The owner of an illegal slaughter facility in Los Angeles County is behind bars after video footage showed him slitting the throats of two conscious animals before letting them bleed to death. 

The clip, released Friday by Mercy for Animals, shows 25-year-old Roberto Celedon picking up a goat by its two right legs, pinning it on its back and cutting its throat with a knife before leaving the twitching animal to die slowly. A sheep then suffers the same fate on camera. 

Celedon was arrested for violation of California’s animal cruelty laws. He is also being charged with violating the State’s Food and Agriculture Code, since his operation was unlicensed and failed to meet sanitation standards.

“Not only is this an important animal welfare issue, it’s also a food safety issue,” says Matthew Rice, Director of Operations at Mercy for Animals.   


Equally as disturbing as the footage of these animal deaths is the fact that meat from the business was sold for human consumption.

But since the facility kept no distribution records, officials are finding it difficult to determine where exactly the meat ended up.

“We do know that [Celedon] was at least selling it to individuals and marketing it as halal,” Rice told Food Safety News. Halal is an Islamic term for food that is sacred and therefore permissible to eat. 

“Unfortunately, not only was [Celedon] breaking California law, he was also breaking Halal law by any meat standards as well,” noted Rice in an interview.  

Both Halal and Kosher ritual slaughter methods are regulated by government standards and facilities are monitored for compliance with these laws. This business, however, did not have a license and was not operating under government regulation.  

This L.A.-area operation is not unique, says Rice. “The bigger issue is that based on numerous complaints that we’ve received we know that these types of illegal slaughter operations run rampant in California as well as across the country,” he says.

“We hope that this arrest will serve as a warning that animal abuse even by meat producers will not be tolerated.”

MFA is conducting investigations into several other facilities that may also be operating illegally, says Rice.

At a time when the movement to support local producers is gaining momentum, this crackdown highlights concerns that some local meat may not necessarily be “better.” 

Rice – a supporter of eating locally – says consumers and retailers should always make sure that the meat they buy comes from a licensed operation, and that “at the very least” animals are unconscious when they are killed. 

Note: The video mentioned in this article (link provided in second paragraph) contains graphic footage including violence and blood. 

  • Mallory

    This is exactly the reason why we need to put a stop to the “Ag-Gag” laws that are springing up!

  • JC

    Kosher and Halal slaughter have very strict religious and federal laws to abide by. Studies have been done showing that stress hormones in animals pre and during slaughter are lower than than animals that are stunned prior to slaughter. The knives used are sharpened daily and must be free of nicks and imperfections, and one clean deep swipe renders the animal unconcious very quickly. Temple Gradin, animal welfare advocate and PhD at Colorado State University did testing of blood before and during slaughter and found that it is actually not inhumane. However, if not done properly, it can be very inhumane…But so can “typical” slaughter using captive bolt or electrocution prior to slitting the throat.
    And no, I am not Muslim, Jewish, or Christian.

    • alkoholika2010

       It would be best to actually watch a video on the kosher or halal slaughter methods in actual action rather than repeating a bunch of talking points. Get back to me after a few videos and after you vomit a few times.

  • Honesti

    Grandin’s views only perpetuate the deceptive concept of ‘humane’. Healthy living beings deserve to live just as much as anyone else – and in an environment that is natural for them. No one gave humans the right to kill other living beings before their time. Humans gave themselves the self-imposed ‘right’ to kill defenseless beings for profit. Killing is for self-protection or desperate survival. Mass murder of healthy living beings before their time is not ‘humane’ in my view.

  • KK

    There is no humane meat. Would you call it humane if a human being was killed with “one clean deep swipe”? We should practice the golden rule. Anything you would not want done to yourself must not be done to others. I agree with Honesti that the concept of “humane” is deceptive, and “humane” labels perpetuate the violence. We should stop fooling ourselves with “humane” meat and admit that many of us contribute to the violence only to satisfy our taste buds (We have proven beyond doubt that we do not need to eat animal products to live a healthy life). I also agree with Mallory that we must stop the “Ag-Gag” laws. They only show that they are hiding something.