of remains. If they were retrofitted to handle equines, some groups are funding it – United Horsemen, etc. It’s hard to believe the USDA has to approve Valley Meat’s application just because Congress hasn’t acted. So where are the standards packing companies must adhere to before any application is approved, where are the inspections? Have inspectors been trained? Congress will not act because legislators are in the ranching business just as much as they are in other businesses. After having faxed the Agricultural Sub committee telling them of my opposition to any horse slaughter plant opening up in the U.S. and writing Obama for the umpteenth time, what’s there next before time runs out?

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  9. I read on EWA site that Valley Meats was shut down by the USDA in February 2012 for inhumane treatment of slaughter animals then fined $86,000 for improper disposal of carcasses in August 2012! Hope this is taken into account before it goes beyond their application.

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  10. yes, we need to get The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act passed in Congress as it prohibits the knowing and intentional possession, shipment, transport, purchase, sale, delivery, or receipt of a horse for slaughter for human consumption.

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  11. This is no time to give the USDA anything but tainted crap. I am so sick and tired of people in our Government thinking it is okay to slaughter our horses just like everything else. Rise up horse advocates and speak your minds on this. STOP THE USDA FROM EVEN PUTTING A HORSE SLAUGHTER PLANT ANYWHERE. THE GOVERNMENT IS BROKE AND NOW THEY WANT THE POOR PEOPLE, AND AVERAGE PEOPLE TO EAT HORSE MEAT, SICK, SICK, BLOODY WAR WE ARE INTO.
    WATCH OUR POOR HORSES GO THROUGH THIS NIGHTMARE, DAMN WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR BLASTED GOVERNMENT? I HAVE HAD ENOUGH, FIGHT IS TOOTH AND NAIL. WE MUST STAND FREE AND CLEAR, WE KNOW THE TRUTH. STOP HORSE SLAUGHTER. PASS THE PROTECTION BILL IN THE SENATE TO PROTECT OUR HORSES FROM EVER BEING SLAUGHTERED, PLEASE. STOP THE ROUND UPS, STOP HORSE SLAUGHTER. NO WAY, NO BLOODY SLAUGHTER PLANTS IN OTHER COUNTRIES EVER. I WILL NEVER, NEVER ACCEPT USDA’s ROTTEN IDEA AND TRICKING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THIS WAY. NEVER.

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      • I just can’t believe that Ricardo De Los Santos of Valley Meats has the nerve to open a horse slaughter facility in New Mexico after he had been closed down for violations from slaughtering cattle. This does not seem right. If this passes I will never have any trust in our Government again. I’m beginning to feel like a like in a third world country they way our unwanted/stolen/wild horses are all treated. How many more bills in congress have we have to fight for to save all the horses. The U.S. Government needs to pay attention to the will of the American people that a majority of Americans “do not want horse slaughter in the U.S. or our horses being shipped to Mexico or Canada”.

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  12. The picture of all the red horses in line to be slaughtered breaks my heart more than I can say. Why are they always the “unwanted” ones?

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    • Yes, that picture breaks my heart too! I cant stand to look at it and cry everytime cause i see each horse as a human friend and partner! You can tell by the set of their ears that they are frightened, angry, upset and wondering where their human that loved them are!! By the time they get to this point, they have been beaten, stabbed, shocked, starved, let go without water and cooked in the hot sun for hours at the hands of the abuse of the kill buyer and crammed into a trailer that is much too short and too small for the size of the load. And now they will be whipped, beaten and chased into the kill chute to face the final assault on the betrayal of their trust in humans! It makes me so upset and angry and full of hate and shame for our government that thinks its ok to allow this to continue despite all of our pleas for it to end! The people who keep trying to get slaughter houses started up again and the most vile, evil beings that ever walked the earth! Have they ever even been near a horse? Have they ever had a horse put its head on their shoulder? Have they ever heard the early morning nickers greeting them when they go to feed them? Have they ever really thought about the animals they want to kill? I think not, as their greed has blinded them to anything except the $$$. They should all be ashamed!

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  13. If valley meats can sure the government, the hsus had the right to do it too. There is no correlation between neglect and abuse and horse slaughter. This has been proven They never stopped slaughtering horses and yet they are saying that the numbers are up for abuse and neglect cases.

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  14. This is so disgusting!!! Where is the will of the people? Those in New Mexico should get with their Legislators and do it fast! If New Mexico refuses to allow slaughter in the state it would take a very long time before it would open should Valley Meats take the state to court. Cavel Intl refused to honor the wishes of many Illinoisians who protested their presence in our state. There is something terribly wrong when we allow foreign companies to defy our laws. They continued their fight to remain in Illinois even though they owed millions in violations and fines. Those living in New Mexico need to have a Legislator who is willing to take on this company and the financers of the slaughter house. If his beef business has dewindled perhaps he should face the fact that many people do not
    want to devour beef. If he needs a new business let him get educated and take up another business.
    So we should approve horse slaughter so 40 people who probably are not citizens should remain employed. They all need to look for employment else where. I would love to know who is footing the bill for his legal fees. Albait it is a foreign company. We need a massive protest in Washington, DC and call all these Legislators and the President’s feet to the fire. We ultimately need to get all of our Legislators representing us in Washington, DC to bring this to the floor. Its a crime that many of them are in the pockets of people who don’t give a rat’s ass about the American people or the horses and other equines that we love. Perhaps each advocate should obtain an attorney and sue the company also. Any state that opens a slaughter house will have other businesses leaving and tourism will drop. Again, New Mexico and any other state should find a Legislator like Robert Molaro in Illinois who was the greatest Champion for our horses and other equines. He lead the fight for us along with Chris Hyde and other animal advocate groups. Rep Molaro again was our Champion and we can never thank him enough. So New Mexico and Oklahoma should organize their horse Warriors and get moving. I am proud to say I was among those in Illinois who attended every meeting at our state capital and called all of our representatives. Paula Bacon from Texas took on their foreign companies and documented all her efforts. Others need to follow suit and refuse to allow these companies to open. Its all up to the residents of each state to light the fire under your Legislators feet to stop these companies from ever opening horse slaughter plants again in this country.Federally, we need to finally pass legislation regarding horse slaughter and the trafficing of our horses and equines to foreing companies. Let Japan raise their own horses and we should not allow our horses and other equines to leave by plane. To all my Horse Warriors, we cannot wait very much longer, we need to DEMAND that our VOICES be heard!

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  15. Isn’t the Roswell NM guy the same one that was closed down a season ago for hideous animal welfare vialations, as well as lack of sanitation, dozens of dead animals laying about etc. etc.?

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