Horse News

Confusion Reigns Over Opening of Controversial NM Horse Slaughter Plant

Source: Multiple

“It will open unless Congress restores the ban on horse slaughter that they had in place,”

“Much of the information in these main stream articles is incorrect.  Please call the Secretary’s office, today, and politely request that this atrocity does not take place ~ (202) 720-3631” ~ R.T.


Rick de los Santos speaking with forked tongue to CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker about killing and eating horses (CBS) - May, 2012

Rick de los Santos speaking with forked tongue to CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker about killing and eating horses (CBS) – May, 2012

ALBUQUERQUE — The southern New Mexico plant that has been fighting for more than a year for permission to slaughter horses will open soon, unless Congress reinstates a ban on the practice, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday.

In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Mr. Vilsack said his department was working to make sure the process was handled properly for the opening of what would be the first domestic horse slaughterhouse in six years.

“We are going to do this, and I would imagine that it would be done relatively soon,” he said.

The Valley Meat Company sued the Department of Agriculture last year, asserting that inaction on its application was driven by emotional political debates and that the delays had cost it hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The department reinspected the plant last week.

“It will open unless Congress restores the ban on horse slaughter that they had in place,” Mr. Vilsack said. “If that doesn’t happen, then we are duty bound to do what needs to be done to allow that plant to begin processing.”

The Obama administration opposes horse slaughter. Its recent budget proposal eliminates financing for inspections of horse slaughterhouses, which would effectively reinstate a ban on the practice in which horses are processed for human consumption. Congress eliminated that financing in 2006, which forced a shutdown of domestic slaughter facilities. But Congress reinstated the money in 2011, prompting Valley Meat and a few other businesses around the country to seek permission to open plants.

The debate over whether to return to domestic horse slaughter has divided horse rescue and animal humane groups, ranchers, politicians and Indian tribes.

At issue is whether horses are livestock or pets, and how best to control the nation’s exploding equine population. Supporters of horse slaughter point to a 2011 report from the federal Government Accountability Office that shows horse abuse and abandonment have been increasing since 2006. They say it is better to slaughter the animals in humane, federally regulated plants than have them abandoned to starve across the drought-stricken West or shipped to inhumane plants south of the border.

The number of horses in the United States sent to other countries for slaughter has nearly tripled since 2006. And many humane groups agree that some of the worst abuse occurs in the slaughter pipeline. Many are pushing for both a ban on domestic slaughter as well as a ban on shipping horses to Mexico and Canada.

Mr. Vilsack says the administration understands the concerns and “needs to be more creative” in finding alternative solutions to horse overpopulation.

30 replies »

  1. Just called you will be connected to a voice mail, Leave a message !!!!!! Please leave one flood this answering MACHINE !!! WITH MESSAGES PLEASE URGE THEM not TO LET THIS Horse SLAUGHTER PLANT OPEN !!!!!!! Remind that them 80 % of Americans Do Not want Horse Slaughter !!!!!


    • Don’t forget to remind them that abuse, abandonment and neglect have all tripled since 2006 and horses being shipped to Mexico for slaughter has went up 600%


    • I called. I got a real reason who transferred me to an answering machine. I left a long detailed message. We need to flood this machine and then somehow if this doesn’t work we need to find a way to stop this from happening.


  2. How can they allow this facility to open with all of the rules being broken:

    1. He as lied on a Federal Application…that disallows him a permit
    2. He’s been previously found guilty of major cruelty rule violations while slaughtering cattle…that disallows him a permit
    3. He’s guilty of breaking the Clean Water Act and putting at risk endangered species. That should disallow him a permit

    Could it be Vilsak is using this a leverage to get Congress to act? God Bless him if he can get that covey of cretins to do anything…


    • Possibly.. But he is acting because all of the things that you mentioned were probably used in the court case that Valley Meats brought against USDA. The Judge decided in favor of Valley Meat, so The Ag Dept must follow the law as decided by the Judge…


    • Something rotten in Denmark, as they used to say. Even if they ‘open’ and there are no inspectors and then next year Vilsack puts the ban on funding inspections back in the budget…
      what sense does any of this make? They would have to close next year?It is as if the Ag Dept will still help if Anyone who wants something bad enough even if there is no market but people get employed? I see no sense in this at all.


  3. “Oh, poor us. We are unable to do anything about this.” What a load of horse crap Vilsack is putting out. Talk about losing any integrity they may have had. This takes the cake. They can change the sequester rules at the drop of a hat, but keep horses from being cruelly treated and they won’t lift a finger. de los Santos is a moron who will revert back to the way he has always done business, but the USDA again won’t be able to stop him. He will fulfill his thirst for equine blood or any animals blood. What a psycho. Certainly has Belgium slaughter and Sue Wallis all over it. Pissed, you bet.


    • The USDA was sued and Valley Meat won. The non=funding is in the Presidents budget, but it has not been approved by congress, and probably will not be without many changes. Congress is the one that must act.. USDA may be able stall, but it must follow the law which was decided by the Judge.. We must understand how government works.. Did the judge decide incorrectly..probably, but we cannot change that. We need the Congress. And unfortunately, I am represented by idiots who could care less, Joe Barton, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn..
      My question is to the advocates that met in New York.. what was their decision? Is calling the USDA (which I have done) the best plan? I was given this number to speak to the dept of food safety,in the USDA.. 202-720-7025


  4. If the Obama admin. got rid of funding for horse meat inspection how can this plant slaughter horses now?? Plus all the other issues that Steve wrote about.


    • Obama’s de-funding of inspectors is for 2014 not right now!!!!! I believe I am correct on this, pretty sure, so that’s why they are going to jump on it, AND I have a question WHERE is he going to sell this, I thought EU will not take our horses???? I mean most of our horses are of course in Mexico and Canada then shipped to EU so I am confused??


      • Yes, 2014 not this year… it is as if this will be some sort of trial as if this place and this man could rise above his past record? ha!


  5. Just called, I will call again a bit later I will call all day long not kidding!! Yeah, here we go down the same slippery slope we were on years ago, how STUPID can we be to do it again, unbelievable…..


  6. What i would like an answer to by the USDA, is how can they approve horsemeat to be sent to other countries for consumption, when they and everyone else knows that our horses have always been given many different drugs during their lifetimes, (and there are over 50 of them) which clearly state on the packaging from the FDA that these drugs are not to be used in horses intended for human consumption? Im sure the FDA didnt just put those warnings on the package without good cause!! One dept. works against the other! I wonder how much more of our food is processed this way? Being cleared by the USDA but not by the FDA? This is clearly so wrong! We should be ashamed that our country is allowed to send poisonous meat to any humans, not matter where they may live!!!! Does this country really want to be the subject of many lawsuits by Europeans that have been sickened by this meat? If they do this with horses, then what about our cattle? They give them drugs too! We should be really concerned about eating any meat in this country also, if this is the way the meat is processed!!


    • The law is clear…if it doesn’t pass inspection it doesn’t ship anywhere. If drug residues are found in the meat garnered from a specified number of animals obtained through the same seller then the line stops and all animals in line are returned to their supplier. Unfortunately a number of animals have to die for the meat to be inspected. The ones who are returned have now gone through all the trauma and stress for nothing…that’s barbaric.

      I would love to be able to afford a lawyer to sue the USDA making it a requirement that a test be developed to determine if the drug residues are present prior to traumatizing or killing the horse. That would take quite some time…delaying the permitting and the reinstatement of inspectors at least until we can bang home the message to Congress.


      • Steve, there are two law suits pending against this place right now. Front Range Equine Rescue is suing because they’ve found evidence that this plant has been polluting the local water. Earlier, the HSUS and FRER filed notice of intent to sue over the plant’s impact on endangered species that are in the area.

        This place ain’t opening any time soon. Also, since the EU has removed the US from the list of countries authorized to export horse meat to the EU, they won’t accept ANY horse meat from a domestic horse slaughter plant. Without the EU, there’s just no market. This is THE MOST idiotic bunch of horse poop I’ve ever seen!


  7. I just called and was transferred to a person who transferred me to a person who took my name, phone number, and comment for the person to be receiving these. I will call back again several times today as well. I am really angry at this whole stinking mess! The people responsible for refunding it, the corrupt and greed behind the people trying to re-open and operate these plants, the Farm Bureau and all their corrupt affiliates, creating and passing Ag-gag laws, Mary Fallin and all her criminal practices in passing it in Oklahoma, and Gov. Martinez of New Mexico. Where is the executive ban to stop this? Another one who refuses to uphold the wishes of her constituents and govern like she was elected to do! We really are on the cross-roads here in the U.S. It’s us against the corrupt special interests and the elected officials they bought. It’s time to bear down everyone. Let’s give them what they deserve and save our horses and our country!!!!


    • I so agree with everything you just said, it is scary in what is happening to this country like I have said before we really don’t have to worry about other country’s destroying us our OWN GOV> ELECTED OFFICIALS are doing it all by themselves, killing this country from the inside, not all but oh so so many corrupt politicians!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  8. Just called also…..The lady that answered said the line has been very busy. Left a detailed message on answering machine and i have to admit….I choked up a little bit. they have to stop this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  9. I just called again and this time I went through two people put on hold twice then the third person I actually talked to her and she took my name and number and I asked if they had been getting a lot of calls and she laughed a little bit not laugh laughed and said YES they have been getting A LOT!!

    SO I wanted to keep calling all day but don’t know how to since I actually talked with someone, she took my name and telephone number, sooooo please all keep calling keep calling and I also choked up too, all I thought about all last night and I mean ALL NIGHT……… Can’t fathom this actually taken place 😦


  10. With sequester, regardless of any changes, our food supply would be at risk for the same as what is happening abroad. The government needs to focus on their current work load, not on a meat Americans don’t even consume.

    As for solutions – this only contributes to continued over breeding which any elementary age student could understand

    I want my tax dollars to go towards actual humane equine solutions. – Vets, Vet techs, euthanasia facilities, euthanasia assistance programs, breeding consult programs, rescues, owner advisement counciling, crematories( current & improved), rendering and composting facilities, equine research/pharma, actual land mgt & research, rehabilitation equine programs – disabled /prison/psychiactric/investigative/blind, trainers and a host of other humane financially beneficial alternatives. Equine creative solutions, which would provide a job base that thousands of Americans would be proud to hold and which is vastly different than horse slaughter

    Please stop this for the greater good – make us proud to be Americans, not ashamed


    • Makes a lot of sense to me. I want my tax dollars to be used on serious things not on some frivolous scam artists plans to abuse and kill horses for human consumption overseas.


  11. Well I can see why the number of horses tripled in Mexico and Canada after 2006 because horses where no longer slaughtered in the USA. What I want to know is with the EU ban on US horses and horse meat where is Mr. Rick de los Santos planning on selling all this toxic horse meat. I have stopped eating at Burger King for fear of horse meat mixed in with their all beef patties and will stop eating all ground beef and pork if they open up a horse slaughter plant in the USA. I don’t trust them and with Mr. de los Santos recorded I would not put anything past him.

    I wonder will they start doing a study on the number of horses stolen when and if the horse slaughter house opens in the USA. It seem to me more horses have come up missing in the last month with the news of a slaughter house then in the last few years. What better way to make money than to steal someone else’s horses and take them to slaughter. After all kill buyers are so good at filling out fake paperwork.


  12. Here in New Mexico we would love if this would go away – but it looks like this plant is really going to open. Please Help us Block this plant!!

    CALL TOM VILSACK -202-720-3631
    Contact anyone/everyone on the House Ag Committee:
    Take action now before it is too late!!!! Please SHARE on FB, Twitter and email.

    Committee Members | Committee on Agriculture
    For more information please go to New Mexico Against Horse Slaughter on Facebook


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