Horse News

New Mexico AG Intervenes in Lawsuit to Halt Horse Slaughter Plant

(ALBUQUERQUE)—Attorney General Gary King has filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit to stop a plant in Roswell from slaughtering horses for meat because federal authorities have not yet undertaken the required environmental review.  


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)

The AG’s motion, filed late last Friday, joins Front Range Equine Rescue, the Humane Society of the United States, and a variety of other groups and individuals that recently brought the lawsuit in federal district court.

AG King’s motion says New Mexico has a strong interest in ensuring that “commercial operations within its borders are conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.”  Attorney General King previously concluded in a legal analysis last month that “state law does not allow for production of meat that is chemically tainted under federal regulations.”

The lawsuit asks the district court to block Roswell’s Valley Meat Company and several plants in other states from beginning commercial horse slaughter until the United States Department of Agriculture undertakes a full and adequate environmental review of those operations.

One of Attorney General King’s primary concerns is that horses in the United States are frequently treated with drugs that the federal Food and Drug Administration has determined are unsafe for human consumption in any amount.

In an opinion letter issued last month in response to an inquiry from State Senator Richard Martinez, AG King noted a 2010 scientific study which revealed the widespread presence in horses destined for slaughter operations of an anti-inflammatory drug that the FDA determined could cause bone marrow toxicity in humans.

The FDA’s own regulations specifically ban administration of the drug, Phenylbutazone, in any horse sent to slaughter for human consumption.  Nonetheless, the study found that the FDA’s ban is effectively being ignored because no mechanism has been implemented to identify and remove horses that receive Phenylbutazone from food manufacture.  The study determined that this shortcoming “indicates a serious gap in food safety and constitutes a significant public health risk.”

Despite these important concerns about the widespread use on horses of Phenylbutazone and other drugs whose effects on humans are either documented to be harmful or are unknown, the USDA announced that, in its view, the planned horse slaughter operations would not have a significant environmental effect on human health or the environment.  The lawsuit is a response to that determination, and it asks the court to order the USDA to conduct a thorough environmental review prior to approving commercial horse slaughter operations for human consumption.

The Attorney General’s motion to intervene raises other serious concerns, including the additional and costly regulatory burden that commercial horse slaughter operations will likely impose on the State of New Mexico to ensure that waste discharge does not threaten area water supplies and environmental quality.  The imminent slaughter of horses for commercial food production in our state, following the horse meat scandal in Europe, also threatens the well-being of our local food production businesses, especially the beef industry.

18 replies »

  1. OMG!!! You promise not to SHOW that Horrible Person right out of Late Horror movies , he would be the worst horror ever………………. Sends chills up my spine and makes my stomach want to up n heave…….. Is this Person really for real ??? or did someone just concoct this sleasey disgusting piece of humane garbage ??????? I cant get past this photo to even answer this POST!!!!!! If ever there was a live person who looks exact;y like a chain saw murderer , this one sure fits the bill, wow talk about type casting this is……………………………..genius


  2. With all this attention one can only hope Congress will act and pass S.A.F.E.. She’s not singing yet but I believe the Fat Lady has stepped out on the stage! Sing with me Sue Wallis…”Turn out the lights, the party’s over”


  3. I have to say, for New Mexico – what water? The Navajo are losing livestock – horses and cattle -at an alarming rate because there’s no water for them.
    New Mexico is one of THE driest states, and is coping with yet another drought year; every drop is more than precious. On that resource alone, New Mexico should be able to tell a potential slaughterhouse operation to step off.
    New Mexico’s governor has voiced her opposition; the AG has disapproved on several points. Does this state not have a right to legislate or protect it’s resources?
    And meanwhile…with all eyes on New Mexico, don’t forget there are tow other states – Iowa and Missouri – set to begin in a few weeks. Both states have Ag-Gag laws, and Iowa has her own burden to bear in the form of the despotic Steve King, who believes he can legislate meat industries in other states with violent anti-cruelty provisions, despite bills passed by other states.
    It’s no surprise that taxpayer opinions on issues in their own states (Oklahoma, for example) seem to carry little weight, but when a governor and AG are ‘ignored’, something truly stinks.


  4. Living in New Mexico as I do I hope this SICK person is stopped. He just wants to make a fast buck on Americas wild horses. I want N.M. still to be the Land of Enchantment, not the land of this monster.


  5. Passing the SAFE ACT is totally dependent on public pressure. Many of us are calling all of the two committee/s members where the two bills are lying dormant. The Chairman of the Agriculture committee, Frank Lucas OK-3, has the final say-so as to whether the House will ever be able to vote on HR 1094. Please avail yourself of the list which is posted on many Facebook pages including mine and start making calls. There are 44 members of the two committees, House and Senate, and it takes about a minute a call. And call the POTUS – I call daily.
    Plesse call your own representative and senators. Contact information is available at
    We have some great people working along with us including R,T,, but they need us to push like crazy. So please give a hand – thank you and the horses thank you.


    • I just have a question or two. What do you do if your Senators are already on board with SAFE Act and your Rep is too? They signed on. Big deal. But nothing’s moving from that point on.

      For me, I keep meaning to go back to the Natural Resources hearing and double check that Comgressman Huffman was in attendance. Cause if not the local paper will hear about it loud long and VERY clear from me.

      Many here came from ABR and knew of little Melody–the little girl that Ed Schaffer ran down riding his motorcycle drunk. He killed her in a crosswalk. And a few months later her aunt who was a big Barbaro fan passed away. I now in little Melody’s hometown. And happily Ed Schaffer was sentenced to San Quentin where he lived for three weeks before another inmate killed him cause of Melody.

      I called Washington that morning and was told by Congressman Huffman’s staff he would be present. I sure hope so. I know I was stunned to find out that my Congressman was on the Natural Resources Committee. And yes, I sent him a long letter explaining about the wild horses and why they should be removed from BLM’s grasp. So far I’ve heard nothing back. And I wrote him while I was on vacation!

      But I sure keep getting the royal brush off. You know the recycled letter thanking you and they’ll keep your opinions in mind when things come to the floor. But in the Senate Reid keeps blocking every equine bill or he has henchmen that do his dirty work for him. How do we get around this brick wall?


  6. NM’s AG filing is critical.

    This is soooooo important as to food safety and what advocates have been saying for many years; US Equines are NOT a food product.


Care to make a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.