Horse Slaughter

Horse Slaughter

June 18

New Mexico horse slaughter plant stuck in legal battles

Lately, it’s quiet enough to hear crickets in Roswell’s Valley Meat plant. That’s because all of the noise is in the courtroom.

The owner of Valley Meat, Rick De Los Santos, hopes his facility will soon be used to slaughter horses for people around the world to eat. His vision has been controversial with animal rights activists and even the New Mexico attorney general.

“The meat is safe. It's not going to harm anyone,” said De Los Santos.

There are several ongoing state and federal lawsuits that will determine if and when Valley Meat will be open for business. The federal government cut funding for inspects that are required for such facilities.

Valley Meat is legally fighting to change that.

The funding for inspections may be restored after September, and the company’s attorney said at that time, production will begin.

Other lawsuits are also underway involving the New Mexico attorney general and a foundation started by former governor Bill Richardson and famed actor Robert Redford.

In nine days, Valley Meat will find out if the New Mexico Environment Department approves its plan for getting rid of waste water. They want to pump that waste water into a lined lagoon, where it will evaporate instead of contaminating the environment. If that permit is denied, Valley will have to explore other options for disposing their waste water.

June18

Auctioneer 1st Man Charged Under California Law To Protect Horses From Slaughter

MADERA (KPIX 5) — They were called Lacey and Squirt, two professional rodeo horses and beloved pets. But they ended up sold for meat on someone’s dinner plate overseas.

In a landmark case, a suspect has been charged with delivering at least one of them to slaughter.

The case is the talk of the town in Madera. Sheriff John Anderson has arrested a well-known businessman for an almost unheard of crime. “He will be treated no differently than anyone else,” Anderson said.

Billy Ray Brown Jr., son of the owner of the local B and B Livestock auction, is accused of sending a horse called Lacey out of state to slaughter for human consumption.

Read More:

 

May 22

Horse Slaughter Defund On Track For Fiscal Year 2015

The Senate Appropriations Committee just passed a ban on funding the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide horse slaughter inspections during fiscal year 2015, which will effectively ban horse slaughter.  See Andrew Taylor, Mikulski uses accounting tricks to close $4B gap, SFGate, May 22, 2014, available at http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Mikulski-addresses-4B-budget-gap-with-gimmicks-5498416.php (“Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., again won approval of a U.S. ban on slaughtering horses for their meat.”).  This action signifies Congress’s recognition that horse slaughter is disgraceful, barbaric, and a threat to the environment and public health.  FRER applauds the defund and will continue the fight to end the slaughter of American horses. 

January 2014

Hearing Officer’s Report (Valley Meat Water Permit Hearing) - Click Here To View Entire Report

January 23

Even with defunding, there are still outstanding matters working their way against horse slaughter plants in the U.S. Good news out of MO:

We are happy to announce that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has once again formally shut down Rains Natural Meats’ efforts to get a permit to discharge wastewater from horse slaughter. The company’s latest request for a horse slaughter permit was denied by the Department, based on the removal of funding for horse slaughter inspections by federal inspectors. Front Range Equine Rescue applauds the decision and hopes that this puts an end to the possibility of horse slaughter in Missouri.

January 19

AG King Files Lawsuit to Stop Horse Slaughter in NM

(ALBUQUERQUE)---Attorney General Gary King is suing the Valley Meat horse slaughter plant in Roswell to prevent the company from killing and butchering horses for food.

At a news conference this morning AG King announced that he has filed a lawsuit that asks for a temporary restraining order to stop the plant from opening. Valley Meat is repor...tedly planning to begin slaughtering horses for human food within two weeks.

“I took this action because horse slaughter presents a genuine risk to New Mexicans’ health and to our natural resources,” says Attorney General King. “Valley Meat Company’s record of violating the state’s laws regarding food, water quality, and unfair business practices, poses serious dangers to public health and safety, to the natural environment, and to the public’s use and enjoyment of public resources, namely groundwater and land.”

AG King reiterated that horses are administered scores of drugs that are banned for use with food animals and that are not approved for human use either. Many of these drugs have demonstrated harmful effects on humans, and others carry unknown risks. Because horses in America are not raised to be eaten, they are given these drugs without regard to whether their meat might be consumed later. In addition, horses lack medical records that would help regulators and consumers decide if their meat was safe.

The Attorney General says, “For these reasons, I concluded earlier this year that horse meat would likely constitute an ‘adulterated’ product under the New Mexico Food Act, and therefore would be prohibited.
AG King said he also initiated this lawsuit because Valley Meat, the plant that is on the verge of beginning commercial horse slaughter, has a very poor track record of compliance with environmental and safety laws, racking up literally thousands of violations over the years. The company has requested a state permit that is required before it can discharge wastewater, but has now stated publicly that it will begin operating on January 1, 2014, whether or not it receives the permit.

“Our environmental laws are on the books to protect precious natural resources, especially ground water. Companies that willfully ignore those laws need to be held to account before they cause serious damage to public health or our environment,” adds AG King. “Commercial horse slaughter is completely at odds with our traditions and our values as New Mexicans. It also poses a tangible risk to consumers and to our environment. I will continue to fight on behalf of the health and well-being of New Mexicans and the protection of our groundwater and other natural resources.”

January 17

AG Wins Injunction Against Valley Meat
(SANTA FE)---State District Court Judge Matthew Wilson today granted Attorney General Gary King’s motion for a preliminary injunction against Valley Meat Company, preventing the opening of a proposed horse slaughterhouse until the AG’s lawsuit is resolved.

“The judge’s decision allows our lawsuit to continue while preventing the immediate killing of horses for human consumption,” says AG King. “I still strongly believe that Valley Meat’s proposal for commercial horse slaughter posed a serious danger to consumers and to our environment.”

With the close scrutiny of horse slaughter that the Attorney General’s lawsuit has prompted, the U.S. Congress has approved, and the President has signed, an appropriations bill that restores the long-standing prohibition on funding for federal inspection of horse slaughterhouses – which effectively bans commercial horse slaughter nationwide.

Attorney General King is especially grateful to U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, for their supportive efforts to de-fund the federal inspections.

Numerous other individuals and groups have helped accomplish this important result, particularly Front Range Equine Rescue, which first discovered Valley Meat’s plans to get into the horse meat business and has worked tirelessly ever since to stop those operations, and Animal Protection of New Mexico, which has led the fight for equine protection in our state.

January 16

Senate passed the omnibus bill today with the defunding intact. Obama will sign into law. No funding for USDA inspection of horse meat for now. U.S. plants cannot open without it.

Celebrate for now but remember, we have a lot more work to do to stop horse slaughter once and for all. We are already moving forward with additional strategies on this end. No time to rest as our horses are still crossing the borders and have already suffered right here in the U.S. at auctions and/or during transport, long before reaching the horror of the kill box.

January 14

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/judge-postpones-decision-on-horse-slaughterhouse/article_7a0301c3-db34-5836-a5ae-5d3e980bb9aa.html

January 7

As a result of Front Range Equine Rescue's continuous efforts to stop horse slaughter, a neutral hearing officer just recommended that the Secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department deny Valley Meat's application for a wastewater discharge permit. Based on evidence assembled and arguments made in Front Range's post-hearing brief, the hearing officer found that Valley Meat displayed a history of "willful disregard" for New Mexico's environmental laws.  We are pleased with this recommendation; however, it is not a final decision.

January 4

Front Range Equine Rescue is pleased to announce that our efforts in Missouri have resulted in a win for the horses. Rains Natural Meats has withdrawn its case challenging the MO Dept. of Natural Resources' denial of their application for horse slaughter (they received a water permit which excluded horse slaughter). In response to Rains' action against the DNR, Front Range intervened in the case and, along with the DNR filed to dismiss Rains' case. On December 31, Rains filed to have its claims dismissed, effectively admitting defeat.

January 3

Results from today's hearing on the injunction against Valley Meat from the NM AG's lawsuit filing:

TRO extended through January 13.
Full PI (preliminary injunction) hearing w/witness testimony on January 13.

BREAKING NEWS (12/30/13)

We are happy to announce that the New Mexico Attorney General’s office has just obtained a temporary restraining order to prevent Valley Meat from starting to slaughter horses until after a hearing on the Attorney General’s lawsuit, currently scheduled for this Friday.

We applaud the Attorney General’s swift action in securing this injunction and wish their office further success on Friday, January 3.

BREAKING NEWS (1/19/13)

AG King Files Lawsuit to Stop Horse Slaughter in NM

(ALBUQUERQUE)---Attorney General Gary King is suing the Valley Meat horse slaughter plant in Roswell to prevent the company from killing and butchering horses for food.

At a news conference this morning AG King announced that he has filed a lawsuit that asks for a temporary restraining order to stop the plant from opening. Valley Meat is repor...tedly planning to begin slaughtering horses for human food within two weeks.

“I took this action because horse slaughter presents a genuine risk to New Mexicans’ health and to our natural resources,” says Attorney General King. “Valley Meat Company’s record of violating the state’s laws regarding food, water quality, and unfair business practices, poses serious dangers to public health and safety, to the natural environment, and to the public’s use and enjoyment of public resources, namely groundwater and land.”

AG King reiterated that horses are administered scores of drugs that are banned for use with food animals and that are not approved for human use either. Many of these drugs have demonstrated harmful effects on humans, and others carry unknown risks. Because horses in America are not raised to be eaten, they are given these drugs without regard to whether their meat might be consumed later. In addition, horses lack medical records that would help regulators and consumers decide if their meat was safe.

The Attorney General says, “For these reasons, I concluded earlier this year that horse meat would likely constitute an ‘adulterated’ product under the New Mexico Food Act, and therefore would be prohibited.
AG King said he also initiated this lawsuit because Valley Meat, the plant that is on the verge of beginning commercial horse slaughter, has a very poor track record of compliance with environmental and safety laws, racking up literally thousands of violations over the years. The company has requested a state permit that is required before it can discharge wastewater, but has now stated publicly that it will begin operating on January 1, 2014, whether or not it receives the permit.

“Our environmental laws are on the books to protect precious natural resources, especially ground water. Companies that willfully ignore those laws need to be held to account before they cause serious damage to public health or our environment,” adds AG King. “Commercial horse slaughter is completely at odds with our traditions and our values as New Mexicans. It also poses a tangible risk to consumers and to our environment. I will continue to fight on behalf of the health and well-being of New Mexicans and the protection of our groundwater and other natural resources.”

BREAKING NEWS (12/16/13)

Front Range Equine Rescue Exposes Thousands of Environmental Violations by Proposed New Mexico Horse Slaughterhouse; Enters Fight to Protect Missouri from Horse Slaughter Contamination 

"Nonprofit Horse Rescue Group Leads the Fight Nationwide to Prevent Horse Slaughter and Protect the Public"

LARKSPUR, Colo., December 16, 2013 – Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER), a national nonprofit working to end the abuse and neglect of horses through rescue and education, has taken measures to prevent the slaughter of horses for human consumption in both New Mexico and Missouri.

Late last week, FRER filed a 90-page brief in New Mexico explaining that state law mandates Valley Meat in Roswell, N.M. be rejected in its quest to start slaughtering horses for meat. 

In a separate action, FRER has intervened in a Missouri proceeding in which a Gallatin, Mo.-based slaughterhouse there is trying to begin slaughtering horse for human consumption, despite clear environmental dangers and likely toxic deposits that would result from the practice.

To Read More - Click Here

BREAKING NEWS (11/6/13)

On October 31, 2013 our TRO expired, so on November 1 we filed a motion to extend our TRO until the judge makes her decision.  Late in the day on November 1, 2013 the judge ruled against us on the NEPA case.  

We immediately filed an appeal to the decision in the 10th court of appeal.  We also filed an emergency  motion to stop horse slaughter from beginning.  On Monday, November 4, 2013 we are happy to announce that the Court of Appeal has granted our motion for a temporary injunction, for a short time, staying the district court’s ruling last week. By November 7 the other side has to file their opposition, and we then have until November 8th to file our reply.  

For now, no horses can be slaughtered in America, and the chance of environmental contamination from horse slaughter is again in the hands of the courts. But we will be fighting further this week, and should know more by week's end.  This is a BIG victory for the horses!

To Read More - Click Here

BREAKING NEWS (10/18/13)

A brief legal update:.

We had a good week in our New Mexico litigation to stop horse slaughter:

First, the Court rejected the Defendant-Intervenors’ motion to strike statements from our merits brief related to the environmental havoc caused by the last three horse slaughterhouses to operate in the U.S. The Court can now consider this evidence in its final ruling.

Second, the Court rejected Valley Meat’s motion to strike statements from our merit brief about Valley Meat’s history of environmental violations.

Third, the Court denied USDA’s attempts to pretend that it considered the environmental havoc caused by the last three horse slaughterhouses to operate in the U.S. before issuing the recent grants of inspection.

Finally, the Court denied Rains Natural Meat’s motion for a security bond.

BREAKING NEWS (8/2/13)

Federal Judge Rules to Delay Horse Slaughter.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiffs’ Notice of Motion and Motion
for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction; Memorandum of Points
and Authorities in Support Thereof [Doc. 5]. Having considered the submissions, the
relevant case law, the oral argument of the parties, and otherwise being fully advised in
the premises, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion in part, in that it grants Plaintiffs’ motionfor a temporary restraining order.

The decision to grant a temporary restraining order is within the Court’s discretion.
See Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska v. Stovall, 341 F.3d 1202, 1205 (10th Cir. 2003). To
obtain a temporary restraining order “the moving party must demonstrate: (1) a likelihoodof success on the merits; (2) a likelihood that the movant will suffer irreparable harm inthe absence of preliminary relief; (3) that the balance of equities tips in the movant’s favor; and (4) that the injunction is in the public interest.”

To Read More - Click Here

For More Information on the case - Click Here

Groups in federal court to block horse slaughter - Click Here

BREAKING NEWS (7/22/13)

Former Governor Bill Richardson and Robert Redford Join Fight to Stop Horse Slaughterhouses.

SANTA FE, NM- Former Governor Bill Richardson and legendary actor, director, and conservationist Robert Redford today announced they are joining the fight to stop horse slaughterhouses from reopening in the United States. The action is the first of a new foundation the two have formed to protect animals and wildlife. The Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife has filed in federal court to join as a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by animal protection organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue, to block the revival of American horse slaughter.

The lawsuit claims the U.S. Department of Agriculture violated federal law by failing to conduct required reviews of the known environmental dangers caused by horse slaughterhouses, including one trying to open in Roswell, New Mexico. The Foundation and other plaintiffs are seeking an emergency injunction.

“As a lifelong horse lover, I am committed to doing whatever it takes to stop the return of horse slaughterhouses in this country and, in particular, my own state,” Governor Richardson said. “Congress was right to ban the inhumane practice years ago, and it is unfathomable that the federal government is now poised to let it resume. As a country whose rich history is so closely tied to horses, we should instead be focused on exploring new horse rescue and retirement solutions.”

To read more - Click Here

BREAKING NEWS (7/22/13)

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. 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."

To read more - Click Here

BREAKING NEWS (6/28/13)

Animal Welfare Groups Plan Suit in Response to USDA Decision to Support the Slaughter of Horses for Human Consumption

(June 28, 2013)— The U.S. Department of Agriculture has given the green light for the grisly practice of horse slaughter to resume on U.S. soil. The agency approved an application for horse slaughter inspections under federal law at a plant in New Mexico. This news comes on the heels of the U.S. House and Senate appropriations committees’ votes to halt all funding for horse slaughter in FY 2014. The decision means that the federal government could potentially spend millions of taxpayer dollars to start up inspections at horse slaughter plants, only to have Congress terminate the process in the coming months.

In response to the USDA’s decision, The Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue plan to file suit immediately against the USDA to put a stop to this agency decision. The two groups previously informed USDA that they would take aggressive legal action against the agency, in light of the serious unresolved environmental and food safety issues surrounding horse slaughter.

To read more - Click Here

BREAKING NEWS (5/14/13)

Iowa Regulators Asked To Rule that Horse Meat is Inedible Animal Protection Groups Demonstrate Potentially Toxic Nature of Horse Meat and Ask for Legal Declaration of Adulteration.

(May 14, 2013) — Front Range Equine Rescue and The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal petition with the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals requesting that it adopt a rule that renders horse meat "adulterated" as a matter of law, which would ban the sale of horsemeat for human consumption. The petition explains that horses are different than other animals we eat because Americans do not raise horses as food animals, and American horses are treated routinely with many drugs and harmful chemicals prohibited from use in animals who will be eaten, and because of that their meat is unsafe for consumers.

These substances to which virtually all American horses have been exposed create the potential for great danger to humans if they are eaten, including cancer, life-threatening autoimmune diseases, and other illnesses of significant proportion.  The petition establishes that the only way to protect the food supply and the consuming public is for the Department to declare horse meat to be adulterated, unless the horse meat producers can prove that the horses never received substances prohibited for use in food animals.  This is of great concern since the chance for cross-contamination of beef with horse meat has been a regular topic of news in Europe, where horses are currently consumed for food.

To read more - Click Here

BREAKING NEWS (4/30/13)

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

(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. 

To read more - Click Here

BREAKING NEWS (4/22/13)

Front Range Equine Rescue Discovers Would-Be Horse Slaughterer Falsified Federal Application, Has Committed Multiple Felonies.

(April 22, 2013)— Front Range Equine Rescue ("FRER") notified the United States Department of Agriculture ("USDA") that the owner of Valley Meat Company, in Roswell, New Mexico, recently made blatantly false statements about his criminal record on two applications to begin slaughtering healthy American horses. If USDA grants Valley Meat's application, it will be condoning the kind of conduct that jeopardizes the health and safety of consumers, increases the chances of horse meat showing up in American beef, and threatens the integrity of the federal meat inspection system.

In the past seventeen months, Valley Meat has submitted to USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service ("FSIS") three applications so that Valley Meat can begin slaughtering horses. On two of these applications, Mr. De Los Santos committed federal felonies when he falsely stated that he had no criminal history of felony convictions. The third application, submitted in March 2013, confirms his criminal history...

To read more - Click Here

BREAKING NEWS (4/16/13)

Front Range Equine Rescue and The Humane Society of the United States Will Sue to Enforce the Endangered Species Act .

(April 16, 2013)— Front Range Equine Rescue ("FRER") and The Humane Society of the United States ("HSUS") notified the United States Department of Agriculture ("USDA") of their intent to challenge any grant of inspection to Valley Meat Company of Roswell, New Mexico pursuant to the Endangered Species Act ("ESA").  Valley Meat has applied to USDA for permission to slaughter horses in their Roswell, New Mexico slaughterhouse and sell the meat for human consumption.  Under the ESA, USDA must consult with the Secretary of Interior through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the impact of Valley Meat's slaughter operations on threatened and endangered species and their critical habitat in the vicinity of Valley Meat.  FRER and HSUS believe USDA has failed to fulfill the ESA's mandate.

To read more - Click Here

BREAKING NEWS (4/2/13)

Animal Welfare Groups to New Mexico Regulators:
Horsemeat a Risk to Human Health
.

(April 2, 2013)— Front Range Equine Rescue and The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal petition with the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board requesting that it adopt a rule that renders any horse "unqualified" for use as food for human consumption. The petition states that horses are different than traditional food animals because Americans do not intend their horses to become food, and horses are treated routinely with drugs not meant for food, ranging from vaccinations to anti-inflammatories to steroids.

These substances to which virtually all American horses have been exposed create the potential for great danger to humans if they are eaten, including cancer, life-threatening autoimmune diseases, and other illnesses of significant proportion. The petition alleges that the only way to protect the food supply and the consuming public is for the Board to declare horse meat to be unqualified, unless the slaughterhouse (or its agent) receiving or buying the horse can unequivocally demonstrate that the horses have not ever received substances prohibited for use in food animals...

To read more - Click Here

BREAKING NEWS (3/25/13)

ATTORNEY FOR CONTROVERSIAL HORSE SLAUGHTER PLANT SENDS THREATENING EMAILS TO JOURNALIST, OTHERS.

March 25, 2013, LARKSPUR, COLORADO – Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) has received copies of an email sent by the lawyer for Valley Meat in Roswell, NM, threatening criminal prosecution against others for speaking about Valley Meat's plans to begin slaughtering horses for food.  Valley Meat, which was previously suspended for inhumane handling of animals it was slaughtering, is aggressively pushing to become the first company in America since 2007 to engage in the inhumane practice of horse slaughter.  Valley Meat also employed Tim Sappington, who posted a video in which he curses at animal "activists" and then raises a gun to the head of a healthy horse and shoots the horse on camera.  Only after the video went viral, and after Valley Meat's attorney responded with justifications for Sappington's conduct, did Valley Meat finally terminate Sappington's employment.

In response to the inflammatory video, there has been an international outcry and articles written by many journalists.  Since 2011, journalist Vickery Eckhoff has written over fifteen articles about the tragedy and dangers of horse slaughter for publications such as Newsweek and Forbes.com.  In response to her recent inquiry to Valley Meat, the company's lawyer responded:

To whom it may concern:
You are receiving this correspondence because you communicated to a person associated with Valley Meat Company, LLC a degratory [sic], defamatory or threatening statement or aided in deciminating [sic] the information necessary to conspire to do the same. . . .  Because of the statements you have made it is my recommendation [sic] that you retain your own legal counsel.  At this time any communications you made that threaten or harass any person associated with Valley Meat Company will be referred to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security for investigation and prosecution under the Animal Enterprise Terroism [sic] Act (SEE BELOW).  Neither Valley Meat nor the Law Office of A. Blair Dunn will tolerate threatening or defamatory statements and will contemplate civil action against any individuals or groups that persist in that type of activity.

 
"This email, apparently sent to multiple individuals by Valley Meat's counsel, demonstrates the approach of this company trying to restart the unnecessary and cruel practice of horse slaughter in America – lash out and intimidate anyone who questions Valley Meat's practices," says Hilary Wood, President of Front Range Equine Rescue.  "This is just a continuation of prior practices when Valley Meat sued us and others for defamation, because we publicized true statements made by public agencies regarding Valley Meat's violations of New Mexico environmental laws.  I hope that more journalists address this attempted suppression of First Amendment rights, and expose every aspect of the shocking realities of horse slaughter.

"With respect to the Sappington video, Ms. Wood stated: "While the conduct of Valley Meat's former employee demonstrates true malice, the death that each horse will suffer if any company begins slaughter will almost make Sappington's actions look merciful. Investigative reports and documented violations from American and foreign slaughterhouses consistently reveal the blatant cruelty inherent in commercial horse slaughter."

BREAKING NEWS (3/13/13)

U.S. Government to Allow Toxic Horse Meat for Human Consumption.

Our lawyers were informed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is going to review the application of Valley Meat in Roswell, New Mexico to begin the toxic, inhumane and environmentally disastrous practice of horse slaughter again.  This is happening despite the fact that Valley Meat has been cited in the past for humane handling violations, food contamination, and for having piles of dead animals illegally on its property.  Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) has been working tirelessly to stop this before it happens, and to challenge it if it does start.

Horse meat is unsafe for consumption and, as recent news from Europe has shown, often ends up in products labeled as beef.  American consumers have a lot to be worried about if horse slaughter actually starts on U.S. soil.

FRER's investigation discovered a history of violations at Valley Meat which slaughtered cattle (see FSIS letter to Valley Meat below).  Will the pile of rotting cattle carcasses be replaced by dead horses?

To read more - Click Here

  • To read our press release (3/13/13) - Click Here
  • To learn more about Valley Meat's violations - Click Here

You can help us in our continued effort to Ban Horse Slaughter! - Donate Today

Photos of Valley Meat violations:

BREAKING NEWS (12/17/12)

Front Range Equine Rescue Petitions BLM to Stop America’s Wild Horses From Being Slaughtered For Sale and Consumption.

(December 17, 2012).  Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) filed a legal petition with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today to stop the sale of wild horses gathered from the range to individuals who then sell them to slaughter facilities. The Petition demonstrates that the spirit of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, and the stated policy of the BLM, prohibit the sale of these equine representatives of American history to purchasers who see them as profit centers for the international slaughter market. Allowing these icons of the frontier to end up as someone else’s dinner is an unacceptable denigration of the valuable place these animals hold in both past and contemporary American culture.

Current federal oversight of horses going to slaughter, whether by the BLM or any other federal agency, is inadequate with respect to identification of the origin of the horses. It is estimated that hundreds, if not thousands, of captured wild horses are sent to slaughter through “killer-buyers” who buy them solely for that purpose. The buyers typically have no concern or knowledge about the horses’ welfare, or about their prior history, before shipping them off to inhumane deaths in slaughter facilities. BLM could, but does not yet, provide proper oversight to prevent wild horse slaughter, and FRER’s Petition presents reasonable solutions to that problem. “Being slaughtered for meat is a tragic and cruel end for horses; the horror and shame is amplified when the victims are the wild horses who are national treasures of American history,” said Hilary Wood, president of FRER. “Congress declared in 1971 that wild horses should be protected from commercial exploitation. Unless the BLM acts, this nightmare will continue for wild horses, who are especially sensitive because they have never been handled by humans...To read more- Click Here

BREAKING NEWS: 8/23/12

FRER RESPONDS TO WALLIS’ ATTEMPT TO JUSTIFY HORSE SLAUGHTER TO U.S. GOV’T: News release - Click Here

BREAKING NEWS: 8/16/12

Horse Slaughter Applicant Gives Up After Being Fined $86,400 For Mountain of Dead Animals on Property
Roswell, New Mexico’s Valley Meat Company Cited by New Mexico Environmental Board’s Solid Waste Division for Years-Long Violations of State Law
Roswell, New Mexico, August 15 -- When the first applicant for an American horse slaughterhouse operation surfaced earlier this year, Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) immediately investigated in order to determine the nature of the applicant’s business.  FRER discovered that the applicant, Valley Meat Company, had a fifteen-foot high pile of dead cattle rotting on its property, creating a health hazard for the community and placing into serious question the operator’s ability to start up his new operation, slaughtering former American companion, work and competition horses for human consumption.  Pictures of the pile taken by both state and federal officials showed a horrific sight.  FRER determined that Valley Meat had been in violation of New Mexico law for years, specifically because its owners had been maintaining this massive public health and safety hazard on their property, without any proper or responsible abatement.  FRER presented extensive documentation to the state Environmental Board, urging the state to take a careful look at Valley Meat’s operation.  In response the state Environmental Board, and its Solid Waste division, undertook a detailed evaluation which this week resulted in a finding that Valley Meat was in grave violation of the solid waste laws, and that it should be fined $86,400 for what amounts to one of the highest penalties for a solid waste violation issued in New Mexico.
FRER and its partners are committed to preventing the inhumane and unsafe production of horse meat to ever start again in America, and to  stop the slaughter of American horses  outside of the U.S..  FRER and The Humane Society of the United States  had also filed legal petitions with two federal agencies, demonstrating the dangerous nature of horse slaughter to horses and the environment, along with the dangers of horse meat consumption by humans.  The groups urged the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration, to engage in extended consideration of the problems inherent in horse slaughter by any business, including one with as many red flags as Valley Meat. 
Apparently, the groups’ efforts have been a success.  In a recent article, Valley Meat’s lawyer stated that the company was “suspending any plans for the horse-slaughter plant,” because “it doesn't look like anybody is going to get a grant of inspection for horse slaughter.”  The $86,400 fine certainly helped make that decision as well.  A clear victory has been won for the horses who would have been brutally killed if this plant opened.
The “dead pile” in Roswell is simply another in a long list of reasons why stopping horse slaughter is critical.  “We are glad to have been a part of the team that stopped Valley Meat, which was eager to butcher American horses, and which was at the center of environmental and animal cruelty violations,” said Hilary Wood, president of FRER.  “Every time the horse slaughter industry has attempted to set up shop, it has made clear that it has no concern for the public, for the law, or for the horses.  FRER will continue, along with its partners, to challenge anyone who tries to start killing America’s for foreign (or domestic) food.”
Facts:
•    More than 100,000 American horses are sent to slaughter each year, mainly for consumption in Europe and Asia.
•    The slaughter pipeline is horribly cruel, with many of the horses suffering immensely during transport and the misguided and often repeated attempts to render them unconscious. USDA has documented the abuse and misery horses suffered at slaughterhouses in the U.S.
•    Virtually all the horses used for meat spend most of their lives as work, competition or sport horses, companion animals, or wild horses.
•    During their lives, horses who end up at slaughter are 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.
•    Under the current rules and regulations, there is no safeguard in place that can protect against the consumption of unsafe toxins in horse meat.
•    Consumers do not know of the inherent dangers because there is no control over the drug residues.

BREAKING NEWS: 8/15/12

Horse Slaughter Applicant Abandons Efforts
Roswell, New Mexico, August 14 -- Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) discovered that Valley Meat Company was applying to be the first American horse slaughterhouse operation earlier this year, and it immediately jumped into action.  Working with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other groups including Animal Protection of New Mexico, FRER embarked on a detailed investigation of Valley Meat, and turned up a years-long series of violations of New Mexico environmental laws, which involved, among other things, a mountain of dead animals rotting on Valley Meat’s property.  The fifteen-foot high pile of dead animals created a health hazard for the community and placed into serious question the operator’s ability to start up his new operation, slaughtering former American companion, work, and competition horses to be turned into foreign dinners.  FRER presented extensive documentation to the state Environmental Board, urging the state to take a careful look at Valley Meat’s operation. 
FRER and its partners are committed to preventing the inhumane and unsafe production of horse meat to ever start again in America, and to eventually stop the slaughter of American horses for meat everywhere.  FRER and HSUS also filed legal petitions with two federal agencies, demonstrating the dangerous nature of horse slaughter to horses the environment, along with the dangers of horse meat consumption by humans.  The groups urged the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration, to engage in extended consideration of the problems inherent in horse slaughter by any group, including one with as many red flags as Valley Meat. 
Apparently, the groups’ efforts have been a success.  In an article today, Valley Meat’s lawyer stated that the company was “suspending any plans for the horse-slaughter plant,” because “it doesn't look like anybody is going to get a grant of inspection for horse slaughter.”  A clear victory has been won for the horses who would have been brutally killed if this plant opened.
“We are glad to have been a part of the team that stopped Valley Meat, which was anxious to take American horses and turn them into a toxic dinner, and which was at the center of environmental and animal cruelty violations,” said Hilary Wood, president of FRER.  “Every time the horse slaughter industry has attempted to set up shop, it has made clear that it has no concern for the public, for the law, or for the horses.  FRER will continue, along with its partners, to challenge anyone who tries to start killing America’s for foreign (or domestic) food.”

Facts:
•    More than 100,000 American horses are sent to slaughter each year, mainly for consumption in Europe and Asia.
•    The slaughter pipeline is horribly cruel, with many of the horses suffering immensely during transport and the misguided and often repeated attempts to render them unconscious. USDA has documented the abuse and misery horses suffered at slaughterhouses in the U.S.
•    Virtually all the horses used for meat spend most of their lives as work, competition or sport horses, companion animals, or wild horses.
•    During their lives, horses who end up at slaughter are 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.
•    Under the current rules and regulations, there is no safeguard in place that can protect against the consumption of unsafe toxins in horse meat.
•    Consumers do not know of the inherent dangers because there is no control over the drug residues.
 

-30-
Media Contacts:
Hilary Wood/FRER, 719-481-1490 info@frontrangeequinerescue.org

Front Range Equine Rescue is a 501c3 non-profit working to end the abuse and neglect of horses through rescue and education.  Since 1997, FRER has assisted thousands of horses through its rescue and educational programs.  Many of FRER’s rescued horses are obtained directly from livestock auctions and feed lots, which without FRER’s intervention would have shipped to slaughter.  Dedicated to the horses – On the web at www.frontrangeequinerescue.org

BREAKING NEWS: 8/14/12

Family gives up on horse-slaughter plant in New Mexico By Milan Simonich / Texas-New Mexico Newspapers Posted: 08/14/2012 01:45:07 PM MDT SANTA FE - A family business in the Roswell area has suspended its plan to slaughter horses for human consumption in foreign markets, its attorney said today. Valley Meat Co. has received no response from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on its application to slaughter horses and process the meat, said A. Blair Dunn, the attorney who represents the business. It had been pursuing federal approval since April. Blair said the De Los Santos family, owner of Valley Meat Co., has no choice but to restart its cattle-slaughter business. That business was in abeyance while the family sought federal approval for its equine slaughter and processing operation. "They're suspending any plans for the horse-slaughter plant," Dunn said in an interview. "It doesn't look like anybody is going to get a grant of inspection for horse slaughter." A meat-processing plant cannot slaughter both cattle and horses simultaneously, Dunn said. Given what he called inaction by the federal government, the family has no choice but to resume its cattle-processing business to make a living, he said. Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, was among the officeholders who opposed the horse-slaughter plant. State Land Commissioner Ray Powell, a Democrat and a veterinarian, also was against horse slaughter in New Mexico. But people in the horse industry disagreed with opponents of the plant, saying there was no logical reason to fight the De Los Santos family's business venture. "Horses deserve better than to be abandoned, starved or transported long distances in crowded trucks to slaughter in foreign countries," the New Mexico Horse Council's president, Rusty Cook, said in a letter to the governor. His organization represents about 30 horse clubs. The De Los Santos family had to retrofit its 7,000-square-foot plant to prepare for the slaughter and processing of horses. Dunn said the family saw Europe as its primary market for horse meat. Horse slaughter has been a dormant industry in the United States. That was because Congress in 2006 did not fund the required USDA inspections of horses that would be killed for human consumption. The federal policy changed last year. Congress funded the inspections in an agriculture bill that President Obama signed. Still, in a practical sense, nothing was different for the De Los Santos family, which could not obtain its grant of inspection, despite a persistent effort, Dunn said.

To read more- Click Here

 

BREAKING NEWS: Rockville, MO (6/5/12)

FRONT RANGE EQUINE RESCUE DISCOVERS DOCUMENTED EFFORTS TO BEGIN HORSE SLAUGHTER IN MISSOURI.

  • News release - Click Here
  • BREAKING NEWS Roswell, NM (5/19/12)

    Front Range Equine Rescue has discovered that, for years, 15-foot high piles of dead animals have been rotting on the premises of Valley Meat Company in Roswell.

    Valley Meat has been in blatant violation of multiple New Mexico environmental statutes for that period, and has refused to stop its illegal practices, despite efforts by the state.  FRER has written to the Solid Waste Bureau of the New Mexico Environmental Department, requesting appropriate sanctions.  Valley Meat, which could not satisfy its legal obligations with respect to the slaughter of cows, is now attempting to start up a horse slaughter operation.  It must be stopped, before there are 15-foot high piles of dead horses endangering groundwater and the surrounding community.

    Front Range Equine Rescue wants to emphasize that regardless of whether Valley Meat is now just beginning to comply, and regardless of whether the state believes it is finally getting Valley Meat in compliance, the very serious concern remains about a company that is willing to act in violation of the law for literally years and years. Nothing that is happening now changes that. The question that does not go away, and the concern that will not be abated in the least by any compliance now remains this: Should an operator who has acted in blatant violation of important New Mexico laws for years be granted a new permit to engage in a new form of slaughter business, that as documented in the petitions for rulemaking, increases the dangers of noncompliance for all involved -- the community, the environment, and ultimately consumers? That answer must clearly be "no," and if the law is not enforced, it will only continue to be ignored by operators around the state. Attached is a chart (Click Here) that identifies just the known failures of Valley Meat, in the past two years, to comply with the law and to make good on promises made to comply. And since the 15-foot high piles of dead and rotting animals were present in January 2010, it is fairly well established that Valley Meat was breaking the law probably for as long as it was in operation, or however long it takes to pile up that many dead animals. The fact that it took the agencies until 2010 to notice it does not change the fact of Valley Meat's conduct threatening the environment and the community for as long as it was dumping animals outside in this manner. One final point. Even if Valley Meat is now finally moving some legacy waste, that does not change the fact that most of the rotting flesh on its premises is not legacy waste, and has not and is not being properly processed.

  • Letter complaint filed with NM Environment Dept - Click Here
  • NM Majority Whip Speaks Against Slaughter:- Click Here
  • BREAKING NEWS (4/14/12)

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

    Press Release - Click Here

  • Albuquerque Journal (4/17/12) - Click Here
  • Albuquerque Journal (4/14/12) - Click Here
  • http://horsetalk.co.nz/2012/04/14/new-mexico-firm-in-bid-to-open-horse-slaughter-plant/
  • http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/apr/13/new-mexico-firm-applies-first-horse-meat-slaughter/
  • https://sites.google.com/a/nmag.gov/test-nmag/newsroom/did-you-know/nmagoblogupdateditsnotwhatsfordinner
  • http://www.kansascity.com/2012/04/13/3552599/nm-governor-asks-feds-to-stop.html
  • http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/04/13/nm-governor-asks-feds-to-stop-horse-slaughterhouse/
  • http://bit.ly/HEkR6a
  • BREAKING NEWS (4/10/12)

    FRONT RANGE EQUINE RESCUE DISCOVERS NEW MEXICO HORSE SLAUGHTER PLANT! - Read More

    BREAKING NEWS (4/9/12)
    Humane Groups Petition USDA to Block Companion, Working and Show Horses from Being Slaughtered for Human Consumption

    Press Release - Click Here
    Petition for Rulemaking - Click Here
    Banned Drug & Substance Chart - Click Here

    Declarations:

  • Hilary Wood, President/Founder (FRER) - Click Here
  • Keith Dane, Director, Equine Protection (HSUS) - Click Here
  • Joanne Pavlis, Professional horse trainer, Milemakers, LLCr - Click Here
  • Randy Parker, DVM - Click Here
  • Peggy Larson, DVM, MS, JD - Click Here
  • Michael Greger, M.D. - Click Here
  • BREAKING NEWS (3/27/12)
    Humane Groups Petition FDA to Block Companion, Working and Show Horses from Being Slaughtered for Human Consumption

    Press Release - Click Here
    Petition for Rulemaking - Click Here
    Banned Drug & Substance Chart - Click Here

    Declarations:

  • Hilary Wood, President/Founder (FRER) - Click Here
  • Keith Dane, Director, Equine Protection (HSUS) - Click Here
  • Joanne Pavlis, Professional horse trainer, Milemakers, LLCr - Click Here
  • Randy Parker, DVM - Click Here
  • Peggy Larson, DVM, MS, JD - Click Here
  • Michael Greger, M.D. - Click Here
  • To stand by and do nothing ....makes us sharers in the guilt.

    Please feel free to download this informational brochure to share with others - Horse Slaughter (PDF, 930KB).

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