Roswell, New Mexico’s Valley Meat Company Cited by New Mexico Environmental Board’s Solid Waste Division for Years-Long Violations of State Law
Roswell, New Mexico, August 15 — When the first applicant for an American horse slaughterhouse operation surfaced earlier this year, Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) immediately investigated in order to determine the nature of the applicant’s business. FRER discovered that the applicant, Valley Meat Company, had a fifteen-foot high pile of dead cattle rotting on its property, creating a health hazard for the community and placing into serious question the operator’s ability to start up his new operation, slaughtering former American companion, work and competition horses for human consumption. Pictures of the pile taken by both state and federal officials showed a horrific sight.
FRER determined that Valley Meat had been in violation of New Mexico law for years, specifically because its owners had been maintaining this massive public health and safety hazard on their property, without any proper or responsible abatement. FRER presented extensive documentation to the state Environmental Board, urging the state to take a careful look at Valley Meat’s operation. In response the state Environmental Board, and its Solid Waste division, undertook a detailed evaluation which this week resulted in a finding that Valley Meat was in grave violation of the solid waste laws, and that it should be fined $86,400 for what amounts to one of the highest penalties for a solid waste violation issued in New Mexico.
FRER and its partners are committed to preventing the inhumane and unsafe production of horse meat to ever start again in America, and to stop the slaughter of American horses outside of the U.S.. FRER and The Humane Society of the United States had also filed legal petitions with two federal agencies, demonstrating the dangerous nature of horse slaughter to horses and the environment, along with the dangers of horse meat consumption by humans. The groups urged the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration, to engage in extended consideration of the problems inherent in horse slaughter by any business, including one with as many red flags as Valley Meat.
Apparently, the groups’ efforts have been a success.
In a recent article, Valley Meat’s lawyer stated that the company was “suspending any plans for the horse-slaughter plant,” because “it doesn’t look like anybody is going to get a grant of inspection for horse slaughter.” The $86,400 fine certainly helped make that decision as well. A clear victory has been won for the horses who would have been brutally killed if this plant opened.
The “dead pile” in Roswell is simply another in a long list of reasons why stopping horse slaughter is critical. “We are glad to have been a part of the team that stopped Valley Meat, which was eager to butcher American horses, and which was at the center of environmental and animal cruelty violations,” said Hilary Wood, president of FRER. “Every time the horse slaughter industry has attempted to set up shop, it has made clear that it has no concern for the public, for the law, or for the horses. FRER will continue, along with its partners, to challenge anyone who tries to start killing America’s for foreign (or domestic) food.”
- More than 100,000 American horses are sent to slaughter each year, mainly for consumption in Europe and Asia.
- The slaughter pipeline is horribly cruel, with many of the horses suffering immensely during transport and the misguided and often repeated attempts to render them unconscious. USDA has documented the abuse and misery horses suffered at slaughterhouses in the U.S.
- Virtually all the horses used for meat spend most of their lives as work, competition or sport horses, companion animals, or wild horses.
- During their lives, horses who end up at slaughter are given a constant regimen of drugs and other substances which are either illegal for food animals, or are potentially dangerous to people who eat them.
- Under the current rules and regulations, there is no safeguard in place that can protect against the consumption of unsafe toxins in horse meat.
- Consumers do not know of the inherent dangers because there is no control over the drug residues.