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New Mexico is Ready for Humane Horsemanship
Horse Slaughter Anywhere is Cruel and Unnecessary
New Mexico has recently been thrust into the limelight in the national debate surrounding the grisly business of horse slaughter. Since last fall, it once again became possible to legally slaughter horses in the United States, since federal funding was restored for the inspection of slaughter plants.

It’s a fallacy to think we have to choose “U.S. horse slaughter” to avoid slaughter in Mexico. Both are inherently cruel. Instead, Americans can choose to create robust programs aimed at reducing horse suffering. Often that means choosing humane euthanasia.

As we reported to you in our April 13th eAlert, an application for such a grotesque enterprise has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture by the operators of a cattle slaughter plant in Roswell. It was recently reported in the Albuquerque Journal that the Valley Meat Company, which now wants to slaughter horses in our state, has routinely violated New Mexico’s laws for properly disposing of animal carcasses. The company has ignored state regulations and regulators for years: A federal regulator noted up to 15-foot piles of rotting animal parts on their property.

New Mexicans are fortunate that immediately upon hearing of the proposed horse slaughterhouse back in April, many of our leaders lined up in fierce and justified opposition to the idea. Governor Martinez, Attorney General Gary King, Lands Commissioner Ray Powell, Jr. and State Senator Mary Jane Garcia are among the state’s considerable voices who agree that horse slaughter has no place in New Mexico or any other place in America. Governor Martinez took the extra step of writing to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, urging him not to approve the slaughterhouse application. And Senator Garcia’s compelling Opinion piece on the subject was recently published in both the Silver City Sun-News and the Las Cruces Sun-News.

As a result of numerous stories on the proposed plant, many New Mexicans and elsewhere are talking a lot about horse slaughter. What is more apparent than ever is that Americans want to see horses treated humanely. What is also apparent is that those who benefit from horse slaughter–those who make money from the inexcusable and avoidable horse overpopulation problem in America–want Americans to think that horse slaughter is a “necessary evil”. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Animal Protection of New Mexico has assembled into one fact sheet the most relevant and pressing questions and answers about horse slaughter to help animal advocates understand that their instincts to reject horse slaughter as cruel and unnecessary are exactly on target. The fact is, horse slaughter (WARNING: Graphic video) anywhere is cruel, whether it’s conducted in America, Mexico or Canada.

“Horses are everything I’d like people to be: Incredibly powerful but mostly restrained and gentle.” APNM’s Executive Director, Elisabeth Jennings

The good news is, New Mexico and America can and should embrace and pursue a new vision for how horses are treated throughout their lives, including the very end of their lives. In fact, pragmatic and humane programs are already in place in New Mexico, both through a network of equine shelters, as well as through the Equine Protection Fund, which provides feed assistance, equine care guidance, subsidized gelding, subsidized euthanasia, and has plans for racehorse rehoming. These crucial equine programs honor the meaningful role horses play in our lives, and ensure these magnificent animals live and die with dignity.

In order to ensure these programs can help all horses that deserve our support, equine programs need to be expanded. That can happen only with will, determination and adequate financial resources. For far too long, those who enjoy and benefit from horses have looked to horse slaughter as a “convenience,” which has kept them from closely examining practices of overbreeding and failure to provide humane care for their horses’ entire lives.

For those whose wealth is derived from horses, that cavalier approach to casting off horses when they’re no longer useful is no longer acceptable.

If those who benefitted from horses were to give back just 1% of the wealth gained from these “equine athletes,” there would be no homeless horse problem in New Mexico. The following chart estimates the relatively low annual cost of ensuring the humane disposition of homeless horses in our state.

APNM Executive Director Elisabeth Jennings’ personal experience with horses while growing up underscores the fact that the horses we include in our lives are our personal responsibility. Making sure they live and die well is the least we can give back to them. This is particularly true for those who make their living from horses.


National media have provided extensive coverage of the horse slaughter issue recently. CBS This Morning aired an in-depth piece on the issue which matters a great deal to Americans. CBS News interviewed representatives from both APNM and The Horse Shelter to discuss the debate about a proposed horse slaughter plant in Roswell and the national ramifications of the issue. In other media, this compelling piece in Forbes magazine revealed the toxic legacy horse slaughterhouses create in communities.

  • Please take the time to read APNM’s Horse Slaughter Fact Sheet, and spread the word among your friends and in your community that the time is now for a new direction in horse stewardship. Learn more about humane equine care and existing equine services at EquineProtectionFund.org.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper so that your views will be seen and heard by many thousands of people.
  • Contribute as a donor or as a volunteer to the EquineProtectionFund.org and be a part of the change that is already in motion.
  • Please join APNM to support our work protecting New Mexico's equines, and if you're already a member, thank you so much for helping us make a big difference for animals every day!

Thank you for caring for New Mexico's equines!

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Animal Protection of New Mexico, Inc. (APNM)

P.O. Box 11395, Albuquerque, NM 87192
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