ARM’s founder created the organization soon after the rescue of Freedoms Flight, where he was made aware of the sweeping epidemic of illegal animal slaughter farms in South Florida. Until the fateful day when Richard ‘Kudo’ Couto came to the realization of the existence and degree of animal abuse on these farms, he like many, was completely oblivious that such barbaric backyard operations were even imaginable in his own city. After witnessing this disgrace, he made it his life’s mission to bring awareness to the public and has since succeeded in working to wipe their existence out altogether.
ARM, at this time, has multiple investigations underway and is working towards making a powerful impact in breaking down these businesses and the animal abuse that is occurring on them daily.
The growth of illegal slaughter farms is contributed due to a breakdown of the government in the State of Florida. These practices have been carried out over the last 40 years and the lack of enforcement has simply allowed these businesses to escalate. Many of these properties are only 20 minutes from the glitz and glamor of South Beach, major cities and amongst residential areas. ARM estimates that there is close to 1,000 illegal animal slaughter farms throughout the rural areas of Florida. The largest concentrations are found in the outskirts of Miami (in what are known as the C-9 Basin, Area 97 and Homestead) as well as in Tampa.
In Florida, the farms are well run business advertising openly on roadsides and Highways and they cater to anyone with an interest in purchasing an animal and a dollar in their pocket. The animals that temporarily live on the farms, whilst awaiting their agonizing deaths, are subjected to destitute conditions, misery, hunger, fear pain and suffering. Held captive, like a death row prisoner, the animals are housed in cages that barely allow them enough room to move around or are thrown into overcrowded pens with little or no shelter. If the animals are fed, it is with the remnants of rotting garbage or the slaughtered carcass of a friend.
The animals are slaughtered in various medieval ways, from strangulation to being beaten with sledge hammers, axes, burned alive with flamethrowers and boiled alive. Most of the animals are butchered whilst still alive. It is not only livestock that end up on these house of horror farms, wild horses that have been rounded up by the Department of the Interior’s BLM and even pet horses that have been stolen have been found on the properties. Farm owners also have connections at nearby thoroughbred race tracks and many sick, injured and underperforming racehorses end up meeting their deaths on these farms.
These profit driven businesses are slaughtering every type of animal that they can make a dollar on including goats, chickens, sheep, birds, lamas, cows, rabbits and pigs. There are also puppy mills and kitten breeding areas on the farms. Generally these puppies and kittens are bred purely for religious sacrifice. Animal fighting rings, animals for religious sacrifice and the black market horse meat trade are practiced here also. ARM’s investigators have also recently discovered protected and endangered red feather tailed hawks being bludgeoned to the head and stored in freezers. It is a felony to even hold one of these birds sacred feathers.
Aside the obvious cruelty, These farms are also creating hazards to the public. As the farms are not monitored or inspected by USDA officials, and due to the fact that almost always the animals being butchered are riddled with disease and drugs, human consumption can cause food poisoning. Much of the meat is entering small restaurants and consumers are often unaware that the meat they are eating is tainted. Restaurant owners are obtaining the meat from these farms as a cheaper alternative that allows them to make a larger profit. Associations with prisons is also currently being investigated.
Public water in addition is also being contaminated. Blood from the excessive slaughtering of animals is being collected in unlined pools, dumped in reservoirs and poured into ground wells.
Environmentally, the illegal slaughter farms are also wreaking havoc. Many of the farm’s are situated on the wetlands and buffer zone’s of the protected Florida Everglades. The wetlands where some of the properties have been operating, are being filled on a daily basis with dirt, land rock, tires, cement and garbage to create dry build-able areas.
Child protection is nonexistent on many of these properties. Slaughter farms have numerous weapons and knives, and all have guns on the premises. ARM Investigators have witnessed animals being tortured, shot and killed while children are playing within feet of the animal slaughters. Some of these illegal slaughter operations are taking place within yards of public school systems.
The farms are connected and controlled by a large Mafia operating a black market for meat. This industry is one of the largest animal cruelty cases in the history of the United States. They are violating a bevy of laws such as Animal Cruelty, slaughtering without a license, slaughtering registered breeds (Horses), sanitary nuisance, environmental codes,and zoning codes amongst other things.
ARM is dedicated to closing the illegal animal slaughter farm industry in Florida.