NM horse slaughterhouse says it was hit by arson

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Seattle Times, JERI CLAUSING, Associated Press, July 30, 2013

UnknownArsonists set fire to the southeastern New Mexico company that planned to resume domestic horse slaughter next week, the company’s owner said Tuesday.

“They tried to burn the place down,” Valley Meat Co. owner Rick De Los Santo said Tuesday in reference to opponents who have been making threats against the company over the past year as it has fought the federal government for permission to convert its cattle operations into a horse slaughterhouse.

Chaves County officials told the Roswell Daily Record they are investigating what they characterized as a “very suspicious” blaze.

Sheriff Rob Coon did not immediately return phone calls Tuesday, but in the past, he has expressed concern about potential trouble at the Roswell plant.

Attempts by companies like Valley Meat Co. to resume domestic horse slaughter have ignited an emotional national debate that has resulted in a string of threats against De Los Santos, his family and his business.

“We have had some say, `I hope your building burns down,'” De Los Santos said. “That’s not good at all. What are they going to do next? Take a pot shot at us when we are walking in?”

On Saturday, De Los Santos said someone apparently jumped the fence, then poured accelerant over the compressors to his refrigeration unit. A passer-by alerted authorities.

“The fire inspector was out there,” De Los Santos said. “He took samples of the dirt and stuff just to make sure. But he said this was something that was not done by electricity or lightning. He said something was poured on it to light it.”

De Los Santos says the company will be unable to open as planned Monday without a working refrigeration unit.

The company also goes to federal court Friday to fight attempts by The Humane Society of the United States and other groups to block the opening of Valley Meat and another recently approved horse slaughterhouse in Iowa.

The groups contend that the Department of Agriculture failed to conduct the proper environmental reviews before issuing the companies permits to slaughter horses.

The USDA also opposes horse slaughter. But after being sued by Valley Meat Co. for failing to act on its application, the agency said it was obligated to issue the permits since Congress lifted a ban on domestic horse slaughter in 2011.

Meat from the slaughterhouses would be shipped to some countries for human consumption and for use as zoo and other animal food.

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
92 Comments
  • Robynne Catheron

    What a bummer.

    July 30, 2013
      • Robynne Catheron

        *chuckle* I wouldn’t want to work there either.

        July 30, 2013
      • DebbieG

        My thoughts exactly……”inside” job for insurance money.

        July 30, 2013
        • What better way …..and then blame us…..

          July 31, 2013
      • BlessUsAll

        Yeah, so do I, Jerry.

        Anyone notice the cognitive dissonance that comes through when the owner expresses concern that humans could be subject to a “pot shot” — yet he has zero concern for the suffering horses who take repeated hits as they die an agonizing, terrifying death?

        “Might makes right” and “lust for lucre” sure make one “blind as a bat.”

        July 30, 2013
        • Naor Nemmen

          That’s it… fully agree with you…

          July 31, 2013
        • Fatima

          Right On!

          August 1, 2013
      • Deb Schroer

        I would double down on that bet in a heartbeat

        July 30, 2013
      • sherriey

        i agree! i say it was the jerk that holds his ‘thing’….i think he did it to blame us and make him a martyr in the eyes of the pro-slaughter nuts. to stir up trouble and put all of “Us” in a bad lite. to get a little sympathy maybe from the dear ‘ole gov.
        i smell a stinking ‘rat’!

        July 30, 2013
      • Carol Juarez

        I just said that..thinking the same thing.

        July 30, 2013
      • mitzi

        Bet he’s right. Inside job.

        July 30, 2013
      • mitzi

        Bet your right. Inside job ! Insurance.

        July 30, 2013
      • mitzi

        I don’t care who did it! Good!

        July 30, 2013
    • bradley

      when injustice becomes law, resistance is duty!!

      July 30, 2013
        • veganNP

          why? and what side would that be? the side that chooses justice over insanity? too bad there was nobody there.

          July 30, 2013
        • sherriey

          not to be a jerk…but! Jerry….what would you expect us to say and how would you expect us to respond to this?
          we are human…not just words here. we all hate this whole mess and most of us are very very frustrated with this BS going on and on…no matter how we try, what we do…its never enough, it seems! i for one can’t always respond b/c of the pain in acknowledgement it cause me…i have a lot of sleepless nights b/c of these creeps and what they do. i love horses! they are my life!! i, today, had to take off from work to be here to have one of my old mares put down…and buried in our pasture. it frikkin hurts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! then to go here and read a little happy news for a change…even if it is about a crime. to me its not a crime to a slaughter plant…but a refreshing outcome to a bad place! we are human…we here all love these wonderful critters….i know violence isn’t good…but just let us blow off a little happy steam…we need to do that sometimes. please understand.
          huggs to you and all.

          July 30, 2013
        • mitzi

          It was not our side. Inside for Insurance!

          July 30, 2013
      • Judy Wendt

        Law enforcement has to know this place is a powder keg situation (pun intended). If something actually does happen, I pray it happens before any horses or misfortunate workers are actually there to be injured. Buildings are just property, but lives are sacred. As for the facility, in the words of the 1960s hippies, “burn baby burn.”

        July 30, 2013
    • Anne

      I hope you’re joking. Bummer??? It’s awesome. I wish they’d set the place ablaze… Horse slaughter is NOT WELCOME HERE. Nor is it necessary anywhere in the US

      July 30, 2013
    • carla page

      they did horses a favor by burning the plant to the ground!!!!!!!!!!!

      July 30, 2013
  • ColoradoCowgirl

    INSIDE JOB !

    July 30, 2013
  • Arie

    Zoo’s in the US are getting away from horse meat because of the drugs that are in it. Its not even safe for zoo animals.

    I can’t believe this guy is surprised by this. Too bad the place didn’t burn to the ground.

    July 30, 2013
  • karen Shepard

    yeah, I got another quarter that says it’s an inside job too.

    July 30, 2013
  • Looks too convenient to me.

    July 30, 2013
  • Myra

    Awwwwwe… too bad it didn’t burn to the ground!!

    July 30, 2013
    • Thee painted acres dressage

      Thank god

      July 31, 2013
  • marlok1

    YAYYYYYYY…ERRR I MEAN DARN SHAME..

    July 30, 2013
  • michelle peacock

    Too bad it didn’t burn down! Horse slaughter is wrong at every level! It is all about the few greeders making money off the suffering of horses brought about by a few irresponsible breeders that want to factory farm horses like cattle. Shame on America for allowing horse slaughter! The way this nation treats its animals is how it treats its citizens!! Make the connection!! Stop horse slaughter and the transport to slaughter!

    July 30, 2013
  • kumadee

    I feel terrible!Poor Rick! NOT!!
    I’m a big believer in karma…
    Boo Hoo!!

    July 30, 2013
    • shirley mix

      Oh too bad, not. Maybe it will burn to the ground next time.

      July 30, 2013
  • Jennifer Schoeder

    I hope they find it was an inside job. He already said he probably wouldn’t be opening up. Sounds like an insurance fraud case in the works…..

    July 30, 2013
      • Horse Warrior

        Yes I believe it was one last ditch to get it going. To say, see they tried to burn it down….But he claims he has top security, either he is liar about that or he set the fire to get money for a business that won’t open.

        He himself said it didn’t look like it was going to happen…Hmmmm

        July 30, 2013
      • Nancy Lee

        That’s my vote. Let’s start a pool.

        July 30, 2013
  • Stacy Martin

    Awww, what a shame. NOT!!!!!

    July 30, 2013
  • Robyn

    Yep agree.. I feel inside job BIG TIME…He is such a whiner.. Who believes a known felon anyway??..

    July 30, 2013
  • Sue

    Gotta collect that insurance $$

    July 30, 2013
  • cgrubb

    hmmmmm so they think “outside” influences started this. better maybe look “inside”

    July 30, 2013
  • Tami H

    Maybe this will be enough to send a known felon to prison once it is discovered that he did this for insurance money!

    July 30, 2013
  • As I was reading this article..I too had a sneaky suspision this was an inside job also – if someone on our side wanted to burn it down -IT WOULD BE DOWN TO THE GROUND!!! He is either looking for sympathy from the judge with his upcoming lawsuits or should I say lawsuits or for some reason something has happened that he cannot open up anyway and he is looking to get the insurance money….or both! He is a sleazy rat and I would not put anything past this guy!!!

    July 30, 2013
  • JanSchultz

    Well, the coincidence is just too amazing isn’t it? What is disturbing to me is this sort of grandstanding will get the attention of politicians – more than our 80% against slaughter. When will the Washington reps hear the upset and quell it with doing the right thing. People who want to ban slaughter know the only way to do it is legally and nonviolently. Those who want to kill and butcher horses are criminals already.

    July 30, 2013
  • A little too suspicious that a “passerby” just happened to see this and call authorities in time to ruin equipment delaying opening but not burn it down? Insurance will cover loss of operation and replace the equipment.

    If this was the case of activists the building would be in complete ashes.

    July 30, 2013
    • Terra Pennington

      The owner may have gotten caught… Could be a inside job when Tim Sappington Video didn’t do the job they wanted now they could have paid him or someone else to set fire to the place to help re-claim a little money before they where closed down. My question is why would the American people want to buy toxic horse meat that the government elect Sue Wallis is trying to market to the American people by her survey now that the EU is getting ready to ban American breed horses because of toxic drugs. Follow the money and everyone will see who wants and needs horse slaughter in the US. Talk to the European Union on their ban and we will know that the Pro-slaughter groups are willing to kill American people with toxic horse meat.

      July 31, 2013
  • Jeannie Parisi

    Good, wish the entire place had burnt down and arson, blame it on the owners

    July 30, 2013
  • Kenneth H

    guarantee you….inside job….insurance scam and someone HIRED to start this fire so it could be blamed on activists…

    July 30, 2013
  • Terra Pennington

    They are hoping to have a 1/2 dozen horse slaughter plants up and running before the EU closes the door to both Mexico and Canada. After all they had a test run a few months ago and Sue Wallis and all the pro-slaughter groups where crying like babies because their dumping grounds where gone. To bad it was just a test run. They know it is going to happen which is why Sue Wallis is doing a survey to see if there is a market for horse meat in the USA and pushing for slaughter houses all over the US. She is so welling to feed toxic horse meat to the American people to make a buck.

    July 30, 2013
  • Deborah

    Who’s got marshmallows?

    July 30, 2013
  • Judith Keene

    I believe its an inside job too! In order to gain the sympathy of the court and to make the animal rights people look like domestic terrorists!

    July 30, 2013
  • Debbie Tracy

    My thoughts exactly when I first read it, playing the poor me , OMG come on, when he talks about killing horses it is a flat monotone, no emotion what so ever and YET we are suppose to feel some kind of sympathy for him??? I mean I do not condone anyone doing this IF THEY DID, that’s a BIG IF,… I actually thought he had security camera’s plus of course the high locked fence, yeah it is FISHY to me…. I have NO Compassion for this man AT ALL,,,,,,

    July 30, 2013
  • Robin Bailey

    Add me to the list of believers that it was an inside job for the insurance money. You will never convince me one of our advocates would do something like this. We are taking them to court, not burning them out. I think he protests too much.

    July 30, 2013
  • Donna

    Follow the money. The plant wasn’t open. Very likely would never open. Who benefits?

    July 30, 2013
  • Deedie

    The Lord is trying to TELL you something, Mr. de low santos. LISTEN.

    July 30, 2013
  • GM

    I’ll have to just hit like. My true feelings are not PC in print.

    July 30, 2013
  • catherine ritlaw

    such a shame

    July 30, 2013
  • veganNP

    (COMMENT DELETED – We do not condone violence)

    July 30, 2013
  • Margaret

    While I too am absolutely against slaughter I too hope no one from our side had anything to do with this. Actions like this does more to discredit all of us than anything.

    We do not react with physical actions. This reduces us to nothing more than BLM and their contractors.

    We do not behave like this EVER.

    July 30, 2013
  • Karrie Baker

    Well since their water permit was denied they will have to haul their waste at their expense…hmmm did they do it themselves? To get insurance money? I’m glad they can’t open and sorry the whole place didn’t go up. But the sad thing is that they will probably blame the activists

    July 30, 2013
  • Bernie Campbell

    AMERICANS do not want horseslaughter. Open a legitimate business

    July 30, 2013
  • psychicvegan

    Wish people would get this riled up about all animals, not just horses.

    July 30, 2013
  • Let’s see, Dunn announces to the press that they probably won’t be able to open at all because of all the political and legal pressure and a couple of days later the place catches fire! Hum… Who could have done that?

    Animal Rights activists! Yeah, that’s the ticket! Animal rights activists! Now just get that claim in with the insurance company so de los Santos can pay Dunn for all that legal help!

    July 30, 2013
    • Summer

      My thoughts, exactly, and hopefully the thoughts of those with the task of investigating this incident. It’s too obvious! However, when it comes to horse slaughter, a lot of obvious things are ignored –

      July 30, 2013
  • Sue Wallis Lies

    Suey has plans to open her own slaughterhouse in Wyoming and she has a website, WyomingMeats.com offering up a nice little filly just like the “ranchers” would cut out of the herd and fatten up for slaughter. Cuz you know, that cheval is great, tasty, tender meat. Umm-mm good! She is such a joke I wish like hell she’d get voted out of office so we wouldn’t have to pay for her junkets to DC to promote slaughter.
    The arson sounds to fishy to me too. I think it’s an inside job myself.

    July 30, 2013
    • mitzi

      Sue Wallis will NOT open one in Wyoming, my home!

      July 30, 2013
    • Daniel Cordero

      I still remember when she tried to create “mobile slaughter plants” in Wyoming back in 2008 to deal with the excess of horses. Concept was a fleet of beat-up Winnebago RVs with a small electric hoist attached on the back and a set of ginshu knives. What a joke…

      July 31, 2013
  • sherriey

    ….hopefully it will burn to the ground…and soon!!!
    awww gee… too bad, tisk tisk!
    i hope his “thing” burned up too!

    July 30, 2013
      • sherriey

        ….sad…but true.
        a jerk and his ‘thing’…..wow!

        July 30, 2013
  • Gayle

    What is ” other animal food?” exactly? They probably set the fire themselves to bank the insurance money. Then blame the ” activists” !! Oh well, they dont have all their permits and inspections any way. Someone is telling them this is not suppose to be.

    July 30, 2013
  • Gayle

    ” Title is: Slaughter house SAYS it was hit by arson. Wonder what the REAL authorities say. Get a REAL job.

    July 30, 2013
  • Myra

    Insurance fraud means time spent in jail!! Bye Bye horse killer!!

    July 30, 2013
    • Robyn

      With his Attorney bills so high doubt he will
      be able to pay it back in his lifetime.
      The cost of remodel to his plant.

      All Wreaks of one thing Rick D for Dumb,
      “Insurance Fraud”.

      You’ve being writing checks you can’t cash…………

      The cost of his so called remodel on the plant, loss of potential income he was expecting and his attorney out of control spending it faster than he’ll be able to pay in his lifetime.

      This wreaks a set up……..

      July 30, 2013
  • TerryW

    Yeah right, same thing happened at Cavel in Illinois, remember when they couldn’t get a permit to expand and build a “state of the art” horse slaughterhouse – then on Easter the place mysteriously burned down. They got their insurance money, blamed it on “activists” – never proven, then built their “state of the art” slaughterhouse with the insurance money. Then got shut down through state legislation.

    Valley Meat set themselves on fire. They can’t even prove they’ve gotten the “threats” they claim they have. Just saying they’ve gotten threats doesn’t make it true. Lying is a standard protocol of pro-horse slaughter.

    July 30, 2013
  • Summer

    Inside job for sure. These criminals set fire to their own “business” to collect insurance money. The current controversy over horse slaughter is the perfect cover, as they can blame “animal rights terrorists” for doing it. Valley Meats know that they are on the losing side of this battle, so they have to use other means to get their money. One of their own employees filmed himself shooting a horse in the head to threaten advocates. If he could shoot an animal in the head and post it for millions of people to view, setting a fire to make it look like arson would be no problem for him. Remember, these folks are criminals that pay other criminals for the horses they steal from other people. Also, keep in mind that they have no problem feeding the meat of animals that have been contaminated with drugs CLEARLY labeled “not safe for human consumption” TO HUMANS. These folks are accustomed to getting their money unethically – insurance fraud is nothing compared to what they already do and get away with.

    July 30, 2013
  • sherriey

    thanks Jerry….i know you are right…and what you say is oh so sadly true.
    but sometimes we say what we shouldn’t but the heart is so involved here and things just come out like they have a mind of their own.
    sometimes we just have to say what the heart is screaming.
    i know how hard it is for you to hold us in check too….i just want you to know, that sometimes things are just so hard to keep back when all our hopes and hard work keeps going either backwards or nowhere at all.
    just know….we all try b/c we all hope someday that things will be better for our horses …

    and every nite i pray and hold mine and thank God for the privilege of being their caretaker for the short time HE allows me to be here with them on earth. and thank him too…that I am their owner and not some jerk, and when they get old and are in pain…that i will give them the peaceful end they so deserve and not sent to a slaughter house for their final moments in life.

    i live by this….”Its my job to give them a good life, and its my job to give them a good death”.

    thanks for your compassionate comment.
    she was a good mare…i will miss her.
    “Rest in peace, Zippy, i’ll always love you”.

    ….and thanks for leading and guiding us in the best direction….even if its with duck-tape over the mouth…..

    July 30, 2013
  • m christ

    perfect timing for what is happening on monday, against horse slaughter, not liking any of this, just want to find a way to get these poor animals to the safe and happy place.

    July 30, 2013
  • Connie Hall

    I believe he stated at one point he had security cameras set up, someone said he stated he had guard dogs, AND he had 24/7 private armed security guards. So if all that is true, he’s not only got in on camera, there should be someone face down on the concrete with a gun pointed at their head.

    July 30, 2013
  • mitzi

    Maybe it was civil disobedience ..Brave !!!! Deserve a medal..I think!
    Or insurance Fraud! I really don’t care who did it. I didn’t!
    Hoorah! It should not open on USA soil…!

    July 30, 2013
  • Bonnie

    Inside job!! He was probably worried that if he tried to pull out, the horse slaughter mafia would come to collect. So if he could blame the activists then it would get him off the hook.

    Maybe he had a hidden agenda in the article from last week…”De Los Santos, 53, said it hurt to be treated as a public enemy. The way he and his company have been vilified, a newcomer to the state might believe that he planned to burn down orphanages or open a meth lab.”

    http://elpasotimes.typepad.com/newmexico/2013/07/businessman-under-siege.html

    July 30, 2013
  • Did you ever hear the words fare, correct,justice, what the people want. NO! Because this World is so corrupt. He will have his kill plant, he will collect the insurance money. and nobody will shoot him in the head! because evil people live forever. and he will not go to jail. Like the song says The world is a vampire. smashing pumpkins.

    July 31, 2013
  • Arlene

    What a shame , i just cant seem to shed one tear !!!!!!!! for the freakin butcher !!!!!! ………………… Ill put my quarter in also …………………….INSIDE JOB !!!!!! Doesnt take a Philadelphia Lawyer to figure this one out …………..

    July 31, 2013
  • Arlene

    Rest in Peace Zippy !!!!!So sorry Sherriey !!!! May your loving memories of your beautiful Mare live on in your heart !!!!!

    July 31, 2013
    • sherriey

      thanks, Arlene….yesterday was a bad day….
      today is a bit better.
      huggs

      July 31, 2013
  • LNorman

    Again the words “emotional debate” are used instead of the health hazards of consumption of adulterated meat (sale of which is illegal in NM) and the known inhumane methods of slaughter on a flight animal. Santos is a convicted felon not a victim. His cattle slaughtering plant was shut down due to USDA violations and his employee, Tim Sappington, committed a hate crime and posted the video on youtube. Let’s get a grip on who the criminals are here. By the way, horsemeat is so toxic it was banned in food animals decades ago. Was Santos planning on ignoring that ban also? EU will not accept American horsemeat, and current AG bill that allows for “horse slaughter inspection” expires in September and that language will be removed from new bill; therefore Santos will not be able to legally slaughter horses, he has no market for adulterated meat and his scheme to slaughter horses is falling apart. What better way to recoup some dollars than insurance fraud? After all, it’s just one more felony for Santos.

    July 31, 2013
    • Arlene

      Dear LNORMAN, what an awesome Post !!!!!! Thank you !!!!!!!!! Loved the Lets get a grip on WHO the real Criminals are was Steller//////////////

      July 31, 2013
  • LNorman

    correction: Horsemeat was banned in animal food decades ago.

    July 31, 2013
  • horselover

    Glad to see that place burned, Horses are for riding and pleasure not for human consumption. Too many horses are killed illegally over the borders just so someone can eat it as a delicacy. Disgusting if you ask me. Our country was started by Indians on horseback and now it’s gone to shame because politicians don’t want to protect our horses against inhumane slaughterhouses. Makes me ill to my stomach hearing about some state wanting to open a kill plant for HORSES!!!!!

    August 1, 2013
  • Bobbi Needham

    Okay, YES, if this was arson, it was an illegal act. BUT, it was NOT an immoral act.
    These plants slaughter horses for human consumption that are regularly treated with chemicals (pain meds, etc.) that the FDA has stated are “not for use in horses intended for human consumption”
    So, the slaughterhouses are also committing an illegal act, but getting away with it in spite of FDA regulations..

    August 1, 2013
  • Tina Wooten

    HALLELUJIA!!! This was a blessing for poor helpless horses have no voice..How could anyone on this earth ever butcher a horse or eat a horse? They have ” BUTE”
    In them and that deadly chemical destroys the organs of the the body!!!!! This guy did it for the money because he knows America will shut him down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 1, 2013
  • I agree with Jerry. I pray that the investigation shows that this was not done by our side. But, in truth, a tiny little piece of my heart rejoices that Mr. De Los Santos/Valley Meat will not be slaughtering horses next week as planned.

    August 2, 2013