Horse meat isn’t for everybody—although Europe’s recent scandal has revealed that pretty much everyone in several countries over there actually has eaten it, albeit unwittingly.
But as a recent Bloomberg News story noted, there are a few horse meat lovers in this country who qualify as “true believers.”
One such person is 54-year-old Tim Sappington, the ex-livestock buyer for Roswell, N.M.-based Valley Meat, a former beef plant where management is trying to reconfigure its kill line for horses in a bid to become the first U.S. horse slaughterhouse since the last remaining horse plant in Illinois closed more than six years ago.
Killing horses (or racehorses) for meat has always been legal. In 2006, however, after intensive lobbying from animal rights activists, Congress barred USDA from funding federal inspections of horse slaughterhouses, effectively shutting down the country’s few remaining horse plants.
According to the Bloomberg story, Sappington allegedly keeps a locker full of meat from horses he personally slaughters and butchers into equine burgers and steaks. That alone would put him in the crosshairs of animal rights activists, who’ve made the ban on horse slaughter one of their primary—and to date—most successful campaigns.
But he had to take his apparent distaste for the animal rights community’s opposition straight over the top.
As of Friday, Sappington is under investigation for animal cruelty charges in connection with a video (www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/22/tim-sappington-new-mexico-horse-killing_n_2931994.html) he made in which he taunts animal activists with an f-bomb, just prior to shooting a horse in the head and killing it. Animal rights activists have already geared up to protest what they’re labeling as a “hate crime” and to use the incident as the centerpiece of an effort to halt the planned re-opening of Valley Meat as a horse slaughterhouse.
Sappington has been fired by Valley Meat, but the fallout from his act of wanton stupidity won’t stop there.
Hard-won progress: DOA
As soon as the video went viral, activists launched a national sob fest, openly weeping over the death of “a beautiful animal.”
“We were horrified by the video, and we are glad to hear that there’s an investigation going on,” Keith Dane, director of equine protection for the Humane Society of the United States, told Bloomberg News. “It appears this [video] was made for publicity’s sake and to taunt animal lovers.”