Man Shoots Horse Dead in Video to Defy Animal Activists

Company He Works for Likely to Become First US Horse Slaughterhouse Since 2007


sappingtonImpatient with a virtual US ban on slaughtering horses for meat, a worker for Valley Meat Company in Roswell, New Mexico, shot a horse in the head and posted it on You Tube to express his contempt for animal advocates.  In fact, he swore at humane society members as he pulled the trigger the other day.

(If you have the stomach for it, you can watch the unedited video here, but be prepared for barbaric graphic cruelty.)

The stunning act of defiant brutality is the entryway into a far bigger and ominous story about slaughtering horses.  According to a local television news station in New Mexico:

In the video, an employee at the Valley Meat Company out of Roswell, NM – which is working with the USDA to get a horse slaughter plant in the area – brings a horse out of its pen, swears at activists and then kills the horse with a single gunshot.

“To all you animal activists, f**k you,” Tim Sappington, a maintenance contractor with Valley Meat Company, said in the video.

He then shoots the horse point blank in the head. The horse falls to the ground and dies.

The owner of Valley Meat Company condones the execution of the horse, but told NBC News, he wouldn’t have posted it on the Internet.

“De Los Santos [the owner of Valley Meat Company] said the contract worker, Tim Sappington, shot the video on his own time and at his own home.

“He shot a horse. That’s what he eats. It’s not against the law to slaughter your own horse,” De Los Santos said. “Now, putting it on YouTube, I would not have done that.”

And this is where the story breaks wide open.  According to a February 28 New York Times article, De Los Santos and his Valley Meat Company have sued the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to open a fully operational horse slaughterhouse in Roswell.  If the USDA approves Valley Meat Company’s request – which has already invested in equipping the abattoir plant – it would become the first US horse slaughterhouse since 2007:

The United States Department of Agriculture is likely to approve a horse slaughtering plant in New Mexico in the next two months, which would allow equine meat suitable for human consumption to be produced in the United States for the first time since 2007.

The plant, in Roswell, N.M., is owned by Valley Meat Company, which sued the U.S.D.A. and its Food Safety and Inspection Service last fall over the lack of inspection services for horses going to slaughter. Horse meat cannot be processed for human consumption in the United States without inspection by the U.S.D.A., so horses destined for that purpose have been shipped to places like Mexico and Canada for slaughter.

Justin DeJong, a spokesman for the agriculture department, said that “several” companies had asked the agency to re-establish inspection of horses for slaughter. “These companies must still complete necessary technical requirements and the F.S.I.S. must complete its inspector training,” he wrote in an e-mail referring to the food inspection service, “but at that point, the department will legally have no choice but to go forward with the inspections.”

He said the Obama administration was urging Congress to reinstate an effective ban on the production of horse meat for human consumption that lapsed in 2011.

“We now have the very real prospect of a horse slaughtering plant operating in the U.S. for the first time in six years,” said Wayne Pacelle, chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States. The last plant that slaughtered horse meat for human consumption in the United States closed in 2007, after Congressional approval of an appropriations bill that included a rider forbidding the U.S.D.A. from financing the inspection of such meat. That rider was renewed in subsequent appropriations bills until 2011, when Congress quietly removed it from an omnibus spending act.

So an employee of the owner of what will apparently be the first horse slaughterhouse in the US since 2007 — in a perverse way — is celebrating the likely go-ahead with a horse snuff film.

Just two days ago, BuzzFlash at Truthout wrote about how the meat and poultry industry is successfully making it an act of terrorism to even photograph inside inhumane mega-factory animal farms.  The industry knows that the wrenching visual images turn many consumers against the industry and reduce sales and profits.

A website, reveals why such photos and videos would be devastating to horse slaughter houses:

Undercover footage [in the past] from inside horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. demonstrated how horrific these plants were.

Many horses were conscious when they were shackled and hoisted by a rear leg to have their throats cut. Employees whipped horses in the face. Mares were allowed to give birth on the kill floors.

The USDA …. released photos of horses with broken bones protruding from their bodies, eyeballs hanging by a thread of skin, and open wounds, all taken at former U.S. horse slaughter plants.

We should not allow our horses to be subjected to this tremendous cruelty inside — or outside — of our borders.

If you have the emotional strength, there are images around the web that reveal the degradation and savagery.

But Tom Sappington and his boss at Valley Meat Company, De Los Santos, are on their way to making history. Valley Meat is going to trailblazing the way to a new generation of horse slaughter houses.

If this news story isn’t an allegory of a deviant part of the American psyche on grotesque display, then it’s time to re-rent “Apocalypse Now.”


  • Marcia

    The point was raised that doing undercover work to reveal the brutality of not only horse slaughter but all slaughter is being criminalized by states who fear the public will be horrified by what they see. People who protest businesses involved in animal abuse have been termed “terrorists” by supporters of those busnesses. The man who shot the horse in order to intimidate activists should be accused of terrorism. He committed a violent and deadly act? If they can’t get him for cruelty to animals (and that alone seems wrong!), they should be able to go after him for intimidating people from exercising their right to speak out and protest.

    March 23, 2013
  • Lana Marie

    Good luck with the ‘gag order’ ….NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!!! People will continue to video/pictures etc. in getting the horrific treatment of animals BEFORE they even get to the kill floor!! And that is a very good thing!!! There are ruthless, arrogant, sociopaths that work in this industry & they certainly need to be exposed, fined & or jailed! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
    As for the over 900 pages/pictures from the USDA’s own investigation of the plants IN THE U.S. … it is beyond words what took place for years towards horses (HELL ON EARTH)! Slaughter is slaughter….this is NOT euthanasia for horses. Research it people, it is a predatory business, period!

    March 23, 2013
  • Margaret

    I have wondered about the past few days. Who is the terrorist? To my knowledge advocates have never caused a problem at round ups. I can’t speak of other activities cause they aren’t something I’m at all involved in. To me, after being assaulted a couple years ago by a pro slaughter advocate this man fits the criteria of a terrorist. He said ugly words and followed that up with the most extreme vile action one can take. Too ensure that we would see this he posted it online.

    I hope someone can find a crime he’s guilty of and send him away for a long time so the rest of us can live in peace.

    March 23, 2013
  • Sherillyn Flick

    It would not surprise me one bit if that event was set up and filmed as pro-slaughter propaganda.

    March 23, 2013
  • shannon

    My thought on this is to put yourself in the position of the animal , suffering pain scared and treated so poorly watching as other people are killed in front of you its animals holocaust its sick and very sad that humans do suck things all for a profit …that being said i know these sick sad excuses for humans will be judged by god someday and i dont thinhe will be to thrilled how we treat the other creatures on the planet

    March 23, 2013