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Horse Slaughter Has No Place
in Our Country or Our State
Tell the USDA: New Mexicans Don't Slaughter Their Horses
Early this week, Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) learned of a proposal to bring a horse slaughter plant to Roswell, NM. Colorado-based Front Range Equine Rescue uncovered the plans through records it obtained from the US Department of Agriculture, in which Roswell’s Valley Meat Company submitted an application for inspections of a horse slaughtering operation in early March.
 
It's an affront to New Mexicans to bring the cruel, dangerous and polluting enterprise of horse slaughter to our state as we celebrate our centennial.
Horse slaughter has effectively been prohibited in the United States since 2006, because Congress did not authorize spending for USDA inspections of the few remaining U.S. facilities. But that changed late last year when Congress restored funding for inspections of horse slaughter facilities. Since then, applications have surfaced to open up horse slaughter facilities in various states, including for New Mexico.
The entire horse slaughter “pipeline” is an atrociously cruel enterprise, and it is made especially so because horses are very large “flight animals” and can be easily frightened. They are often transported for thousands of miles on crowded trucks without food, water or rest. It is not uncommon for horses to get trampled and killed just in the transportation process. Once at the slaughter plants, horses undergo the frightening process of being corralled into chutes with other horses, stunned and then killed.
Horse slaughter plants have also been indicted for the horrible environmental problems they cause communities, and a Forbes magazine article highlights the successful battle one Texas town waged against its horse slaughterhouse.
Americans don’t eat horsemeat, and a January 2012 poll shows that 80% of Americans oppose horse slaughter.
For Americans in general, and New Mexicans specifically, horses are considered iconic figures of our independence, and are a significant part of our Western heritage. They deserve humane treatment at every stage of their lives.
Top New Mexico officials have already weighed in against this disastrous horse slaughter plant proposal:
“A horse slaughtering plant in Roswell is a terrible idea,” said New Mexico Attorney General Gary King. “Such a practice, while not illegal, is certainly abhorrent to public sentiment, and I strongly suggest it be abandoned. I come from a ranching family but processing horses for food was never part of the plan for raising livestock. Horses are different and should be treated differently.”
“As a veterinarian and someone who has had the great good fortune to grow up with and around horses, I am very saddened and angry about the recent revelations of mistreatment of horses in New Mexico,” said New Mexico State Land Commissioner Ray Powell. “If a horse is hurt, terminally ill, or has no chance to find a loving home, then humane euthanasia is a realistic alternative. I am told New Mexico is entertaining the idea of a horse slaughtering facility in our state. Since we do not have the horses in New Mexico to make this economically viable, it means horses would be trucked in from surrounding states. This is a bad idea on every level, and I strongly oppose it. New Mexico can do much better by these intelligent and gentle creatures.”
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
  • Contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and tell Secretary Vilsack that you don’t support having a horse slaughterhouse in your state or any state.
             Write to: Secretary Tom Vilsack at this email: AgSec@usda.gov
Letters in your own words are the most powerful, but you can refer to this sample for ideas:
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
Please do not approve the permit for a horse slaughter facility in Roswell, New Mexico. New Mexico has served for years as a gruesome funnel for horses going to slaughter in Mexico. A horse slaughter facility in Roswell, New Mexico, will only increase the traffic of horses coming into our state for slaughter. 
In the midst of drought and economic difficulty, New Mexicans have rallied around humane solutions for horses, including an emergency feed assistance program, subsidized gelding program, and a humane euthanasia program. I understand 120,000 U.S. horses/year are sent to slaughter --- actually a number that we can do something about. With less breeding and more support for a basic infrastructure to support horses, America's horses will be provided with some basic compassion and decency, which they deserve.
Further, I understand that the applicant for the Roswell license had previous USDA violations when they were operating as a cattle slaughterhouse. 
Thank you for not permitting the Roswell plant when there are so many ethical, financial, and pragmatic reasons not to slaughter horses.
  • Contact Governor Susana Martinez and [updated: thank her for standing up for New Mexico's horses] her to raise her voice against plans for a horse slaughter plant in New Mexico. Contact her online or call her office at 505-476-2200.
Because of the economic downturn and its dramatic effect on families and their financial wellbeing, since 2009 APNM has been creating a comprehensive safety net for horses in New Mexico. Housed in the New Mexico Community Foundation, the Equine Protection Fund now offers subsidized feed assistance, gelding services, veterinary care and humane euthanasia. An Equine Volunteer Network extends the benefit of the Fund’s program services through the generous actions of New Mexicans, and a bilingual Equine Care Guide offers pragmatic information on how to properly care for horses.
Over 175 horses and their families have been provided assistance to date.
Thank you for ensuring that New Mexicans treat horses with the compassion and respect they deserve at every stage of their life.


RELATED LINKS:
Equine Protection Fund         

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