Horse-slaughter plant may open in April

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A New Mexico plant may be only a few weeks away from becoming the first meat plant to slaughter horses in six years.

Blair Dunn, attorney for Valley Meat Co. told Bloomberg the plant may be open and operational in three weeks. Valley Meat is one of five plants submitting applications for federal meat inspection services under the “equine” option.

Slaughter ended in 2007 when Congress ended funding for government inspections. Efforts are underway to bring back a ban on horse slaughter for human consumption and prohibit the transport of horses elsewhere for slaughter.

Bloomberg reports the U.S. slaughtered 94,037 horses in 2005 in the final full year before the ban.

Food Safety News says horse slaughter operations cannot take place until after a Conditional Grant of Inspection is issued and a worksheet is completed “before or during” a walk-through. Valley Meat filed for federal meat inspection services on Dec. 13, 2011.

The New Mexico plant located just outside Roswell could employ up to 100 and process meat from as many as 100 horses for export.

Read more about the horse slaughter debate.



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Mary    
Usa  |  March, 19, 2013 at 08:35 PM

If horse slaughter is legalized, I will stop buying beef out of fear of distributors dumping horse meat off as beef. There is no market for horse meat and all people associated with the cattle industry better think long and hard before supporting horse slaughter. My friends and I agree-- we will stop buying beef out of fear of accidentally eating horse, as is happening in europe. I own horses. BTW. Not some PETA person or freak. I'm a soccer mom who owns horses and lives in a semi-rural area,

Annette    
Dallas, TX  |  March, 20, 2013 at 12:54 AM

My fear is the unfounded round-up of our Nation's wild horses in order to profit. We saw such acts under Salazar, and it can easily get out of hand. I'm afraid our historic wild horse populations will seek to exist, and the "West" as we know it. Why do you think it will be located NM?

cattlemen    
west tx  |  March, 20, 2013 at 08:54 AM

Its time to have a horse plant. Horses are getting abonded and underfed left and right because people cant afford the hay! There's nothing wrong with horse meat, I ate it many times in europe and its time to quit being sentimental about eating horse meat! @Annette: historically there were no wild horses in America! I'm not for rounding up wild horses to go to slaughter, I only if needed for population control.

Craig A. Moore    
Billings, MT  |  March, 20, 2013 at 09:14 AM

At this time we are spending $75 Million per year to house excess horses that the public land cannot support. There is no reason to fear the wild herds will disappear, just the ones the land cannot supporty. And if all the horse people can't stand the thought of taking out the excess then THEY can pay for the upkeep and get the tax dollars out of the pot.

Mary    
March, 20, 2013 at 09:29 AM

What makes you think we don't? I just adopted an unwanted horse, as have many people I know and I generously support my state horse rescue group. Horses with no tracking get workers, bute, frog juice and lasix. None of those are legal in meat for human consumption. Horse slaughter is not humane. There is no market for it. Europe bans us horse meat as of July 31 of this year. Horse slaughter is not a sustainable industry. Go ahead, cattlemen. Support horse slaughter and bankrupt yourself at the same time. No one will eat beef out of fear. It is a legitimate concern given what has happened in Europe.

BH    
South Dakota  |  March, 20, 2013 at 09:30 AM

@ Mary Why the huge fear of eating horse? Not trying to be a jerk, just wondering why horses are this far superior breed of livestock. Do you think its better the way it is now, exporting our horses to Mexico and Canada to an uncontrolled floor? You know we do import beef from these countries! I believe animals are here to be tools (taken care of and not mistreated but used for our benefit) and the further we get away from that the worse off we will be.

Mary    
March, 20, 2013 at 09:30 AM

* wormers not workers.

Mary    
March, 20, 2013 at 09:35 AM

We cross posted, so I figure you have figured out that I am concerned that horses are never tracked. Kill buyers buy horses and no one has any idea of their history or what drugs they have been given and when. Horse meat in this context is toxic. I support humane euthanasia. Slaughter is not that.

Ray Chambliss    
Texas  |  March, 20, 2013 at 10:45 AM

It is true that Europe is banning all horse meat from horses that originated in the United States on July 31, 2013. There is a question about exactly who will eat this meat. Americans? No, 80% are against horse slaughter. Europeans? No, they ban all United States horse meat in July. Remember when the cattlemen sued Oprah? Supporting horse slaughter makes Oprah a little ding against the cattle industry. We have to separate ourselves from this issue if we want to stay in business. That is a plain fact. This is not a fight for us to take on. Legalizing horse slaughter will destroy the cattle demand.

Mary    
USA  |  March, 20, 2013 at 02:27 PM

Here is a concrete example for you: I went to lunch with a friend of mine today. She brought up that her 14 year old daughter is scared to eat beef now and wonders if she has unintentionally eaten horse meat because she knows about the scandal in Europe over horse meat found in Ikea meatballs and in Nestlé products and at Taco Bell. Her mother told her that they will cut down on beef at home and when the daughter goes with friends out to eat, to order fish or chicken only. This discussion seriously happened today. I'm not lying about this. Your cattle industry should be VOCAL and LOUD about distancing yourself from the horse slaughter industry. I hope you in the cattle industry understand what is at risk for you. Believe it.

sle    
wv  |  March, 20, 2013 at 04:24 PM

I read a few days ago there is a bill that has been or is going to be introduced banning the shipment of horses to mexico and canada for slaughter.this upset this owners lawyer in new mexico of course,with no market for horse meat in europe or very little here in the us it won't be long for this fool to go belly up

donnie    
Tulsa Oklahoma  |  March, 20, 2013 at 07:21 PM

Ok so let me understand the horses cost 75 million a year, why is the BLM summary of expenses on about 2 % of your figure, that really grossly overstating this amount. Go to the BLM management webpage and re-read the figures since you cannot estimate correctly maybe basic math class is in order. However, the land rent the cattle men pay to keep their cattle there is so low we should raise the rent and then the horses would be safer and have needs met, instead of welfare ranching. Additionally if you knew anything about horses you would know when they graze they do NOT kill the grazing area off by nipping to low to the ground, their herds spread out unlike cattle which stomp existing grass into the ground by their sheer weight and larger hooves that dig into the top soils. For the horse people you blow up at they were buying and selling horses before cattle became a real industry-so the cattle are on borrowed land, therefore the ball is in the cattle ranchers diamond meaning up the payments, or remove the destructive cattle.

donnie    
Tulsa, Oklahoma  |  March, 20, 2013 at 07:31 PM

The fear of the horses is unlike cattle they are not raised in large groups with routine care and inspection for use for food consumption. Meaning that a group of horses in one location may include a show horse, a race horse, a barrel racers horse, a roping horse, a trail horse, and a jumper. Well each type of horse needs different enhancers that illegal for human consumption and banned from dogs because they are fatal to all breeds. So with this in mind these horses that work recieve different levels of medications, supplements, vaccines, products for racing, speed events, and such that can be so dangerous to humans they are permanently banned from the food chain. Bute is one example in a dose it can kill humans one dose. So many horses recieve it daily. A killer buyer disguises himself as a happy home for horses and buys the animals takes them from auctions or private purchases and then writes a piece of paper out that simply says-I know this horse contains no drugs. Racehorses are BANNED from all food consumption and even from animals consuming them. So they are illegally going into the food chain. We are not testing these horses prior to slaughter and then once they are shipped they are not like cattle you ship basically a herd that can be traced to farms or sellers and its usually if one cow is infected all is infected. Well in horses they dont come from one place rather from all unknown sources and many different sellers, as they usually bring in 20 at a time making it more difficult to maintain safety. So do you want to risk your childs life for a piece of meat that may or may not be safe? Petition on Change org under animals Petition to Overturn the Legalization of the Slaughter of Horses for Human Consumption

Mary    
March, 20, 2013 at 07:40 PM

What makes you think we don't? I just adopted an unwanted horse, as have many people I know and I generously support my state horse rescue group. Horses with no tracking get workers, bute, frog juice and lasix. None of those are legal in meat for human consumption. Horse slaughter is not humane. There is no market for it. Europe bans us horse meat as of July 31 of this year. Horse slaughter is not a sustainable industry. Go ahead, cattlemen. Support horse slaughter and bankrupt yourself at the same time. No one will eat beef out of fear. It is a legitimate concern given what has happened in Europe.

Mary    
March, 20, 2013 at 08:30 PM

What makes you think we don't? I just adopted an unwanted horse, as have many people I know and I generously support my state horse rescue group. Horses with no tracking get workers, bute, frog juice and lasix. None of those are legal in meat for human consumption. Horse slaughter is not humane. There is no market for it. Europe bans us horse meat as of July 31 of this year. Horse slaughter is not a sustainable industry. Go ahead, cattlemen. Support horse slaughter and bankrupt yourself at the same time. No one will eat beef out of fear. It is a legitimate concern given what has happened in Europe.

Mary    
March, 21, 2013 at 08:53 AM

What makes you think we don't? I just adopted an unwanted horse, as have many people I know and I generously support my state horse rescue group. Horses with no tracking get workers, bute, frog juice and lasix. None of those are legal in meat for human consumption. Horse slaughter is not humane. There is no market for it. Europe bans us horse meat as of July 31 of this year. Horse slaughter is not a sustainable industry. Go ahead, cattlemen. Support horse slaughter and bankrupt yourself at the same time. No one will eat beef out of fear. It is a legitimate concern given what has happened in Europe.

Suzanne Moore    
Indiana, USA  |  March, 22, 2013 at 07:44 PM

Do you know who has abandoned more than 5,000 horses - at last count - in the desert southwest? The kill buyers. When horses are rejected by the Mexican plants, the killers just abandon the horses to live or die. This has been confirmed by investigation and the killers don't even deny it. We have had unfettered access to horse slaughter for over 30 YEARS - the shut-down of our domestic plants didn't even cause a blip in the radar. We have always sent thousands of horses to slaughter in Mexico and Canada and those buyers were happy to take up any slack when our THREE domestic plants closed. Horse owners are responsible for their horses in life AND death. There are many resources available - and more all the time. Slaughter isn't necessary at all. There is nothing wrong with horse meat per se, BUT in the US horses are not considered to be food animals. The FDA considers horses to be companion animals and so permits the manufacturers of horse products - both medications and many over-the-counter products - to contain ingredients that are expressly banned from the human food chain. Bute - surely you know about bute! - is only one of many, and all are clearly marked on the label NOT FOR USE IN HORSES INTENDED FOR FOOD PURPOSES. As a food producer, you must certainly understand about banned substances and that one dose requires an animal to be permanently banned from the human food chain. No withdrawal periods either. And even for those product that do have withdrawal periods, we have no way to track what a given horse has been given or when it was given. I would think this would be a subject that the cattle industry would be well aware of. i

Suzanne Moore    
Indiana, USA  |  March, 22, 2013 at 08:01 PM

Craig - You are spouting BLM LIES. Go check out the GAO reports if you don't believe me. The horses were doing just fine until the BLM started stealing the land that was set aside for the horses in the 1971 Wild free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act. There are thousands upon thousands of acres now standing EMPTY, the horses having been removed for NO reason - at least no obvious reason. In other instances, the BLM says the horses are starving, but the horses they round up and remove are all fat and healthy as anyone can see. Sometimes, even before they finish rounding up horses that the range "can't support" they are already bringing in more cattle than the number of horses they just removed. If the range can't support horses, it certainly can't support cattle. Horses are a native North American species. The entire Equus genus arose here. Fortunately many had crossed the land bridge where the Bering Strait is now before the genus became extinct - or nearly so - possibly because of human predation. Since horses were still here much later that was formerly thought, and humans came much earlier, it's quite possible they did overlap. The last equid species here was Equus caballus. The horses reintroduced by the Spaniards were also E. caballus - the very same species. Recent mt DNA analysis by several researchers prove the modern horse is indeed descended from the native North American horses. This makes them a reintroduced native species, and no amount of denial will change that. The horses would cost almost nothing to manage on the range. All the money they are costing is because of the BLM's illegal roundups. The Public Lands Grazing Program costs MUCH, MUCH more than the Horse & Burro Program, and cattle are NOT native.

Mathena    
IL  |  March, 22, 2013 at 10:56 PM

My fear is there are more people like you two. Never mind... Mary, what would be wrong with eating horse, and at $1-$2 a pound cheaper than beef I think there will be a big market, like there already is in other countries. Annette, you do know horse aren't native to the Western Hemisphere, and those wild horse were released?

    
March, 23, 2013 at 02:40 AM

Donnie You really need to study up on the Taylor Grazing Act, as your comments are full of ignorance and mistatements. Ranchers have a titled right to improvements they make on federal lands, so the grazing fees are in place of taxes.. There is no welfare ranching. The ranchers are conserving and caring for the lands they use, unlike the gross mismanagement by govt agencies. Please do some real study before you just blast enviromental talking points... ?Horsemeat has been eaten for centuries...it supplied much needed protein to our own armed services in WW1. Recently, it was the main substitute in Britain for the mad cow scare in the late 90's... No reason to "fear" any getting into the US food supply.. I rather fear your and others complete ignorance on the issue..

maxine    
SD  |  March, 23, 2013 at 05:48 PM

THis is a forum for learning more about agriculture, cattle and other food animals in particular. Some of you who blindly oppose use of animals as food need to learn a little more on several subjects. Do you understand that there are tests which can detect substances in particles as small as parts per billion? Do you realize that there are NO residues allowed in beef? Why would you think that medications cannot be detected in horse meat? One reason for the tight testing for residues is that there is NO trust involved. Proof of no residues is up to the testing, not personal statements by owners of the animals. What type of horse has a smaller hoof than a cow, unless it is a very young one compared with an old cow? The cloven hoof of the cow actually tills the seeds of plants, and small amounts of fertilizer (manure) into the soil. Properly managed with modern grazing techniques, cattle grazing on native range lands is very sustainable. Why are we so arrogant as to say what people should be allowed to eat? When there are people still eating puppies and kittens, why are we telling other people they cannot eat horse meat????

Tommy    
illinois  |  March, 23, 2013 at 11:58 PM

Horse slaughter is merely a reward for criminals and irresponsible breeders. The Stongest supporter of horse slaughter in America is FARM BUREAU.. Its time for a BOYCOTT of any Insurance sold by FARM BUREAU any less monies to them is less monies for them to kill our American Icons... DONT BE FOOLED by Del Santos hiring 100 employees when both Texas plants were open they together never had that many working and most were illegals.. Maybe thats want Santos wants to support more of his own kind..

Tom    
va  |  March, 27, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Horse killer tries to poison other humans Here is the first warning to a horse killer from the FDA for falsified EID and the horse was positive for bute. http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetters/2012/ucm313462.htm Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - prohibited as well Phenylbutazone, known as "bute," is a veterinary drug only label-approved by the Food & Drug Administration for use by veterinarians in dogs and horses. It has been associated with debilitating conditions in humans and it is absolutely not permitted for use in food-producing animals. USDA/FSIS has conducted a special project to for this drug in selected bovine slaughter plants under federal inspection. An earlier pilot project by FSIS found traces less than 3% of the livestock selected for testing, sufficient cause for this special project. There is no tolerance for this drug in food-producing livestock, and they and their by-products are condemned when it is detected. Dairy producers must not use this drug in food-producing livestock and if it is found, those producers will be subject to FDA investigation and possible prosecution.

Eddie    
mississippi  |  August, 09, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Thank you, my friend.

Steve Saunders    
St.Louis  |  December, 19, 2013 at 07:15 AM

You people that fear the slaughter of horses. I've been in the horse business for 20 years. If the fear of eating horse meat scares you that is your right don't eat it! But give me a break if I can help feed people that cant afford beef that we raise the same way as our horses. I have experimented eating horse meat and its no different than beef. I love riding and showing horses with my family its been part of our live forever. But lets take step back and put some people back to work in theses slaughter plants and get the horses that cant be used out of cycle and get the horse market back to were it was 10 years ago.


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