Horse News

Valley Meat USDA Walk-Through, Only

Source: PublicNewsService.org ~Renee Blake,

“It doesn’t at all mean that there’s an approval of horse slaughter.”

valley_meatROSWELL, N.M. – Agents of the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted a walk-through of Valley Meat Co. on Tuesday, days after the Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue submitted a notice of intent to sue if the agency agrees to provide inspections required for the facility to slaughter horses.

The walkthrough does not constitute a final determination for Valley Meat, according to attorney Bruce Wagman, a partner at the Schiff Hardin law firm who represents both potential plaintiffs.

“It means they did an inspection of the facility for certain criteria,” Wagman said. “It doesn’t at all mean that there’s an approval of horse slaughter. The walkthrough is part of a chain of events, sort of like saying once you get the nomination that you’re actually the president. You may get nominated, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to win.”

In their submission, Larkspur, Colo.-based Front Range Equine Rescue and the national Humane Society note that horse slaughter is a threat to the environment and to wildlife in the vicinity.

USDA activity related to Valley Meat is not necessarily affected by the notice of intent to sue, Wagman said. However, he emphasized that opening a horse slaughterhouse would require a final grant of inspection by the USDA, not just a walkthrough.

In threatening to sue, the organizations say wastewater and other slaughterhouse byproducts produced at Valley Meat could damage the habitats of several threatened or endangered species. That means more obstacles to approval for the plant, Wagman said.

“In order to approve the site as a slaughterhouse,” he said, “USDA is required to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service over the potential damage to those endangered species and their critical habitats.”

Valley Meat is located near the South Spring and Pecos rivers, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Bottomless Lakes State Park. Among species mentioned in the notice are the Pecos bluntnose shiner, three snail species and a freshwater shrimp.

Should the USDA give Valley Meat final approval, owner Ricardo De Los Santos still faces other obstacles. Wagman said plans to export the meat to eastern Europe and Asia would not comply with the New Mexico Food Act.

“Under New Mexico food law, horse meat is adulterated and cannot be sold,” he said. “You can’t sell it to somebody else, either. Doesn’t mean, ‘Oh, you can sell it to Europeans.’ It means it can’t be sold – period.”

Horse slaughter remains a hot topic in New Mexico. Renee Blake has some of the latest developments.

In the New Mexico Food Act, revised in 1993, Chapter 25, Article 2 refers to adulterated or misbranded food. The text is online at nmenv.state.nm.us.

48 replies »

  1. This explains it for me reading what their lawyer said should be a go in two or three days it just shocked me, I should know better than to listen to the rant of any of them, this gives me pause in praying this does not take place, I honestly can’t imagine how it can with all the obstacles?? WHO would he even sell it to?? Thanks for all the input !!!

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    • He thinks that once he gets it out of the states he’s going to have a free ride to his millions. To bad for him..

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      • Excerpt from http://nj1015.com/should-horse-slaughter-for-human-consumption-be-banned-in-the-us-poll/ (Now, with cattle herds shrinking amid an ongoing drought, De Los Santos says he and his wife are just trying to transform their business and make enough money to retire by slaughtering domestically some of the thousands of horses that he says travel through the state every month on their way to what are oftentimes less humane and less regulated plants south of the border.

        De Los Santos said, “They are being slaughtered anyway. We thought, well, we will slaughter them here and provide jobs for the economy,”)

        Hopefully, they will have to find another way to finance their retirement.

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      • The cattle numbers aren’t shrinknig theere are 9 million on public lands the horses once lived on – the BLM/DOI, paid by British Petroleum are killing of the few horses we have left to make room for the cattle & get them away from the pipeline they’re building – which makes NO SENSE – since there are fewer horses than cattle & the horses don’t hurt the piepline – CAN YOU SAY REVENGE by BP for making them take care fo their mistakes (Gulf Oil Spill) – Once again foregin interests are are given free reign in our country & subverting our democratic process – while our politicians & officials are being bought off- Don’t we our own oil companies (oh, wait – BP owns them, too – becasue we let them)

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      • It should never get to that point – the issue is to STOP the HORSE SLAUGHTER before it begins – no horse should suffer this – no hors eshould become meat – it has to stop BEFORE the slaughter – where are the New Mexio agencies & politicians – the governor could make a martorium & stop this with the flick of a pen – its ridiculous for this to go on & on – it needs to stop now!! Who’s getting rich besides the butcher? His contacts are in El Paso, Texas & Mexico – And:

        Where are the horses they plan to slaughter?

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    • How do we know this was JUST a walk-through – because they said it? – It may have been the real inspection for all we know – they (Valley Meats/USDA/BLM/etc) have lied, cheated & stolen their way through this – why should we believe them this time – A notice on the internet about a week ago said that Valley Meats planned to start by April 29, 2013 – so what does this mean?

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  2. Thanks for the clarification RT. It is like the media and Valley Meats here in NM are just taunting the people at every opportunity – reporting as though Valley Meats is all ready to begin slaughtering. If we all have our way there will never be a drop of sweet horse blood spilled on the kill floor at Valley Meats. Thanks for all you do, and to Front Range Equine Rescue.

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  3. Thanks for this blog in response to the sludge spewing out if the Valley Meat Company and its lawyer! They’ve gotten very good at lying and trickery through their verbal dysentery that continues to flow unabated. I’ve been reading through the FOI documents obtained by your group, and quite frankly am amazed that the USDA would allow an application after the false statements already made on previous attempts. One of the emails from that FOI stated they were going to sell the horsemeat to a “distributor in Texas”. Doesn’t that conflict with New Mexico’s Food Act? I am so thankful for your groups dedication to ensuring the people are informed and our voices heard!

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    • I read that also and wondered how they plan to circumvent Tx. Agric. Code §149.002 :Texas can now enforce its law that bans any person from “sell[ing], offer[ing] for sale, or exhibit[ing] for sale horsemeat as food for human consumption” or “possess[ing] horsemeat with the intent to sell the horsemeat as food for human consumption.” Tx. Agric. Code §149.002. It is also an offense to transfer horsemeat to a person one knows or should know intends to do those prohibited activities. Id. at §149.003.

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    • A USDA Supervisor in DC signed the permits for the butcher in New Mexico – in spite of the 2 previous lies about felonie on 2 other applications & the final admittal to the felonies on the 3rd aplication – this alone could have been refused by this guy in DC & he allowed it! Good Ol’ Boys sitting behind their cushy desks with their high paying salaries signing death warrants on innocent animals lives & getting away with it – SHAMEFUL!! The state & other federal agencies have to step in.

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  4. I think the attorney for Valley Meats is in way over his head, as he seems to NOT know all the particulars or requirements for horse slaughter. Also, I’ve said this all along, where is Valley Meats gonna get the horses that are NOT adulterated? certainly not in the US! The attorney makes it sound like everything is a go for slaughter and all they need to do is round up some horses and start slaughtering – All this is is smoke and mirrors and intimidation aimed at the people -Just like the threatening emails and letters this attorney has been sending to people that oppose horse slaughter, which I’d say he could be possibly be disbarred for!

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    • The BLM has been rounding up horses for this very purpose – some wild horses in the Ruidoso, Nm have disapeared off of Hwy 244 very recently & thousands are in BLM holding pens – this is where they’re coming from

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      • I was JUST going to say the very SAME thing, this is a great fix for BLM all the horses they have in holding pens just butcher them problem fixed, I can see it happening………I hope to god I am wrong………These wild horses are OUR horses WE all pay for them yet we have NO imput on how to care for them,,,, YUP, just keep up the corruption makes me ill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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      • Debbie & Kim, you hit the nail in their coffin! Read the article by Sebbie Coffey from February 5th, 2013 “WILHORSES SOLD TO KILL BUYER BY BLM CONTRACTOR” posted by Dave Lindorff. I’m calling the Whitehouse everyday and complain!

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      • THanks, Dave – who does the Whitehouse say is responsible for investigating the corruption & abuses? Doesn’t the OIG (Office of Inspector General) have jurisdiction over rogue agencies/contractors & even their directors?

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      • Debbie, the Animal Rescue Unit ublished some article on the internet in 2010 about the BLM, DOI, British Petroleum (& the EL Paso Coprpoation) being responsible for the massacres of horses during BLM round-ups & slaughters designed to clear horses (that weren’t causing any problems) from the areas around the Ruby Pipeline, as well as to secure lands for cattle ranchers for 9 milllions cattle, even though there were only thousands of horses on the same land – one of the article sis at:

        http://www.animalrescueunit.com/wildhorsemassacres.htm

        Check out this article & will probably lead you to others

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  5. Thank you R.T. and Front Range Equine Rescue for the clarification on this slaughterhouse in New Mexico. I just hope the Government shuts down this Valley Meat Co. slaughterhouse once and for all.

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  6. Thank you!! I’ve been trying to get the word out on all articles that this was just a site visit. I’m also happy to say that the USDA has been consistent and true with the information they have given to me when I’ve called them. The Dallas office had told me this would be only a site visit and that NO approvals will be given for quite some time as the testing on the horses is far from complete. Let’s all hope & pray that our gov’t won’t provide any funding for inspections!

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  7. I think I just took my first breath since I heard that this plant was about to open. Thanks so much R.T., Front Range Equine Rescue, and to all of us who care so much about the well-being of our horses and our country. This is, once again, a good day, a day to regain our strength and hope, and to push on again to ban this once and for all!!

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  8. This looks like posturing to me, nothing more. Adulterated food still cannot be sold for human consumption in this country, and increasingly other countries as well. I have no idea why they are continuing with this. I don’t think it has a snowball’s chance.

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  9. After his previous record, I’m surprised they would even consider giving him the opportunity to run any business again, especially the slaughter business! Thanks for the up-date RT and Front Range Rescue for your continuous dedication.

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  10. Santos’ lawyer, Dunn, is a habitual liar like many other pro slaughterphiles we know of. Santos lying on his application and prior USDA violations, should be reason enough to deny application. Someone commented IF it opens, they will have federal protection as in security? Hope that was a rumor/lie also as it will really really piss me off using my tax dollars to “protect” yet another criminal.

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      • A federal agency approved it – the USDA supervisor in DC named Bill Smith – made the decision & delegated it to a Mr. Sapian (unclear on spelling) – who gave an annoucement to media recently that they approved the application in spite of his numbers of felonies & regardless of lying about it (twice) – Call the USDA office in DC

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    • A guy at the USDA office in DC signed the application knowing full well that the applicant lied twice & then that he finally admitted he’s a felon – now they do a walk-through – open your eyes, peoeple – this is not good news – its the final step toward horse slaughter in the US & New Mexico – the politicians don’t care about animal suffering as long as their pockets are lined – If should never have gotten this far – other states have outlawed it & New Mexico could, too, if they wanted – need to ask WHY THEY DON’T?

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  11. No way should this plant ever open! It will only invite animals abuse not to mention introduce more tainted horsemeat into the meat supply. Plus, we do not need our beautiful equines slaughtered!

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    • Not to mention the horrifying people who’ll be working for him & will then be free in the community where this atrocity happens – do we really want these kinds of people circulating through our community after a long day of torturing horses?

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  12. So there are laws on the books already. I wonder how Ricky is going to get around that. New Mexico needs to pass laws to ban horse slaughter period. Great information though! Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Somebody help me understand something here…de los Santos has filed 3 applications (the first two with fraudulent histories) and he has a history with the state of NM and the Feds for violations regarding cattle when he was butchering cattle (or whatever else0)….and they are doing a walk through??????!!!!!!?????

    Didn’t he already fail!???

    BTW, don’t the FOIAs show that the “corrections” (hooks, etc) were still not acceptable?

    WTH is going on here? How many FAILS is this operation allowed?????

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  14. Apparently as many as money will buy in the state & federal government – there is no other explanation than the fix is in

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  15. It is not Federally illegal to kill or butcher a horse for use as food. This is a fact. Slaughter was only stopped because the government decided to bow to the AR groups wishes to end slaughter by making it illegal for the government to inspect horse meat, thus ending the ability of plants to sell the meat. Killing, butchering, and eating a horse IS NOT ILLEGAL IN THE US.

    Cattle and most other livestock animals receive just as many vaccines, wormers, and medications as do horses, but in the US, many people anthropomorphise many animals to a ridiculous point, which has led to the ‘horses are pumped full of drugs, therefore cannot be eaten’ false argument. There are times from which an animals body is cleared of drugs, wormers, etc., for ALL other meat livestock, yet for horses, seemingly impossible…how can that be?? This anthropomorphism is the actual problem. It was very common for people to eat horse meat (up until the early 1970’s). It is a fact that at the state fairs and other places, including restaurants, here in the northwest served horse burgers.

    Horses are not dogs or big pets…they are livestock…ranch & farm people still know this. Fluffy types think horses should be pets. As a horse trainer, this is dangerous thinking…horses can kill people without proper handling. They are not pets. I also find it hypocritical that many people that eat many other types of meat find the thought of eating horse meat repugnant.

    There is currently no bottom market for useless, old, insane, inbred, dangerous, and just plain badly built (to the point of them being in consistent pain) horses…meaning slaughter plants being open. This has led to thousands of horses starving to death as a result. Horses are being dumped out on other people’s land, in the deserts, on BLM land, Parks land, EVERYWHERE! Most of these horses die a slow, painful death of starvation…they cannot support themselves in the wild, having been bred through domestication…they have very few survival skills left from generations of breeding for docility. Freedom for domestic animals usually equals a bad and painful death, not some idyllic Garden of Eden fantasy.

    There is NO WAY that all the horses I have just described can be ‘rehomed’, adopted out, become ‘pasture pals’ or someone’s ‘back yard buddy.’ There is NO WAY that every single over bred TB or SB or AQHA or Paint (or any other bred-on-purpose horse breed) or Estogen-producing horses or their foals can be found good owners. Rescues are over loaded and NOT getting the mercy $$ they once did. Many have been closed down as ‘horse rescuers’ become hoarders and then, again, the horses require rescuing from their ‘rescuers’.

    These are some of the many reasons that I support the slaughter of horses. While slaughter of ANY animal is not a perfect process, it surely beats slowly starving to death. Animals have been domesticated and bred for uses by humans for centuries. I also see NOT slaughtering excess horses as a huge waste of an excellent source of protein either for animals or human beings.

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  16. If De Los Santos can not export “horse meat” to Europe or Asia, or,”sell it anywhere, period”, then what’s he going to do with all the poor slaughtered horses? What’s the point, or, his point, intent or purpose? He is not providing a “service” to anyone. The only reason horses would be sent there is because he bought them from either kill-buyers, big breed over-breeders, everyday people who decide they either no longer want their horse(s), or the horses are no longer “useful” to them, & so on, with the very intent of selling them for human or animal consumption! Hopefully, he doesn’t think the world will fall for the made-up, lying “excuse” of giving people “options for ‘humane’ euthanasia”!! This ‘man’, & anyone else like him, needs to take a serious hike, straight to hell! If he’s so intent on opening a slaughter facility, then why not continue with cattle or hogs? I love ALL animals, so of course I’d rather he not get to do anything at all, but if this place was closed before, why would the USDA even remotely consider his request to slaughter horses??

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    • I have had the same questions exactly as you do, I really don’t understand how he expect to sell our horses to anybody…… I don’t understand at all????? Wish if someone knew they would let us all know to understand what really is going on???????

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      • He has a silent partner, someone with enough money to pay the lawyers. I’m sure a lot of questions would be answered if we knew who that was.

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    • You can’t rule out they’d put it in the domestic beef supply, with no viable markets in Europe. T

      USDA recently ‘reassured’ the public the domestic food supply is safe from the horse meat contamination conspiracy, because there are no domestic plants. If that were to change, USDA is not equipped to test all our food and once the inevitable happened, millions of Americans would go vegetarian.

      I hope the beef lobby is looking at this the way the American people are.. a risk to our food supply. Passing the SAFE Act is a great insurance policy for their sales, and for the safety of the food supply!

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    • Look up: http://www.animalrescueunit.com/wildhorsemassacres.htm

      Its an article on the web from The Animal Rescue Unit about the BLM, British Petroleum, The El Paso COrporation, (& now the USDA) massacring horses to make way for the Ruby Pipeline & cattle ranchers to graza 9 million cattle on public lands – they are moving the horses to extinction & brutally killing both during the round-ups & slaughters – AND – THERE’S NO REASON FOR IT – the horses are few in numbers compared to cattle & the BP can build temporary fences around the pipeline while its being built to keep wildlifeaway from it – it makes no sense – check out this article & it will lead you to others about the same topic. They’re a bunch of psychopathic bullies who won’t stop once they something in their heads, no matgter how wrong o brutal it is (hallmark of a psychopathic personality) & all for money from a foreign corporation in our country subvertgin our democratic process

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  17. Everyone seems to have questions about the silent partner. Don’t kid yourselves some company in Europe is probably providing the needed cash. Why would anyone open a plant when the horse meat can’t be sent anywhere. Does anyone know of any research facilities that may have the intention to use the carcasses or other body parts? This seems like something out of a scifi movie. All the activity in the last 2 years has me baffled. It seems that there was a big push to start the processing of horses again until the scandal in Europe. There are alot of unanswered questions. However, it seems to me that this man is living in some pipe dream. The litigation surrounding the opening of any slaughter houses around the country would take months. I commend Front Range and HSUS for moving forward with these law suits. How any application or approval would be given when previous violations occurred is beyond me. RT, thanks so much for keeping us all updated on this critical information. It gives me the right amo when dealing with some of these jerks who support slaughter. They look ridiculous when they spout information that is not accurate. I can stop them at every turn with the facts, which they obviously do not have…

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    • You’re right about it being someone in Europe – its British Petroleum (and the El Paso COrporation) along with our own Dept. Of the Interior (Ken Salazar & Sylvia Baca (she works for both over the past several years) & our own BLM who have been up to this for many years on behalf of the BP & their pipelines all over our country (this is in addition to the Gulf Oil Spill in recent years) – Killing our horses to (in their minds) make way for the pipeline & clear the way for cattle ranchers to graze their millions of cattle for virtually free (by slaughtering thousands of horses – they are also killed brutally during the round ups) (all of this at tax payer expense)

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