Of all the national attention New Mexico receives, becoming the only place in the United States where horses are slaughtered for human consumption is hardly something we need.

This state does not want to become known as the place where horses go to die.

Right now, Valley Meat Co. in Roswell is trying to obtain U.S. Department of Agriculture inspections so it can begin slaughtering horses to export the meat to Mexico. That’s been opposed by many animal rights activists. Adding to the controversy, a former employee of the slaughterhouse posted a video on YouTube in which he shoots a horse in the head. The man, identified as Tim Sappington, leads the horse, stops, strokes the horse’s nose and neck, and taunts “animal activists.” He takes a gun from his holster and shoots the horse he just patted in the forehead. The horse jerks into the air and then hits the ground. Sappington stares at the camera and then walks off, saying, “good.”

It is deeply unsettling. The company, which says Sappington was let go after the year-old video surfaced, stills offer a defense, though. Officials say that Sappington is exercising his right to euthanize a horse and eat the meat himself. He is being investigated for cruelty to animals, however, and the video has raised outrage all over the globe.

His actions, though, are just one part of the bigger picture. Valley Meat has been working since last year to become the first company in the U.S. since 2006 to slaughter horses for consumption. According to a recent Business Week article, the once-busy slaughterhouse has been hit hard by the drought. With no cows to slaughter, the company’s business slowed and plant owners decided to reconfigure its operations for horses.

Killing horses for meat is legal; it’s just that since 2006, Congress had stopped the USDA from funding federal inspections of horse slaughterhouses. Without inspectors, the killing can’t commence — but Congress reversed that ban in 2011 with little notice, giving companies an opening to start operations. What Valley and other potential horse slaughterhouses are hoping to capitalize on is a booming market for horsemeat. Last year, the U.S. exported 197,442 live horses to Mexico and Canada for food. Other countries eat horsemeat, and the U.S. has plenty of horses to butcher. Why not do it here and provide work for Americans? That’s their thinking. Valley Meat believes it could provide 100 jobs should the USDA allow it to open. That’s a lot for the Roswell area or for any small town in New Mexico.

Even so, there are too many questions about the drugs given to horses during their lifetime, likely making them unsafe to eat. Legislation recently introduced in Congress by Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina should become law. Their bill would ban the killing of horses for human consumption and outlaw the shipment of horses to Canada and Mexico.

Stopping the slaughter for consumption, though, is not enough. Animal activists and horse lovers also have to find ways for the horses we treasure to live out their lives in dignity. The would-be slaughterers have a point: It’s a quick, painless death. Horses dumped in the wilderness by owners who no longer want them suffer and starve to death. Slaughtering horses for food isn’t the answer, though. Congress should make sure that horse slaughterhouses aren’t re-established in the United States, especially not in New Mexico.

(32) comments

Tammie Weaver

Well, I am against horse slaughter in America. More then 80% in the United States is aginst it. I understand the farmers and ranchers problems in New Mexico, and I know the horse population is getting bigger, but we need to decide on something that will help the horses, not necessarily kill them. Slaugter Houses for horses have been banned in the United States for six years, does anybody really think that more the half of America's people want horse slaughter houses back after its been banned for six years? It was aweful to see and hear about then, and it's sad to hear about it again. I'm against horse slaughter in America just because of what was leaking out into public ears and eyes. When something like that goes out to public to see, do people really think we are going to change our minds about it in later years?

Tammie Weaver

And also besides that, even if horse slaughter houses did open back up, it just takes one to open many. That is not what the United States wants to heppen again. It doesn't really matter if horse slaughter houses have gotten "Better", the rest of the people will still be against it just because of everything that they do know and what they knew happened a couple years ago.

Debbie Tracy

I am against Horse Salughter WHY? Because it is inhumane, provides NO economic benefit to the country, does NOT reduce the cases of abuse & neglect and it esstintially provides NO benefit except for the monetary gain of the select few invovled in CORRUPT Horse Slaughter business!!!!

This is NOT a path we all want to take AGAIN.........

Are we really that stupid to go down the same road again to get the same results that are so so destructful to horses to enviroment, and yes all of us as human's....

Joe Savoldi

I kinda like horse meat....Broil it after marinating with worcestershire, add a little a A1 after cooking and then throw it out and eat a baloney sandwich.....


Actually, horse slaughter is anything but quick and painless. It's quite the opposite. Due to differences in anatomy, it's far more difficult to slaughter a horse than a cow. And they are smart, very smart. Types that would take a job in such a place -- hell on Earth -- are either illegals, have criminal records and can't get a job anywhere else because of it, or are seriously disturbed individuals who get off on torturing animals. Is that what Roswell really wants in their community? Of all places, you would think that New Mexico would honor what is our heritage and history.... the American horse. Is this the Land of Enchantment or home to a House of Horrors?

Jessica guttman

horse slaughter is a criminal business. from the funders like big ag and sue wallis to the criminals who work for little pay to bash a horse's brain. new mexico will not stand for this. martinez, now is the time to use executive ban order!

Nancy Henry


“I was a killer buyer ... It’s a dirty business ... I was a cattleman ... cattle being butchered never saw this type of abuse and hatred ... the smell never leaves you ... I may be an old man, but I am not a stupid old man -I know whats good for America and its horses, and slaughter houses are NOT it.” ~Donny

One of the biggest deceptions is the argument that "horses are processed identical to cattle" - cattle are restrained around their short necks. Horses can't be restrained in that identical fashion....at all !!

15/03/2013 at 9:50 pm I hope that this passes and horses are protected. The horse followers of the Duquette and Wallis and McNeil troupe are misguided and have never walked through a slaughterhouse. I have, its the most grossly malicious thing you could EVER witness, a neighbors stolen horse went into the plant and I was told to stay out-but adrenaline never slows you down, I was a killer buyer, I know the fear in the horses eyes, he was gentle, I didnt find out he was stolen from a neighbors house until I was told by a car who followed me two hundred miles, when I got inside the plant I saw him get beaten, prodded, his head bloodly terrified, the guy had already started bolting his head, I saw them detroy this animal, the stories they are all true. Another man killed a day old filly with a baseball bat to her head.

Do you really think that this is the way for the horses to die? I was a killer buyer I know what goes on, I quit that day after 10 years of doing it, I realized that this is not the line of work I could be proud of and I want Americans to know-anything goes just get the horses there, dead half dead, fully alive, just get them there, and no one worries about the condition, broken bones, whatever, because they just dont care.

The worst part is that the USDA and other organizations knew the laws and so did we, we know in or through the state of Illinois that it was against the law to transport a sick or injured or dying or diseased horse to slaughter, we knew that their laws state NO one can move these animals and that aged horses have to be euthanized and that all injured animals even in transport through Illinois and many other states have to be removed from the trailer, travel alone and have to be vetted, thats why when people photograph their trailers the killer buyers and myself carried guns, baseball bats, busted windshield out of their cars, broke camera’s or just beat the people up, because we knew one way or the other we were going to jail, and the more injured or diseased animals or even aged dying animals that we were caught with the more jail time and fines were going to add up.

Not to mention we were running with no logs and going from state to state picking up animals and couldnt chance that we would get stopped running too many hours or no proof of where our loads came from. So paranoid drivers became violent, some resorted to stealing horses to make more profit and some just hired people who did it for them, some of those people even would up with attempted murder charges when people caught them stealing their horses and would try to save the animals.

ITs a dirty business, we buy a horse at auction and then tell the people who really wanted it a higher price and then we laugh when they wont pay for it. Trust me its a sad life-I saw the conditions those animals were in I dont need a antislaughter group to tell me this is stupid. Cheval employees told me they were unlikely to have 5 or 6 horses a week that actually got stunned on the first blow they did hundreds a week and only 5 or 6 would let them do it humanely-so thats a really bad thing.

I was a cattleman before that-I saw cattle being butchered I never saw this type of abuse and hatred. I saw things but this appalled me so much I cant do it ever again. As for my neighbor I lost a friend, it doesnt matter I didnt know that was her horse, it will never be repaired, I cant go back and unload him for her-I destroyed her life, I know that. I have done things I wish I had never done, I have done things I wish I never knew. Those slaughter people they just get crazy over time and you hear them talk about how they would like to cut people up and do weird things-but until you have been in the plant you cant understand why they are getting so whacked out.

Trust me this is not a subject that pro slaughter people will understand until they expirience it. The smell-could never get it out of my nose, seeing all the rotting horses lying dead-the USDA said we cannot stand for this and wham the govenment closed it all down, thank God, now it has to happen again, Permanent. The smell never leaves you. The USDA has tons of information about the trade and none of it is good because it wasnt good. I may be an old man, but I am not a stupid old man-I know whats good for America and its horses and slaughter houses are NOT it.

Amie Selecman

Also, if anyone thinks this is a good job, any job is a good job. This is a very dangerous job working under very poor working conditions. This from the Government Accountability Office for ALL slaughter plants:


Pg 22

Other injuries that workers can experience include respiratory irritation and, in some instances, asphyxiation from exposure to pathogenic respiratory substances. For example, workers have died from being overcome by hydrogen sulfide gas and from drowning when they entered manure waste pits or unknowingly worked near manure waste “lagoons” without taking the proper precautions, such as conducting an air test and wearing a safety harness and respirator; such precautions are particularly critical when workers are in confined spaces.

According to OSHA, . . . Workers may also suffer injuries and illnesses from contact with animals. If the animals are still dying when they are hung on the line, they may struggle and thrash about wildly, resulting in injuries that range from broken arms to permanent disfigurement and—in the most severe cases—death.

Yes, New Mexico DOES NOT want these jobs in our state!!

Margaret Lewis

Quick and painless death? Who are you trying to kid! From the moment those horses are loaded onto those trucks their lives become hell. Drivers who often poke eyes out to make horses easier to manage. Others trampled and killed in the process. Broken legs are not uncommon. Mares giving birth on the trucks, in the pens or on the kill floor.

Horses whipped needlessly or hotshotted. Horses sense fear and they smell blood, so even though the door closes on the horse in front of them--they smell everything. Horses have a flight or fight response to all this stimulii.

That in part is what is so heinous about Tim's video. The first 45 secs are fine. Then you see leading the horse, scratching his forehead. The next thing you hear is Tim cussing animal advocates at which point he immediately draws his sidearm and shoots the horse. That horse was trusting of this man and betrayed in the most gruesome vile horrific way known to man.

This is the kind of mentality it takes to work in a slaughterhouse. Do we really want Tim's running around in our neighborhoods? He threatened one and all and backed those words up with the most final deed known to man.

I believe he killed that horse to threaten all animal lovers. He can say it was to kill and process that horse but it doesn't explain his verbal attack on us. It doesn't explain why that video was labeled as it was with NO WARNING OF ITS GRAPHICNESS. All he says is good. He didn't say a word about processing or eating the horse.


I noticed the petting also and feel the same way. Trust me..Trust me.. boom. The worst betrayal possible. Some of the phone numbers I posted are can also be used to complain about this video.

Amie Selecman

Excellent points - horses are abused from the moment the kill buyer gets them up until they finally die in the slaughter plant. There is not step of this process that is humane!

New Mexicans - do you really want to be known as a KILL STATE?!

Comment deleted.
Amie Selecman

Very well said RonnieG! [beam]


More calls to make. A call is worth a 1,000 emails!
Gov. Martinez 505-476-2200
New Mexico Livestock Board 575-623-3031
NM Atty. Gerneral 505-827-6000
Chavez County Manager Stanton Riggs 575-624-6602
Sheriff Admin 575-624-6500
Janetta Hicks Dist. Atty 575-622-4121
Fox News Survey 888-369-4762
FBI Alb. 505-889-1300 Public Corruption Hotline 889-1580


Call Tom Vilsack USDA Sec. 202-720-9113
Tell you don't want YOUR TAX DOLLARS used for the inspections. No permit, no plant.

Kathryn Ireland

Not much I can say here that hasn't already been said, but will address the abandonment issue, especially for New Mexico. In the recent past horses have been discovered roaming, neglected along the U.S. border to Mexico. Auction tags on their rear ends. Hmmmmm, where did they come from? They are NOT the abandoned and neglected horses they would like you to believe, on the contrary, they are the horses that were rejected at the Mexican border on their way to slaughter then dumped by the kill buyers on remote land to fend for themselves. New Mexico and Oklahoma will see more of this once the plants open.It's the healthy young, plump horses that could lead a productive life that go to slaughter, not the old ,skinny horses they would love you to believe. Horse slaughter never went away, it's always been an option, just a phone call away to the ever drooling kill buyer would send that companion animal to the slaughter chute. This isn't about a quick humane death, this is about lining the pockets of a few and devastating communities. But then again if you want to offer jobs to felons then this is the opportunity. Hide your husbands, hide your kids and your wives, and make sure you hide your horse in the pasture.

Amie Selecman

Excellent points Kathryn![smile]


Horse Slaughter is by no means a quick and painful death. From the moment a horse enters the slaughter pipeline it enters a life of terror. The only thing I can compare it to is the Nazi Death Trains of WW II . Horses are crammed into trailers, transported often for days in all kinds of weather without food or water. Horses, flight animals by nature struggle to escape. Injuries occur. Mares miscarry. Transport is one of hellish mayhem. And once at the slaughter house horses smell the blood of their own kind. What creature wouldn't be terrified. Pushed, prodded, beaten, with no recognition of these animals as sentient beings. And the actual slaughter itself is anything but painless and quick. Ask Dr. Friedlander. It takes several blows to the head to render the horse unconscious. Horses are still alive when the butchering process begins. Horse Slaughter must be Banned. Transport of horses for slaughter must be banned. Please support the SAFE Act, HR 1094 and S 541 by calling your Senators and Representatives in Washington. Go to HOUSE VERSION
Register your support for legislation to ban horse slaughter forever.

Amie Selecman

Thanks Paula - we are getting all points about horse slaughter said here!! GREAT JOB, girl!! [beam]

Amie Selecman

My mother's family, the Nash's lived next door to Dallas Crown in Kaufman, Texas for over 30 years. I KNOW the truth behind those plants of horror - for the horses, the people, the towns they invade. No one seems to want to print the truth about them. These plants ruin towns. They say they are helping the town by offering jobs. Jobs that no one wants due to the dangerous conditions, low pay, abusive leadership. Dallas Crown used the same line and the majority of their employees were ex-cons & illegal immigrants. The crime rate in Kaufman rose 100% and did not drop until Dallas Crown closed. They tell you that they will dispose of the blood (horses have 2 times the amount of blood as cattle), entrails, flesh, bones, properly. The containers sit in the hot sun for sometimes weeks. The smell of death pollutes the air. Prey animals invade the town so they can eat the over flowing containers. Buzzards, Vultures, more coyotes than you will ever see. Even you own pet could easily bring home a much prized horse leg - some with the shoes still intact.Valley Meat has already proofed that they could not properly dispose of cattle, were shut down, fined many times. Blood flowed from the faucets of Kaufman, horse tissue flowed up from the toilets because DC couldn't dispose of it property, so they power flushed it into the town's sewer system, water system. Property values dropped. No one would move to Kaufman - business' nor people and no one could move out of Kaufman, unless they chose to lose their home. These plants say it's the only humane way to dispose of unwanted horses. Trust me, majority of these horses are fat and healthy. They have been stolen by people who sell them to kill buyers to make a quick buck. Or unknowingly people sell their horses at auction thinking they will go to a good home, but instead the kill buyer gets them and off to slaughter they go. It is impossible to humanely kill a horse in a slaughter plant. The captive bolt system DOES NOT kill the horses - their brains sit too far back in their skull for the bold to kill them. Instead it stuns them for a few minutes - usually after they've been hit with it numerous times. After a few minutes the horses wake up as they are being hoisted into the air by their hind leg and then their throats slit while still alive - left to bleed out ALIVE! The workers abuse the horses while waiting to be stunned, in the trucks on the way to the plants and even after they have stunned them. They stab them, hit them over & over trying to kill them. This is NOT humane treatment of these horses. If you would like to learn more about what happens, my cousin, Mary Nash, started a web site www.kaufmanzoning.net to educate the world to the truth. Unfortunately, she died the year before Dallas Crown shut down. The site is still maintained and updated in her honor. We carry forward Mary Nash's fight against these houses of horror. Trust me, New Mexico DOE NOT want this for our state! We will lose our precious tourism which brings in the majority of the revenues that allow us all to live in this beautiful state - our Land of Enchantment. Don't let it become the Land of Horse Slaughter!! www.kaufmanzoning.net - I urge everyone to know the FACTS that the media does not want to tell you! Thank you, Amie Selecman, Santa Fe, NM


I would like to see your letter distributed FAR and WIDE. I tried to copy it but the site has it blocked. You can contact me at: yougoghgirl@aol.com Anyone else who wants to can also contact me. We have to stop this.

B. McGahee

Amie Selecman

B.McGahee - sent you an even better rendition of my experiences and with more information about OSHA laws, etc. Please share far and wide! It's about time the TRUTH about horse slaughter is revealed!! [beam]


I have posted phone numbers on this site for folks to call. We HAVE to make these phone calls. Everyone please distribute these numbers. God bless you Amie. And God bless Mary Nash.


A Gray: It is NOT quick, it is NOT painless. Why don't you scroll down and read what Ronnie G posted? Or what sharksarntgreedy posted?

Jo-Claire Corcoran

I am absolutely against horse slaughter, however, there are two forms of euthanasia which are humane, chemical sedation and using a gun. It is very quick and instant when a trained person uses the method.

Horse slaughter was never taken away as an option because they increased the shipping of horses to Mexico and Canada.

we don't raise our horses for food in this country, under food safety guidelines.

Amie Selecman


Amanda Gray

"The would-be slaughterers have a point: It’s a quick, painless death. Horses dumped in the wilderness by owners who no longer want them suffer and starve to death." Countries that have slaughter (Canada, Mexico, Europe and so on) still have cases of neglect and abuse. They still have starving horses. This is because of the economy and the people who own them NOT because of slaughter. And the US still has the option of sending their horse to slaughter. We still have kill buyers and kill auctions and feedlots. We haven't solved anything because we haven't taken away the option yet. Once the option is removed we can adjust and get to the point. Starving horses is ABUSE and should be punished by law, not given an out such as slaughter. The same with any animal.

Amie Selecman

AGray...I am so sick of the "would-be slaughters saying it's a quick, painless death" - it's anything but!! But they will say anything to make money killing these majestic animals in the most brutal way possible. As Jo-Claire said above, only two ways to humanely kill a horse - vet controlled euthanasia and someone with the experience to know how to put a bullet properly into their brain. I choose vet controlled euthanasia and I know that many vets are now offering low cost euthanasia for people with no options.

Lorrin Maughan

In addition to the heinous abuse the animals face, having a slaughterhouse in a community has proven correlations with increases in violent crime, especially domestic abuse and crimes like rape. If the New Mexico legislators are serious about the best interests of their constituents, they'd take these data into consideration. In addition, the US meatpacking industry has already been under scrutiny for years by Amnesty International, for their ongoing human rights abuses. And then there is the psychological toll it takes to repeatedly kill another being... feeding into the cycle of abuse and the spread of violent crime. Slaughterhouses are bad for the community, end of story, they are not the solution here - fix the system (take a look at all the 'surplus' animals bred by the racing industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the breeding for profit industry...); support the rescue efforts already struggling to help; stop the BLM from rounding up our wild horses and adding them to the carnage. So many options other than slaughter for food.

Cate Wines PhD

I'm sure increased crime rates in Roswell would be blamed on space aliens.

More seriously, Europe has enacted a moriatorium against horse meat from the US, beginning July 1st. Horses in this country get many different kinds of drugs, the metabolites of which remain in the meat forever. When they are being slaughtered, they become terror-stricken, which causes an explosion in production of stress hormones, like cortisol. Birth defects, spontaneous abortions (miscarriages), placenta previa and/or abruptio (placenta is delivered before the baby and/or rupture of the placenta away from the uterine wall), premature births and aplastic anemia rates rise in countries where people eat horsemeat. Bad idea to feed horsemeat to school children and the poor, as has been suggested by at least one member of the Oklahoma legislature, where the people are fighting this same battle.

Oklahomans will never be able to blame their horse slaughter-related problems on space aliens, though.


Please I just signed this at change org please sign under animals Petition to Overturn the Legalization of the Slaughter of horses for Human Consumption. And contact your US Congress and let them know we want co-sponsorship for the SAFE ACT. We have to do this for ourselves, our children, our state, and our animals.There was an article in a Oklahoma online newspaper stating that the state of TX and OK have had increased horse thefts-so we have to use caution because that's the next thing that happens horse thefts increase near slaughter houses. So we really need to ban this. We will figure out what to do about the horses they are sayin we are overloaded with this is America.


We respect that people need jobs. We do. We also see the downslide on issues that comes with this type of work. We respect that this guy wants to be a businessman but without any prior history in the horse slaughter business its just sets a place up for failure to begin with, given the issues from the cattle slaughter plant being shut down for inhumane treatment, carcass's laying in heap's-horses have twice as much blood and 40 %unusable body parts leftover. I also noticed the EU has BANNED US horsemeat and they are NOT alone. This meat is unsafe- and until that issue is addressed we cant be party to this. As well do you realize in other states the horse prices are climbing upwards. There are price increases all over and they are getting their higher prices because people don't want killers buying their animals. This guy just sealed the deal on this. I thought this state had a particular pride in itself and fancied itself as a great tourism state. I know lots of people who come into the state are amazed at what they find here. Does this mean they may never come back? I am a small business owner also-I employ people all summer and if the tourists don't return because of this a 100 jobs in one town wont make up for losing hundreds in others. We tried to listen to his side of the issue with patience a man trying to make something work and build a new business, but he has our state in a bind, we cannot afford to have this image and not be able to keep revenue coming in from the outside. This is very emotional, I am sorry that we have to say with all the facts and now this Sappington fellow our state cannot endorse such a heinous act-and we cannot afford to lose a lot of revenue from people who choose not to come to our state. We already fight for dollars each year, with gas prices and travel costs, we don't need to hand them a front page news reason not to be here. I for one am against killing horses-they are pet rated. I don't care what an individual does in his own time as long as its not torture, but this man represents what will be coming to our state to work and bring in horses to sell to kill. We cannot do this. So I pray our government says no in our Great State. I am sorry for this Mr. Santos but we have to position ourselves on the side of greater good for all the of the people. You will most surely find a more suitable business to have, and in that I wish you luck. As for Sappington-there are NO words, NONE-to a simple minded beast I say the horse was smarter than you-you just didn't realize it. You should hang your head in shame. I wouldn't wear a cowboy hat from now on-you no longer are worthy of it. To the Governor please dear step in now. We are support of you! To all reading this today please tell Congress and everyone who will listen stop slaughter in the US. This is bigger than one man in one town and as American's we need to stick together and stop this! I have heard many people from out of the area's input and not one person who is pro-slaughter has ever suggested anything but price per pound, they just get excited about people overseas eating this. That was the final nail in the coffin=we have to be the ones to stop these animals from needlessly dying and from people we don't even know getting drugs and dying themselves. Finally to Mr. Simpleton I just want to tell you, when the drug residue builds up in your system, no tears, no anger, no regret, you did it to yourself. That was your choice make sure when you are actually sick from this you keep it to yourself, we wont be able to be sympathetic.

Jo-Claire Corcoran

When there were three plants open in the US, they employed only around 268 people and most of those position were held by undocumented workers.

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