Nonprofit Horse Rescue Group Leads the Fight Nationwide to Prevent Horse Slaughter and Protect the Public
SANTA FE, NM, February 5, 2016 – Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER), a national nonprofit working to end the abuse and neglect of horses through rescue and education, in collaboration with the Attorney General of New Mexico, has obtained a court order that permanently ends any possibility of horse slaughter for human consumption at Valley Meat slaughterhouse in Roswell, New Mexico.
The court’s order, issued by Judge Francis J. Mathew in Santa Fe yesterday, is the culmination of three years of legal efforts by FRER, local residents, and the state to prevent horse slaughter in New Mexico.
The order permanently banning Valley Meat and any associated company or individual from slaughtering horses originated in a 2013 lawsuit initiated by the Attorney General’s Office, joined by FRER and four residents of Roswell whose health, safety, and enjoyment were threatened by Valley Meat’s operations. This suit successfully obtained an injunction against Valley Meat’s horse slaughter operations.
FRER was the first group to discover that Valley Meat was applying to slaughter American horses, and FRER’s investigations exposed the company’s decades-long record of violating environmental and animal welfare requirements. Over the course of two decades, Valley Meat has accumulated more than 5000 violations of state laws protecting the environment, groundwater, rivers, and other waterways.
Among the most egregious of its misconduct, Valley Meat operated a cow slaughterhouse for nearly three years without any state approval to discharge water at all, thereby avoiding any oversight that might have helped monitor any damage being done. For years, Valley Meat illegally dumped and buried cow carcasses and pieces of dead animals, despite repeated requests from state regulators to cease and desist and clean up its mess.
“We have been working for years through the courts to stop the illegal, inhumane, and toxic practice of horse slaughter,” said Hilary Wood, President of FRER. “This is a critical precedent in that effort because prospective horse slaughter operations will not be accepted by this state, and, with the support of other like-minded people, we will fight to ensure that no other American state allows the slaughter of horses for human consumption.”
FRER and the Roswell citizens are represented by lawyers at Schiff Hardin LLP.
• More than 135,000 American horses are exported for slaughter each year.
• The USDA has documented the abuse and misery horses suffered at U.S. slaughterhouses.
• Virtually all horses used for meat spend most of their lives as work, competition, or sport horses, companion animals, or wild horses, and are not raised or regulated as food animals.
• During their lives, owned horses are subject to a constant regimen of drugs and other substances which are either illegal for food animals, or are potentially dangerous to the health of consumers.
For over a decade, FRER has worked to prevent the slaughter of American horses, and intends to continue its efforts until the practice is permanently outlawed.