When the news broke that New Mexico could be weeks away from opening a horse slaughter plant, our hearts went out not only to the horses who would fall victim to gruesome deaths, but also to the citizens of New Mexico. If the plant opens, New Mexico’s reputation will be blackened by its association with the incredible cruelty inherent to this grisly industry—and its citizens will be burdened by the economic peril, decline in property values, chronic environmental hazards and awful stench that horse slaughter plants bring to communities.
There is a broad consensus in this nation that horses should not be slaughtered for human consumption—and New Mexico is no exception. A new statewide poll shows that 70% of New Mexico voters are opposed to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption and do not want a horse slaughter plant in their community. This strong opposition is represented across political parties, ethnicities and locations within the state.
Last week, the Internet exploded over a widely shared video of a New Mexico man, Tim Sappington, shooting a seemingly healthy, young horse between the eyes while cursing out “animal activists.” The video is horrifying, and Sappington is under investigation by the New Mexico Livestock Board for animal cruelty.
Sappington worked for the Valley Meat Company in Roswell, New Mexico—the same slaughterhouse that has an application pending with the USDA for permission to slaughter horses for human consumption.
While we mourn Sappington’s victim, this callous fan of horse meat may have actually helped our mission more than he harmed it by exposing horse slaughter for what it is: cold and cruel. The video generated a firestorm of public and media criticism about the ongoing efforts to reopen horse slaughter plants in the U.S., as well as interest in the related legislative efforts to prevent it.
We’ve known for years that horse slaughter is an exceptionally cruel practice—whether it happens in the U.S. or elsewhere. Due to their biology and their psychology, horses cannot be slaughtered in a commercial setting without tremendous suffering and fear.
We also know that horse meat is not even safe to eat! Horses are fed de-wormers and other toxic drugs that can cause terrible reactions—including death—in people who eat their tainted meat. Consumers in the E.U. are just discovering the dangers they have unwittingly been exposed to, and the scandal grows daily.
In spite of this mountain of damning evidence, the USDA is currently processing an application for a horse slaughter operation here in the United States. Roswell, New Mexico, may soon become ground zero for horse suffering.
The ASPCA has worked closely with federal legislators and other advocacy groups to develop the SAFE Act. This bill will stop the pain and the suffering of equines caught up in this grisly business. Please visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to take action nowto urge your U.S. senators and representative to cosponsor the SAFE Act.
In a shocking revelation, the U. S. Department of Agriculture just confirmed that it will process Valley Meat Co. LLC’s application for a grant of inspection to begin slaughtering horses for human consumption in Roswell, New Mexico. The confirmation comes just days after furniture giant Ikea removed its signature Swedish meatballs from markets across most of Europe after they were found to contain horse meat.
“Given the current firestorm of outrage over horsemeat entering the food supply in Europe, it is time for Congress to prevent even one more American horse from suffering this terrible fate and stop horse slaughter in the U.S. once and for all,” says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations.
Despite the fact that an overwhelming 80% of Americans oppose the slaughtering of horses for human consumption, Valley Meat will be the first facility to butcher horses for human consumption on U.S. soil since 2007 if its application is approved. Horses are not biologically suited for commercial slaughter and are difficult to stun before dismemberment. They will endure terrible trauma and cruelty if the plant opens for business.
“If the USDA moves forward with allowing the cruel and toxic horse slaughter industry to enter our country, this administration is leading our nation in precisely the wrong direction,” says Perry.
Please Take Action Today!
Please call the White House message line at (202) 456-1111 and urge the Obama administration to stop horse slaughter! Here’s all you need to say:
“Please use your power to prevent any horse slaughterhouses from opening in the U.S. and to prevent the slaughter of our horses in other countries. Horses are not raised for food. This industry is cruel to horses and endangers consumers, who are eating a toxic product.”
Horses are frequently the victims of cruelty and neglect, but their suffering sometimes fails to grab headlines. In honor of National Horse Protection Day, we’d like to share just one horse rescue we’ve had the opportunity to support.
Last month, 13 emaciated horses were found living on a rural farm in Vermilion County, Illinois. The horses were all skin and bones. Two were blind, and a third was found deceased on the property.
Luckily, the Society for Hooved Animal Rescues and Emergencies (S.H.A.R.E) stepped in and began the long process of rehabilitating the horses. As soon the ASPCA heard about S.H.A.R.E’s incredible work, we gave the organization a $6,500 grant to help pay for veterinary care and food for the rescued equines.
We’re so glad to assist S.H.A.R.E in its efforts to help horses! Find out how you can get involved and be a hero for horses by reading our top 10 ways to help equines.
Have you stood up for horses? Tell us about it in the comments!