Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

NM Attorney General’s Horse Case is Slow Off The Line

A year-end attempt by New Mexico Attorney General Gary King to quickly prevent a Roswell slaughterhouse from processing USDA-inspected horsemeat for export has apparently failed. It means a New Mexico business could be still be slaughtering horses as early as Jan. 1.

King, a Democrat who is also running for governor, held a Dec. 19 news conference to announce he was seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent Valley Meat Co. in Roswell “from killing and butchering horses for food.” But, a week later, on Dec. 26, New Mexico court records show the only real action that has occurred in the case is to assign it to a different judge.

King filed the 25-page civil lawsuit on behalf of the State of New Mexico with the First Judicial District in Santa Fe, where it was assigned to Judge Raymond Z. Ortiz. A peremptory challenge was filed against Ortiz and he was officially removed from the case on Dec. 23, replaced by the First District’s newly named family law judge, Matthew Wilson.

Wilson, 44, was just named to the state bench in October by Gov. Susana Martinez. The Republican governor named the former domestic relations hearings officer to the bench primarily to handle the district’s family law docket.

Since his appointment, however, other civil cases outside the family law docket have been assigned to his court. Wilson’s schedule for the rest of the year shows only some domestic violence and family law cases.

The civil lawsuit filed by King names Ricardo De Los Santos of Roswell and three companies he owns – Valley Meat Co., Dairyland Packing Inc., and Mountain View Packing – as defendants.  King filed the civil action in state court after the U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 13 gave the green light to USDA inspection of qualified horse slaughter operations.

Albuquerque attorney A. Blair Dunn, who represents both Valley Meat and Rains Natural Meat in Gallatin, MO, called King’s civil lawsuit “frivolous” and a waste of taxpayer money.

In Missouri, the FBI is reportedly investigating death threats against Rains family members and warnings that its plant will be burned down. Valley Meat was the target of arsonists earlier in the year.

Congress two years ago lifted budgetary restrictions that for five years prevented USDA from providing equine inspections. Horses have not been slaughtered under USDA inspection in the U.S since 2007.

© Food Safety News
  • Cheryl Bay

    Opening of domestic horse processing plants is long over-due. While the knee-jerk reaction is “Oh no! The cruel people are going to kill horses!” The rest of us people with good
    old common sense just want all of your addresses, [especially the
    addresses of the politicians that are against humane processing of
    unwanted horses.] We would like to know where you want us to send the 150,000 to
    300,000 horses per year that are unwanted by anyone and everyone. We want to send you the next truck load that will need to be fed and cared for, probably
    for 10 or more years. Get real. They don’t just disappear
    because you said you wanted them to. They eat and have to be cared for
    or they starve or get sent on a 1000 mile bad trip to Mexico for
    processing there. Regulated processing here in the US is far better
    than any other alternative — unless of course, YOU want a truck load or
    two. If you really love horses and care for how they are treated and handled, you would be 100% FOR regulated processing right here in the US instead of fighting it. You are fighting the inevitable. It is like trying to stop water from running downhill. I still have to hear the very first one of you tell me what is going to happen to the 150,000 to 300,000 completely unwanted horses that are found ‘unusable’ every year. If no one wants them and no one can feed and care for them WHAT DO YOU THINK SHOULD HAPPEN TO THAT MANY HORSES EVERY YEAR? Just tell me your workable and feasible solution and maybe I would change my mind. I have been loving horses longer than most of you have been living, so I’m listening.

    • Judye Michaels

      Cheryl Bay, I just PRAY you walk the walk…. I hope you get to live near a slaughterhouse so you can, personally, learn just how HUMANE it can be under the auspices of our government’s USDA. If you’d like to learn the facts about how horse slaughter was performed, PLEASE visit http://www.kaufmanzoning.net and see the photos and read the reports based on statistical analysis.
      The reason for horse overpopulation if the bad economy as well as the major organizations promoting the continuance of overbreeding. “Unusable”??? Did you know that 92.3% of horses slaughtered are in good condition with no behavior issues? That’s just “horse slaughter 101”!!! You’ve got a LONG way to go, girl!

      • Horse lover, AZ

        Yeah i wish she could smell the death in the air on a windy day in New Mexico- she would freak- ! i just know it.

      • Marla McGrew

        Right on Judye!!

      • MorganLvr

        The two domestic horse slaughter plants we formerly had in Texas were less than 70 miles apart, and I was in Dallas – almost at the mid-point between them. I DO hope ALL of you pro-horse slaughter trolls making up numbers of imaginary “unwanted” horses that never existed at all get the experience of living VERY close to these horse slaughter plants – especially if you own horses like I did.

        Let’s see how you handle having YOUR horses stolen and butchered. Let’s see you handle their grief and terror while you help your friends in their frantic search for their stolen horses, Let’s see how you react when you actually SEE a horse slaughter plant like Dallas Crown in Kaufman, TX. – hear the horses screaming in terror as they are repeatedly hit with a captive bolt that almost never stuns horses with the first blow. God, P:EASE force these idiots to endure the same things WE endured!

        Horse theft in Texas was so bad that the State of Texas tried to intervene but could come up with nothing that helped. People couldn’t put their horses in their paddocks at night without fear they wouldn’t be there in the morning. Some hired over night guards for their horses.

        Four of my own personal friends had their horses stolen. Three were right out of their stalls in the barn where I boarded MY horse. One in the stall next to him, one directly across the barn aisle and the other a couple of stalls down. This with the owner and foreman in their homes just a few yards away. It could just as well have been my horse. Finally, many horse owners just couldn’t stand it any more, sold their horse properties and left the area. I didn’t want to leave my home town and stable that I loved, but I did because it was the only way to protect my horse.

        What I saw and heard during the 15 nightmarish years I lived between these houses of horror will never leave my memory – this was in 1991 and I still have nightmares. I HEARTILY pray you experience the same things.

        I can show you right now how the USDA “protected” our horses then – when they had far more money than they do now. These pictures were taken by the USDA at Beltex and Dallas Crown. The USDA took pictures, but never DID anything about the horrific abuse they photographed. Go to:
        http://www.kaufmanzoning.net. Before you even start to say something about these being faked or not typical, remember, I SAW these things happening at Dallas Crown. I’m not likely to forget it.

        You will learn, but at what expense to the poor horses and their owners? You deserve it – the horses and the owners who love them do not.

      • neicey22

        We will fight forever for our horses and companion animals. Stop subsidizing over-breeders, tax them for every foal they bring into this world. Tax payers should not pay for over-breeders habits! Stop the breeding, stop the slaughter. Pass the S.A.F.E. Act now!

    • Shane

      here’s a thought Cheryl Bay we’ll send your imaginary 150,000 to 300,000 unwanted horses to where they truly reside : in your imagination. Where do you come up with the figure of this many “unwanted” horses ? Perhaps from the discredited GAO report ? Or are you guilty of the following circular reasoning: “since 150,000 horses go to slaughter every year they must have been unwanted and the proof that they are unwanted is that they were shipped to slaughter”. See the problem with that circular logic Cheryl? Many of these horses could have found good homes if rescue organizations had not been outbid by kill buyers at auction. The solution to any real or alleged number of “unwanted’ horses lies in preventing the race horse and junk breeders to keep dumping off horses they don’t think will ever make them any money at auctions. Problem solved ! You have been loving horses longer than most of us have been living ? Your desire to see them slaughtered is a very strange expression of “love” indeed ! In fact indistinguishable from cruelty.

      • MorganLvr

        I guarantee you haven’t been loving horses longer than I’VE been alive. Actually, I couldn’t lose this bet if I tried, because YOU have never loved any horses at all.

    • Vicki Tobin

      Cheryl, doesn’t your good old common sense also tell you that if an animal isn’t raised and regulated as a food animal that the animal should never enter the food chain? Slaughter is for food production, not a disposal service.

      Your numbers are way over inflated but in any case, the horses will go to the same place they went when the US was slaughtering over 400,000 and dropped to under 100,000. You don’t know what the number of horses will be. Nobody does. You have to eliminate the stolen horses, the horses that would go to bidders that are now going to the meat men, etc. Are YOU going to take the thousands that are rejected by the plants and abandoned by the kill buyers? The very business that claims to eliminate abandoned horses is the cause. BTW-were you complaining about the long hauls when the plants were open? Did you try to stop the “1000 mile bad trip to Mexico for processing there” when 775,474 horses were exported to Mexico, Canada and Japan from 1989-2006? Of
      course, not. But now you want to use it as an argument? If it was okay then, why are you complaining about it now?

      Is there some reason that you feel a person that chose to own or breed a horse isn’t responsible for the horse’s care? What are you doing to help horse owners other than supporting killing their horses?

      80% of the country opposes horse slaughter as does Congress, the USDA and the president. People are no longer buying the propaganda and the writing is on the wall. Seems to me you’re not seeing the inevitable.

    • Teresa Heaney

      Anyone with any sense of responsibility would humanely have the vet put down their unwanted horse if that is their last resort. Sending horses for slaughter is only cruel and inhumane.

    • crookedstick

      Today , I drove 300 miles across NM , I saw 14 , fat horses in total. Starving , unwanted, zero. Hear that?.

      • Janna Lukens

        Same thing here in Missouri – where we hear the same old pro-slaughter propaganda. I have scoured Missouri and northern Arkansas specifically searching for all of these starving-abandoned-neglected horses. What I discovered is that we have an Equine Obesity problem here!

    • Jessica Perdue-guttman

      This is ignorant cattle rhetoric. Eye roll. Get real, slaughter begets starving skinny horses and if you knew anything about slaughter you would know that processing plants don’t accept skinny horses.

      • susanmeanslily

        I’ve been to horse auctions where slaughter buyers bought thin horses. They send them to feedlots to fatten them up.

    • Rita Reik

      Well since this is the Food Safety News, let’s discuss the fact that horses in the US are not fit for human consumption by any of the Food and Drug Administration standards: their exposures to toxins and chemicals is entirely unknown. It is like wrapping up garbage and selling it as food. This is not acceptable.

      • susanmeanslily

        The USDA FSIS is authorized with determining whether or not horse meat is safe for human consumption.

        • vickysecho

          Deriliction of duty…. they proposed testing horses under a show cattle plan. Cattle are still ultimately expected to go to slaughter – horses are NOT. They propose testing four out of every hundred/more. Absurd for an entirely unregulated species.

          • susanmeanslily

            …so you are saying if 100% of the horses are tested you will then support horse slaughter?

          • MorganLvr

            Who would support a predatory, corrupt “business” like horse slaughter that acquires much of their “product” in less than honest ways? If you or any of your friends had horses stolen and butchered, you might feel differently. Also, egregious cruelty that the USDA photographed at the old horse slaughter plants in Texas but never DID anything to stop it. Then, there IS the problem of banned substances in so many equine veterinary meds and other products.

            The entire idea is absurd. Or do you want to eat horses that have been found to have been used at a research facility? This just happened in the UK.

          • vickysecho

            There can be NO safe horsemeat from U.S. unregulated horses unless they are tested 100% for more than what they are currently testing. There are many reasons that U.S. horses should never enter a human food chain and if the tables were turned and another country wanted to send in their unregulated, largely adulterated animals for Americans to eat – I think the food producers would have second thoughts.

    • Storm Dancer

      not sure where you are getting your figures from but according to the USDA website, they show only about an average of 140,000 – 190,000 equines going for slaughter every year and should you choose to look for it, you can also look at the total numbers for the years prior to 2007 and the numbers haven’t changed.

      only about 1% of the total US horse population is going to slaughter and of that 1%, 89% of them are from the racing industry with 70% of QHs and 19% of TB’s. the AQHA averages 150,000 new foals being registered a year and the Jockey Club averages 25,000 new foals a year which equals 175,000 new foals a year just for these 2 breeds .. The US does NOT have an over population issue it has an over breeding issue and it starts and ends with these 2 breeds.

      Horse slaughter is NOT nor has it ever been humane, go to youtube and watch all the horse slaughter videos, if you dare, and see if what really happens when a horse is in the kill box is humane, which according to the Humane Slaughter Act, it is NOT! The Humane Slaughter Act only allows for 1 shot with the captive bolt yet every horse averages 6 shots with sometimes as many as 11. USDA inspectors documented horse skulls from US plants with as many as 22 holes as well as still being conscious as their throats were cut, being skinned and gutted alive until they bled completely out..

      you don’t take into effect that US horses are not raised as a food animal and are given over a 100 different drugs and medications in their lifetimes, all of which have been banned by both the FDA and USDA from being used in any food animal. 98% of all racehorses have received Bute at least once in their lifetime which is banned not just by the FDA and USDA from being used in a food animal but by the EU as well. Any animal that has ever received Bute even once in its life time can never enter the food chain because Bute never breaks down in the horses system until the flesh decays.

      • susanmeanslily

        If the SAFE Act is passed and horse slaughter becomes obsolete, who is going to be responsible for the 140,000-190,000 horses per year that would other wise go to slaughter? Even if all breeding was outlawed, there are still going to be unwanted horses. Thousands of unwanted cats and dogs are killed by government shelters each day in this country. If you can “fix” that problem, you cans have a go at “fixing” the unwanted horse problem.

        • Janna Lukens

          When we succeed in banning horse slaughter in the United States and end transport of horses to Canada and Mexico for the purpose of slaughter, there will not be a surplus of 140,000-190,000 horses per year. With supply and demand evening out, there will be less horses and prices will go up. Many backyard breeders are going out of business now and auction houses like yours will eventually have to change. Very few people make a living off of horses. Hopefully irresponsible horse owners will stop trying to.

          • susanmeanslily

            Even if horse breeding came to a complete halt, there will still be unwanted horses. Horses that are unsound or have bad dispositions aren’t going to miraculously be wanted. Maybe in the fairly tale of your mind you can wave your magic wand and all horses will be desirable.

        • MorganLvr

          If no money is to be made by over breeding, it WILL stop! Strange that anyone could believe slaughter will prevent over population when we’ve had unabated access to horse slaughter for almost 40 years. How long will it take for you trolls to give up on pushing slaughter as an answer to over population? If there were any over population that is.

    • Curt

      First you with the tons of common sense ain’t real good at reading the figures. The largest number of horses sent to Canada or Mexico was 169,000 last year. It isn’t 300,000 unwanted horses. 92% of those are young and healthy they don’t take all of those thousands of old sick and unwanted horses. Although there is no such thing as an unwanted horses. They are only unwanted until someone puts out some money to buy one then they are wanted. The total number of horses slaughtered is only 1.8% of the total horse population. So for every 50 people that have one horse one would have to have 2 to make up the difference or if they had 50 (see no reason for that) they would need to keep 51 and that would make up for any excess. 900,000 die each year from natural causes or are euthanized by a vet. There are 9.1 million total horses in the US right now and that number is shrinking. So it shouldn’t be a problem. Go out beyond your gate and check things out besides what you hear at the auciton barn and maybe you will learn something

      • Cheryl Bay

        Actually Mr brainiac. Back in the mid 90s, more than 300,000 horses went to slaughter every year for several years. Most were fat and they brought $300.00 to $600.00 MORE per head than they do now. Big, fat broodmares and fat old geldings frequently brought $1,000.00 per head. This was during the last big downturn in the horse market and thus in breeding.

        And yes — I’m sorry to say — all of those young horses are unwanted. If they go through a public auction and no one but the slaughter buyer bids on them, it means they are unwanted by anyone else. Many have been offered on Craigs List and advertised for cheap or free and still had no takers so they went to a sale hoping someone would want them. The ones that are not bid on by anyone else, go for the ‘set-in’ price to the slaughter buyer. If you think they are worth more, you should just go to any livestock auction and stick your hand in the air. I have 5 or 6 horses right now (including my grandkids horses) and my personal trail horse that came from auctions where no one bid on them but me. I have a retired mare that I will keep forever that I ‘rescued’ in 1993 from an auction. So, maybe you’re not as smart as you think you are.

        • susanmeanslily

          I have also bought horses at auction that only the kill buyers were bidding on. One of the horses I have now was bought by a kill buyer. He let me go try him out…actually gave me a leg up bareback…I think I put his shoulder out and gave him a hernia! He let me just pay for him and didn’t charge me a dime! Most people dealing in livestock do it because they really like animals and want to spend their life around them.

        • MorganLvr

          You can never sell more than the market will bear, whether it’s live horses or horse meat. At the big sales I’ve seen, no one bids on the good horses all right – they can’t. The kill buyers get first looks at the horses before anyone else is there. THEY take the good ones, and no one else even gets to see them, let alone bid. Happens at Shipshewana.

          Besides, New Mexico AG just got a temporary restraining order. Valley Meats will NOT be opening just yet. 0)

    • Horse lover, AZ

      I have a great solution- PLEASE CHERYL DONT own a horse! Hey, that will definitely decrease the population of horses sent to their death. Oh, and obviously you are on a roll of “lies or you are just uninformed or “stupid”. Those people at the auctions that save that horse’s ass are not the owners, they are normal people that have just as much income as you or less and are trying to save the horses life from “wicked” people like you. But, my big thing is , WHO IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?? Even SAYING that you’ll drop your horses off at our doorsteps. ??? Oh, so are you going to do that w/your goddamn kid too??? Basic responsibilities of being a horseowner or parent. But, you are not in that category. You are the percentile of the human race that wants everyone to pay for your mistakes, well, honey– move to mexico if you want to kill horses for food… that would be a place where you are welcome and can call home.

    • vickysecho

      Cheryl Bay – The majority of owners that send their horses into the slaughter system can afford to humanely euthanize by lethal injection, don’t ever actually learn how to market a horse, don’t care how they suffer in the inhumane slaughter system, and just want the quick cash. The majority of owners that send their horses to slaughter are just using it as a conveinent dumping place. Technically any ‘for sale’ horse is unwanted. At what point in time does any one elses for sale horse become someone elses responsibility? Just because they decide they don’t want it? They don’t want the starved, or sick ones. It is suppose to be illegal to ship horses that can’t bear weight on all four or may deliver in route but those regulations seem to be ignored. Which part do you perceive as ‘regulated’? Because they wouldn’t be allowed to smash them in the head with a sledge hammer or stab them in the back with a knife to immobilize them – at the slaughter facility here? Did you know that live US horses are sent overseas in crates to be slaughtered at ‘facilities’ in other countries? Even if US horse slaughter facilities open in the US, it won’t stop the thousands that are shipped to Canada and Mexico or the crated live horses that go overseas – just as they were shipped when they were open here before. Please research what the horse dealers have done to them to get them to the slaughter facilities here! Of course here, they can only maim and abuse them enough that they are still able to stand, but thousands will still ship over the borders. If you truly care about the horses – we must stop the largest equine abuse system entirely. Please contact you legislators and ask them to support the SAFE Act.

    • Claudia Daigle

      Hi Cheryl, Breeding regulations would be a good start….Responsible members of the horse industry know it is time for breeding regulations. The Quarterhorse Association breeds and breeds and breeds horses and then throws them away like paper. THEY want horse slaughter so kill buyers will pay them for their unwanted horses, thus they make a profit on them too, and the kill buyers take them away so they don’t have to be responsible for them. Breeding regulations are also necessary for backyard breeders who take the lead from these larger breeding industries and breed and breed with monetary incentive…but, no incentive to be responsible. So, they want the kill buyers to buy their unwanted horses too. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Now, there are some good healthy Christian values to teach our children… Then there is the cattle industry. They have never had a fond history with horses. There used to be 2 million historical wild horses and burros roaming free on our public lands but cattlemen slaughtered so many of them because they wanted more lands for THEIR livestock grazing. Congress passed the 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act to protect our historical wild horses and burros from this horrific mass slaughter and designated the lands the horses were found on as THEIR LEGALLY DESIGNATED LANDS. The wealthy cattle and fracking industries have infiltrated our BLM and have been pushing our wild horses and burros off their legally designated lands for decades now, with their bogus claims of over-foraging and over-populating. In a recent $40 million BLM land assessment study, a PEER Report found the BLM excluded all cattle grazing data from the report. This exclusion rendered the $40 million taxpayer paid study useless. There are maybe 60,000 wild horses and burros on our public lands INCLUDING those being held in short and long term holding facilities. There are MILLIONS of cattle! Our Wild Horses and Burros have a legal right to live on their designated land. The wealthy cattle and fracking industries receive the privilege of a lease or permit to use OUR public lands, and pay a pittance of market value to taxpayers for what they receive. Those leases/permits are at the discretion of the BLM and can be revoked at ANY TIME. And yet, they kill all the wildlife on our public lands, to make sure they don’t kill their livestock. They build diversions from our streams and waterways to reach their livestock. The frackers leave open pools of chemiclly filled water around their wells…fully exposed for wildlife to drink the poisoned water. There is no respect for the land or wildlife… OUR public lands and wildlife. There is no appreciation for the privilege of the use of OUR public lands. And there is no responsibility shown in how they use OUR public lands. The cattlemen are not actually slaughtering our wild horses and burros these days, but, they are sending them to slaughter by rounding them up into holding facilities and then selling them to kill buyers for slaughter, if they are not adopted within 3 tries. Wild horses over 10 years can be sold outright, even in large numbers. This is illegal and it is wrong. 80% of the American people do NOT want horse slaughter and LOVE our historical Wild Horses & Burros and want to see them protected and preserved for generations to come. There is nothing, no way, no how, you can do to make horse slaughter humane just because it might be in the United States. We LOVE our Wild and Domestic horses. They are our sports competitors, our workers, our physical therapists, our companions and our pets. They are classified as companions by the FDA. So, Cheryl, we need responsible breeding regulations, and, according to the NAS, (National Acedemy of Science) Report on our Wild Horse and Burro Program, we can plan and use PZP birth control on SOME of the mares. It is not all that difficult and would save millions of dollars and much pain and suffering compared to what is happening now. You cannot send a Wild Horse or Burro to slaughter but, it has been going on for a long time and it needs to STOP! Here is an article by Martha Mendoza, an international Pullitzer prize-winning AP journalist, from the LATimes, 1997. Ms. Mendoza investigated the horse slaughter pipeline from the BLM in this great article. It was at the same time Jim Baca was appointed by President Bill Clinton as BLM Director. Mr. Baca took office intending to expose and take to justice those who were exploiting our legally protected wild horses and burros. He was stopped in his tracks by a federal judge who ‘blinked’ at a ‘threat’ by those Mr. Baca sought to expose and Mr. Baca was forced to resign. http://articles.latimes.com/1997-01-05/news/mn-15653_1_wild-horses Cheryl, I don’t think you are a bad person, I just think you are very misinformed. This horse slaughter issue has nothing to do with a way to ‘humanely’ get rid of unwanted horses……it is about money…of course. Cattle money, fracking money, and foreign interests money, and it would all be subsidized and suffered on the backs of the American taxpayers. Please call your Representatives and tell them to co-sponsor and support S.541, H.R.1094 – The SAFE ACT (Safeguard American Food Export Act). Let’s ban horse slaughter once and forever in the United States of America, as well as the transport of our horses across our borders to slaughter. Canada is also considering a bill, S.322, in the Spring of 2014, which will ban horse slaughter and their transport across Canadian borders. 2014 is The Year of The Horse….lets make it a positive year to remember in honor of ALL our beloved Wild and Domestic Horses and Burros.

  • 14151617

    Never proved that arson was the cause of the fire at Valley Meat.
    Funny isn’t it that the other plant also represented by Dunn.
    Says exactly the same thing.Death threats burnng down plant.Poor person trying to makie a living.
    Bunch of hog wash.

    • BerksBound

      The details seemed really suspicious; like an insurance scam. Conveniently only their worn-out compressors were burned. Things that make you go hmmm…..

  • Shane

    Dan Flynn, just when I hold out some hope you are remembering what a journalist is supposed to be you let me down again ! Please tell everyone how you go from the premise that because a temporary restraining order has not been issued to the conclusion that Gary King’s lawsuit has “failed”? I realize your degree is in neither law nor logic, but that is quite a Grand Canyon leap for anyone just limited by common sense ! The January 1 deadline issued by A. Blair Dunne is completely phony. Did you ever bother to investigate, Dan Flynn, what the arbitrary deadline was based on other than Dunn’s usual bombastic bluff ? Valley Meats has not cleared the state hurdle requirement concerning waste water permits and so hasn’t any authority to open on January 1 !
    Nor has the issue of USDA inspectors being provided for Valley Meats been resolved and certainly won’t be by January 1 ! Why do you simply re-gurgitate A. Blair Dunn’s nonsense, Dan Flynn, without the slight genuflection in the direction of fact checking or at least logic.?Congress did not vote in open session to restore funding for horse meat inspection. Three men in committee deleted the defunding language without any legal authority whatsoever : Roy Blunt, Jack Kingston and Herb Kohl. You can read about it here in an excellent article by a real journalist Vickery Eckhoff :http://www.forbes.com/sites/vickeryeckhoff/2011/12/21/how-many-congressmen-does-it-take-to-screw-a-horse/

    • MorganLvr

      The AG got a temporary restraining order Monday. Slow? Nah.

  • Carla McNeelan Tillman

    Santos is a felon. He lied on his water permits. Yet Sue Wallis supports him a rep of my state of Wyoming. There are not as many Unwanted horses as Susie says there are she is also ccouning wild horse which she says are as bad as wild rabbits.

  • Dan, I wouldn’t put much credence in that “arson” report.

    A journalist’s first duty is to report fact, not innuendo.

    • In fact, you have the press credentials to contact the relevant authorities in Roswell to ask them the status of the fire investigation. So why don’t you do so?

    • Actually the “death threat” claim is more than a tad suspect, too.

      The only people saying the FBI is investigating are the Rains and the lawyer. I can find no statement from any official. All we know is that a letter was supposedly turned over to the FBI. That’s it.

      This from the same people who claim that the horse meat is going to feed “starving people”. Yeah, starving people with big bucks in Belgium and France.

      Seriously, why doesn’t the media actually do something besides just repeating what someone says? Doesn’t anyone in the media actually investigate claims? Too busy tweeting on Twitter or something?

  • Jessica Perdue-guttman

    The arson assertion is ludicrous, unfounded and a cry for help Dunn uses when scared. So silly that the press even prints his hysteria.

  • Lisa Cummings


    1. A recent nationwide poll conducted by Lake Research Partners confirms that 80% of Americans, regardless of their gender, political affiliation, whether they live in an urban or rural area, or their geographic location, oppose the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The poll confirms that a vast majority of horse owners are also against the slaughtering of our nation’s equines. This 2012 poll is consistent with polls taken since 2006.

    2. Horses purchased for slaughter are not old, disabled or “unwanted”. The US Dept. of Agriculture has confirmed with a study performed by Dr. Temple Grandin that 92.3% of the horses sent to slaughter are healthy. They could continue to be productive. Slaughter proponents have widely claimed that slaughter is somehow an alternative for “unwanted” horses. Nothing could be further from the truth. Slaughter actually creates a salvage or secondary market that enables overbreeding and poor breeding practices. Slaughter and a poor economy have resulted in horses in need. Slaughter is driven by a demand for horsemeat in some foreign countries; it is not a “service” for unwanted horses and that is why most horses are healthy when they are sent to slaughter. Kill buyers are interested in buying the healthiest horses for horsemeat that is sold as a delicacy in some foreign countries.

    The rise in numbers of horses in need and drop in horse prices is a result of the worst recession in memory. In fact, if slaughter controlled numbers of horses in need, there would be none as slaughter is still available and horses are sent to slaughter in the same numbers as before the 2007 closings of the slaughterhouses that were located in the U.S. It is the availability of slaughter that actually increases the numbers of excess horses and other equines on the market. Banning slaughter would reduce the number of excess horses and other equines.

    Also, slaughter accounts for only about 3 cents for every $100 of the equine industry. It makes no sense for anyone to suggest a limited salvage market could influence prices in the entire horse industry. According to former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), the live horse industry is valued at $112.1 billion of gross domestic product, meaning the reabsorption of “surplus” horses not sent to slaughter would actually boost the economy.

    Most horses end up at slaughter because they are purchased by kill buyers. Many horses could have easily been purchased by someone else other options include adoption programs, placing them as pasture mates/babysitters to a younger horse, donating them for use in horse therapy, or placing them in a retirement home. Also, about 900,000 horses are humanely euthanized in the U.S. The infrastructure could easily absorb those sent to slaughter. The average cost in Washington of humane euthanasia including the farm call and either burial, rendering or placement in a landfill can be as little as $50 depending on the method used, and at most $400.

    3. Equine slaughter is not humane euthanasia. The slaughter of horses and other equines simply cannot be made humane: Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector, told Congress in 2008 that the captive bolt used to slaughter horses is simply not effective. Horses and other equines, in particular, are very sensitive about anything coming towards their heads and cannot be restrained as required for effective stunning. Dr. Friedlander stated, “These animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck, they are fully aware they are being vivisected.” The Government Accountability Office and dozens of veterinarians and other witnesses have confirmed that ineffective stunning is common and animals are conscious during slaughter. It is simply not possible for USDA/APHIS to make equine slaughter humane and it is a myth to pretend otherwise.

    4. Approximately $5,000,000 of American taxpayer funds, in the form of USDA meat inspectors, was spent annually to subsidize the three foreign-owned (Belgian and French) horse slaughterhouses that operated in the U.S. until 2007. Because there is no market for horsemeat in the U.S., after slaughter, the meat was shipped overseas, and there was no benefit at all to the U.S. economy. Only the foreign owners and distributors profited. If these foreign-owned horse slaughterhouses are allowed to re-open, they would again be subsidized by American taxpayer money. Estimates are that the U.S. government would spend at least $3,000,000-5,000,000 to subsidize private horse slaughter facilities.

    On top of that, the USDA could give foreign owners of U.S. horse slaughter facilities, such as Bouvry, the Canadian company that has explored the possibility of opening a horse slaughter house near Stanwood, Washington, or the Belgian company, Chevideco, which is planning to build a horse slaughter house in Oregon or Missouri, a subsidized loan of $750,000 through the RUS World Utilities Services. It is outrageous that the American taxpayer should support wealthy foreign investors in a business that profits from animal cruelty, benefits only foreign interests and wrecks the U.S. communities where the facilities are located. This money would surely be much better spent on American interests.

    Chevidico which owned Dallas Crown, which operated in Kaufman, Texas until 2007 paid each year only 1/3 of 1% of revenues in taxes; on year, for example, the horse slaughter house paid a total of $5.00 in federal taxes on $12,000,000 in annual sales.

    5. Equine slaughter has been devastating to the communities where slaughtering facilities have been located, with significant negative impacts including nuisance odors that permeated the surrounding towns to chronic sewer and environmental violations. Blood literally ran in the streets and waste from the facilities clogged sewers and piled up everywhere. This predatory practice produced few very low wage jobs, meaning workers and their families overran local resources like the hospitals and government services. Horse slaughter brought in virtually no tax revenues and local governments incurred substantial enforcement costs in trying to regulate these facilities. The standard of living in these communities dropped during the time horse slaughter facilities operated. Good businesses refused to relocate there. As Paula Bacon, mayor of Kaufman, Texas during the time a horse facility operated there until 2007 said, “My community did not benefit. We paid.”

    Recently, when officials in Hardin, Montana learned of a plan to build horse facilities in that state, the town council immediately unanimously passed Ordinance No. 2010-01 that prohibits the slaughter of more than 25 animals in a seven day period. Just last month Mountain Grove, Missouri residents voted overwhelmingly against a horse slaughter plant in their community. The message is clear: Americans don’t want equine slaughter.

    6. Although animal blood is often used for dry blood mill, the antibiotics given to American horses prevent blood from breaking down; therefore, horse blood cannot be used for this purpose and blood and other organs cannot be used for any purpose. Communities will be required to find a way to dispose of horse blood, internal organs and waste. Horses have 1.74 times as much blood per pound of body weight as cows and with the drugs, it is harder to treat because the antibiotics in the blood kill bacteria used in the treatment process. This does not include the 15 million gallons of fecal material per year that must be handled. Note the Canadian horse slaughterhouse at Natural Valley Farms in Saskatchewan that was shut down in 2009 for dumping blood and tons of other waste into a local river or onto the ground.

    7. The argument that significant jobs would be created is specious. Horse slaughter plants operating until 2007 never created more than 178 low wage jobs -and many of these were held by illegal aliens.

    8. Another cost to communities is horse theft. Slaughterhouses know horses are stolen and brought to slaughter. Because horse slaughter is driven by a demand for horse meat in some foreign countries where it is a delicacy, horse slaughterers look for the healthiest horses, not abandoned, abused or neglected horses. When California banned horse slaughter in 1998, horse theft fell by 39.5% and in the years that followed, the state noted a nearly 88% decrease in horse theft. What does that tell you about this sleazy, brutal practice?

    9. It is no surprise that following the closing of the horse slaughter plant, Kaufman residents enjoyed a significant decrease in virtually every type of crime. This despite one of the worst economic recessions in memory. A recent study by a University of Windsor criminologist, Amy Fitzgerald, shows a link between slaughterhouses and violent crime. Last year the Canadian government ordered its inspectors to stay off the floor during slaughter for fear of injury from workers who were manhandling and slaughtering horses. Those who slaughter horses are so desensitized and lacking in empathy in the way they handle the animals that they actually frighten government officials.

    10. The FDA does not regulate horses as food animals. Americans do not consume horses and other equines. Horses receive multiple medications, such as steroids, de-wormers, and ointments, throughout their lives. Kill buyers do not know a horse’s medical history.The FDA bans the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) Phenylbutazone (Bute) in all food-producing animals. Many horses have received Bute, which is a carcinogen and can cause aplastic anemia in humans.

    11. It is impossible to humanely transport horses for slaughter. The 2011 GAO report confirmed that USDA/APHIS has not – and cannot – enforce humane transport regulations for equines to be sent to slaughter.

    12. Horses are in danger. The welfare of all equines is threatened as long as slaughter remains available.

    After reading these reasons and you still think American horses should be slaughtered, please watch *video footage of what horses endure throughout the slaughter pipeline and while in the kill box.

  • Persons A and B

    Cheryl, does this also go for all of the unwanted old people and children?

  • NKG

    I pray we are not doomed to repeat the mistake of allowing horse slaughter to return to our country. If these facilities are allowed to open & process horses we will know that the U.S. learned nothing from it’s past. Horse slaughter is not a solution. It is a for profit(mainly foreign) business.

    Here are a few suggestions on alternatives to horse slaughter by Front Range Equine Rescue: http://frontrangeequinerescue.org/documents/Brochure%20FRER%20Solutions%20To%20Horse%20Slaughter.pdf

    Here are a few facts about horse slaughter:

    1. Horse slaughter will not end the neglect and abuse issue by irresponsible
    owners. John Holland, President of Equine Welfare Alliance, has published a
    recent study on their website http://www.equinewelfarealliance.com debunking the myth that the
    ban promotes abuse and neglect.

    2. Horse Slaughter promotes over breeding and irresponsible horse ownership.

    3. Horse slaughter transportation is extremely inhumane. Horses that go to Canada or Mexico for slaughter are hauled in double-decker tractor trailers, where they are beaten and often blinded with baseball bats to mollify them. Slaughter bound horses may travel up to 36 hours
    without food or water.

    4. Horse slaughter is extremely inhumane. In Mexico they are stabbed on either
    side (an act that is said to tenderize the meat) and immobilized. Their legs
    are sawed off at the knee and they are hung upside down to bleed out, all while
    they are alive to feel every bit of pain and agony. In Canada they use
    the captive bolt which was never designed or intended for horses, it was meant
    to stun cattle and sheep for 30 seconds while they are vivisected and bled out.
    It is ineffective 40% of the time on domestic horses as their brain sits back
    farther in their skull compared to cattle or sheep. It is ineffective 100% of
    the time on wild or untrained horses. These horses are also hung upside down to
    bleed out while their heart is still pumping, and are alive to feel the agony
    and pain.

    5. Americans don’t want to fund the USDA inspections with our tax dollars,
    which is estimated at $400k at per year, per plant. Any monies gained by selling
    horse flesh will go to the pockets of those who own the slaughter houses, not
    the American taxpayer who will be funding the USDA inspections.

    6. Horses have been declared “companion animals” by the USDA in 1970, and as
    such they are routinely given medications that are harmful, even fatal, to
    humans. The meat product produced from American horses would be toxic. These
    medications do not dissipate. The residue can be found in muscle tissue for the
    remainder of the horses life, such as Phenylbutazone (bute), thereby making
    horse flesh toxic to any other species.

    7. Horse flesh cannot enter the American food supply, or ANY food supply. What
    kind of safeguards do we have to prevent horse flesh from entering our food
    supply? We do not want another horse meat scandal as Europe
    just had.

    8. The protocol planned for use by the USDA for horse slaughter is the same
    protocol that is currently used for cattle, which means that only 4 out of
    every hundred horses slaughtered would be drug tested. As cattle are raised as
    livestock for human consumption, they are not given the same medications as
    domestic horses. Horses in the US are raised and medicated differently.

    9. Horses are easily spooked and are capable of understanding when they are in
    the slaughter line. They will not hold their heads still for the captive bolt
    or shotgun, as it is in their nature to fight it. Many times they will break
    their necks while fighting the slaughter process, and many time the captive
    bolt or shotgun are not successful on the first attempt, which means that the
    horse will be stunned or shot multiple times. This is in clear violation of the
    Humane Slaughter Act, which is the very reason that horse slaughter was
    successfully defunded back in 2007. Any attempt to shoot or stun an animal more
    than once during the slaughter process is a violation of the Humane Slaughter

    10. Former Mayor of Kauffman,Texas (the last horse slaughter
    house to close in 2007) speaks regularly about of the horror of horse slaughter,
    and the effects on the community http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ROUB_3LV4c
    or search Mayor Paula Bacon Horse Slaughter on Youtube.com

    11. Senator Mary Landrieu (LA) has spoken out against horse slaughter, sighting
    that euthanasia is an affordable option, rather than slaughter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNooMb1VHF0 or search Senator Mary Landrieu Horse Slaughter on Youtube.com

  • Ted PeepLover Wells

    What part of “economic and ecological disaster” DON’T you understand? There’s a reason why Texas and Illinois have outright banned equine slaughter after the monumental disasters in Kaufman and DeKalb. There is no market for horse meat in this country. And it does not address the supposed “unwanted” horse population. Want real life facts about the reality of equine slaughter? Check out http://www.kaufmanzoning.net.

  • Horse lover, AZ

    Gosh banning horse slaughter- you’ll see- the population of horses out there will become less & you will see abuse and abandonment decrease in huge nos. The wicked people that profit off of this trade will eventually get out of the horse business. That is what this country needs.

  • zuzuzpetals

    I wonder who the first horse will be. You know the horse had a name. They all are named. Horses are not livestock. Here are two best friends Luna and Sugarbear. One is blind but the other helps the horse everyday to get back into its stall. Check out the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O_g5h1rrU0

  • kandid

    With all the security Valley meats had in place it’s pretty obvious it was never arson, but another feeble attempt at making opponents of horse slaughter look like insane activists. Seriously, does the author even fact check??

  • zuzuzpetals

    Cheryl Bay posts this same comment on other horse slaughter news website. She must work for the Quarter horse industry. They can’t wait for this to open.

    • BerksBound

      Absolutely! AQHA supports horse slaughter because it enables the rampant overbreeding that has become the signature of that breed. Horse slaughter is the best friend of the foal mills, and every new foal pays $$ to register with AQHA.

    • Carla McNeelan Tillman

      Or Sue Wallis.

  • veckhoff

    The big waste of taxpayer money is the $11 million in inspections that will go to supply toxic horse meat to foreign consumers, not to mention all the environmental costs these plants foist on communities due to a history of violations, the cost to oversee them from a regulatory and enforcement perspective, economic development that flees town, and the high crime rates that characterize communities with slaughter plants in their midst. Mr. Dunn is making his fees as long as this issue spins out. If he truly cared about wasting taxpayer dollars, he’d find himself another client.

    • susanmeanslily

      Would you please provide support regarding $11 million in taxpayers money in inspections? Would you please supply support on your statement that US horse meat will be toxic after it has been USDA Inspected? Thank you.

      • Carla McNeelan Tillman

        My tax money going to a felon!!! Yes he gets tax breaks…you listen to much to sslaughter house sue.

  • veckhoff

    Can you please supply support for the statement about Valley Meat being the target of arsonists? That claim was made without any substantiation by Mr. De Los Santos. Either he has proof that he was the target of arson, or he doesn’t.

  • Nancy Canarelli Watson

    It’s odd that this article conveniently omits the most crucial facts relating to equine slaughter in the US:

    1. Year after year Lake Research Partners has polled random citizens across the country from all demographics, which has consistently shown that at least 80% of Americans are opposed to equine slaughter. We do not eat our horses in the US.
    2. The cost to the Americans taxpayer is approximately $400k per plant. per year. We do not want our tax dollars funding these operations for meat that cannot enter the American food supply, and will profit foreign interests.
    3. Horses in the US are raised as companion animals, NOT as livestock. Because they were declared companion animals by the FDA in 1970, they are given a plethora of medications that are harmful, illegal, and even caustic, to humans.

    Forgetting the fact that equine slaughter is inhumane, and can never be made to be humane, these facts are indisputable. And they have been intentionally omitted from this, and every other pro slaughter article. I wonder how long it will take the media to understand that we do not want equine slaughter in the US.

  • vickysecho

    Dan Flynn – First let me say thank you for keeping the issue of horse slaughter in print but please be more informative!
    What ‘failed’? You left that wide open.
    The defunding of inspections isn’t what closed the U.S. last two slaughter facilities – it was states laws! The defunding may have prevented any others from opening but it isn’t what closed the last two facilities.
    Since this is a ‘Food Safety’ publication – why not report on how they will insure that U.S. unregulated horses will be ‘safe’ for human consumption? The proposed testing is modeled after a ‘show cattle’ inspection plan – to test 4 out of every hundred or more – absurd! Even show cattle are presumed to eventually end in the slaughter system – no horse here is ever presumed to end in a slaughter system! No drug history follows horses and vets aren’t even required to keep drug history typically more than two years. Horse dealers are allowed to fabricate drug history immediately after acquiring a horse and ship it the same day! There can be NO lot or batch testing on horses that aren’t raised as food animals and are collected one by one from various owners from various methods of ‘maintenance’. There is no safety in US unregulated horses as food animals!

  • Cheryl Bay

    I am not going to argue with any of your points. I just want any of you to tell me a few

    1) What is YOUR plan for the 150,000 plus horses that are
    unwanted every single year? If they are
    not processed, what do YOU plan to do with them all, right now?

    2) Why do you want to doom these unwanted horses to an
    uncertain kind of death at the end of 1000 mile plus ride to Mexico or Canada?

    3) Why do you think that neglect, starvation and a slow
    death or a horrible trip to Mexico or Canada is better than trying to help set
    up a humane processing plant here in the states? If we can put men in space, I think we can
    make a safe, humane processing set-up for horses.

    4) Why do YOU think both the AVMA (American Veterinary
    Medical Association) and the AAEP (American Association of Equine
    Practitioners) support processing plants over the status quo of letting
    thousands of horses literally starve in back pastures out of sight?

    Don’t give me more hate speak and radical rants. It just proves that you all are the radical nut jobs that you really must be. Just answer my very reasonable questions. I’ll bet I have forgotten more about horses and the horse industry than all of you collectively know.
    Just give me reasonable and responsible answers to these
    questions and I will be on board to fight new processing plants.

    • Janna Lukens


      1. Horse slaughter is self-perpetuating. By providing a secondary market, there will always be more horses to “dispose” of. This is not an animal welfare issue. To fix problems in the Horse Industry, we MUST keep horses out of the MEAT Industry. Horse slaughter is NOT the solution. It’s the problem.

      2 Last year 160,000 healthy horses were exported to be slaughtered in Canada and Mexico. These horses were NOT “unwanted”. They were, however, unlucky to have bad owners. Death was not “uncertain” – it was guaranteed – along with inhumane torture, terror, and pain. Horses would continue to be hauled 1000s of miles to slaughter in the U.S. and continue to be shipped to Canada and Mexico.

      3. It isn’t a matter of either or. The options are NOT either inhumane commercial slaughter OR starvation. Animal cruelty is against the law and perpetrators must be prosecuted. There is no possible way to humanely slaughter a horse in a commercial horseslaughter facility. Period.

      4. Because it all comes down to money. For one thing, horse slaughter promotes over-breeding and is encouraged by organizations such as the AQHA. Personally, I do not understand how any veterinarian could be in favor of animal cruelty.

      Horse slaughter and pro-slaughterphiles have driven me nuts because horse slaughter is unnecessary, inhumane, and wrong on every level. It’s bad for communities, the environment, public health, foreign relations, etc. Radical? No. Radical is waging an assault against our pets in order to profit from eating them. And yes, you have forgotten a lot about horses. You’ve forgotten to love them. You’ve forgotten
      that horse slaughter is not a part of the Horse Industry. Your propaganda is being
      sold to you by radicals in the Meat Industry.

  • Janna Lukens

    Do you want to know what’s REALLY “frivolous”? This article.
    Do you want to know what’s REALLY a waste of taxpayer money? Horse slaughter.
    Whatever happened to the arson investigation at Li’l Ricky’s? He railed about all those security cameras he’d had to install because of alleged “death threats”, and yet nary a photo of the firebug… and what a stroke of luck that the fire just happened to take out only the cooling thing-a-ma-bobs that needed replacement…. Co-inc-i-dink? hmmm. It’s almost as if the arsonist knew exactly where to burn in order to benefit Valley Meats. hmmm. So now there are death threats and threats of fire at Rains too? hmmm. What – does David Rains also need some new cooling thing-a-ma-bobs? Anyway, my sympathies will forever remain with the innocent horses who did nothing to deserve being butchered alive, and NOT with the butchers who would apparently do anything for money, no matter how it destroys the environment, hurts communities, or how many Americans oppose it. Selling drug-laden carcinogenic horse meat to our allies overseas is bad business for the United States. Talk about courtroom drama, just wait until all of THOSE personal injury lawsuits start pouring in…

  • Barb3000

    If you want to pass the Safe Act then you are going to have to start smoking on your Senators from your states that represent you in Congress. There are 162 cosponsors of H.R.1094 there are only about 28 Senators mostly the ones that introduced Bill S.541 the rest of the Senate chooses to ignore this important bill. This is what happened to all of the anti-slaughter bills that were introduced for the last ten years, they were left to die in committee just like H.R 1094 and S.541 will do unless you can force these crooked politicians in the US Senate to act.

  • Cheryl Bay

    I am not going to argue with any of your points. I just want any of you to tell me a few

    1) What is YOUR plan for the 150,000 plus horses that are
    unwanted every single year? If they are
    not processed, what do YOU plan to do with them all, right now?

    2) Why do you want to doom these unwanted horses to an
    uncertain kind of death at the end of 1000 mile plus ride to Mexico or Canada?

    3) Why do you think that neglect, starvation and a slow
    death or a horrible trip to Mexico or Canada is better than trying to help set
    up a humane processing plant here in the states? If we can put men in space, I think we can
    make a safe, humane processing set-up for horses.

    4) Why do YOU think both the AVMA (American Veterinary
    Medical Association) and the AAEP (American Association of Equine
    Practitioners) support processing plants over the status quo of letting
    thousands of horses literally starve in back pastures out of sight?

    Just give me reasonable and responsible answers to these
    questions and I will be on board to fight new processing plants.

    • Vicki Tobin

      1) Tell us first what YOU are doing with the thousands of horse rejected by the kill plants that the kill buyers are abandoning. Funny how no one that supports slaughter can tell us
      where the rejected horses are. The business that you claim prevents abandonment is causing it. Also, where are you getting the 150,000 number? Did you deduct the number of stolen horses and the number abandoned by kill buyers? Did you deduct the number of horses that would go to new owners, without the kill buyers outbidding them? Nobody knows what the number will be – it will only go down. The rescues won’t have enormous vet bills resulting from the abuse in the slaughter pipeline and don’t forget, you aren’t going to have the number all at once. That is over the course of a year. If you take 100,000, that is only 174 horse per month, per state.

      2) This is the same ride the horses took when the plants were open. Were you complaining about it then? How about the hauls across country to the plants? That’s okay in your book? Have you pulled any FOIAs or done any research on what has occurred within our borders while transporting slaughter horses when the plants were open or now? Obviously not or you wouldn’t have asked this question.

      3) It has been proven tenfold that the availability of slaughter has no impact on neglect,
      abandonment or starvation. People abuse and neglect their animals with or without the availability of slaughter. Canada has slaughter and their rates have increased. The UK has slaughter and their rates increased. Have you done ANY research or do you just repeat the pro slaughter mantra? Your comments are pure propaganda. State stats have proven that neglect decreased after the plants closed. You might want to check out the studies on hay prices and the affect on horse welfare. That is the driver, not the availability of slaughter. There are also reports available with state stats.

      4) Seriously? How about because vets are inspectors. Are you aware that neither organization polled their members? You failed to mention that both organizations recommend humane euthanasia by a veterinarian to end a horse’s life. Read their websites. The AVMA said the bolt was acceptable based on a controlled study with horses being secondary and veterinarians administering the bolt. That does not happen in a slaughter plant. Hitting a horse 11 times with a bolt or shooting out both eyes, is not a humane death. A little bit of research goes a long way….

      I have a two questions for you. Why do you support a horrific end to a horse’s life instead of calling the vet and having the horse humanely euthanized? Not once did you suggest euthanasia but instead, offer a business to dispose of animals into the food chain. A business that should only be slaughtering animals that were raised for food. And yet, you want to send abandoned horses. If you can’t find the owners, how are you going to get the medical histories?

    • Janna Lukens


      1. Horse slaughter is self-perpetuating. By providing a secondary market, there will always be more horses to “dispose” of. This is not an animal welfare issue. To fix problems in the Horse Industry, we MUST keep horses out of the MEAT Industry. Horse slaughter is NOT the solution. It’s the problem.

      2 Last year 160,000 healthy horses were exported to be slaughtered in Canada and Mexico. These horses were NOT “unwanted”. They were, however, unlucky to have bad owners. Death was not “uncertain” – it was guaranteed – along with inhumane torture, terror, and pain. Horses would continue to be hauled 1000s of miles to slaughter in the U.S. and continue to be shipped to Canada and Mexico.

      3. It isn’t a matter of either or. The options are NOT either inhumane commercial slaughter OR starvation. Animal cruelty is against the law and perpetrators must be prosecuted. There is no possible way to humanely slaughter a horse in a commercial horseslaughter facility. Period.

      4. Because it all comes down to money. For one thing, horse slaughter promotes over-breeding and is encouraged by organizations such as the AQHA. Personally, I do not understand how any veterinarian could be in favor of animal cruelty.

      Horse slaughter and pro-slaughterphiles have driven me nuts because horse slaughter is unnecessary, inhumane, and wrong on every level. It’s bad for communities, the environment, public health, foreign relations, etc. Radical? No. Radical is waging an assault against our pets in order to profit from eating them. And yes, you have forgotten a lot about horses. You’ve forgotten to love them. You’ve forgotten
      that horse slaughter is not a part of the Horse Industry. Your propaganda is being
      sold to you by radicals in the Meat Industry.

  • LouieCocroft


    Racing Industry Silent About Slaughtered Thoroughbreds (excerpts)

    How did a five-year-old racehorse named Princess Madeline end up in a feedlot on
    July 13, priced for slaughter? Ask a horse trainer, and they’ll probably
    shrug. More than 10,000 U.S. Thoroughbreds a year ship to slaughterhouses in
    Canada and Mexico, slightly more than the 7,567 yearlings sold at auction in
    2010 to American, Japanese and Middle Eastern billionaires, among others.

    These doomed Thoroughbreds are racing’s collateral damage

    This is a disaster for horses, which could not be more different than cows. Horses
    are flight animals. It’s the reason they’re used for racing, fox hunting, polo,
    steeple chasing, Olympic dressage, jumping and barrel racing. It’s also what
    makes them useful for the military and police, as well as for plowing, logging
    and calf roping. We do not use Herefords and Holsteins for that.

    The livestock trucks were not designed to accommodate horses’ longer necks and legs
    and higher center of gravity. Put a horse in a cattle car, and it can’t stand
    upright. Imagine stallions packed in next to mares (in foal or with foals at
    their sides), the sick next to the healthy, all off balance, banging their
    heads, slipping and falling as they become more agitated, exhausted, dehydrated.
    Much of the resulting suffering—gouged-out eyes and gruesome head injuries,
    open fractures, broken legs and severed hooves, trampling and bleeding to
    death—has been documented by USDA photos obtained under the Freedom of
    Information Act. You can see some of them here.
    (Warning: images are extremely graphic).

    The kill boxes and stunning methods, too, ignore horses’ slimmer bodies and longer
    heads as well as their instinct to flight. Cows aren’t built for speed. Herd
    one into a kill box and they don’t have room to move. They’ll basically stand
    still. But kill boxes built for cows’ wider bodies leave horses room to thrash
    around, and, because they’re wearing shoes and the floors are slick with blood,
    there’s plenty of slipping and falling, making it very difficult for workers to
    get a clean shot. This is documented in nearly every hidden video
    on horse slaughter now accessible online—and there are many.

    Complicating matters, horse brains are located further back in their skulls, making them harder to knock unconscious even when a clean shot is delivered. Many regain consciousness within 30
    seconds. As a result, too many end up getting shot repeatedly in the head and many are still conscious when hoisted by one leg, bled out and butchered.

    • susanmeanslily

      US slaughter houses have animal welfare laws to follow. Live-feed video of all slaughter facilities should be mandatory.

      • Rita Reik

        Horse slaughter is greed-based period. The answer is to hold greedy breeders accountable for their excess horses by eliminating slaughter as an option. When this happens the breeders will have to pay the price of a bullet to shoot the horse and a backhoe operator to bury it. That cuts into the bottom line a bit but why should we taxpayers foot the bill so that they can continue overbreeding and make $250 on their unwanted horses? They try to ram this tainted meat, poisoned environment and horrendous animal cruelty down our throats and expect the taxpayers to be sheep-like in their acceptance of all the bullying propaganda. Greed is the problem. Period.

  • LouieCocroft


    So who really wants horse slaughter?

    The influence of the AQHA is far and wide, and very heavy handed. Sister organizations such as
    the APHA and Farm Bureaus in all fifty states fall in line, many never once
    questioning their membership. Yet the promotion is backed up with blatantly
    false propaganda. Broken down into three main points, the entire argument is
    (1) there are 150,000 “unwanted” horses every year,
    (2) the kind and most humane option is slaughter and
    (3) horses are private property and the government has no right to tell anyone what they can and can’t do.

    I’ve always been amazed that the number of “unwanted” horses usually exactly matches
    the number that are slaughtered each year. The propagandists tell us that all
    these horses will be left in fields to starve to death or dumped inside a state
    park, yet the proven fact is that 90% of slaughtered horses are “good to heavy”
    in weight. Ignored by the propagandists is another fact: that equine
    slaughterhouses are not here to help the poor horse. They want fat, young and
    tender horse flesh to sell. Slaughterhouses are owned by foreign meat companies
    and are for profit businesses that preys on the overbreeding programs promoted
    by the AQHA. The AQHA needs slaughter to cull the herds.

    • susanmeanslily

      Unwanted horses are horses not wanted for any other purpose than for their meat. The slaughter price is the base price of a horse. The last sale I attended, 900 pound fat horses brought about $250 going to slaughter. If a horses has any redeeming qualities that make them valuable enough for someone other than a slaughter buyer to want them, they brought more money. Thin horses brought much less and usually went to feedlots before slaughter. Thin yearlings didn’t bring so much as a $5 bid.

      • Vicki Tobin

        The prices of horses is based on bloodlines and/or potential for the horse. Nobody selling their horse uses the price he/she would get from the meat man to base the sale value of the horse. How absolutely ridiculous.

        • susanmeanslily

          How many low-end horse auctions have you been to? Obviously none because you don’t have a clue. Horses that don’t have any “potential” bring killer price. If they have “potential” they bring above killer price.

          • Guest

            Susan. perhaps you should
            reread my post because your post confirms what I said. I’ll try it this way, the
            price the kill buyers pay does not set the base price (floor) for the horse
            industry as slaughter supporters claim.

          • Vicki Tobin

            Susan, perhaps you should reread my post because you confirmed what I said. I’ll try it this way; the price the kill buyers pay does not set the base price (floor) for the horse industry as slaughter supporters claim.

  • LazyWRanch

    What I continue NOT to get, is how all of these articles can be written without anyone doing fact checking. DAN FLYNN, here are some facts
    1. There is no open FBI case in this matter at all.

    2. When court dockets are full, the overflow cases are moved to Judges that have an open schedule to ease the burden. During the holidays this is especially true. If you are a brand new Judge you inherit new and old cases in all areas of law to help with overflow because the new Judge has the least full agenda (actually you have no agenda, because you’re brand new). This is nothing new and not unusual procedure, so to elude to that is misleading.

    And now for my opinion – about the statement from the Vally Meat atty. How is it a waste of taxpayer money to file action against this man? It is more of a waste of taxpayer money to use our tax dollars to inspect horse meat for the food consumption of another country. We will be spending over $10 million of our taxpayer money to inspect meat for another country when we can’t even keep our chicken meat or spinach safe here! The USDA is over burdened and stretched too thin with the FSIS budget to even take care of OUR OWN FOOD SUPPLY let alone some other country’s food supply. Maybe Valley Meat and Mr Dunn should spend their money and time in fighting for his right to slaughter cattle again. Mr De los Santos was denied the right to slaughter cattle because of numerous citations and safety violations when he was doing business in the established indusrty of beef slaughter. Does anyone really buy the “Im going broke because of the USDA hindering my ability to do business” argument, when he is spending lots of money to start up a business that isn’t allowed because of regulations? He started this en devour when processing horse meat was not even approved ….. business 101 – make sure it is a business? And if you want to see a waste of time and resources, research Kaufmann TX and how much that government spent of taxpayer money to try and keep the foreign horse meat industry obeying environmental, disposal, cruelty and health laws ….. now that is one community horror story.

  • Cheryl Bay

    It is clear that you are clueless how the entire livestock industry works.

    Auctions always set the market value of any kind of livestock. There are ‘high-end’ auctions that cost several thousands of dollars to consign animals to all the way down to low-end auctions
    where ordinary people (not the evil people you think but individuals and
    families) take livestock that no longer fits their needs for whatever reason.

    People bringing horses to a small local auction may be short of cash, may have a horse
    that is not safe for the kids to ride, may have one that won’t stay sound,
    etc. There are probably as many reasons that people take horses to an auction as there are horses there. These people ‘own’ these horse, so it is their right to sell them. Horses live 30
    or more years. It is foolish and extremely uninformed to think that every horse purchased or raised to use (yes, many people USE them) is going to be kept for life.

    Horses are taken to an auction to bring the most money an owner can get from
    them. Hopefully, another person there is looking for a horse like they brought and buys the horse. I attend a nearby auction frequently with parents to help them find a suitable 4-H prospect for their child. Sometimes, they bring a horse to the auction that is not gentle enough for a child to ride (often at my recommendation) in hopes of getting and older, more suitable horse.

    Every horse enters the ring and the auction owner quickly evaluates the horse and the
    story and ‘sets’ the horse in. This is where the bidding starts. A good saddle
    horse may be set in at $1500.00 while a thin horse that is not trained to ride
    may be set in at $75.00 or even lower. ANYONE CAN BID ON AND BUY ANY HORSE!
    Thank goodness the slaughter buyers are there or many horses would not get a single bid and would be abandoned at the sale barn. The ‘set-in’ price on cheap horses will be the expected slaughter price.

    Some thin untrained horses will be picked up as ‘project horses’ by part-time
    trainers that buy prospects, train them and resell them. Many trainers get
    their start this way. Many people with good day jobs are decent trainers and buy and resell 3 or 4 horses a year as a hobby. An auction is simply a market place where buyers and sellers come together to buy and sell livestock.

    Unwanted horses are simply horses that no one wants or buys other than the slaughter
    buyer. Many naive backyard horse owners do not even realize that the horse they are selling is so undesirable that only the slaughter buyer will bid on it. If a seller does not like the price their horse just sold for, they can ‘no-sale’ it and take it home.

    Additionally, most slaughter buyers are also ‘horse dealers or traders’. They have someone try many of the horses they purchase and if they seem sound and ride at all, they will be ‘cleaned up’, ridden and trained for a while and sold for more money back at another
    auction. I have purchased many horses over the years that were only bid on by a killer buyer and myself. You people would call them [rescues]. My current saddle horse my grandkids ride
    was such a horse. He was a spoiled horse when I bought him and he turned into the best little kids horse in the world. If he had not worked out, he would have gone back to the sale and I would have tried another one until I found one I liked. I have probably ‘rescued’ more
    horses than all of you people put together.

    As for slaughter numbers and unwanted horse numbers matching? Duh! That’s how they arrive at the number of unwanted horses. If no one wants them or will buy them other than the slaughter buyers, they are ‘unwanted’ and are sent to slaughter. In actuality, the ‘real’ numbers of unwanted horses is probably double the number of horses slaughtered in Mexico and Canada. Thousands of horses are just stuck out in a back pasture out of sight to die. These numbers also include the thousands that end up in rescues or some other back yard where they are barely kept alive, get no hoof or Vet care and eventually die of ‘natural causes’.

    • susanmeanslily

      You and I occupy the same horse-world. It seems to me that many of the people who are against horse slaughter just have never lived in this reality and need to spend some time at auctions…and take as many horses home as they can! I’ve seen thin yearlings that couldn’t get a $5 bid. The sellers leave them at the sale barn and the auction house has to dispose of them. They either have to dig a trench and shoot them or put them in a feedlot to fatten up.

      • Janna Lukens

        SusanMeansSlaughter. Not only do you and I NOT occupy the same “horse-world”, we are not even of the same species. And, by the way, you are a member of the Meat Industry. Don’t be self-deluded. The Horse Industry is about the LIVE horse. Not the dead one. Owning horses is expensive and requires a commitment to be responsible. You have stated that you see horses as a “commodity”. Therefore, I suggest that rather than doom equines to a brutal fate of being tortured and butchered alive, that you find a different line of business with “commodities” that can’t feel fear and pain. Just my opinion.

        • susanmeanslily

          Janna, Owning any animal is expensive, but most people who own horses don’t just have them for a hobby or a back yard pet. They buy a horse to be useful to them; as a show horse, trail riding horse, ranch horse, etc. If they can only afford to have one horse, and that horse is no longer useful due to unsoundness or has a bad disposition, why would they want to continue to keep that horse when the reason they bought it in the first place was to provide a service to them, not to be in servitude to them. My horses aren’t like having a dog. They don’t sleep next to my bed at night. When I’m not using them, they are in a big pasture with other horses. You can make your horses into pets if you want. I don’t care if your horse sleeps in your bedroom at night. Why should you care about an animal that has nothing to do with you? As long as animal welfare laws are followed, animals are personal property that their owners can use in service or have as pets.

  • Rita Reik

    How safe should our food be? Do you care if the meat you are eating came from an animal harboring rabies? West Nile virus? Encephalitis? Cancer? You can never know with slaughtered horses, as there are no histories or medical records, and no plans to test 100% of the horses for these conditions.

  • LouieCocroft


    Observations of a Horse Slaughter Killer (part 1)

  • LouieCocroft

    VEW White Paper
    Horse Slaughter – Its Ethical Impact and Subsequent Response of the Veterinary Profession

    A White Paper

    Prepared by Veterinarians for Equine Welfare


    Veterinarians for Equine Welfare (VEW) is a group of veterinarians committed to equine
    welfare, and as such we support measures to end horse slaughter including
    passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 1176). We are
    concerned about misinformation being transmitted to Congress and the broader
    public regarding horse slaughter. VEW believes that certain veterinary
    professional associations that are actively promoting horse slaughter are
    undermining our profession’s integrity and the welfare of the horses we care
    for. In so doing these organizations, of which many of us are members,
    erroneously purport to speak for our entire profession. Veterinarians should
    put animal welfare at the top of their list of priorities, not relegate it to
    an also-ran concern.

    Horse slaughter has never been considered by veterinary professionals to be a form of
    euthanasia. Congress and the general public must hear from veterinarians that
    horse slaughter is not and should not be equated with humane euthanasia. Rather, the
    slaughtering of horses is a brutal and predatory business that promotes cruelty
    and neglect and which claimed the lives of more than 100,000 American horses in

    The promotion of genuine humane euthanasia for “unwanted” horses is absent from the repertoire of the pro-horse slaughter lobby

    Proponents of horse slaughter paint the industry as a humane service by which “unwanted” horses can be disposed of. It is hard to believe that most veterinarians faced with a client who has a horse that is old, sick or otherwise no longer wanted would suggest that the horse in
    question should be stuck on a truck and hauled thousands of miles to slaughter.
    Instead, the veterinarian would most likely suggest truly humane euthanasia via
    chemical injection, after which the carcass can be buried, incinerated, sent to
    landfill or rendered.[8]
    The absolute absence of the subject of actual humane euthanasia from the agenda of
    the pro-horse slaughter lobby on Capitol Hill, including the AVMA, is stunning
    and telling.

  • elizabeth dana

    If an Attorney can create the image that a convicted felon Ricardo De Los Santos is a “Victim” and that Tim Sappington – the employed manager can come out and make a movie of a SNUFF film of shooting a horse – then apparently Aubrey Dunn is not afraid of representing Animal Abusers and Animal Killers – Did he represent the woman who killed a horse and crawled around in its blood or was it the killers who “Crush Baby Ducks” and post the videos of Animal Torture on the internet? The Horses are the victims of a drug smuggling black market industry that pushes arms on the horse trailers and smuggles drugs past the K-9’s because of the horse blood and feces with urine on the trailers. Why would anyone defend this Horse to Slaughter and Heroin to Market BUSSINESS?

  • elizabeth dana

    Pandora’s Box is in New Mexico sitting on a Judge’s desk !!!!!

  • The court just granted the New Mexico AG’s request for a temporary restraining order.

    Guess that wasn’t much of a fail after all.

  • susanmeanslily

    For those of you who are against slaughter I would like to ask you this: If horse slaughter is stopped, what is going to happen to the 140,000-190,000 horses that would otherwise be going to slaughter. They are going to go…where? No one wants them but the slaughterhouses. Rescues are overflowing as it is. Even if breeding horses was brought to a complete halt, there are still going to be unwanted horses. I’ve seen the horses go through the auctions that are bought by slaughterhouses. Very few would ever be re-homed due to their being either unsound, untrained, ugly, bad dispositions, dangerous, etc. You are welcome to take in as many as you can, but I can’t do it. It’s all I can do to take care of my useful horses, let alone ones that aren’t and never will be useful.
    A rescue near where I live is struggling to get feed for the horses it took in. Most of them are hard-cases, so they take more money to care for them. Some to those horses are standing around miserable for years just so the rescuers can feel good about themselves. They don’t seem to see the dull, pain-filled eyes and how much effort it takes for a horse to walk or get up after laying down half the day. I don’t see those horses as being “saved”…I see them as being torchured. They would have been better off going to kill before they got to that point.
    If you have a realistic plan that will take in all of the horses that are right now and in the future going to slaughter, and to end the lives of the ones that aren’t ever going to be useful…I would really like to hear it. I would like to know who is going to fund it, where the horses will be housed and who decides when that horse has had enough of life and needs to go over the rainbow bridge. What is going to be done with their bodies? (If you use barbiturates to kill them, they aren’t useful for any purpose and are much more poisonous for scavengers or groundwater and can’t be rendered.)
    Dogs and cats are killed by the thousand every single day in this country because they aren’t wanted. Most of them wait in vain for that very slight chance that someone will take them out of their cages and adopt them. If this nation isn’t capable of fixing that problem, how are they going to fix the unwanted horse problem?

    • Vicki Tobin

      This has already been answered above. Wow, now the numbers have jumped to 190,000 in a matter of days.
      Dogs and cats are not slaughtered. Big difference. Dogs and cats have litters and especially cats, are running free outside producing more litters of cats. And let’s not forget the puppymills. Horses are bred and it is a rarity that a mare has more than one foal per season. I would say that is very controllable. When a breeder continues to breed 100 horses knowing he will only sell a handful, that breeder needs to be prepared to care for animals he chose to bring into the horse population or humanely euthanize and not expect the government to pay for disposal of his choices. They are the puppymills of the equine industry.

  • LouieCocroft


    Kudos to Arthur Hancock for his brave article of condemnation of race-day drugs
    for Thoroughbreds. It takes great courage to publicly probe the issues in our
    industry that are slowly eroding what was once a noble endeavor. Most folks in
    this business are afraid to make a public statement for fear of being ridiculed
    for criticism of anything that is wrong with the Thoroughbred industry.
    Unfortunately, race-day drugs are just one of many insidious issues in
    breeding, sales preparation, racing and retirement of our horses.
    Let’s look at
    the pervasive evidence that continually invades the news and some items just in
    the last two weeks. Take for example an article published recently in The New
    York Times, “Despite the evidence, trainers deny a doping problem.”

    This article was written in response to congressional testimony two weeks ago
    by horse-racing representatives that, “Thoroughbred racing’s drug problem
    was a myth.” The evidence alluded to is that Bob Baffert was investigated
    by the California Horse Racing Board for the sudden deaths of seven horses in
    his care between 2011 and 2013. The investigation revealed that Baffert was
    every horse in his barn the thyroid drug, thyroxine,
    in spite of the
    fact that none of the horses had a thyroid problem.
    Another example in the
    Times article, which is more common, involves Todd Pletcher and a horse named
    Coronado Heights, who broke down at Aqueduct and had to be euthanized. The
    horse had chronic joint disease and had been given 17 injections in the seven
    days before.

  • LouieCocroft


    People have been pumping horses full of substances to get
    them to run faster as long as they’ve been sitting on top of horses and racing
    them against other horses for money. The difference between a win and a place
    can be literally a nose, so it makes sense that trainers would use everything
    at their disposal to give their horses an edge. Many—including myself—would
    argue that these enhancements, along with shi**y breeding, have been the
    largest contributor to the decline of the thoroughbred horse and the 34-year
    Triple Crown drought. Just like “Mean people make little mean people,” as the
    saying goes, “Unsound horses breed little unsound horses.” Covering up lameness
    issues with drugs only contributes to that factor—but that’s not stopping
    anyone from juicing up horses….

    Here are a few of the more common methods for enhancing horse performance.

    New York Times on Dermorphin:
    Turning to Frogs for Illegal Aid in
    Horse Races – New York Times


    Cobra Venum:

    Cobra venom said to be in Biancone barn
    – Horse Racing – ESPN


    Jul 4, 2007 – One of the materials
    confiscated by Kentucky Horse Racing Authority investigators during the June 22
    search of three Keeneland barns …

    Racetrack vet testifies about cobra venom | xLocal | Kentucky.com


    Dec 4, 2008 – The veterinarian at the
    center of a notorious horse-racing medication case said on Wednesday that he
    never gave cobra venom to an active …

    Equine Chronicle » Milkshakes, Snake Venom, and Now Frog
    Juice …

    Aug 23, 2012 – Milkshakes, Snake Venom, and Now Frog Juice, What Will They
    Think of Next? – Just another Equine Chronicle weblog.


    Czech Revolution was owned by Craig Lager and trained by M. Heath Taylor, who in September 2012 was suspended five years and fined $10,000 by the Louisiana State Racing Commission for a dermorphin positive at Delta Downs last May 25. Dermorphin, also known as frog
    juice because it originally came from a secretion from South American tree
    frogs, is a powerful pain killer classified as a Class 1 drug by the
    Association of Racing Commissioners International. Class 1 drugs are considered
    performance enhancing substances and the most dangerous by the RCI and serve no
    therapeutic use in horses.

    ON HORSE RACING; Cocaine Case Proves Testers
    Are Gaining …
    http://www.nytimes.com › COLLECTIONS › COCAINE‎




    But milkshakes are just one of dozens of weapons the cheaters have to juice their horses. There
    are numerous drugs out there that can improve performance, and many of them are
    undetectable. That’s the root of the problem. The bad guys come up with new performance-enhancing drugs all the time and the good guys developing the tests can’t keep up with
    them. If a trainer or a veterinarian knows there is no test for the drug they
    are using, they know they can pump as much of the junk into a horse as they
    want and get away with it every time. Likely, that will always be the case.

  • LouieCocroft


    Slaughter not driven by unwanted horses – study

    A new study focusing on trends in horse slaughter has found that the number of
    horses killed in North America was determined by a demand for horse meat,
    primarily in Europe.

    Horse meat is an expensive delicacy in many European countries as well as parts of Asia.

    The findings contradict horse slaughter industry claims that horse slaughter controls the numbers of unwanted horses.
    Proponents of horse slaughter have insisted that if horse slaughter is banned, there will be large numbers of abandoned, unwanted horses.

    The study concluded, “Slaughter … is useless as a tool for controlling
    the unwanted horse population and instead simply creates a … market that
    competes with potential buyers of …horses and encourages a continuous supply.”

    “The trends are irrefutable,” said John Holland, senior analyst for AAHS (Americans
    Against Horse Slaughter). “We found that equine abuse levels are clearly
    linked to economic conditions but that slaughter trends were antithetical to
    them for most of the study period.

    “We now see that what drives horse slaughter is the market for horse meat in Europe and Asia.
    American horses are killed for their meat and not because they are unwanted or
    The demand for horsemeat creates a market where horse slaughter ‘kill
    buyers’ compete with other people who want to buy horses. This encourages
    owners to supply that market through over-breeding horses, for example.”