A video of a Roswell slaughterhouse employee fatally shooting a horse after swearing at “animal activists” has sparked outrage across the country.
Officials with the state Livestock Board also are investigating to see if the video depicts animal cruelty, according to the Albuquerque Journal. The board executed a search warrant Thursday at the Dexter home of Tim Sappington, who had worked in maintenance for the Roswell area Valley Meat Co., the Journal reported.
Sappington, who is shown in the video, was quoted about how he enjoyed eating horse meat in a report by Bloomberg News. Members of animal support groups began contacting media outlets about the year-old video Thursday after the Bloomberg report was circulated.
Valley Meat Co. is seeking USDA inspections so it can begin slaughtering horses to export the meat to Mexico and overseas markets. It issued a statement confirming that the man in the video is Sappington. It also said Sappington has been dismissed.
The company’s Albuquerque lawyer, A. Blair Dunn, said Valley Meat fired Sappington after becoming aware of the video, which has now become the focus of a public relations campaign by the Horse Plus Humane Society, according to the Journal.
“We agree that his (Sappington’s) comments were regrettably crass, not contributing anything to this dialogue so we do not condone his statements,” according to the Valley Meat statement, “but he 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.”
Dunn told the Journal that since Valley Meat began trying to become the first company in the U.S. since 2006 to slaughter horses for the consumer market, the company’s owners and staff have received death threats and bomb threats. The slaughterhouse has also been burglarized and vandalized, Dunn told the Journal