Support for Slaughterhouse Comes From Unlikely Ally: PETA—With a Caveat


For Immediate Release:
February 26, 2024

Nicole Perreira 202-483-7382

Taos, N.M – Many residents are angry over the proposed construction of a slaughterhouse in Taos funded in part with taxpayer money, but PETA sent a letter today to Taos Mayor Pascualito Maestas expressing its support for the project—if the facility is built with a glass wall and livestreams video footage so the public can see what happens inside it, which should pose no problem if the operation is clean and humane. About 900,000 cows are killed every single day worldwide, and PETA investigations into slaughterhouses have revealed immense animal suffering, human health problems, disgraceful conditions for workers, and filth.

A cow in the meat industry. Credit: PETA

“If slaughterhouse operations were made public, the scenes of terrified, screaming animals stunned with a captive-bolt gun, strung up, and slashed across their throats would make anyone go vegan, and facility operators know that and fight to keep consumers in the dark,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is urging Mayor Maestas to be transparent with his constituents by considering a glass-walled ‘kill floor,’ because Taoseño taxpayers have a right to see what they’re paying for.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Maestas follows.

February 26, 2024

The Honorable Pascualito Maestas
Mayor of Taos

Dear Mayor Maestas:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters worldwide, including nearly 35,000 across New Mexico—in support of the construction of a new slaughterhouse in Taos but with one special request.

This slaughterhouse will be built, in part, with taxpayer funding, so it’s reasonable that it should have a floor-to-ceiling glass wall so that the public would be able to see inside. This glass wall would not only provide a degree of accountability but also allow anyone who wants to see what goes on inside such a place to witness the terror and torment that animals endure there before they’re killed for food—and possibly then reexamine their food choices. We also request that school tours of the facility be allowed.

Times have changed, and meat is now recognized as environmentally destructive, hideously cruel to animals, and a human health hazard. Animal agriculture is rightly condemned for contributing mightily to greenhouse gas emissions, and slaughterhouses are not safe for employees—they consistently rank among the most dangerous workplaces. As for the suffering of animals, as Sir Paul McCartney famously said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, no one would eat meat.”

It’s easy to forget where meat comes from when you see it in neatly wrapped packages in a grocery store, but animals don’t go peacefully for it. They tremble in terror, as they smell the blood and hear the cries of those ahead of them on the kill line. When it’s their turn, cows are shot in the head with a captive-bolt gun—which we have shown is not always accurately aimed—and hung up by one leg, often dislocating their hips. Then their throats are cut and they are gutted—sometimes while they’re still conscious. They fight for their lives because, just like you and me, they don’t want to die. U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors have found pigs on the way to slaughter frozen to the side of trucks in winter and animals deprived of water during long summer journeys.

The people of Taos have the right to see this process and to consider who animals are, what makes them tick, and how they feel. All animals are individuals. Cows are curious, clever animals who sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to escape slaughter. They understand cause-and-effect relationships and become excited when they figure out how to do something, such as operating a water pump with their horns. They are gregarious, forming intense friendships and holding grudges against herd members who have treated them badly. They are thoughtful individuals who feel just as much as you or I do.

Concerned residents of Taos who have protested against this new slaughterhouse in an effort to point out how cruel, dangerous, environmentally destructive, and unhealthy it is to kill and eat sentient beings are correct. Meanwhile, vegan foods continue to proliferate on grocery store shelves.

However, if the slaughterhouse is built, there should be transparency concerning what goes on inside it. There should be a viewing wall and the operation should be livestreamed for the world to see what the slaughter of animals is really all about.

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid Newkirk


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