Lawyers behind decision to allow plant inspections – Pacelle

Horses held in export pens before transported for slaughter.
Horses held in export pens before transported for slaughter. © Kathy Milani/The HSUS

The head of the Humane Society of the United States suggests lawyers must be “driving the train” at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), after the agency gave the nod for federal inspections at a proposed New Mexico horse abattoir.

The approval for the Valley Meat Co’s plant brings the resumption of horse slaughter on US soil a step closer, with the USDA indicating it will give approval to two further plants next week.

Valley Meat Co has been involved in litigation with the USDA, accusing it of intentionally delaying a grant of inspections. Friday, June 28, was the deadline set by the court for a response from the USDA in the case.

The society’s president and chief executive, Wayne Pacelle, said approval was given despite what he called overwhelming opposition.

Pacelle, writing in his blog, A Humane Nation, described it as a mystifying and infuriating decision.

“I’ve been asked why the Administration would take this action, contradicting its own stated goal to end horse slaughter. And I cannot explain it, other than the lawyers at the USDA are driving the train and offering a highly legalistic view of the controversy, given that Valley Meat has sued the USDA for unreasonably delaying action on its application.

“We seem to have a case where the decision-makers have decided they are obligated to grant the permit when there is a fact pattern that screams at them from every angle that they should not grant that permit.”

Pacelle offered several reasons he said would have justified refusing the permit:

  • The USDA granted the permit even though Republican Governor Susanna Martinez and Democratic Attorney General Gary King oppose the opening of the facility in their state.
  • The department took this action even though Congress, in its 2014 agriculture spending bill, is poised to forbid the USDA from spending money on horse slaughter inspections. In June, both the House and Senate appropriations committees approved amendments to defund any horse slaughter plants.
  • The USDA is moving ahead even though the Obama Administration, in its 2014 budget proposal to Congress, recommended a defunding of horse slaughter plants. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has called for a “third way” in dealing with unwanted horses and expressed opposition to horse slaughter.
  • Approval was granted even though the HSUS submitted a petition to the USDA that provides incontrovertible evidence that horses are routinely fed or dosed with more than 100 different drugs unfit for human consumption.
  • The USDA pursued this course of action just months after Europeans learned the hard way that horse slaughter operators and meat traders substituted their product for beef, throwing the European beef market and consumer confidence in the safety and integrity of the food supply into a tailspin.
  • Horse slaughter is being approved in spite of polling information indicating that an overwhelming majority of the American public – to the tune of 80 percent – opposes slaughtering American horses for human consumption.

“The Administration wouldn’t grant an inspection permit for a dog slaughterhouse even if the application for the permit was properly filled out and the operator hired a lawyer to compel action,” Pacelle argued.

Wayne Pacelle
Wayne Pacelle

“Local and national opposition to such an idea would be more than convincing in compelling the USDA to keep any plant from opening up and sucking dogs into the slaughter lines.”

Pacelle said the society would work with state authorities to block the plant from opening, and will join Front Range Equine Rescue in taking the USDA to court on this issue.

“Horse slaughter is not humane euthanasia and is a betrayal of our trusted companions,” he said.

“The entire pipeline of horse slaughter, including auctions and transport in crowded trailers in freezing cold or oppressive heat, is abusive. The slaughter process itself is horribly cruel and many horses suffer during the misguided and often repeated attempts to render them unconscious.

“Sensible policy makers don’t want to see a bloodbath in the United States resume. Let’s hope we can hold off slaughter until the defund language, expected to take effect in a few months, becomes law.”


Earlier report:
Pacelle’s blog can be read here.

Latest research and information from the horse world.

8 thoughts on “Lawyers behind decision to allow plant inspections – Pacelle

  • June 30, 2013 at 9:37 am

    USDA like a few other morally and criminally corrupted US government departments commonly make “rulings” which have zero moral or legal legitimacy. Every single psychotic employee of their bribing partners in crime in “Valley meat” from the bottom of that monster organization to their top sleazy managers, have already proved they are a serious threat to society. They are bloody sadists and criminals who are a threat not only to our pets but to children and to families. “Valley meat” “employees” and managers are no more than a criminal gang that should and must be taken down immediately and incarcerated for life in prisons reserved for the worst offenders since they pose such a threat to decent society.

  • June 30, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Right on. Horses have been man’s friend for thousands of years. They are not cows or pigs. How anyone could sacrifice the lives of these beautiful creatures for financial gain is beyond me. We must do everything possible to stop them. The horses are voiceless and defenseless.

  • July 1, 2013 at 4:01 am

    I wish for once, the True Owners of Valley Meat would be revealed,,, Jose Angel Hernandez of BELTEX dba as Frontier Meats and Ryoichi Okubo of Fronier Foods Meat Market are the TRUE Owners. DE Los Santos is a straw figure. Hernandez and Okubo are from Ft. Worth and El Paso. Do’t know if they are Amricans.

    • July 1, 2013 at 10:06 am

      I wondered who was backing them?? Thanks I will look into them…….

  • July 1, 2013 at 8:14 am

    WE our disgusted with our GOV. they don’t here us anymore and could give a sh-t what we want or don’t want, it’s all about the money, ( not all but to, to many)… We all know slaughter from the get go is a slimy corrupt venture, absolutely nothing good comes from it… SO the US says sure why not, we got our pockets lined with money now…. I have lived in this Country for 60 years and I am ashamed of what we have become… We were once a Moral and Just Country but that is long gone and will never be again I believe, I am sick at heart that this is happening we are going to make the same mistake again going backward folks how stupid is that??

    MY TAX DOLLAR, HORSES PAIN, ENVIROMENTAL ISSUE’S, CRIME. for WHAT for Foreign interest’s, OMG I have never been so ANGRY in my life….

    If our politicians can’t see the writing on the wall then they are blind or not seeing on purpose, horse slaughter endorses the very thing Pro Slaughter says it will help, OVER BREEDING & NEGLECT… really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the picture, I mean my god we have had slaughter for a very long long time and we STILL have to many horses SHOULD THAT NOT spark a fire in the bun? I mean really how ignorant….. I have horses and they are the loves of my life and when it is time to put them to sleep I will do it the HUMANE way as I should as we ALL should…. With any animal we own… Let Breeders and owners alike keep getting a free ticket to DUMP their horses, so the animals can suffer, it is so beyond me???
    In ending, WE HUMANS are the predators everything we touch we KILL & DESTROY…. WAY TO GO AMERICAN…

  • July 1, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Boycott MEAT and that will put an end to it…so simple.

    • July 2, 2013 at 2:59 pm

      Not really. Our horses are sold mainly to the European Union, Japan and Argentina. Americans have never eaten horse meat.

  • July 2, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I will look into them too. I was in Dallas, TX when Beltex was in Ft. Worth and Dallas Crown – owned by Chevideco of Belgium – was in Kaufman. Both were rotten and cruel. They were out of compliance with the waste disposal facilities constantly, even in the large city of Ft. Worth. No one in Texas want’s them back – no one except the profiteers of course.


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