NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The man behind the Lebanon trucking company shuttered last year by the federal government after two interstate mishaps involving trailers loaded with horses headed to slaughter is in trouble again. Dorian Ayache has been indicted on a long list of federal charges, including continuing to truck horses to slaughterhouses along the Mexican border even after his trucking company was shut down, and trying to destroy evidence.
Also charged is the owner of a second company, Theresa Vincent, who the government says continued the trucking operation, just under a new name.
Ayache first came to the Channel 4 I-Team's attention in early 2012 when a load of horses he was hauling to slaughter tipped over on the interstate in Williamson County, killing three horses.
Then, it happened again a few months later, when another load of horses Ayache was sending to the meat packing plant overturned in south Nashville.
Both times, federal regulators cited his rigs and drivers for safety violations, and the U.S. Department of Transportation shut Ayache's business down.
But as the I-Team reported in August 2012, we found Ayache continuing to operate under a new company name: Teri's Farm.
Now, both Ayache and Vincent, the owner of Teri's Farm, have been indicted by a federal grand jury.
Investigators say Ayache continued to truck horses after the D.O.T. ordered him not to and then allegedly erased a series of emails in an attempt to cover it up.
Vincent is accused of lying to the grand jury, saying she hadn't had phone contact with Ayache when she allegedly had.
There's a third company involved in all this, too. According to the indictment, after the feds shut down Ayache's Three Angels Farms and then Teri's Farm, the investigators say Ayache continued to operate under a third name.
Source: WSMV by Nancy Amons
In response to the emergency motion filed on September 19, 2013, Federal Judge Christina Armijo has suspended Horse Slaughter operations at Rains Natural Meats until October 4, 2013.
Judge Armijo furthered ordered that this matter be referred to the Honorable Robert H.Scott for an evidentiary hearing to determine if her order should be extended beyond October 4th.
Judge Scott will also be ruling on the request from Rains Natural Meats to be included on the bond, which he granted to Valley Meats and Responsible Transportation on August 8, 2013. Our attorneys continue to contest this bond, as this case is against the federal government (USDA) and its permitting process, not the companies that were recently given permission to begin slaughtering horses.
Wild horses are slated to be rounded up at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota. The park maintains a demonstration herd of what it calls feral horses to commemorate the wild horses that roamed the badlands when Theodore Roosevelt ranched in the area during the 1880s. Park officials say the herd has grown to more than 200 animals, beyond the ideal size for the park of fewer than 100 and must be thinned to protect from overgrazing.
The park also plans to launch a horse birth control experiment during the roundup.
"Once you have resource damage it's really difficult to fix it so we don't want to get to that point," said Eileen Andes, the park spokeswoman. "Our aim for the park is to maintain our wildlife populations for the public enjoyment but also to protect the resource and that's a balance that we have to continually work on."
About 100 of the horses will be sold at public auction in Wishek on Sept. 28.
The park has conducted more than 25 horse roundups since 1954. The park's last horse roundup, in 2009, led eight of 77 auctioned horses to wind up on the "kill market," where horses are bought for slaughter.
Members of some national organizations have said they are working to save the mustangs and find them homes. The Cloud Foundation, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Legacy Mustang Preservation, based in Louisa, Va., have joined forces in Operation Badlands Mustang Rescue. The groups have pledged to buy as many as 24 of the horses.
Source: The Associated Press
Today our lawyers filed an emergency motion to expand the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against horse slaughter to include Rains Natural Meats located in Gallatin, Missouri.
Rains Natural Meats recently met all the statutory and regulatory requirements and has now demanded that the USDA send inspectors to their facility by as early as September 23rd so they can begin slaughtering horses.
If federal Judge Christina Armijo agrees, the TRO filed today will put an immediate halt to operations at Rains Natural Meats (Missouri). Valley Meat Company (New Mexico) and Responsible Transportation (Iowa) are currently under the TRO granted to us in court on August 2nd.
The backbone of the case is that the USDA hasn’t conducted the requisite NEPA analysis for opening commercial horse slaughter operations. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision making processes by considering the environmental impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions.
>>> Click Here to View the Emergency Motion
Help Ban Horse Slaughter Nationwide! Contact Congress in support of the SAFE Act. Passage of the SAFE Act will not only ensure that predatory horse slaughterers cannot reopen their doors here in the U.S.— it will also stop the trafficking of horses to slaughterhouses over American borders. >>> Click Here to Take Action!
RENO, Nev. — The Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press says the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is using safety concerns as an excuse to limit media access to wild horse roundups across the West in violation of the First Amendment.
The National Press Photographers Association and more than a dozen newspaper companies joined the committee in a friend-of-the-court brief filed in the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals late Monday to back an advocacy group waging a series of legal battles over mustang roundups in Nevada.
Horseback Magazine photographer Laura Leigh and others “have a right to see what happens" during the roundups, the media groups said, urging the court to be “highly skeptical of assertions by the BLM that restrictions placed on media access were done for administrative convenience and/or to satisfy safety concerns."
“People in an open society do not demand infallibility from their institutions, but it is difficult for them to accept what they are prohibited from observing," they said.
The 9th Circuit sent the case brought by Leigh’s advocacy group, Wild Horse Education, back to U.S. Judge Larry Hicks in Reno last year to determine if the BLM limits are constitutional.
Hicks ruled in 2011 that a balancing of the interests of the agency and public access to a roundup in Nevada didn’t warrant granting an injunction to block the gathers. But a three-judge panel of the appellate court ruled he failed to determine whether those restrictions violated First Amendment protections.
“When the government announces it is excluding the press for reasons such as administrative convenience, preservation of evidence, or protection of reporters’ safety, its real motive may be to prevent the gathering of information about government abuses or incompetence," Appellate Judge Milan Smith Jr. wrote in the 18-page opinion in February 2012.
BLM spokesman Tom Gorey said Tuesday that the agency had no comment on the latest filing.
Agency officials testified at a hearing earlier this year that they do their best to provide public access to the roundups and temporary holding of the animals and denied Leigh’s claims she was singled out to be kept away from the mustangs.
The National Press Club, Nevada Press Association, Reno-Gazette Journal, The Seattle Times Company, the Las Vegas-Review Journal’s owner Stephens Media and others joined in the new brief arguing that journalists routinely face far more
dangerous assignments, especially at war. They say reporters should have the same unrestricted access to public rangeland as they do to battlefields.
BLM’s concerns are “speculative at best and at worst are overly broad and ambiguous, often arbitrarily and capriciously chilling visual journalists’ ability to cover matters of public concern," they said.
“If they are willing to assume such risks in a warzone, it should certainly be considered that such safety concerns by the government are nothing but mere pretext when it comes to horse gathers ... BLM land is more akin to an open park than a battlefield, and a horse gather is less dangerous than open combat or fires, floods, explosions and other calamities where safety concerns are at stake."
Hicks said during a hearing earlier this year that he recognizes it’s an issue that “strikes deeply in people’s emotions and interests."
Source: Bend Bulletin by Scott Sonner
A third business has met all the statutory and regulatory requirements to require USDA to provide inspection services when it begins processing horsemeat for human consumption.
Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys representing USDA have informed the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico that it may want to expand its temporary restraining order against horse slaughter to include Rains Natural Meats in Gallatin, MO.
That restraining order currently only prevents USDA from providing inspection services to Valley Meat in New Mexico and Responsible Transportation in Iowa, the first two businesses to qualify since a five-year ban on spending federal money on horse slaughter inspections ended in 2012. “When this court entered its temporary restraining order, Rains Natural Meats had not yet met the requirements for a grant of inspection, and thus the temporary restraining order expressly applies only to FSIS’s (Food Safety and Inspection Service’s) inspection of the Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation facilities,” the DOJ attorneys wrote, adding, “But circumstances have changed, and Rains Natural Meats is now eligible and requesting a grant of inspection.”
The government attorneys said that, while they were not waiving any of their earlier objections to federal Judge M. Christina Armijo’s order, they understood that she may want to amend it in light of the new reality.
Rains Natural Meats is a small meat and poultry slaughter and processing facility with about 5,300 square feet. Built in 1998, it has been a USDA-inspected facility for various meat and poultry processing since it was built, but the business has had difficulties due to the slow economic recovery.
Owner David Rains opted to file for an equine grant of inspection on Jan. 13. While waiting for the application to be approved, he told local media outlets that he’s been driving a school bus to pay his bills.
In its “Decision Memo,” USDA said the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) requires government inspectors to conduct ante-mortem inspection of all amenable species, including cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules and other equines, including a post-mortem inspection of “carcasses and parts of all amenable species.”
“Horses, mules, and other equines have been among the livestock species that are amenable to the FMIA since it was amended by the Wholesome Meat Act in 1967,” wrote Philip S. Derfler, FSIS deputy administrator.
FSIS is required to conduct an examination and inspection of the methods of slaughter to ensure they are in compliance with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which calls for prevention of needless livestock suffering.
In the USDA memo, Derfler says the decision to provide inspection services under the FMIA “is purely ministerial because if a commercial horse slaughter plant meets all of the statutory and regulatory requirement for receiving a grant of federal inspection, FSIS has no discretion or authority under the FMIA to deny the grant on other grounds or to consider and choose among alternative ways to achieve the agency’s statutory objectives.”
“Therefore, a grant of federal inspection services under the FMIA is not a major federal action that is subject to NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) requirements,” he added.
Horse rescue and animal-welfare groups have sued in federal court in New Mexico, charging that NEPA requires USDA to conduct environmental reviews before granting inspection services for horse slaughter. Judge Armijo granted a temporary restraining order just ahead of the start dates for Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation.
In a separate proceeding, a federal magistrate has ruled that a plaintiff’s bond of almost $500,000 per month might be required to cover potential losses by the defendants while the case is argued. The bond is intended to compensate the defendants if the plaintiffs lose.
Government attorneys then suggested the case be accelerated and the plaintiffs agreed. Both sides are now preparing briefs that should frame the issues for the judge to decide by about Oct. 10. After she rules, the losing side will likely appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
About 175,000 horses from the United States are exported for slaughter each year to Canada and Mexico. New USDA-inspected horse-slaughter facilities in the U.S. would export horsemeat for human consumption to areas of the world where
there is a demand, mainly Europe and Asia.
Source: Food Safety News by Dan Flynn
>>> Click Here to View the Department of Justice's Legal Notice regarding grant of inspection for Rains Natural Meats in Gallatin, Missouri.
The State of New Mexico Environment Department on Friday set a public hearing for a water-discharge permit denied a horse slaughter plant, Valley Meat Company, in July. According to the webpage Citizens Against Equine Slaughter, the hearing will take place on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 9:00 a.m., at the Chaves County Courthouse, 400 N. Virginia, in Roswell.
The hearing will discuss the Discharge Permit Application for Valley Meat Company. Owner, Mr. De Los Santos proposes to renew the Discharge Permit for the discharge of up to 8,000 gallons per day of horse processing waste water from the horse slaughterhouse. Discussed will be the potential of ground water contamination which includes nitrogen compounds.
In an article from HorsesforLife.org, the Water Quality Bureau received more than 450 comments opposing the renewal of the water discharge permit. DeLos Santos argues that most of the comments were from people outside of the United States and not from the State of New Mexico. He stated that no one from the farm area of Roswell commented.
Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) from District 1 in Albuquerque opposes horse slaughter and states that 75% of New Mexicans oppose horse slaughter, calling it a cruel practice which inflicts great pain and distress. Grisham is also concerned with health issues as most American horses are routinely administered known carcinogenic drugs prohibited in the United States to be used on animals killed for human consumption.
A July 11 letter from the Environmental Department of New Mexico brings attention to another legal aspect citizens against the permit expressed. Numerous public comments raised concern about De Los Santos "possible misrepresentations of criminal charges."
"Specifically Section 74-6-5 (E) (4) requires that if an "applicant" has, within the last ten (10) years received a felony charge or one constitution moral turpitude the Department must deny the application."”
In a New York Times article Mr. De Los Santos' attorney A. Blair Dunn stated the advocacy group erroneously described criminal trespassing as a felony. In December 2011, the first application filled out by Mr. De Los Santos stated "none" in the section about felony convictions. The second application filled out in March 2012 had no notations of any convictions, however the third application was filled out with two convictions; one for criminal trespass in Texas in 1988 and the other for residential burglary there in 1978.
Court records show that Mr. De Los Santos was arrested by the Amarillo police department on Sept. 11, 1989 — his third U.S.D.A. application reported the incident occurring a year earlier — on suspicion of criminal trespass but charged only with a moving violation and convicted of that offense.“ He was arrested on Aug. 28, 1978, in Dallam County, Tex., charged with
residential burglary and convicted. Mr. Wagman, the lawyer for Front Range, contended that Mr. De Los Santos now has committed a third felony by improperly filling out his first two applications. Under federal law, it is a felony to knowingly falsify, conceal or materially misrepresent facts submitted on a federal application.
Source: The Examiner by Cheryl Hanna
Below is the official notice of the Public Hearing and how to participate.
Description of the Requested Action:
The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has scheduled a public hearing to consider the proposed approval of a ground water Discharge Permit Renewal, DP-236, based on the application submitted by Ricardo De Los Santos, President of Valley Meat Company, LLC, 3845 Cedarvale Road, Roswell, New Mexico 88203. Discharge Permits are issued and renewed pursuant to the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) Regulations, 20.6.2 NMAC.
Hearing Date, Time and Location:
The hearing begins with opening statements and the presentation oftechnical testimony on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 9:00 a.m., at the Chaves County Courthouse, 400 N. Virginia, in Roswell, New Mexico.Non-technical public comment will be taken as specified by the Hearing Officer, and also starting at 5:00 p.m. on October 22.The hearing may continue on the following day as determined by the Hearing Officer.In lieu of oral public comments, written statements may be submitted to the Hearing Clerk for the record during or prior to the hearing.
Application and Facility Description:
In the Discharge Permit Application for Valley Meat Company, DP-236, Mr. De Los Santos proposes to renew the Discharge Permit for the discharge of up to 8,000 gallons per day of livestock processing wastewater from a slaughter facility.Wastewater generated from the slaughter facility and occasional washdown of receiving pens collects in two concrete tanks for solids settling before flowing into the first of two synthetically lined impoundments
for disposal by evaporation.Potential ground water contaminants associated with this type of discharge include nitrogen
compounds.The facility is located at 3845 Cedarvale Road , approximately six miles east of Roswell , in Section 17, T11S, R25E, Chaves County .Ground water beneath the site is at a depth of approximately 10 feet and has a total dissolved solids concentration of approximately 4,080 milligrams per liter.
The hearing will be conducted in accordance with the WQCC Regulations at 188.8.131.5210 NMAC and NMED’s Permitting Procedures at 20.1.4 NMAC, available electronically at http://www.nmcpr.state.nm.us/nmac/_title20/title20.htm, and at no charge from the NMED Hearing Clerk, Sally Worthington, Room S-2103, 1190 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502,
telephone 505-827-2002 <br>, fax 505-827-2836. All interested persons will be given a reasonable opportunity at the public hearing to submit relevant evidence, data, views or arguments orally or in writing, and to examine persons who testify at the
No decision will be made at the end of the hearing; the post-hearing process will be set out upon the completion of the evidentiary record.Following that process, the NMED Secretary will approve, conditionally approve, or disapprove the proposed Discharge Permit based upon the administrative record for the Discharge Permit application, including the applicable information provided during the public hearing.
NMED will arrange for a court reporting service to make a written transcript of the hearing proceedings.Any party requesting a copy of the transcript from the court reporting service shall bear the full cost of obtaining copies of the transcript. The transcript also becomes a public record available from the NMED Hearing Clerk.
Technical Evidence Presentation Requirements:Any person who wishes to present technical evidence at the hearing shall file a Statement of Intent to Present Technical Testimony by 5:00 p.m. October 9, 2013, with the NMED Hearing Clerk, Sally Worthington, Room S-2103, 1190 St. Francis Drive , P.O. 5469, Santa Fe , New Mexico 87502 .Persons filing a Statement of Intent shall also serve a copy on the Department, the Applicant and other parties of record.A service list is available from the Hearing Clerk. Additional information concerning the presentation of technical evidence can be found in a Procedural Order entered by the Hearing Officer on August 15, 2013, available from the Hearing Clerk and on the web at
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is seeking a Wild Horse and Burro Program Director for its Wildlife Protection department.
The main responsibility of this position is to promote and advance the protection, humane treatment and management of wild horses and burros on private, state and federal lands. Other duties include, but are not limited to: manage and direct existing staff working on wild and burro work; develop and implement a public information campaign for wild horse and burro advocates, concerned citizens and others to educate interested parties on the program and the HSUS’s vision for wild horse and burro management in the U.S.; organize, coordinate, and lead wild horse and burro protection coalitions, working groups, etc., in which HSUS is involved; provide guidance to HSUS staff on HSUS policy, strategy and rationale on various wild horse and burro related issues; seek out media opportunities; initiate and respond to media requests relating to legislation, cruelty and other wild horse and burro protection issues; assist in efforts to develop membership and funding potential for the wild horse and burro protection program.
Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in related field along with five years of experience, and demonstrated interest in, wild horse and burro protection and related federal, state and local laws and policies is highly desired. Strong knowledge of equine issues and immunocontraception preferred. Must have excellent written and verbal communication skills including public speaking and writing for diverse audiences. This position requires extensive travel.
Please submit a cover letter and resume using this form or fax to 301-548-7701. This position is located in Gaithersburg, Md, and allows for telecommuting.
Comments for the Bureau of Land Management public scoping period to address wild horse and burro management are due Sept. 27. The wild horse and burro analysis is part of the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan, though it addresses wild horse herding areas close to Rawlins, such as the Great Divide Basin Herd Management Area.
Serena Baker, public affairs specialist for the BLM High Desert District, said two records of decision will be released in 2016 — one for Rock Springs and one for Rawlins.
In 2011, the Rock Springs Grazing Association filed a lawsuit against the BLM to get the BLM to remove all wild horses from private land within the “checkerboard” pattern of mixed land ownership. To settle the lawsuit, on April 3 this year the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming approved a consent decree, which outlines specific wild horse management analyses the BLM must perform.
The four herd areas affected by the analysis will be the Salt Wells Creek, Adobe Town Complex, Great Divide Basin and White Mountain, according to the consent decree. There are 610-800 horses in Adobe Town, 205-300 in White Mountain, 250-365 in Salt Wells Creek and 415-600 in Great Divide Basin, said Ben Smith, wild horse specialist, who attended an open house meeting about the analysis on Thursday.
The consent decree states that the BLM analyze three of the four herd areas and change their designations from herd management area to simply herd area, which means the BLM would not manage any wild horse herds on that land, Smith said.
The White Mountain herd would be managed as a non-reproducing herd, which means the BLM would spay or geld every horse in the herd, Smith said. Other horses that were also spayed or gelded would be rotated into the herd as the number of horses began to dwindle.
Though the BLM has agreed to remove wild horses from the checkerboard private land areas, the consent decree only dictates that the BLM perform an analysis on the herd management areas.
Comments may be emailed to RockSpringsRMP_WY@blm.gov (include “Wild Horse Scoping” in the subject line), faxed to (307) 352-0329, or mailed to the Bureau of Land Management, Rock Springs Field Office, Wild Horse Scoping, 280 Highway 191 North, Rock Springs, WY 82901.
Source: Rawlins Times by Kate Snyder
The Bureau of Land Management wants to be prepared if U.S. horse slaughterhouses open for business, a key BLM staffer said. "They may never open. They may open. But if they do open, we are ready," said Joan Guilfoyle, BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Program division chief.
Speaking at a three-day meeting this week of the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board in suburban Washington, D.C., Guilfoyle said her team has drafted letters to send if slaughterhouses reopen to warn owners that BLM-protected horses cannot be processed. In the past, she said, plant owners had agreed to work with BLM if there were questions about a horse's status.
She would reinstate such agreements, she said, if new slaughter plants came online. For the first time since 2007, horse slaughter plants are poised to reopen domestically. Congress had banned funding for Department of Agriculture inspections of horse slaughter plants, effectively shutting down the industry, but the ban was eliminated a year ago. A few slaughter plants had aimed to start operations this summer, but a lawsuit from animal welfare groups stalled their plans.
Meanwhile, Guilfoyle said that the investigation of Tom Davis, who was accused of taking BLM-acquired horses to slaughterhouses across the border, was taken over by the agency's Office of the Inspector General.
"They told us then that we could get a report back in two weeks, or we could get a report back from them in two years," she said.
The advisory board was meeting to respond to a sweeping report this summer from the National Academy of Sciences that found that BLM was underestimating herd sizes -- and exacerbating the problem by removing horses.
The board highlighted other recommendations from the report: that BLM develop a standard for how frequently to conduct surveys of the population and that the bureau should make that data more available to the public. It also found that BLM's method for keeping tabs on its wild horse population isn't in line with current science.
"As we have found in the report itself, I think we have to agree that there are some gaps there," said Boyd Spratling, a veterinarian and co-chairman of the advisory board.
Researchers and board members alike acknowledged budgetary constraints the bureau faces as it works to control its wild horses. Guilfoyle said BLM has more than 50,000 horses in holding at eco-sanctuaries, short-term corrals and long-term pastures. And she said that 65 percent of the bureau's current wild horse budget goes toward caring and feeding for the
Source: Greenwire by Whitney Blair Wyckoff