Horse-welfare activists were suspicious when Valley Meat Company, a slaughterhouse in New Mexico, applied to start slaughtering companion, work and competition horses for human consumption. With good reason: inspectors found a fifteen-foot high pile of rotting carcasses on the property. New Mexico officials found the company was in violation of so many solid waste laws that they fined the company $86,400 -- one of the highest penalties ever handed out by the Solid Waste Bureau.
Valley Meat is not the only company to re-open this business. Their case just shows how important it is that we keep serious watch to prevent any inhumane or unsafe horse meat production in the United States.
Tell the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration that you want them to strongly consider the health, safety and animal cruelty problems inherent in horse slaughter by any business.
I was appalled when I heard about the conditions at Valley Meat Company in New Mexico. It's disgusting and unconscionable that a business would think it could get away with fifteen-foot high piles of cattle carcasses on its property. They rightfully owe one of the largest fines in history for violating solid waste laws. Clearly, they have a lot to do to improve the operations they currently have.
But this case raises serious concerns about the ability of any horse slaughter business to conduct their operations safely and humanely. The horse slaughter industry has a history of poor safety and health records, both for the animals and for the communities in which they operate.
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I urge your agency to conduct an extended, thorough and critical review of any applications to open horse slaughter operations and strongly consider the problems inherent in any horse slaughter business.
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