Horse News

NM Wild Horses at Risk for Slaughter

Source: Amanda Goodman Amanda Goodman of

“When you have a horse slaughter facility come to your area horse theft goes right up,”
Rick De Los Santos, owner of Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, stands in the slaughterhouse where he plans to butcher horses for the foreign meat market. (PAT VASQUEZ-CUNNINGHAM/JOURNAL)

Rick De Los Santos, owner of Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, stands in the slaughterhouse where he plans to butcher horses for the foreign meat market. (PAT VASQUEZ-CUNNINGHAM/JOURNAL)

PLACITAS, N.M. (KRQE) – Horse advocates fear New Mexico‘s wild horses could end up in New Mexico’s new horse slaughterhouse.

The Valley Meat Company near Roswell passed an inspection by the USDA in April, it is still awaiting its permit in order to start operations at what would be the country’s only horse slaughterhouse.

“When you have a horse slaughter facility come to your area horse theft goes right up,” said Patience O’Dowd, President of  Wild Horse Observers Association, or WHOA.

O’Dowd is not alone in her concerns.

In an interview with KRQE News 13 O’Dowd said a majority of people who live in Placitas where wild horses graze on their property are worried about them too.

“They talk so much about, about taking them away and having them put in the slaughterhouse which we are just totally against,” said Placitas Resident Delilah Pohl-Anthony.

According to O’Dowd New Mexico’s wild horses have been targeted for slaughter in the past.

“Some did go to slaughter in Mexico and Texas,” O’Dowd said.

The going rate for a horse to be sold at auction for slaughter is between $200 and $300 according to O’Dowd.

Right now, O’Dowd estimates there are about 100 wild horses roaming between Placitas, San Felipe Pueblo and BLM Land nearby, including some foals.

“We just had births that we shouldn’t have had, the same as last spring,” said O’Dowd.

Some believe slaughter is a way to help manage the over-population of horses.

O’Dowd says there is a better alternative for New Mexico’s wild horses.

“We have to use birth control to manage these horses,” she said.

WHOA is pushing to be able to use PZP, a non-toxic immuno-contraceptive on the wild horses here.

In the meantime though they have petitioned the Governor and the President to reinstate the horse slaughter ban which would keep Valley Meats from opening.

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26 replies »

  1. The Photo above right out of a horror movie , only this one is real !!!!! This man is a POSTER man for unnecessary and horrible death for our Horses !!!!!


  2. I am sure he has committed a crime of a different sort investigate him, quite possibly he has done some other crime for which he can be imprisoned for????????


    • He is s Sociopath…..hungry for horsemeat and blood….I am sure he gets a big Charge out of it…. Sick man….


  3. Praying dayley that insecure greedey people will not be able to touch the live of our beloved animales. Thank You for the posting; I’m sharing it so more people are remined again what is going on & that there is a need for help with this issue!


  4. Good information about one of the devastating effects of allowing horse slaughter to operate in this country. I hope that President Obama will sign the ban soon or that the Safe Act will pass as well. We can’t allow horse slaughter to return to this country, ever.


  5. 100 wild horses is below genetic viablility – why push PZP? what’s wrong w/ foals being born? Overpopulation? What overpopulation?


  6. I know better but occasionally I allow myself to be completely frustrated that such a small group of self serving, greedy people can have such a devastating impact on horses and the people that want to protect them. Why does De Los Santos get such coverage? Who cares about his weasley business or how NOT butchering horses is a hardship to HIM?! He couldn’t make a business out of killing downed cows so now he’s owed the chance at a new start with horses!? What is wrong with this picture??? Sorry….just venting.


    • Because he has a “silent” partner who has to be funding this. I don’t believe he has the money to pay a lawyer, let alone re-open his plant. I also believe these partners have lobbyists and are foreigners. Perhaps the same foreigners who put horsemeat in European beef.


  7. I am SO against this….I live not far from these beautiful animals and have seen them. PLEASE all who read this try and respond and get this message out to your fiends and repost it on FB. This guy standing here in the picture makes me sick just to look at him, look at him there standing like a bad vulture waiting! Roswell RUN HIM OUT OF BUSINESS !


    • Investigate this so called human , I am sure there is something he can be sent away for !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! couldnt arrest Al Capone , so they got him on tax evasion…………..Just look at him he is more then a Horse Slaughter !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  8. The Placitas are at particular risk because even though the herd was there in 1971 it was never set aside as a HA or HMA. I hope folks will call Gov Martinez and President Obama – this insanity needs to stop.


    • I hve called Gov Martinez’ office a couple of times. they are very cooperative. I can’t find the number right now, but I also encourage you all to give her office a call and leave a message if yo have to. I li ve in California, but I know for sure if that plant opens, that horses here will be so convenient to steal and trailer to New Mexico. They are now, but with slaughter so much closer it will become out of control. We have laws here in Calfornia, but criminals are criminals because they break the law and there are plenty of them here in the horse business. Beware folks, this plant open and we will all be panicking if we look out and dont see our horses where we left them last night.


    • Is there some way to get an Act of Protection for a specific herd of wild horses (especially when their numbers are at/near/below genetic viability) or a specific region they’re in to limit & slow/stop them from being captured for slaughtered?


    • Arlene – the news you saw was that there is a line item in the Ag budget that prohibits money being budgeted for inspections. That budget has not passed yet. We know for sure Ag business will do all they can to drop that line. We have to stay vigilant and not assume anything.


  9. You can bet they are going to go after free horses before going to auction. I see the wild horses and a increase in stolen horses which will ended up at this place. I still say I don’t want my tax dollars funding USDA inspection for any food that we do not eat. It is not right that the American people could face food shortage due to the cut back of funds and then to make the 80% of American who are against horse slaughter pay taxes to fund this or any horse slaughter plant makes me sick.

    The BLM will not use birth control because they fear that in a few years they and their friends will be out of a job. But they need more room so they can keep rounding up wild horse so they agree with the pro-slaughter and are biting at the bit to have a slaughter house in the USA. Follow the money and you will see who has the most to gain by opening up a horse slaughter house in the USA.


  10. Horse Slaughter should be outlawed in the United States Of American Period!
    we won;t go to anywhere that condones and uses the practice ever at all so if those states have tourism forget us spending money there at all!
    I do not understand how slaughter house Can be even accepted at all
    soon it will be a way of getting rid of human bodies
    breaks my heart and many others they do not put the horses down in a humane way they are broken and tortured it is disgusting and shame on you NM for aLLOWING IT


  11. Jo-Claire sent me a link to a radio station from yesterday. Dr. Lester Friedlander was on it. He went to NM because Rick Santos said that a USDA inspector is right there when the animal is stunned to ensure the stunning. He wanted people to know this statement was not correct.

    He was great! He hit on all the points about how unsafe horsemeat is. He mentioned the transport violations.

    At this point to my knowledge the deed is not done. Nothing’s been signed.


  12. Rick Santos shot his own horse and put it on YouTube. He is a poor excuse for a human being. I saw Dr. Lester Friedlander stating horse meat is not safe and the way it is done is very terrifying to a horse Very inhumane.


    • Oh yeah I saw the video. But it wasn’t Rick. It was a former employee. He was let go due to all the public furor over the video.


  13. Most people who see a demand for a product that is widely accepted in another country-go to that country to produce it. If Belgium wants it and its so hard to accept here then why doesn’t he relocate there? As for horse thefts, I have lived in Illinois and Indiana both and the results of the DeKalb plant were devasting with horse thefts, my grandfather was living proof of saving stolen horses from that plant. Over the years if the internet had been widely available to document all those loses we would have raised our eyebrows much faster. However, I found 7 old news clippings from an Illinois newspaper-in 1981 the clipping said nearly 10,000 horses, burros, ponies stolen between the borders of Illinois, many traced into the slaughter plant, only 273 animals were EVER recovered, another news clipping May of 1992 shows that over 13,421 horses were stolen in a 12 month period in Illinois ALONE, it quotes, 9,806 missing animals recorded in Equine Status in Missouri, and 7,216 missing equine in Indiana. That was a year meat was high. In


    • After CA banned the sale and transport of horses for slaughter (and mind you there is no one watching the state crossings…)our numbers dropped 30%. Does it work? Stealing wise our numbers would indicate so. But there is no one to stop anyone from shipping. And Joe from northern CA knows of 2/3 truckloads that leave every week.

      And towards the end of summer when Mexican rodeo winds down for another season they’ll be a whole nother boatload of horses looking for homes or that trip to hell. These will lame broken horses. Horses that have been so abused they don’t which side is up.

      Man’s insatiable appetite to break things without a human voice disgusts me. Between outright abuse, abuse that isn’t intentional (your barn where you board decides to starve your horse because they don’t like YOU the human)felony abuse, killing maiming animals…I don’t think it’ll end.

      Weird enough I’ve heard several say over time that they were really beginning to mankind. I use to say that when I was in grade school. I’m stunned to find others who feel the same! At least I’m not alone.


  14. As Patience once wrote; There are less than 700 wild horses in NM> There are tens of thousands of race horses, thoroughbreds and quarter horse and another many thousand ranch and pleasure horses in NM. So what is the big deal about the wild ones now that they are nearly gone???

    700 wild horses can certainly find respect and safety in such a state built on horse power? The stats are astounding. There are so few wild horses that there ought to be some structure within the NM laws to keep them safe and free.

    It is the same thing when you look at Colorado, despite the HMAs so many love. This still represents barely more than 1000 wild horses in Colorado. When you do this in all our wild horse states you see how few there are and how simple saving them on their lands should be. We have been sucked into a BLM vortex of lies, deceit and illegal actions just crying out to be named with legal charges. It is absurd to think our wild horses have done even .1% of the damage done by grazers. And they are wild. Why do they get compared to cattle and sheep at all when they are on their own land!?

    Turn this travesty around! Go after all these people who have names and jobs and make decisions and created this crisis all on their own! Expose these people and investigate them. So many have blood on their hands.


  15. Without the wild horses, we would not have horses, our horses are a direct line to the wild horse. The government set aside government lands for wild horses, but like the native American lands, they are shrinking.
    As we can adopt a part of a highway to take care of, why can’t the US citizens adopt a wild horse, or burro. If the American citizen can adopt a wild horse, we could care for that horse, and many citizens could adopt just one horse. And if everyone put in ten dollars a month, to help feed and water that wild horse. Then I think we would be better off of it.
    Everyone who is not a animal lover, thinks that animals have no feeling, yet we are animals, would we come under that statement? They have families like we have families. We show love and compassion, to our fellow human animals, as we do our fellow pets, cats, dogs, rabbits, horses ,goats, etc.
    If we do not stand up against the killing of wild horses, how long before the American people become targets for thinning out the population. Because of not being able to feed and not enough water to go around?
    On one blog, the person, said in another web page, that the Wild horses are taking away the children’s food program in schools. That is hogwash The Lottery was suppose to go to schools, so why are they closing schools because of no money?
    Why are the schools running out of money, its not the Wild Horse’s fault, its some greedy sticky handed Politian pulling it out for this and that, but never reaching the children, which it was intended for.
    Setting up the adoption program, would go in the hands of the people who really and truly love those horses, and are fighting for them. Not in the hands of the government who will find other programs who need the money, like the funds going to an election event.
    We have to stand our ground, for the wild horses, who cannot defend themselves. They are part of the Beautiful America.


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