State Officials, Humane Groups Oppose Proposed Horse Slaughter Plant in New Mexico

Governor and Attorney General Blast New Mexico Plant

WASHINGTON, (ASPCA —The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), Front Range Equine Rescue and Animal Protection of New Mexico condemn plans to open a horse slaughter plant in Roswell, N.M.
The plans for the slaughterhouse were uncovered in an investigation by Front Range Equine Rescue, a Colorado-based equine rescue organization. The proposed facility would be operated by Valley Meat Co., LLC, a company in Roswell that has already applied with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service for inspection of the slaughter of equines for human consumption. According to Front Range’s investigators, FSIS officials were scheduled to conduct a preliminary walk-through inspection of Valley Meat’s facility last month. USDA temporarily suspended inspections of cattle slaughter at Valley Meat Co. in February 2012 and November 2011 due to failure to comply with humane slaughter regulations.

“A horse slaughtering plant in Roswell is a terrible idea,” said New Mexico Attorney General Gary King. “Such a practice, while not illegal, is certainly abhorrent to public sentiment, and I strongly suggest it be abandoned. I come from a ranching family but processing horses for food was never part of the plan for raising livestock. Horses are different and should be treated differently.”
“As a veterinarian and someone who has had the great good fortune to grow up with and around horses, I am very saddened and angry about the recent revelations of mistreatment of horses in New Mexico,” said New Mexico State Land Commissioner Ray Powell. “If a horse is hurt, terminally ill, or has no chance to find a loving home, then humane euthanasia is a realistic alternative. I am told New Mexico is entertaining the idea of a horse slaughtering facility in our state. Since we do not have the horses in New Mexico to make this economically viable, it means horses would be trucked in from surrounding states. This is a bad idea on every level, and I strongly oppose it. New Mexico can do much better by these intelligent and gentle creatures.”
“Horse slaughter means tremendous suffering of horses, a proven history of environmental and waste violations, and allowing a toxic meat product to enter the human food chain,” said Hilary Wood, president and founder of Front Range Equine Rescue. “Solutions to horse slaughter include stopping irresponsible breeding practices, more gelding and euthanasia assistance programs, re-homing and re-training options, and short-term owner assistance programs. Horse slaughter has no place in the U.S. or across our borders.”
“American horses are our partners in sport, work and recreation—not dinner,” said Keith Dane, director of equine protection for The HSUS. “The entire process of horse slaughter is filled with nonstop terror, pain
and misery for horses, and it is proven to have a severe negative impact on surrounding communities. It would be irresponsible for the federal government to sign off on a predatory industry that has no regard for animal or human welfare.”
“New Mexicans have a deep and enduring appreciation for horses, especially given their important role in our state’s rural way of life. It’s an affront to our citizens to suggest bringing the cruel, dangerous and polluting enterprise of horse slaughter to New Mexico as we celebrate our state’s centennial,” said Elisabeth Jennings, executive director of Animal Protection of New Mexico.
“The overwhelming majority of Americans are intensely opposed to this cruel practice, and as more people learn that we are allowing our horses to be shuttled off to gruesome deaths all for the sake of foreign gourmands, they are outraged, and opposition to this grisly practice is growing,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Horse slaughter plants abuse more than just horses as they have proved economically and environmentally disastrous to communities in other states.”
In November 2011, Congress chose not to renew a ban on funding federal inspectors at horse slaughter plants in the United States, even though a similar provision has been part of the agriculture department’s spending bill for the past five years. That action opened the door for a return of horse slaughter to American soil, including taxpayer funded inspections of horse meat destined to be sent abroad, despite broad opposition in this country to the practice. A January 2012 poll commissioned by the ASPCA confirms that 80 percent of American voters oppose the slaughter of horses for human consumption.
When the last three horse slaughter plants in the U.S. closed, the surrounding communities cheered. These communities had endured water pollution, an unending stench of rotting blood and offal, and a negative stigma that caused other businesses to leave the community. The slaughter plants employed no more than a few dozen employees in low-paying, dangerous, high-stress jobs. In their quest for higher profits, the foreign-owned companies did their best to avoid paying property taxes and the fines levied against them for environmental violations.
Additionally, it is unclear how Valley Meat Co. or the USDA would address the medications, vaccines and other substances that are routinely given to American horses and are known to be poisonous if consumed by humans. Earlier this year, The HSUS announced its intention to pursue legal action if the federal government failed to follow required protocols to ensure that food safety and environmental review requirements were observed.

Last month, The HSUS joined Front Range Equine Rescue in filing a petition with the Food and Drug Administration to declare the meat of former companion, show, and working animals to be unfit for human consumption due to the risk of the meat containing toxic residues. Last week, the two groups filed a separate petition with the USDA to ban the slaughter for human consumption of such animals for the same reasons.

22 comments for “State Officials, Humane Groups Oppose Proposed Horse Slaughter Plant in New Mexico

  1. Denise
    April 17, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Joe is not responding to FACTUAL statements again….lisag posted and I reposted link information via FOIA from USDA (no less)…..NO response.

    I earlier asked Joe to cite campaign contribution data that Gov Martinez is a shill for HSUS….NO response.

    Suzanne Moore brought up the most important issues regarding HCHS….food safety for humans AND cruel handling/slaughter of US equines; also, bovines ARE NOT INSPECTED the same as equines. Some regs (handling, etc) are but what is inspected for and tested for are NOT.

    • April 18, 2012 at 9:41 am

      Does Joe – or any of the others – ever respond to FACTUAL statements?

      • Denise
        April 19, 2012 at 8:41 am

        No…they don’t, but at some point because they DO NOT RESPOND FACTUALLY, they lose their right to credibility and therefore, the right to speak because they lack that credibility (FACTS).

        If he wants to post his OPINION, that is another thing and I’ll tolerate the noise.

        Hey Joe, get your side to stop throwing around terms like Communists, terrorists, radicals, Nazis and socialists. You might get more street cred.

        • Gene
          April 20, 2012 at 12:43 pm


          Sorry I can not fix stupid

  2. Carole
    April 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Doesn’t the fact that so many low end auction houses, kill buyer transports, feed lots, and slaughter house owners have broken the law and continue to ignore current regulations raise enough of a red flag that this shouldn’t even be an issue anymore? Thank goodness that public awareness and revulsion from the corrupt horse slaughter industry is on the rise.

    • April 17, 2012 at 10:46 am

      Absolutely! I think one of our problems in getting through to the public is that they picture the horse slaughter business like they picture the cattle business, and the two industries couldn’t be more different. Cattle aren’t acquired one by one by petty criminals who have no qualms about lying, stealing or just about anything else. Cattle aren’t purchased fraudulently from individual owners who would never knowingly sell them for slaughter.

      Then, there are the food safety issues. Cattle are raised for human consumption from the moment they are born. They get permanent ID, meticulous records are kept and usually the one that bred them is the one who sells them. WE all know how totally different the scenario is for horses.

      It is appalling to me that a few special interests can force our government to not only ignore the overwhelming will of the American people, but also continue to knowingly sell tainted meat to people in other countries. What would the govt. do if it were Americans eating this stuff?

  3. April 16, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    an activity is either humane, or it is not. Horse slaughter, in and of itself, is inherently inhumane. That the horror and pain inflicted on the animal before he succumbs is entirely unnecessary makes it even more cruel. We don’t eat our horses here.
    Then you have all the other associated issues, including increased crime in the area.

  4. marjorie hughes
    April 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Texas, the Land the Law Forgot…

    • Denise
      April 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      This is about New Mexico; granted it is next to Texas and they have some fairly disgusting feedlots/export pens and operators that are associated with Texas.

      • Joe
        April 15, 2012 at 5:36 am

        The man that wants to open a plant in New Mexico defends horse slaughter. There are several articles printed about his reasons. I think he is right in saying that it would be more humane for the horses to be processed in America, then the meat shipped to Mexico. A lot less stress and a better and humane slaughter. It is too bad when our government officials use their powers for their own agenda. In the case of the Governor Suzanne Martinez used her power to contact the USDA to reject the plants inspections. Here is a legal business being stopped because the governor does not approve horse slaughter!! More than likely HSUS helped get her elected.. Below is one of the articles with the quote from the Governor, there are several on the internet.

        • admin
          April 15, 2012 at 11:20 pm

          Correction again, Joe. Horse slaughter is not a legal business anywhere in the United States.

          • lisag
            April 16, 2012 at 6:49 am

            admin, except where states or local laws prohibit it, horse slaughter is legal. The prohibition was on USDA funding for inspectors which meant the horse meat couldn’t be transported across state lines to reach markets in other countries.

            What “Joe” conveniently overlooks is that this New Mexico slaughterhouse has been cited three times by the USDA for animal cruelty. And if the USDA is actually citing him that speaks volumes about the conditions at his plant. Sounds like a nasty place.

        • Denise
          April 16, 2012 at 6:38 am


          You cannot post on a public forum that “More than likely HSUS helped get her (Martinez) elected….” and not provide a factual statement that proves that “feeling” from you.

          You have just as many of “Our government officials” supporting your side of this issue. I would hardly call Gov Martinez supportive of the antislaughter advocates.

          You think human consumption horse slaughter is less stressful here. Wrong, it is the same as Canada and Mexico based on inspections by US and EU inspectors. (I cite Dr Lenz’s glowing reports on his Mexico tour reported in newspapers and on the AVMA/AAEP website) Also there are notorious holding lots and transfer points throughout the Southwest for export to Mexico….seems the governors of those states don’t agree with you either (worse in Mexico, that is) AND they allow it, along with Obama to continue.

          As to legal (Editor/admin mentioned), all aspects of HCHS are legal here EXCEPT for killfloor inspection operations for HUMAN CONSUMPTION.

          You can sell your equine for meat anytime and anywhere (yep, CA too because they don’t enforce the law) you want. You can kill, butcher and eat your own horse any day of the week.

          You really need to start researching what you cite and form an INformed opinion. Right now, you just seem to tote the proslaughter party line no matter what and repeat nonsense just because YOU WANT HCHS. Sorry, but that isn’t rational or realistic.

          You can always vet chem or qualified gun shot, compost, bury, render or landfill your dead equine albeit at YOUR cost……and that is what bugs you. You want to get paid for relinquishing your responsibility for that animal (or you’re in the biz and a full blown profiteer).

          • April 16, 2012 at 9:17 am

            Right, Denise. Who cares about cruelty and food safety issues anyway?

            Joe, if this guy can’t even handle cattle humanely, what the heck is he going to do with 1000 lbs. of threshing, panicked horses? And, after 2013, who is he going to sell them to? Without a passport system of our own, the EU has been warning for three years that they will cut us off in 2013. What then?

            Also, in another article, this guy claims the won’t be seeking local investors because “foreign interests” will be involved with that. Does this sound familiar? Isn’t this very thing what Wallis tried to sell to the people of Missouri?

        • Karla
          April 16, 2012 at 10:20 am

          This plant has been closed twice before for cruel and inhumane treatment of animals. If you think there is a way to slaughter horses that is humane please think again maybe you should watch a video of horses being butchered while they are still alive and see how humane it really isn’t. Horse slaughter plants are not only cruel to the animals but they are cruel to the environment also. Horses are not suppose to be for human consumption.

          • Joe
            April 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm


            Could you show the proof that this plant was closed before. I think you are making claims that you can not prove. It is strange how the press makes people guilty.

            Are you saying that horse slaughter in America is as bad as the ma and pa plants in Mexico. The plants in Mexico that ship to the EU are done humanely. There is more meat shipped to other countries than the EU countries put together. China alone consumes more horsemeat.. As far as food safety goes it is inspected the same as beef, looking and testing for residue.

          • Denise
            April 17, 2012 at 7:02 am

            Here ya’ are, Joe (re shut down):


            And I’m still waiting for your FACTUAL source that Gov Martinez is in HSUS’s pocket.

            The rest of your post is even more nonsensical.

        • lisag
          April 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm


          why are you defending this guy? He has been quoted in other articles as saying his business shut down due to the price of cattle. This letter from the USDA shows otherwise. His slaughter line was halted by the FDA, inspectors pulled, and his company SUSPENDED from operating per this Feb. 29, 2012 letter from the USDA

          • Denise
            April 17, 2012 at 6:58 am

            Thank you lisag.

            Maybe Joe will take the time to read it! And note, this was revealed via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. I went to fsis.usda to find their Quarterly Reports regarding non-compliance, withdrawal of inspection, etc. I couldn’t find squat. I suspect it is a FOIA requirement issue.

            Don’t you just love the transparency of our food system?!?

  5. Denise
    April 14, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Silence is golden……thanks Joe, Anotherfauxhorseman, Wallis and Duquette.

    • Gene
      April 22, 2012 at 1:29 am

      I wonder why hsus has failed to register as a lobbyist.


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