Tim Sappington is the only paid employee at the Valley Meat Company, which is seeking to open the first U.S. horse slaughterhouse since 2007. And in the bitter battle to save America's horses from slaughter, he's just raised the stakes.
Sappington already proudly stated in an interview with Bloomberg that he eats horses, and enjoys doing so.
Now, it appears he also enjoys killing them.
In an extremely graphic, deeply disturbing video posted on YouTube, Sappington is openly filmed leading a trusting horse from a paddock and into a yard area. As the young and apparently healthy horse stands quietly, Sappington looks into the camera and says, “All you animal activists... f- you!”.
He then pulls out a pistol and shoots the horse in the head.
The horse falls to the ground, where it spasms several times. Sappington, without giving the horse a single glance after shooting it, says, “Good” and walks away while the horse appears to still be alive.
Sappington's obvious lack of compassion and caring for the dying animal puts a bullet in the argument of pro-horse slaughter advocates. They claim that horses sent to slaughter are old, infirm, or unsocialized, and that slaughter is a compassionate alternative to euthanasia. In Sappington's video, it is clear that none of these parameters apply to the horse he kills so casually and unfeelingly.
The last horse slaughter plant closed in 2009, after the Congress suspended funding for inspections. However, in 2011, Congress lifted the ban, allowing inspections to take place. The already-stretched USDA has not devoted resources to inspection of horse slaughter plants, instead allocating its resources towards livestock slaughterhouses which provide meat for human consumption in the U.S.
Horse meat is not consumed in the U.S., and Canada, citing concerns about the toxicity of American horsemeat, recently banned the importantion and sale of American horse meat.
In spite of this, the Valley Meat Company recently sued the USDA to force inspections of their facility, saying the department had a legal obligation to do so if the plant met federal standards. That case is pending, although a Valley Meat spokesman said the company could to begin slaughtering horses in as little as three weeks.
According to an email circulated by the USDA, the government will inspect slaughterhouses that comply with technical requirements after its inspectors complete necessary training. The email did not specify a timeline for the training.
Lawmakers including Senators Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, and Lindsay Graham, a South Carolina Republican, have introduced bills to ban U.S. horse killing for human consumption and prohibit transporting the animals elsewhere for slaughter.
“Horses have been raised for sport, transport, security and companionship, but never for slaughter and consumption,” Landrieu said in a statement on her website last week. “There are very few regulations on the drugs given to horses, and we cannot risk introducing dangerously toxic meat into our food supply here at home or abroad.”
The bills, H.R. 1094/S. 541, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act are making their way through Congress right now. Animal advocates should make a brief, polite phone call to their state's Representative and state Senators, asking them to support these bills that will protect America's horses from slaughter.
In a recent poll, 86% of Americans are opposed to eating horse meat, and opposed to horse slaughter. Even residents of Roswell, NM, where the Valley Meat plant is located, are divided on the idea.
“We are more sophisticated than that,” said Roswell resident Shari Hamilton. “I hate to think we’ve sunk that low.”
Below you will find a list of phone numbers to call in Chavez County where the slaughter house is planning on opening.
Sheriff – Non-Emergency 575-624-7590 – Administration 575-624-6500
Janetta B. Hicks, District Attorney – Phone: (575)622-4121 – Email: 5thDA@da.state.nm.us
Chaves County Manager – Stanton L. Riggs, Esq. – Phone: 575-624-6602 – Email: email@example.com
The Office of Governor Susana Martinez – Phone (505) 476-2200 or web contact: http://tinyurl.com/4olx7lv
Additionally, these animal welfare organizations support the SAFE Act:
The Humane Society of the United States – Contact your state representatives.
The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - Send a message to Washington.