Horse-Slaughter Plant’s Lawyer Says Opening Three Weeks Away


Bloomberg /Alan Bjerga – Mar 15, 2013

IMG_2176The lawyer for a New Mexico meat plant that wants to be the first to slaughter horses in the U.S. since 2007 says the facility may be operational in three weeks.

“We’re getting ready to go,” A. Blair Dunn, attorney for Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, New Mexico, said today in a phone interview. The plant may eventually have about 100 employees processing as many as 100 horses a day for export, he said.

The company is one of several that have applied to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to slaughter horses, a practice that ended in 2007 after Congress defunded government inspections at the facilities. That measure lapsed in 2011.

The USDA, which would regulate the plant, didn’t immediately comment on the lawyer’s assertion. The agency this month said that once the company meets technical requirements and inspector training has taken place, “the department will legally have no choice but to go forward with inspections.”

Four lawmakers this week introduced legislation that would ban horse-killing for human consumption in the U.S. and prohibit transporting the animals outside the country for slaughter. The USDA this month said it encouraged Congress to reinstate the ban on funding inspections.

The legislation was sponsored by Senators Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, and Lindsay Graham, Republican of South Carolina, along with Representatives Patrick Meehan, Republican of Pennsylvania, and Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois.

European Co-Mingling

Supermarkets in Europe in recent weeks have pulled from their shelves products such as frozen burgers and lasagna after they were found to contain horse meat without proper labeling. Companies involved include Nestle SA (NESN) and Tesco PLC. (TSCO)

The prospect of revived horse slaughter in the U.S. has raised similar concern about co-mingling, even as producers say a potential equine-processing industry would be separate from the much larger beef, pork and poultry markets.

Valley Meat has been accused by the animal-welfare group Front Range Equine Rescue of allowing unsanitary conditions at the proposed horse-slaughter facility when it previously processed cattle. The organization said government documents it obtained include allegations of maggot-infested piles of decaying animals as high as 15 feet on the property. The plant, through Dunn, has denied the allegations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Bjerga in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • This just cannot happen. I thought the people of NM were fighting this. Slaughter plants will not be allowed to open up in the US!!!!

    March 16, 2013
  • If this Bill passes will it be in time to stop N.M. plant from opening????

    Does anyone know where we stand with this time line???


    March 16, 2013
  • I liked to know how the government could afford to pay for inspectors for a horse slaughter plant….when they are cutting back….this is so wrong….to kill our beautiful horses for greed….and then send it overseas…..this is not right….we have been trying to pass this bill for years…NOW IS THE TIME TO DO IT

    March 16, 2013
  • sharksamoungus!

    OK listen folks! Stay on point here. America is here to STOP slaughter, let’s not panic yet. Apply as much if not more pressure to get this bill rolling in. This is just one man-we its all four of the others that dave duquette and sue wallis are using to push in the door. So we need to stay focused-dont panic on the one yet! We need to stop everything but we have to stand united and unshakable they want us worried and worried people dont make good avocates for anyone. We need to stay true to our sense of duty to stop this. I am a horse owner, without each horse owners money the industry is not an industry-my money runs this industry not the organizations, associations, or this guy=we can start rushing bids at auctions, drive their bottom line up. WE can raise prices on horses in ads and be pro-active get people selling a horse even in a hurry to take applications and interview who buys the horses. We are right now waiting on changes in European which require more documentation making it more difficult for killer buyers. We need to make sure we have more legimate facts and information desimated to the general public because there are horse owners not aware of this situation even yet. So we need to have press releases even in small communities and in newspapers that reach the average horse owners. The AQHA forgot that its the horse owners that own actually own and control the value of their organization, we buy products and feeds that large farms only buy small quantities of, however, small horse people there are literally millions of=we control the money going into the horse industry. So we need to reach the minds of those people who dont read or look up just horse related materials online, so use any way to outlet this information through fashion to tv. Just get the facts to the public which will make people more determined to have this stopped. Most people I am talking to in my community dont even know=so we need to push forward, yeah this guy is getting closer, but we need to hang tough. One thing we need to consider as well that when Federal Bans go into effect he has to shut down immediately so we need to keep thinking about how to get feedback from the public before he opens and get them private horse owners speaking up if it does open. We need to bring in the voices of the many-they think we are weak and keep stating we dont know what we are doing-so slow and steady wins the race. Act like you know, work like you, and keep at it til it happens. Keep the game face on!FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT! WE NEED TO SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS WE WILL NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER! CAll the governor of New Mexico and let her know we are behind her to stop this! She needs the moral support cause remember the other side is trying to get people to convert with emotional compelling lies! And putting people down threatening lawsuits so its hard to push past it all to see what to choose. So just call her and let her know that we will collectively stand behind her! Petition on Change.Org Petition to Overturn the Legalization of the Slaughter of the Horses in the United States for Human Consumption. Dont forget the one for WildBurros in Texas. Just put your name in the hat and tell everyone that we have 53,540 people behind them already so they know they are NOT alone!

    March 16, 2013
    • Debbie Tracy

      You are so right in EVERYTHIN you just said!! I have two horses and was looking on the computer one day a while back for horses that have been abused to help in some way then I came across what BLM has been doing to the Wild Horses I had NO IDEA none!!!! That just got me going trying to help in anyway I could and can, now this slaughter business tha I had no idea about either which makes me feel so awful but that’s ok I am doing now!!! I have written to the gov. in New Mexico I have put things on my facebook for all my friends to see and sign e-mailed my elected officals even did it in other states I lived they asked for my add. just asked if is was ok if they just had my e-mail so that worked soooooo what I am trying to say there are so many folks out there like me that does not have a clue, cause nothing is on TV nothing so word of mouth with friends and who ever you can find!!! Bond together evil will not gain over truth and justice we can ALL DO THIS for us as well as our Majestic Horses!!!

      March 29, 2013
  • Judith Keene

    What id like to know is, how can the USDA inspect and legally pass horsemeat from American horses, knowing that there are so many drugs used in a horse as part of its routine care? Do they lie or just omit that they may be passing toxic meat to be eaten by humans? Or dont they care because its people from other countries? If they just pass this meat without testing it for drug residue, then they should be sued, pure and simple! And it makes one wonder, if they pass this meat for humans to eat, then just how safe is any of our meat here in this country? How many drugs are used in our meats that we have no idea about?

    March 16, 2013
    • sherriey

      sorry Jerry, i apologize.
      it just makes me so mad!!!!! so very very mad!

      i will watch my typing….but my mind will still run.

      March 17, 2013
  • Linda Jackson

    The switchboard operator at 1-855-686-6927 will transfer your call to your senators office. You can express your opinion and advise them that your vote will depend upon their actions on your behalf. It doesn’t always depend on $50,000 a plate dinners during an election…your vote still counts.

    March 18, 2013