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USDA-Inspected Horse Slaughter: About to Start in NM?

USDA officials had no issues leaving behind a recommendation for an immediate grant of inspection from the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) after visiting Valley Meat Co., located near Roswell, NM Tuesday, its attorney says.

If true, this would mean Valley Meat Co. would be the first USDA-inspected horse slaughterhouse to commence operation since 2007 in the United States. For five years, there was a ban on slaughtering horses for human consumption in the U.S.

Rick De Los Santos, who owns Valley Meat Co. along with his wife, Sarah, told the New York Times that USDA sent him a letter saying his application is being processed in advance of a grant of federal inspection being issued. His attorney, Blair Dunn, says the plant actually passed inspection last year, but USDA needed more time to come up with testing for drug residues in horsemeat.

USDA isn’t yet commenting. The Obama Administration, which first went along with lifting the ban, now wants to exclude money for inspectors at horse slaughter plants from the 2014 budget. There’s also Congressional action going on that might or might not result in restoration of the ban.

When it did exist, the ban was achieved through some rather arcane budget maneuvers. It requires that riders or amendments be placed in USDA’s budget to defund equine inspections. Otherwise, USDA is required by law to inspect all meat.

After the ban was in place, the Government Accounting Office of Congress did a study that suggested horses were suffering more with the ban than without it.

Meanwhile, action on horse slaughter, for and against, is heating up throughout the country. Oklahoma lifted a 50-year state ban on horse slaughter, making way for a possible export operation at some point in the future.

Texas and Illinois, former locations for horse slaughter, have imposed laws to prevent its resumption. More recently, California and New Jersey have adopted state bans, and New York has a ban bill pending.

In New Mexico, tension is building, prompting Chaves County Sheriff James R. “Rob” Coon to plan with other agencies for any protests or “trouble” that might result from Valley Meat Co. commencing horse slaughter.

© Food Safety News
  • Rick De Los Santos is a criminal,, Stealing charity Jars and committing other crimes.He is a liar and has lied on his forms to the USDA and People need to demand he be charged with more felonies. And the pathetic lawyer ?? Well I cant wait to have a good laugh when that pantie boy realizes he destroyed his career. Maybe he will become and Ambulance chaser because no one will hire that sleaze to represent them.

  • And the GAO Report, a very flawed unscientific report based on anecdotal information. However even the GAO Report recommended a complete ban on horse slaughter and ban on transporting horses for slaughter.
    Still complete negation on the food safety issue

  • absurd – Livestock suspected of having biological residues shall be identified as “U.S. Condemned”. Horses are not regulated food animals in the U.S. and must be considered suspect for biological residues especially given that almost everything we give them is labeled “not intended for use on food animals”.
    § 309.16
    Livestock suspected of having biological residues.
    (a) Except as provided by paragraph (d) of this section, livestock suspected of having been treated with or exposed to any substance that may impart a biological residue which would make the edible tissues unfit for human food or otherwise adulterated shall be handled in compliance with the provisions of this paragraph. They shall be identified at official establishments as “U.S. Condemned.”
    Just because a horse dealer is allowed to fabricate a drug affidavit doesn’t mean the government doesn’t know adulteration….

  • debbie

    This would be a great way for our corrupt Gov. to butcher all OUR wild horses that are in holding pens 50,000 of them, GOSH YOU THINK????? There has been so many documented reasons why this should not open legal ones that have been sent to USDA and STILL they went to inspect it I smell a huge fish as usual….. Here we have been slaughtering our horses every yea,r people seem to forget just not here, and we still have a problem with to many horses, WELL my goodness what do the BREEDERS have to say about that especially the biggy AQHA who by the way reg. 150,000 foals last year and is a HUGE puzzel in this slaughter corruption!!! SO what does our gov do they give Breeders right offs incentives to what BREED more, oh my god folks this slaughter is not going to change a thing it just gives them more options to torture the horses they are hinding behind just disgraceful, it is and always will be MONEY the bottom line………. Keep it up keep bringing those baby’s into the world so you can kill them down the road……. I am so so ANGRY

    • The biggest “breeder” of horses is the US Govt. Those 50,000 in holding pens could be fed to hungry people in this country, saving the taxpayers a lot of money that is going to waste. (btw you can adopt as many as you want to take home) I would rather my tax dollars went to feed needy people than unwanted horses standing around in holding pens for…what purpose????

  • Is putting gasohol, the use of grain in gasoline affecting this situation. Coupled by the droughts of last few years, HAS THIS prompted the disappearance of the Horse from American landscape. This suffer-age they speak of…caused by shortages of grain&doughts is it a suffering economy linked to the high price of grain and ultimately costing the higher price of gas-crippling the economy…
    — Is this the GOV answer is to whack out what they can can up and sell to school children in the luncheon meat while also charging even more for gas- Are they SAYING” EAT THE MEAT THAT SUFFERS”! I say, take the grain out of the gasohol it may be causing the drought anyway, it’s eating up our grain supply, it’s polluting the air with drying alcohol. Is gasohol the reason for high priced gas, and the government trying create grain surplus to create more cheaper product for the government goons making all the money! well is it? IT’S all UNAMERICAN-remember euro dollar people eat the horse meat- it is usually shipped over seas-Europe, Japan, sells for $75 for a slice of neck meat on a plate-big money-big rich customers… the kind that donate to political campaigns!
    Does anyone ever wonder why the bigbest oil find in the gulf coast was sabbotaged and spilled into the ocean- accident ba hum bug! Economy Warfare!

  • Pro slaughter continually claims slaughter is necessary because of too many unwanted horses. What causes unwanted horses? Obviously too many horses being bred. Pro slaughter ‘s solution? Having a slaughter business that BUYs 150,000 horses a year. You know, Pays people money to sell them there horse. Yah ,that sure is a good incentive to stop people from breeding too many horses all right. That sure will solve the problem. What? You mean you’ve been doing this for 30 years and you still have too many horses being bred. Hmm, just cant figure that one out. For over 30 years the US has continuously sold on average over 100,000 horses a year for slaughter. Yet pro slaughter has continuously claimed there is still a glut of “unwanted” horses for which horse slaughter is the solution. Horse slaughter hasn’t worked. If it had worked, in a few years time there would not still have been any excess horses available to sell to the slaughter market. Certainly not a sustainable 100,000 plus horses a year. Thirty years is enough time to prove slaughter is NOT the answer. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Isn’t it time we end this predatory business once and for all and try something new?
    Slaughter is the major CAUSE for (so called) excess horses. It cost alot of money to breed and raise a horse. If there wasn’t a profitable slaughter market for these excess horses to be sold too, people would stop breeding them. 92% of horses slaughtered are young healthy horses that could and would have been used to fill the live horse use market. But every year they are sold to slaughter for profit which every year then opens up the door for that many new horses to be bred to fill the live horse market. As long as there is horse slaughter, it GARRENTEIS an endless cycle of over breeding, to fill the supply of the profitable horse slaughter business. Its not about helping unwanted horses. Its just about the money. Gloria Eighmey

  • Karin Hauenstein

    Don’t let pro-slaughter profiteers fool you! Horse slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia!

    With the captive-bolt, which was developed for use on cattle, stunning is ineffective over 40% of the time when applied to domestic, trained horses (the ones full of prohibited drugs and medications.) This is due to the fact that horses’ heads cannot be restrained as cattle are and accuracy is very difficult. Horses will routinely break their own necks if restrained. The captive-bolt is ineffective at stunning wild, untrained or under-trained horses nearly 100% of the time. Everyone who knows horses and has any experience at all with wild horses knows that it is near impossible to get anywhere near their poll which is a very vulnerable area to every horse. To get near a wild horse’s poll with a captive-bolt apparatus and have an accurate shot is technically, practically and virtually impossible. This is the reason why we find so much carcass evidence documentation of severe abuse to slaughtered horses. The captive-bolt process itself is so ineffective that many horses are shot multiple times or vivisected while conscious. This is a definite violation of the Humane Slaughter Act which mandates slaughtered animals to be rendered “senseless with one (1) shot.”

    In addition to having multiple USDA and environmental violations for inhumane treatment of cattle and illegal waste disposal, this De Los Santos of Valley Meats knows nothing about commercial horse slaughter. He was duped into retooling his facility with inadequate tools to perform the
    slaughter of horses humanely, since this is impossible. The USDA is inspecting his facility just as they do for cattle, they are not taking into account the ineffective stunning of horses with this device. Valley Meats is not qualified nor are they able to slaughter horses humanely because this is impossible to do in a commercial environment with machines. So many are ignorant of the facts, including many in the press and so many uninformed members of the public.

  • Black Market Beef aka horsemeat has been bought at 25 cents a pound and re-labelled as Beef and re-sold at $2 a pound in Europe and re-sold back to the US. This is a bigger profit than cocaine and no one is watching! Why sell drugs when you can sell horsemeat….notice that 26 countries are involved and over 360 store supplies and companies all the way up to Taco Bell and Burger King, Aldis and Walmart……NOW is the time to STOP it by cutting off the supply of US Horses and Wild Mustangs, Donkies,Ponies, Foals,,,,,When the full history of De Santos and his previous shut down of his beef slaughter finally makes the papers then maybe someone in the USDA will stop this !!! Aubrey Alan Dunn is trying to make a name for him self……MUDD

  • Horses are a commodity. They can be bought/sold/given away when no longer wanted. An individuals horse may be regarded by an individual person as a pet and isn’t a commodity because it doesn’t have a price-tag. The horses headed to slaughter plants aren’t pets. The only person who wanted them was the killer-buyer.

  • disqus_A2kE23Hjs9

    That’s just wrong!