By John Upton
A New Mexico slaughterhouse plans to begin killing horses for meat on Monday — despite a looming lawsuit and an apparent arson attack.
Refrigeration units at the Valley Meat Co. in Roswell., N.M., lit up in flames on Tuesday. Firefighters extinguished the blaze, but not before five compressors were damaged beyond repair. The company pledged to replace them in time to begin slaughtering horses and chilling their meat on Monday. From Albuquerque’s KOB Eyewitness News 4:
Chaves County Sheriff’s Department said substances that could have been used to start the fire were found on the units and there is reason to believe it was arson. The owners are sure of it.
We’re not endorsing arson. But this was the same meatpacking company whose worker shot a horse in the head on camera and said, “All you animal activists, fuck you.”
Perhaps an animal activist out there reciprocated the “fuck you” sentiment.
Other horse lovers have been taking a different tack in attempting to prevent the facility from starting its slaughter. From a July 2 New York Times article.
Several animal rights groups filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the Agriculture Department, seeking to prevent it from inspecting horse meat that some companies want to produce for human consumption. …
The animal rights groups involved in the lawsuit — the Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue, Marin Humane Society, the Horses for Life Foundation and Return to Freedom, along with five individual plaintiffs — contend that the Agriculture Department did not perform reviews required by the National Environmental [Policy] Act before authorizing Valley Meat to operate.
“The U.S.D.A. has failed to consider the basic fact that horses are not raised as a food animal,” Hilary Wood, president of Front Range Equine Rescue, said in a statement. “Horse owners provide their horses with a number of substances dangerous to human health. To blatantly ignore this fact jeopardizes human health as well as the environment surrounding a horse slaughter plant.”
A hearing for that lawsuit is scheduled for Friday.
The slaughterhouse’s attorney is reminding reporters that the Bush-era Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act could lead to the arsonist being charged with terrorism.