New Mexico horse slaughterhouse receives approval to begin operations

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HorseIn the ongoing battle over horse slaughter in the United States, the horsemeat industry has moved one step closer to victory. Valley Meat Co., an operation out of New Mexico, has received U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approval to begin slaughtering horses for meat.

Earlier this year, Valley Meat Co. sued the USDA for delaying the approval process of the slaughterhouse, even though horse slaughter has technically been legal in the U.S. since the 2012 fiscal year after five years of being effectively banned. While there is no viable domestic market for horsemeat, Valley Meat Co. and other aspiring horse slaughterers intend to sell the meat overseas in countries where it is routinely consumed. Prior to the 2006 ban on horse slaughter, this business model was used by foreign-owned companies operating horse processing plants on U.S. soil.

In order to process horsemeat, an operation must have federal inspections performed by the USDA. For its part, the USDA has been pushing for an outright ban of horse slaughter, a move that the Obama administration has said it supports.

“Since Congress has not yet acted to ban horse slaughter inspection, (the agriculture department) is legally required to issue a grant of inspection today to Valley Meats in Roswell, N.M., for equine slaughter,” said USDA spokeswoman Courtney Rowe. “The Administration has requested Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter. Until Congress acts, the Department must continue to comply with current law.”

Even with approval, Valley Meat Co. and other operations that may be approved in the near future will not be able to begin with their business of slaughtering equines until the USDA sends inspectors to the facility. As of right now, the USDA has not offered a timeline for when they plan to do so. Furthermore, with widespread congressional and public opposition to horse slaughter, a ban could be included in this year’s agriculture appropriations bill, shutting down any plants that gain approval to process horses.

Further Reading
How Humane is Horse Slaughter?
Horse Slaughter Timeline

20 COMMENTS

  1. I find it difficult to distinquish cultivated and USDA approved consumption of horses. This is not a novelty to the civilized world. Rabbits, goats, buffalo, deer, bear, ostrich and many more have their “nights out.” Why not horse meat?

  2. Horses have been man’s friend for thousands of years. They are not cows or pigs. How anyone could sacrifice the lives of these beautiful creatures for financial gain is beyond me. The man in charge of the operation is Hispanic.

  3. The horse industry has created this problem by breeding and continuing to breed more horses than our economy can support. Before you judge this slaughter plant one way or another, it would be prudent to do some research on the unwanted horse dilemma. Many horses are being shipped to Mexico and Canada for slaughter daily, where we have no regulatory control over how they are treated prior to and during slaughter. Given that these horses will meet the same fate either way, perhaps it’s better to do it here, where we can ensure humane treatment and death.

  4. I agree with you Ana. Horses are going to get slaughtered to be eaten in another country no matter what, we cant help it. But I think that they need to have a humane death. They dont need to be shipped all the way to Canada to be slaughtered. I dont like it and I dont aprove of horse slaughter/horses being eaten. But it is what it is.

  5. This is horrible. I think first off horse people and owners and breeders need to take the initiative to stop this by saying to themselves: Breed my mare to make another horse who may come out to be “useless” (There is NO such thing as a “useless horse”) and then sent to slaughter because no one wants it? Or go save a horse off the kill truck who could be a horse like Snowman or countless others who have been saved from slaughter and given a second lease on life and given their saviors sooooo much in return. Think before you blink. Because the horses that you love so dearly may be gone tomorrow and fed to someone you don’t know in another country far away from home.

  6. Why would you do this to beautiful creatures that just need love,trust, courage,and a chance to fit in with other horses.

  7. I agree with Ann. I hate it when horses are killed for eating, but, horse steaks are popular in the netherlands after all. And i know because on pet finder there’s 102 pages of horses for adoption in the southwest Missouri alone!

  8. This abominal industry needs to be stopped in its tracks. Ok, so the usda is obligated to approve these hell holes…where are the bills to stop them? Locked up in some stupid committee and left to die by a few corrupt senatorssupport this lousy industry. It is criminal activity and supports the same…tells us something about those that we elect into office. Stop this crime before it gets started! Silence the ignorant individuals who puppet the slaughter industries lies. Good, what had this country become?

  9. It would not be diligent for any inspection of a proposed horse slaughter plant, until our governing leaders decide. Yes, the breeders etc have created most of the unwanted horse situation. Why aren’t they held responsible? That’s like too many cattle/sheep on BLM land and then blaming land devestation on the Mustangs/Burros.
    It may or may not be a reasonable thought to have the slaughter house’s here, instead of Mex/Can but who’s to say, the horse’s may be treated just the same, in transport/housing/killing and disposing. Europe doesn’t want American horse meat, they have made that clear. The American horse is loaded with chemicals, from your basic wormer to health enhancing drugs. You can’t blame Europe for not wanted these horse’s. There are enough hay/feed/rescue operations (which YOU should support) that any horse owner can request assistance. Horse slaughter plants should be shut down all together. If Europe wants to eat horse meat, that’s their choice but they have a bigger problem with excess horse’s over there than we do here in the US. Let them feed themselves and leave Canada/Mexico/USA out of it.

  10. the kill plants should NEVER be aloud to start up again. People were just raise colts just for slaughtering.98 out of every 100 TB foals born, ended up on the meat trucks.

  11. This is disgusting!!! Anyone who sells their horse will run the risk of the horse being sold to a slaughterhouse. We do not have dog or cat meat factories, why would we have horse meat factories? They’re companion animals! I agree that the root of all this starts with our disgusting breeding habits that waste horses just because they can’t run the fastest or are “pretty” enough.

  12. We should make a petition to stop this nonsense. Anyone who supports this is not a good person. People may think that it’s the same as cattle slaughter, but it’s not. I am a vegetarian and I don’t even support cattle slaughter, let alone horse slaughter.

  13. Horse slaughter is not only cruel and inhumane to horses, it is harmful to humans as well. In its lifetime, a horse is given medications and other toxic substances that would be harmful to humans and animals that consume its meat. Horse meat is not sold in the United States, but it is exported to other countries.
    Horses are beautiful, intelligent animals that bring joy and friendship into our lives. We need to protect these sensitive animals from being killed.
    Horses can’t speak for themselves, but we can be their voice. Let congress know that Americans won’t stand by while these precious animals are butchered.
    Please don’t be a bystander, be a rescuer! Follow this link to act today:
    http://act.wildhorsepreservation.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=13157

  14. I am also against the USDA opening up inspections for the proposed horse slaughter plants in the United States because horses in the U.S. are not raised for human consumption. As a grower of corn, wheat and soybeans, having the USDA inspect horse slaughter plants concerns me as well.

    Horses are our friends and companions (at least they are my friends and companions), and as such they are treated with drugs like cats and dogs to a wide variety of vaccinations, bacterins, topical and oral treatments that are not approved for human consumption. We use gloves with topical treatments, because we don’t want equine drugs touching our skin, let alone consuming them.

    It’s not economical to raise horses for slaughter in the U.S., because it takes more money to raise a foal to maturity than the horse meat market is willing to pay. It’s an economical losing proposition. Therefore, the USDA has no business inspecting a horse slaughter plant that by default will be receiving horses that are not fit for human consumption. The horses they will be receiving have not been raised drug-free for human consumption.

    As a grower of corn, wheat and soybeans, the USDA’s reputation directly affects many. The European Union, which is where most of the horse meat would go, has a zero tolerance for Bute (Phenylbutazone) , which is routinely given to horses in the U.S. It is estimated that 90% of horses in the U.S. have been treated with this drug, not to mention all of the other drugs.

    There is no good way to test for all of these drugs on every horse destined for slaughter, which would need to be done, since they are not raised for human consumption in the U.S. Many tests would need to be run on each horse, and there is no way to do this in a timely fashion, especially given that the tests have to be run after the horse is dead, and that autopsies need to be performed within 24 hours. University testing facilities are not normally open for testing on the weekends, and it takes time to transport the dead body parts for testing.

    Most of the horses destined for slaughter are young or middle-aged, and in the prime of their lives. Two that have been rescued from slaughter have gone on and are now showing at the Morgan Grand National level.
    Here is information on what New Jersey has done regarding horse slaughter in the hopes that people will take note:

    http://www.oceancountysignal.com/2012/09/21/dancer-bill-banning-horse-meat-for-human-consumption-signed-into-law/
    “The law prohibits anyone from knowingly slaughtering or selling a horse for human consumption.”

  15. Horse slaughter is a highly expensive proposition for taxpayers.
    Each plant will cost taxpayers $400,000.00, according to this press release, for inspections. This issue crosses all party lines. Voters and politicians from all sides of the isle are against horse slaughter for a laundry list of reasons.
    Here is the press release:
    http://moran.house.gov/press-release/moran-statement-usda-decision-allowing-re-opening-us-horse-slaughter-facility
    This is the worst economy since the Great Depression. In addition to the cost of the USDA inspecting plants, at a price tag of $400,000.00 per plant to U.S. taxpayers, the meat will not even be eaten in the U.S. Why should we, as American taxpayers, pay for these inspections?
    Additionally, we have to factor in the taxpayer expense of police officers who will likely be taking more reports on horse theft and making more investigations into horse theft.
    As a horse owner, the thought of horse theft and stolen horses ending up at slaughter concerns me greatly. I would hope that it would concern you, too. Many people think of their horses as family members.

  16. Here is information on the SAFE act (Safeguard American Food Exports) that is in both the House and Senate with identical wording, and links where you can take action to stop horse slaughter. This will not only prevent horse slaughter in the U.S., but make it illegal to transport horses to Mexico or Canada for slaughter:
    https://awionline.org/content/safeguard-american-food-exports-safe-act
    Please sign the petition to ban horse slaughter in the U.S.:
    http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/ban-horse-slaughter-now
    Here is a petition to Stop Horse Slaughter Factory in Missouri:
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/925/215/246/stop-horse-slaughter-factory-in-missouri/

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