Private slaughter houses exist across the country. You can tell by the truckloads of horses and other livestock coming into them and no animals seen around the place in the same numbers. Most local authorities do not have the time nor the money to investigate every operation, so they exist with no regulations. To describe them as offering a low cost service that benefits a community is wrong. The operation described in the article is filthy and trash ridden. These private slaughter houses are purveyors of disease and inhumane treatment of animals. Scrutiny of their services is NOT cultural bias or anti-poor. They must be shut down. ~ HfH
From: The Tampa Tribune
By: Elizabeth Behrman
CITRUS PARK — Jorge Ortega ran his slaughterhouse on a vacant lot off Cain Road in Citrus Park, behind a quiet cul-de-sac of $200,000 homes.
The activity did not go unnoticed. An animal-welfare group went undercover to see what he was doing. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office investigated, as did the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Eventually, he was arrested, charged with three violations of the Federal Meat Inspection Act. In May, he pleaded guilty to selling misbranded, uninspected meat and improperly slaughtering swine. He faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison on each charge.
Whether Ortega was running an inhumane, unhealthy livestock-slaughtering operation or simply providing a low-cost service to poor people is up for interpretation, as is the question of how widespread such operations are in Hillsborough County.
Richard Couto, who runs a Miami-based nonprofit called Animal Recovery Mission, said Ortega ran the slaughter farm, called Jorge’s Farm, for months after entering the industry by traveling between other illegal slaughter operations and killing livestock for farmers.
“He was the one guy that really had his hand on the pulse of the illegal slaughter industry in Hillsborough County,” Couto said.
Multiple Hillsborough residents approached Couto in 2011 and asked him to do something about horse slaughters in the Tampa area, he said.