In July of 2015, ARM received an anonymous tip of a property in Fort Myers who was slaughtering animals and selling the meat publicly, for human consumption. Upon the initial surveillance of the property, ARM quickly confirmed these suspicions and initiated an immediate investigation. The discovery of Rancho Santa Barbara also spurred three other operations in the same area and collectively engaged in a two-year investigation in Lee County, Florida.
Located at 7160 Eastwood Acres Rd, Fort Myers, Florida, visible Spanish signs at the entrance to the property, advertise the sale of live animals. Owned and operated by Alex (alias known as Guillermo) and Carmen Intern, Rancho Santa Barbara is listed and classified as a poultry and egg farm on Sunbiz as an incorporated business. However, Rancho Santa Barbara has a constant supply of farm animals such as pigs, sheep, goats, cows, ducks, chickens, cats, dogs, and rabbits, operating as an unlicensed slaughter farm.
Both the USDA and Florida Department of Agriculture has inspected Rancho Santa Barbara but has never cited or reported the business which they are freely conducting, without a license. Rancho Santa Barbara has been subjecting animals to torture, abuse, and slaughter for decades. An ARM operative documented Alex stating that he had been slaughtering animals for at least 18 years.
Besides, Alex (Guillermo), previously worked for the Florida Department of Child and Family Services Department, ironically implemented to protect minors. Nonetheless, ARM has documented minors’ presence on-site. The workers forced to the minors to assist them while animals were gruesomely tortured and butchered.
While undercover, ARM operatives documented local grocery stores picking up meat orders, with the intent to be sold to their consumer, an illegal and unethical act, which poses a severe public health and safety issue. The public purchasing the meat is not aware that the product they are consuming is likely to contain diseases. On each occasion, ARM investigators witnessed the animals suffering from illness, severe malnutrition, and dehydration and are living in their excrement.
Animal sacrifice trading is also a prominent service provided by Rancho Santa Barbara by selling animals for ritualistic ceremonies. On one occasion, ARM witnessed workers slicing animals throats and draining the animal’s blood into pots for offerings in these ceremonies.
ARM’s extensive investigation has collected one hundred and twenty-three felony convictions of Rancho Santa Barbara’s animal cruelty. ARM investigators witnessed, and documented, the following felony and other criminal acts against animals:
Animals are stabbed in the chest with foot-long kitchen knives and pinned down as they thrash around in their blood.
Animals throats cut and the blood collected in pots for ritualistic ceremonies.
Pigs are dragged inhumanely by their ears, limbs, and tails to the slaughter areas.
Animals are thrown into vats of boiling water, while still alive.
Animals are given little to no food or water and receive no medical attention—starving animals consuming blood and body parts of other slaughtered animals.
Incompetent butchers incompletely stretch and wrench birds’ necks without killing the animal properly. Then the birds are dropped into pots of boiling water while still conscious and alive.
The farm causes permanent damage to the environment as it allows the bloodstream from the slaughter area to flow and collect into a pond at the back of the property.
To view ARM’s complete report containing the findings from the Rancho Santa Barbara investigation, click the link here.
To learn more about the three additional illegal slaughtering investigations in Fort Myers, Florida click on the names below.
Operation Rancho Cabrera, Operation Rancho Delicias , Operation Rancho Roman & Anthony