Remember the Valley Meat employee who made a horrific video “fuck you” to activists, and then shot his horse point-blank in the head? He’s finally been terminated from his position with the company. There is also a chance that he will face prosecution for his cruelty.
Journalist Vickery Eckhoff recently wanted to do a follow up story on Valley Meat. She’s an expert on horse slaughter, and has written over fifteen articles on the subject for many publications, including Newsweek and Forbes.com. She wanted to write more about the Valley Meat fiasco and sent them some questions via email. (Note to Valley Meat: This is a normal thing that journalists do. )
Unfortunately, Valley Meat still has no clue when it comes to dealing with the public, media, or anyone who dares to question their business venture. In response to her email, she got what is supposed to be a legal notice, although I doubt any reasonable court of law would consider it valid. You can’t silence free speech, and freedom of the press is one of our founding principles.
The email she received from a Valley Meat lawyer follows:
“To whom it may concern:
You are receiving this correspondence because you communicated to a person associated with Valley Meat Company, LLC a degratory [sic], defamatory or threatening statement or aided in deciminating [sic] the information necessary to conspire to do the same. . . . Because of the statements you have made it is my recommendation [sic] that you retain your own legal counsel. At this time any communications you made that threaten or harass any person associated with Valley Meat Company will be referred to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security for investigation and prosecution under the Animal Enterprise Terroism [sic] Act (SEE BELOW). Neither Valley Meat nor the Law Office of A. Blair Dunn will tolerate threatening or defamatory statements and will contemplate civil action against any individuals or groups that persist in that type of activity.”
This is not the first time Valley Meat has tried to silence critics, according to Hilary Wood, President of Front Range Equine Rescue.
“This email, apparently sent to multiple individuals by Valley Meat’s counsel, demonstrates the approach of this company trying to restart the unnecessary and cruel practice of horse slaughter in America – lash out and intimidate anyone who questions Valley Meat’s practices,” says Ms. Wood. “This is just a continuation of prior practices when Valley Meat sued us and others for defamation, because we publicized true statements made by public agencies regarding Valley Meat’s violations of New Mexico environmental laws. I hope that more journalists address this attempted suppression of First Amendment rights, and expose every aspect of the shocking realities of horse slaughter.”
With respect to the Sappington video, Ms. Wood stated: “While the conduct of Valley Meat’s former employee demonstrates true malice, the death that each horse will suffer if any company begins slaughter will almost make Sappington’s actions look merciful. Investigative reports and documented violations from American and foreign slaughterhouses consistently reveal the blatant cruelty inherent in commercial horse slaughter.”
It’s obvious that Valley Meat has no intentions of addressing public concerns and that there is no room for a conversation with the public.
How will they handle FDA inspections and other scrutiny if they can’t even deal with journalists in a professional manner?
Hopefully, we won’t have to find out.
- Roswell Man Posts Horrifying Video Message to Animal Activists (lolwutpolitics.wordpress.com)
- Horse-Slaughter Advocate’s Video Spurrs Investigation – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Reinstate a National Ban on the Slaughter of Horses (forcechange.com)
- Five applications compete for first USDA horse slaughter inspection approval (donkeywhispererfarm2010.wordpress.com)
- REPORT: US Horse Slaughter Plant to Open… (bloomberg.com)