Ex-N.M. chief vows to halt horse slaughterhouse ruling

2 Nov

Ex-N.M. chief vows to halt horse slaughterhouse ruling

Gary Strauss, USA TODAY 2:43 p.m. EDT November 2, 2013

Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson vowed Saturday to fight a federal ruling that will allow U.S. horse slaughterhouses to operate for the first time since 2007.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo tossed a lawsuit by the Humane Society and animal protection groups seeking to block horse slaughter, contending that federal officials had failed to assess the environmental impacts of slaughterhouses. Her ruling could allow Roswell, N.M.-based Valley Meat, Responsible Transportation of Sigourney, Iowa, and Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, Mo., to slaughter horses and ship meat to countries where it’s consumed by humans or used as animal feed.

Currently, most domestic horses destined for slaughter are shipped to Canadian and Mexico processing plants.

The hot-button issue has split animal rights activists, ranchers and Indian tribes for years. Richardson and actor Robert Redford have been the animal rights groups’ most visible supporters, saying the slaughter of an iconic animal is cruel and inhumane.

Earlier this year, Richardson and Redford — unavailable for comment Saturday — launched the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife, eventually gathering support from the Navajo Nation, which had previously rounded up thousands of feral horses it said were causing ecological and property damage.

“Our next course of action is to file an appeal, a full rush with Congress to see if we can pass a prohibition, and to concentrate on more state by state efforts to stop this,” Richardson told USA TODAY. “The odds are not that good about stopping this, but it’s not over.”

It’s estimated that 75,000 feral and wild horses roam the U.S., most in the West and Southwest.

In 2007, the last year U.S. slaughterhouses processed horsemeat, 30,000 horses were killed for human consumption, another 78,000 were shipped for processing in Mexico and Canada.

Valley Meat Co. President Rick De Los Santos could not be reached Saturday. But New Mexico Attorney General Gary King has said he may try to block the company’s horse slaughter efforts because drugs used to treat horses make their meat unfit for human consumption and cannot be processed or sold in the state, regardless of where its ultimately shipped or consumed.

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9 Responses to “Ex-N.M. chief vows to halt horse slaughterhouse ruling”

  1. Tami Hottes November 2, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    The Bureau of Land Mismanagement may have “estimated” that there are 75,000 horses on the range but since they don’t really count and of course the mustang that die naturally on the range are not counted unless found by the BLM (and you can’t findem if ya ain’t lookin” But in reality, the people who are concerned for our native wild horses that do count them say that there are roughly 17,000 left. Let’s face it folks, making money from fracking and other extraction interests mixed with the welfare ranchers is the only thing that counts.


  2. Kathleen Hayden November 2, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    Filing a petition with the ESA to repatriate wild free roaming horse and burro herds to their 1971 migratory ranges, by amending those fatally flawed resource management plan would be one way to halt the slaughter NOW. These are distinct population segments of special status species that are mandated by law for preservation and maintenance on OUR cultural landscape. These herds evolved with Spanish, Native American, Mexican and western settlement. There is nothing in the law that provides for the destruction of our historic living resources.


  3. Susan M. Setzke November 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    We support and commend your efforts to ban horse slaughter in this country. Thank you so much and we hope you are successful in stopping these plants from opening.


  4. Moiselle Bruns November 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    The captive bolt used in slaughter houses does not kill horses, it only stuns them. The act of butchering them kills them. Don’t our tax dollars pay for the govt inspectors…hello. We don’t eat them, we don’t need this in our country! Roswell NM should be know for “Mine that Bird” the Kentucky derby winner, not a horse slaughter plant. Go Richardson and Redford, we are behind you!



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