The biggest Matanza in the world is back on track, set for February 25 in Belen, NM.

Sponsored by the Valencia County Hispano Chamber of Commerce, the 12th Annual Matanza was originally scheduled for January 28, but the 2012 community pig roast was briefly canceled entirely over regulatory concerns.

Talks between USDA’s Alfred Almanza, administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the Hispano Chamber turned the cancelation into a mere one month delay.

Thousands of people attend the Belen Matanza, which raises money for college scholarships for Valencia County students, and pays for coats and uniforms for Belen and Los Lunas school students.

Except for the “Viva La Matanza” slogans on this year’s printed materials, much more probably won’t be said about the Hispano chamber’s day-after-Christmas decision to cancel the event.  

At that time, sponsors thought USDA would “red tag,” or shut down, the traditional event where pigs are slaughtered and roasted on-site. Led by Almanza, FSIS basically promised to leave the event itself alone.

“USDA had no intention of shutting down the Matanza,” Almanza said.  He blamed “miscommunication” for sponsors thinking only USDA-certified pork could be served at the event.

The event’s sponsors do have a food safety plan, which includes involvement by New Mexico state public health officials and training sessions in food handling.

  • John

    Great! 15,000 people against 40 scared pigs for an event known in English as “The Killing”….What’s great about it, according to a meet supplier, “the sacrifice was done by the slaughterer “stabbing” the pig in the neck with a large metal spike. This allows the blood to flow from the animal down into a large bowl known as a lebrillo.”
    Coming to Belen, NM on February 25, 2012.

  • Pat

    Before you comment learn to spell meat correctly. Humans are omnivores, as far as I know pork is legal to eat. Vestry specimen es optimus tamen is set ut Deus intended.

  • Suzanne Allen

    How awful and horrible! I can’t believe someone would enjoy watching this or even participating.

  • schavez

    My husband fly’s to New Mexico from Seattle almost every year to attend . We love it.