Horse News

Front Range Equine Rescue Discovers Would-Be Horse Slaughter Plant Has Been Violating Federal Clean Water Act for Years

Press Release from Front Range Equine Rescue

Horse Protection Group Will Sue New Mexico Horse Slaughterhouse For Failure to Protect New Mexico Water Supply

valley_meat(April 30, 2013)— Front Range Equine Rescue (“FRER”) notified Valley Meat Company of Roswell, New Mexico (“Valley Meat”) and the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) of its intent to sue Valley Meat for violating the federal Clean Water Act.  Valley Meat formerly slaughtered cattle but now seeks to slaughter horses for human consumption.  By conducting slaughter operations without proper approval or obtaining a conditional exclusion, Valley Meat has violated and will continue to violate the Clean Water Act.

The letter sent by FRER explains that the Clean Water Act requires Valley Meat to obtain a permit or apply for an exception before conducting further slaughter operations, in order to protect surface waters from discharges that have been exposed to Valley Meat’s slaughterhouse activities.  Based on its investigation, FRER believes that Valley Meat, despite operating a slaughterhouse for years, and attempting to start up again, has failed to comply with the requirements of the Clean Water Act.  Valley Meat has applied to the USDA for permission to slaughter former companion horses, race horses, and others, and sell the meat for human consumption.

Water pollution from facilities such as Valley Meat can pollute nearby surface waters and makes them unsafe for activities such as drinking, fishing, and swimming.  Valley Meat is a threat to the environment and to the surface water in the vicinity of its slaughterhouse because of the high volume of waste and other byproducts horse slaughter produces, from manure, offal, and blood to hair, bones, fat, and dangerous wastewater.  Slaughterhouses generate large amounts of pollutants, which can impact the environment and degrade surface water when discharges enter groundwater, streams, and rivers, and when storm water from those facilities reaches nearby waterways.

Hilary Wood, President of Front Range Equine Rescue, states:  “Horse slaughter facilities are notorious for wreaking environmental havoc, producing an unbearable stench and numerous pollutants that are a threat to surface water, food safety, and quality of life of the local community.  Because horses are not raised for human consumption, their owners treat them with numerous substances that are not meant to be consumed by humans.  When horses are slaughtered, those substances may be present in discharges from facilities such as Valley Meat, posing a threat to drinking water.”

In November 2011, Congress authorized the inspection of horses for slaughter in America, something that had been prohibited since 2006.  Earlier this year, the Obama administration decided to process an application for inspecting horse slaughter at Valley Meat.  FRER will sue Valley Meat to force it to comply with the Clean Water Act and ensure that it will not jeopardize the water quality in Roswell, New Mexico and surrounding areas.

FRER is represented by lawyers at Schiff Hardin LLP.


•    Horse slaughter facilities diminish quality of life and threaten the health of people and animals in surrounding communities.

•    Horse slaughter produces pollutants that threaten the purity of surface waters used for drinking, swimming, and fishing.

•    During their lives, horses who end up at slaughter have been 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.

•    Even persons who purposefully avoid horse meat may unintentionally be exposed to the drugs that are frequently administered to horses through their possible entry into the surfaces waters.

•    Throughout his career in the slaughter industry, Valley Meat’s owner has consistently violated food safety, animal welfare, and environmental laws.

19 replies »

  1. Thank You so much to all who are doing so much to make sure people are safe, the environment and all of our horses………… Lots of hard work and we are all still making calls and e-mails to our representitives………… I just can’t even imagine how some folks have not learned from our past how distructive in every form when we had horse slaughter here….. Honestly how stupid is it that we would go down the same wrong path over and over???


    • The reality is, some people don’t give a damn about anything but money. OSHA would have a cow if they inspected his plant i bet you.. and OSHA loves to cause monetary gashes when it comes to charging fines and fees for each violation..


  2. Lets not get our hopes up. federal Judges are notorious for ruling against environmental law. Issues as “standing”, “statute of limitations”, “navigable body of water” and others often thwart the intent of Congress and the American people. I was the plaintiff in a Clean Water Act lawsuit for 20 years that contaminated my property with PCB’s and after spending a fortune, have never seen the inside of a Court Room.


  3. Me thinks De Los Santos will rue the day he decided to mess with FRER. I am standing and applauding their actions to stop this foul business in its tracks.


  4. Way to go Front Range Team. I’m proud to applaud your efforts. I’m a little strapped but I will rob Peter to pay Paul to help you continue to help the horses.


  5. Thank you FRER! It’s hard to imagine with his background and having so many violations, he would be allowed to run any business?!. This is a real safety issue and one that must be won for our horses, the environment and the community. Way to go….thank you!


  6. Thank you Front Range, you will be making a difference. I know Roswell has been know for its alien activity, but I’m sure the people of the towns and counties do not want their families glowing like Halloween pumpkins. As a resident of Illinois, I can tell you nothing of much value would come from a House of Horrors like that. The only way these companies get shut down and kept shut down is by the constant voices of those who love the horses. Its apparent that this fellow and his cohorts care nothing for the people, land nor the beautiful animals that they kill. Its very troubling that we have such immoral people living amoung us. Hopefully, this will be another nail added to the coffin of those trying open a slaughter house in the US. Again, if Europe wants to slaughter and eat horses that’s their business, but leave ours the hell alone..I predict that Europeans will soon be moving to a more humane way of thinking relating to their horses also. Again, you go Front Range and take this company down to their knees!


  7. Secretary Tom Vilasak (from Hamilton NY) office is FLOODED with phone calls as of Wed AM EST……they are transferring to food safety and then to Congressional liason…..Please say Thank you when you call


  8. They/we, need to sue the pants off the Obama administration, not just Valley Meats!!!! If there were real aliens out there (only saying because of Roswell, New Mexico!), I SO wish they would show up & slaughter all those pathetic humans that want to slaughter & eat our horses, &, eat them!!! Talk about contaminated, the poor aliens would probably croak on the spot if they ate any of those good for nothing, low-life scumbags! God, where are You? We need You so much right now, & Your beautiful creatures need You more than ever before!! We can’t seem to do this by ourselves, we need help. I pray that You will somehow, intervene, &, show Your mercy on all equines. Thank You. Well, I’m going out to our boarding barn with my daughter to spend some beautiful, peaceful time with our beloved horse, & then we’re invited to a barn wedding (one of the barn employees). You can’t get much more down to earth or romantic than that! Thank you again, to all who continue to fight this war, we must never back down, never stop, that is what they want us to do!


  9. These are the things that we can support which will delay, stop or at least cost the killers money to defend. Do we need to raise money to help Front Range with this law suit.. I’m so tired of spending time telling people who already know what is going on..what is going on.. I was hoping that the meeting of advocates in New York would produce specific actions that can be taken to defeat horse slaughter.. I think it is going to take money to hire lobbyists to be seen in Congress, and to hire lawyers to make horse slaughter as uncomfortable and illegal as possible.. the USDA lost a court case and that is why it is in this position. President Obama defunded it in his budget, but his budget cannot get passed because of Congress. Congress can change it.. but we need the clout of the flying (richer) public. It could be changed in 3 days..but for clout.


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