Horse slaughterhouse makes plans despite restraining order

Posted at: 11/04/2013 6:03 PM
Updated at: 11/05/2013 9:14 AM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A federal appeals court has once again halted horse slaughterhouses from opening in the U.S. That includes a slaughterhouse in Chaves County. But that isn't stopping Valley Meat Company from getting ready to open. When they do, the owner says he'll have armed guards on hand.

The victory for Valley Meat has brought with it another set of problems.  The owner said he’s getting death threats.

“If someone threatens to kill you or shoot you with a high powered rifle, that's a big threat.  You can't take that lightly," said Rick De Los Santos.

De Los Santos is out of town, but he tells KOB when he gets back he won’t go to the Valley Meat plant without armed security.

De Los Santos said he plans to have two armed security guards on the property along with cameras.

Several groups have already come out against a federal judge’s decision to allow horse slaughter to resume in the U.S.  The Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue, along with the Attorney General’s office have all filed an appeal.

Protestors said they won’t stop fighting until it’s banned.

“We’re continuing to fight, this is just a bump in the road and we are going to continue on with our fight nationally.  And get this thing shut down nationally,” said Beverley Hughes.

Chris Heyde from the Animal Welfare Institute is in Washington D.C., working to get horse slaughter banned in the U.S. 

Valley Meat said despite the national opposition and death threats, they are preparing to open.  The company plans to start slaughtering horses early next week.

Chaves County Sheriff’s Department said they plan to increase patrols around the slaughterhouse.  A federal inspector is scheduled to be there Monday.The plant hopes to open soon after that if the restraining order is dismissed.