Prospective Wyoming horse slaughterhouse investors watch national scene

2013-03-31T19:00:00Z 2014-01-28T13:24:28Z Prospective Wyoming horse slaughterhouse investors watch national sceneBy JOAN BARRON Star-Tribune capital bureau Casper Star-Tribune Online

CHEYENNE — A group of potential investors in a Fremont County horse slaughtering plant are watching the national political scene to see whether such projects can get started in other states.

Valley Meat Co. — a proposed slaughterhouse in Roswell, N.M. — is slated to open in late April.

According to published reports, the plant is expected to receive approval despite strong opposition from various advocacy groups, including the Humane Society of the U.S., and efforts to block it in Congress.

Four members of Congress recently introduced federal legislation to ban the slaughter of American horses and to prohibit shipping horses out of the country for slaughter.

The attorney for the owner of the Valley Meat Co. in Roswell is A. Blair Dunn. The plant’s plans are still on track, Dunn wrote Thursday in an email to the Star-Tribune.

If the Roswell plant opens, it will be the first operation to slaughter horses in the United States since 2007.

Federal legislation that year prohibited the U.S. Department of Agriculture from spending its budget on the inspection of horse meat. Since horse slaughterhouses can’t operate without USDA inspections, the law effectively banned the plants.

The 2007 prohibition against inspections was removed from the law in 2011.

Since then several companies, including Valley Meat Co., have applied to the USDA to resume inspections of horses for slaughter.

In Wyoming and particularly in Fremont County, there is considerable interest in establishing a horse slaughtering plant, said Keja Whiteman, a Fremont County commissioner.

“Nothing is set in stone but there definitely is interest for a multitude of reasons,” Whiteman said last week.

In addition to being centrally located, the county has a significant population of feral, as opposed to wild, horses.

“People are turning out their domestic horses out on tribal land and federal land in Fremont County,” Whiteman said. “And, frankly, horses are starving to death and the ones that aren’t are multiplying, and neither is good.”

Asked if people are turning out their horses to fend for themselves because they can’t afford to feed them, Whitman it’s hard to say because no one is coming forward to say the horses are theirs.

“We also have a large, untapped labor pool with the reservation. I think the reservation would be an ideal location,” she said, referring to the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Plans are on hold for now, she added.

“Everybody is hesitant to invest money when there are still different political things going on at the federal level that may be attempting to block these plants that are close to functioning,” she said.

State Rep. Sue Wallis, R-Recluse, is a rancher who has been active in promoting a horse slaughtering facility in the state.

She said her group of investors first looked at a horse handling facility at the old Livestock Board stockyard in Cheyenne. The facility had the potential of being a gathering point to provide livestock to plants located outside of Cheyenne.

“That turned out to be encumbered by a lease situation with the railroad that could not be resolved,” Wallis wrote in an email to the Star-Tribune.

The next prospect was a plant in conjunction with a bio-gen power plant being planned outside of Guernsey.

That plan went on the back burner when the group was unable to leverage a provision in the 2008 farm bill to allow Wyoming state meat inspectors to inspect horse meat.

Wallis and other supporters then began to focus completely on Congress to get the law changed.

With the help of a Government Accounting Office report that showed that preventing the USDA from inspecting horse plants was causing harm, Wallis and her group were able to get Congress to remove the 2007 riders, or amendments, that defunded horse meat inspections.

She suggested the USDA has been dragging its feet in resuming the horse meat inspections.

Contact capital bureau reporter Joan Barron at 307-632-1244.


Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(26) Comments

  1. GovtGirl60
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    GovtGirl60 - April 13, 2013 6:50 pm
    Let us all discuss too the fact that many horses will be traveling a very long ways in the backs of haulers in hot weather, freezing cold weather, extremely dry weather....they will be traveling on their feet for days at a time, in all sorts of wind, never rested fully, watered or fed. They may be pregnant, in heat, stallions mixed with one another or with mares in season. Foals newly born. Also where will it prohibit mustangs pulled off of federal land, wild horses, burros....for all of you who are taking Premarin, stop now. You only promote the breeding of horses as that medicine comes from, duh, horses kept pregnant with catheters in them to collect their urine. Also lets fine horse breeders, just like dog breeders, for over breeding. Getting that perfect foal for the Preakness, a one in a million chance. Show horses, rodeo horses, race horses, all overbred and abused then dumped to be killed. So the answer for those who want to make big $$$ off of slaughtering horses is not stop overbreeding them, no, it is kill them for $14 a pound. Money is talking here, thats all it is
  2. ButterCream
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    ButterCream - April 11, 2013 2:06 pm
    UPDATE: In a press release that came out April 10 (Wednesday), the White House recommended the removal of horse slaughter (USDA meat inspection) funding in the proposed 2014 budget. In concurrence, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has also proposed the removal of funding for USDA horse meat inspection.

    “Page 197 of Dept. of Agriculture Appendix

    SEC. 725. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to
    pay the salaries or expenses of personnel to-(1) inspect horses under section
    3 of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 603); (2) inspect horses
    under section 903 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform
    Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 1901 note; Public Law 104127); or (3) implement or
    enforce section 352.19 of title 9, Code of Federal Regulations.”

    The horse meat contamination issue seems to be driving this home.
  3. Tguide
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    Tguide - April 09, 2013 9:35 am
    The sooner we get a slaughter plant built....the better!
  4. mcfromkc
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    mcfromkc - April 08, 2013 4:12 pm
    Sassy and superc, stereotype much? I bet if you tried harder you could generalize about any group of people. for example, based on the comments of sassy and superc one could say something like the following; "all the posters from casper are booger-earing morons who have trouble spelling".
  5. supercalifragilistic
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    supercalifragilistic - April 08, 2013 3:55 pm
    Sassy, you're portraying "beggars" with tribes and perhaps justifiably so.
  6. Sassy
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    Sassy - April 08, 2013 10:35 am
    "just enough pride" = monthly checks.

    Sadly the traditions and "pride" left the tribes decades ago.....
  7. Sassy
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    Sassy - April 08, 2013 10:32 am
    I believe in this context Fremont = Wind River Indian Reservation......Not Fremont County proper....
  8. supercalifragilistic
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    supercalifragilistic - April 06, 2013 7:55 am
    As I'd read the story, I really doubt the tribes would let the Federal Gov't throw dictation at them regarding such a facility. They have "just enough pride" to keep Uncle Obama from throwing dictation at them. But then again, I may be misreading the tribes ...
  9. ButterCream
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    ButterCream - April 05, 2013 11:02 am

    The Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton green breaks wild horses only, not domesticated horses, for adoption. The horse slaughter issue applies only to domesticated horses. Wild horses are protected from slaughter through a clause in an appropriations act that does not allow the BLM to use funds for wild horse slaughter. It has to be renewed each year, but so far, so good.

    I don't know if the Riverton-Lander area is pushing for a horse slaughter facility or not. Rumors have it, however, that if a horse slaughterhouse is built or an existing facility revamped, it would be on the Wind River Reservation. However, no interstate commerce could occur without USDA inspection... and the USDA is facing a huge hurdle with the horsemeat contamination concern. I just don't think horse slaughter is going to happen, and I hope I'm right. The Oklahoma Legislature DID remove the horse slaughter ban in that state, but they still have a long way to go in making it all legal under federal food safety rules. HSUS has its attorneys burning the midnight oil to thwart the opening of any horse slaughter plants in the U.S.
  10. supercalifragilistic
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    supercalifragilistic - April 04, 2013 9:13 pm
    Even thought the State and Federal Gov't use the Wyoming Prison Farm (located outside of Riverton) to round up horse for public adoption. I noticed Riverton or Lander are not lobbying for a slaughter house.
    Or did I miss something here?
  11. carlover
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    carlover - April 03, 2013 6:12 pm
  12. ButterCream
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    ButterCream - April 03, 2013 2:15 pm
    I normally respect Joan Barron's investigative reporting, but she produced a turkey on this one by interviewing only pro-horse slaughter people. It was an unbalanced and deceptive article. So please don't fret. I could be completely wrong, but I believe that The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is getting prepared to throw water on Valley Meat Company in New Mexico and stop its opening at the end of April. The New Mexico Legislature recently killed a bill that would have set aside $20,000 to study the horse slaughter issue. So far as I know, Oklahoma's governor has not yet signed its horse slaughter bill into law. It appears to be growing mold on her desk.

    If the USDA and Food Safety and Inspection Service don't stop hee-hawing about the horse meat contamination concern, I suspect these agencies will be hit hard by the new European Union horse meat food safety standards, coming online July 31, 2013. These new rules will require proof that a horse has not been administered a list of toxic veterinary drugs during its lifetime. There are too many factors that make me believe horse slaughter is on its way out in this country, whether or not the SAFE Act is passed or not.

    Sue Wallis was interviewed on Wyoming Chronicle last Friday night about her "Food Freedom Act," and she made a complete donkey out of herself. A state official sitting beside her kept quoting Wyoming food safety regulations as well as Center for Disease Control studies. Of course Wallis contends that the CDC's scientific (peer-reviewed) research is "skewed," but the only thing really skewed is Wallis' neurological pathway that causes her synaptic junctions to fire improperly. Have faith... Wallis and her ilk are about to go down, with a thump. However, keep fighting!
  13. Melissa Maser
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    Melissa Maser - April 02, 2013 4:42 pm
    I Agree! Let's get rid of her!!!
  14. Melissa Maser
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    Melissa Maser - April 02, 2013 4:40 pm
    Absolutely Correct!
  15. Melissa Maser
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    Melissa Maser - April 02, 2013 4:39 pm
    With Oklahoma passing Horse Slaughter and Now New Mexico on the verge of passing it....she is waiting to see the direction this is going. If the safe act is not passed, Wyoming will. We must stop this now!!! It's Spiraling out of control in America! WE MUST ACT FAST!!!!!
    God Bless Our Poor Horses!! This is Heinous!
  16. SueW
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    SueW - April 02, 2013 7:23 am
    Have all reporters stopped checking facts before writing? Wallis has been blabbing about investors and opening plants for several year and yet has never actually had investors or a facility. The just says something to a reporter or should I say repeater, and they just blather on. Repeaters are as bad as blog posters. Just say something and hit send. Useless. Wallis lies about everything and gets away with it. Incredible.
  17. MorganLvr
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    MorganLvr - April 01, 2013 6:55 pm
    You and me BOTH!
  18. MorganLvr
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    MorganLvr - April 01, 2013 6:53 pm
    I'm sure Wallis will NOT tell investors that the European Union - 80% of our horse meat purchaser - has removed the US from the list of authorized countries to export horse meat to the EU. Without the EU and their influence in the international horse meat trade, there will be NO market for what these plants "produce." Here is the link to the EU directive:

    It gets even better. I KNOW prospective investors don't know that on July 31, 2013 when this year's EU regs take effect, our horses will no at the slaughter plants in Mexico or Canada. The regs say that NO horses will be accepted from countries that have not implemented a traceability system comparable to the passport system in use in the EU - which by then may be considerably more strict than it is now. Since we have no traceability system for horses at all, our horses will be turned away from any EU certified slaughter plant no matter where it is.

    I really don't know who Wallis thinks is stupid enough to accept our horse meat, but I think she's in for a surprise. Without the EU, there isn't much left.

    I seriously doubt any of these will actually be built anyway, but I certainly hope no horses are actually slaughtered before this psychopath understands no one but her wants to butcher horses.
  19. RonnieG
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    RonnieG - April 01, 2013 6:42 pm
    If this wasn't so sick & sad, it would be so humorous. Sue Wallis & side-kick, D. D., have been running around the country like the Keystone Cops trying to open a horse slaughterhouse. Turned down & run-out-of-town. Hey, they even wanted to open a horse slaughterhouse in conjunction with a close-to, "horse rehab." "Rehab" for old, disabled horses & for humans needing horse therapy. Children too. More than sick. Connect the dots. Sue Wallis has an obsessional blood lust for killing horses...any animal for that matter.
  20. picachu
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    picachu - April 01, 2013 5:32 pm
    This guy worked for valley
    Foods NM.
  21. Sassy
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    Sassy - April 01, 2013 3:58 pm
    Keja will push for the plant on the reservation.....and it will probably happen...cuz it is tribal land
  22. picachu
    Report Abuse
    picachu - April 01, 2013 2:33 pm
    This guy worked for valley
    Foods NM.
  23. blpaints
    Report Abuse
    blpaints - April 01, 2013 9:26 am
    Let's make it perfectly clear EXACTLY how Wallis got this done....nothing legal about it.....thanks to her influence, just 3 politicians (Blunt, Kingston & Kohl) underhandedly removed the wording to ban USDA inspections at horse slaughter plants.....against the will of Congress & against the will of the majority of US taxpayers.....3 PAID OFF politicians.
  24. Vickery Eckhoff
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    Vickery Eckhoff - April 01, 2013 7:49 am
    Fremont is centrally located? I think most Americans and horse owners would disagree with that.

    Let's address what Wyoming officials won't:

    --U.S. taxpayers will don't want to fund inspections while being told by Wyoming politicians to "put up and shut up"
    --U.S. horse meat, the most drugged in the world, is full of banned drugs that in trace amounts cause miscarriages, fatal bone marrow depression illnesses, cancer and breast development in men, among many other adverse effects. The U.S. (and Wyoming) don't have any way to keep it out of the food supply.
    --An abandoned horse=automatic disqualification for slaughter due to no known drug records/history.
    --Using the food supply as a disposal mechanism for states (and ranchers) with "horse problems" is how Europe got itself embroiled in its present food adulteration scandal.

    Perhaps Fremont should use itself as a guinea pig: put up the slaughter house, pay for the inspections yourselves, feed the toxic meat to your children for an extended period of time and see what happens. Be sure to include pregnant women in your test to see how they fare. Build the lagoons for waste in your backyards and see what happens to economic development in your communities. Pay for the whole damn mess yourselves and get your hands out of the U.S. taxpayer's pocket.

    Europe doesn't want US horse meat, by the way. Imports are banned, so there will be plenty for Wyoming's starving politicians to share.

  25. Katapoet
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    Katapoet - April 01, 2013 6:57 am
    Bighorn1, you are right. There are going to be protests against the kill center, and people will be angrier than they already are. How such a small number of pro-slaughter proponents can get this horrendous thing through Congress and the Senate speaks volumes as to how much the politicians are not listening to the 80% of Americans who don't want it on our soil. I don't hate many people, but the killers are making that list pretty fast.
  26. bighorn1
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    bighorn1 - March 31, 2013 7:16 pm
    it's time to put Sue Wallis out of office. This would destroy Wyoming tourism this is no acceptable in America I don't want to have to worry about horse meat getting into my beef. We are not a third world country we do not need this.
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