UPDATED: Slaughterhouse Worker Shoots Horse in Video To Spite ‘Animal Activists’

by | 03.22.2013 | 1:53pm

Investigations continue in Chaves County, New Mexico after a viral video surfaced of a longtime Valley Meat Company worker fatally shooting a horse.

Officials with the New Mexico Livestock Board executed a search warrant on the home of Tim Sappington, the man in the video, as law enforcement tries to determine whether the act qualifies as an animal cruelty case. Sappington claims in the video that he killed the horse for his personal consumption, and has used horse as a basis for his diet his entire life. Slaughtering a horse for personal consumption is not against the law in New Mexico, although malicious killing of an animal does constitute animal cruelty.

“It's going to be up to the district attorney and the Livestock Board,” said Chaves County Sheriff Rob Coon when asked on Friday whether Sappington could face charges.

Bloomberg quoted Sappington as saying: “I killed that animal for my consumption. If I had shot that thing in the guts or the legs or beat it and left it in the pasture for the coyotes to get at, it'd be a different discussion.”

A statement released by Valley Meat Company deemed the video “regrettably crass” but said Sappington “was within his lawful rights to slaughter and butcher a horse and he was not acting as an employee of the company in that action.”

Valley Meat Company owners and staff have received numerous death threats and bomb threats, including one made on Monday. Sappington was fired after the video went viral.

“While Mr. Sappington's personal comments are inappropriate, they pale in comparison to threatening to bomb people and kill their families,” the statement says. “… No animal is worth threatening or ending a person's life.”

Read more at The Albuquerque Journal

  • Richard C

    It sounds like this “longtime worker” needs a straight-jacket.

    • Elizabeth

      Sounds to me like he needs to be skinned alive, which is probably what he’s done to horses in the slaughter plant in the past. Simply despicable………….

      • mhm

        How does this equate with any sort of humane thinking? Then you add speculation–obviously false–about another more inhumane act. The perpetrator was obviously not representative of anything but a weak minded person. And you have ably demonstrated yourself to be his equal.

        • Reality Check

          Your condescending tone is unneeded. Your workers speak volumes of your company. By not immediately firing that employee, condemning his acts and taking other measures, this company shows their lack of respect and dignity for the horse and other animals it slaughters or wishes too. I do believe this is the same company that was shut down due to cruelty at it’s cattle plant. If you think for one minute that they will treat horses any better, you are delusional.

        • Gambling Granny

          That is just not true. Elisabeth was simply stating her feelings of the moment. Most everyone I know has experianced the same gut reaction. Just because this guy is “human”, doesn’t mean he is entitled to any respect, at all. And I guess you are not very well informed on slaughter. Many animals are skinned alive. The slaughter process is so fast, many animals are still conscience

          • nu-fan

            And, hey, the company who hired him? What does it say about them? Birds of a feather….

        • nu-fan

          But, Elizabeth isn’t using a gun and shooting. She is expressing her indignation in words. Yes, harsh words but the deed that has ignited this does inflame others–who are not shooting a harmless horse!

        • Roisin

          Actually, there was a well documented situation at an abittoir in WA state where workers complained about being forced to skin animals while they were still alive in order to keep the “kill line ” moving. So how can you say “obviously false” re the other “inhumane act”. I would like to believe such a horrible act does not occur just like you do but facts are facts..

      • Gambling Granny

        I am sure you didn’t mean that literally. It is hard not to feel hate toward that guy, and wish something horrible wouldl happen to him.

  • Beachy

    Sickening…the more stories I hear about some humans, the more I love my pets. Prayers for that poor horse…

    • nu-fan

      One of the best compliments I have ever received came from one of my neighbors. She said: “Larry and I were talking about you the other day and we decided that, in our next lives, we are coming back as one of your pets.” And, yes, an innocent horse lost his life because of the Neanderthal who had a gun and….

  • nu-fan

    The Associated Press (by Geri Clausing) also ran an article today about this video and the intense debate that is going on in that state. What I found particularly interesting is that its governor also opposes the opening of this facility. “Many animal humane groups and public officials are outraged at the idea of resuming domestic slaughter, including New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who points to the iconic animal’s role as a loyal companion in the West.” The article went on to state that “…others – including some horse rescuers, livestock associations and the American Quarter Horse Association – support the plans. They point to a 2011 report from the federal Government Accountability Office that shows horse abuse and abandonment have been increasing since Congress effectively banned horse slaughter by cutting funding for federal inspection programs in 2006. They say the ban on domestic slaughter has led to tens of thousands of horses being shipped to inhumane slaughterhouses in Mexico.”

    Perhaps, we should email the governor to ask her what—if anything—we can do to help her make certain that this facility never opens again. And, for those in the AQHA, they are using rationalization to support their position. It’s a bunch of rubbish—and, so are they!

    • ziggypop

      It is well established that slaughter is the culprit behind the puppy mill-izing of Quarter Horses, especially. For years they had a sketch drawing of the cut of meats they could get off their horses on their website. Does no one think that is perverse? Also please note, these same organizations are behind all the AG GAG bills, that want to hide animal abuse in agriculture and they are behind promoting puppy mills. The woman behind the AG GAG bill in WY is none other that the woman that started and runs the group that is behind all this push for horse slaughter. She pushes the brutality we know slaughter, as “euthanasia” to those outside the horse industry.

      • Roisin

        Again we see the proponents of slaughter misusing the term”euthanasia” Sue Wallis is either stupid, ignorant or both, or maybe she is just thinks the public is.

        SHAME on the AQHA and the AG GAG bills

        And of course what can be said for Valley meat Co. and the workers except what a great place for “humane slaughter/euthanaisia ” !!

        • nu-fan

          Or, she lives under a rock. Has the values of a snake. As far as the workers at that plant: They are not that unusual. A cattle slaughtering plant in Central California was closed a few months ago because of the brutal and inhumane treatment that the workers routinely used against the cattle. It was a “worker” who planted himself and took video of what was occurring that really hit home as to what this slaughtering facility was all about. Except for the owner and a few in that immediate location, I heard or saw no other opposition. Seeing is believing in these cases; the video said it all.

    • Cate Wines, Ph.D.

      She has the legal power to sign an exceutive order and several petitions with thousands of signatures have been sent to her office.

      • nu-fan

        As a side note: If I was that governor, I would be asking myself: “What kind of publicity is this generating for my state?” She is actively seeking and promoting that state to businesses to open up shop there. Her state needs the revenue as well as increasing employment for her residents. Would a reputable company that has high growth potential want to invest in a state that is so behind the times as well as has values so contrary to most of the country’s citizens? High tech and financial firms, for example, have highly educated employees who tend to be higher-level thinkers. This situation, to them, is like stepping back to the Middle Ages…

  • Genellen

    What an idiot. All he’s doing is drawing attention to the potential for slaughtering horses in the U.S. — something that I’ll bet the average American is not aware of. But once something goes viral on YouTube, watch out baby. You may get more publicity than you figured on because most Americans love horses and would find this practice abhorrent. According to the Food Safety News, in April last year the Valley Meat Company had its beef slaughter inspectors pulled from the plant for five days for the company’s “inhumane treatment of animals.” That’s beef. If they can’t treat the “processing” of cattle properly, they are completely unqualified to do it for horses who don’t resemble cattle in shape, size, demeanor, or emotional connection for Americans. When was the last time you saw a cow calendar in a card store?

    • Convene

      The other negative thing he did was provide more fodder for PETA to start grandstanding about – and the fewer legitimate incidents for them to exploit, the better for the real welfare proponents and their work on behalf of animals. Ordinary people, appalled by something like this, end up supporting anyone protesting and never actually know the real agenda of those organizations they are supporting. This guy is irresponsible and outrageous by any standards!

      • Roisin

        Think about it . People working the kill floors become desensitized otherwise they could not do the slaughter. These individuals are in the business of slaughtering animals which is not remotely connected to humane treatment or as some proponents ridiculously term euthanasia.

        I gaurantee most “ordinary people” would be appalled by what goes on on the kill floors perhaps even more so than seeing the video of that callous act. I do not support PETA and have not given thought to what their agenda is. Every organization has an agenda.

        • Convene

          Absolutely agreed. People don’t like to think where their dinners come from … not really … The reality is far from pretty – altho any slaughterhouse workers I met as a farmer (food livestock) would have considered this deliberate act unacceptable. As for PETA’s agenda, it’s quite an eyeopener what some people consider to be in the best interests of domesticated animals!

  • circusticket

    This is one very good example of why we need gun control. A lot of people cannot be trusted with dangerous items resulting in innocent people/animals getting killed. And we continue to let it happen.

  • Obviously this guy has a hard time rubbing two brain cells together. All of this is only more fuel to the anti-slaughter side, with a great big fireworks show to ensure a big audience as well.

    FYI he has been fired. http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-news/ci_22849819/roswell-horse-slaughterer-fired-amid-outrage-over-video
    It would be a suicide move for Valley to align with the likes of him, too revealing of the truth. (It’s actually not old, infirm, unruly brutes going to kill, and the people in the industry don’t actually give a damn about the animals they’re charged with “humanely” killing.)

  • Cate Wines, Ph.D.

    The horse that was shot has a name: Miracle Justice. I don’t know who named him, but people on FB are posting “R.I.P. Justice”, and there is a new group with that name. People are joining right and left.

    • nu-fan

      I was surpised but very pleased to see that the National Humane Society just took action this week by sending out emails to everyone, that is registered with them, about horse slaughtering and the possible consequences of finding tainted meat for human and pet consumption. They offered a link to voice support of the new federal bill to eliminate horse slaughtering (warehousing, transportatin, etc.) to their elected U.S. Senators as well their phone numbers. Glad to see this organzation come aboard to get the new federal bill passed.

  • In tears

    As always the helpless and innocent must suffer. I hope this guy dies a thousand deaths before he dies one. Chinese saying.

  • Guest

    The main thing this maniac has accomplished is bringing massive attention to the plight of the horses. He can’t be very smart, without thinking deplorable video’s affect on Americans who don’t feel the same way about horses as he does. Tens of thousands of people will look for this video on YouTube and will be able to see all the hundreds of other horrible videos of horse slaughterhouses and animal abuse. I feel indescribably sad for the horse who was shot to be sacrificed for some twisted mind. He did more for Anti-Slaughter than any protests and other means can do. I am deeply saddened that he had to have his life ended in this manner. I wonder what they would have done to Sappington had he done that to the horse on the steps of the Capital. He could have done it quickly before anyone had a chance to react. People will be inspired now more than ever to write letters to their elected officials. We should be bombarding New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez for her to make a statement regarding horse slaughtering and paid cruelty coming back to her state. The shooter was named correctly—he is a Sap.

    • nu-fan

      And, would anyone with intelligence or high values work for this slaughtering facitlity? They hired the perfect person for this job. Then, when he made negative news for them, they fired him. He should sue this employer! Would serve them right.

  • trishoe

    I don’t know, humane slaughter, kind of sounds like an oxy moron to me. I don’t think even the best video on slaughter, would be pleasing to any buddy.

  • Jordan

    I’m not sure Mr Sappington appreciates the irony of his actions. He will galvanize support against slaughter with his callous words and angry, confrontational manner; yet he demonstrates a method of killing that is far more humane than anything found in a slaughterhouse. He’s not much. Hopefully his angry display will help derail the slaughterhouse.

  • Roisin

    It has been proven that Neanderthal DNA is present in modern humans to varying degrees. Perhaps some inhereted more than their “fair share”. How else could one explain such abhorrant behavior in a Homo sapien.

  • You can help prevent these plants from opening. Go to the ASPCA Advocacy Center to support the SAFE (Safeguard American Food Exports) Act and communicate your support to your state representatives.

  • He shot the horse. The horse was not scared or stressed. He dropped it with a single shot. He then butchered it for food. Why is everyone going crazy about this? People all over the country do the thing everyday when they butcher livestock for their family. What he did was much kinder than any slaughterhouse experience that any animal that you buy in a grocery store went through. If you are against this then I assume that you are a vegan. And I know you all will rio my comment apart but I grew up on a horse ranch. I love horses but understand that they are livestock and are often used for food. I also raise and butcher my own poultrt, goats, and cows because I do not agree with how animals are raised and treated in production animal farms. When I butcher ANY animal I thank them for providing for me and my family. I also try it make it as stress free as possible. Just because you would not do what this man did doesn’t mean that he is evil…

    • Roisin

      I don’t think he is evil., My theory is he has inherited more Neanderthal DNA than the average Homo Sapien. That would also evplain his incredible stupidity.

    • Roisin

      I don’t think he is evil. My theory is he has inherited more Neanderthal DNA than the aveage Homo Sapien. That would also explain his incredible stupidity.

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