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Illegal Slaughterhouse Also Home To Religious Animal Sacrifices, Activist Says

Categories: Crime

Palo200final.png
Richard Couto
A human skull uncovered during one of ARM's investigations into Palo Mayombe.
Earlier this week, Richard "Kudo" Couto's Animal Rescue Mission busted its latest illegal slaughterhouse. Four men connected to VIP Animal Sales have been arrested and charged with selling horse meat and abusing dozens of animals.

But Couto says there's more to the story. His investigations into the Homestead farm also found evidence of animal sacrifices, possibly connected to Palo Mayombe, an Afro-Caribbean religion that Couto has controversially raged against.

Thanks in part to Couto's undercover work at VIP, its owners were busted for illegally slaughtering horses and other animals. Couto says he was looking into a side business there to sell animals for religious sacrifices when he came across a room filled with burning candles, dolls and blood-covered statues. Pots were filled with animal heads and money. Swords and knives were everywhere.

Couto has raised similar alarms in the past about animal sacrifices connected to Palo Mayombe, a syncretic religion which started in Africa and moved through Cuba. In the past year-and-a-half, Couto says he's found more than 10 Palo sites used for sacrifices. In April of 2012, ARM discovered the largest one ever to be investigated by the United States, and the Florida Department of Health released a public advisory warning in Hialeah after human remains laced with mercury were discovered there.

"It's the darkest form of black magic there is on the planet," Couto says of Palo Mayombe. "They put animals in cages or in bags and make the trains run them over. They think that it helps with energy and casting spells on their enemies."

Of course, not everyone shares Couto's (and the Internet's) views on Palo Mayombe. Albert Wuaku, assistant professor of religious studies at FIU, says that calling Palo the "dark side of Santeria" or "black magic" is ridiculous. "Almost every tradition practices some sort of sacrifice," he said. "Christianity is based on the human sacrifice of Christ. Is that a dark side?"

Furthermore, Wuaku says Palo doesn't really have a strong presence in South Florida. (Although he also says it's impossible to guess the number of practitioners, because they lack an organized structure, such as a church.) He calls Couto's anti-Palo campaign myopic and culturally insensitive. "It is not fair how these religions are treated," he said. "They are simply misunderstood, because observers do not seek to appreciate what they do from the standpoints of their world views."

Couto has also gotten into an extended war of words with Ernesto Pichardo, the man who won a Supreme Court victory over animal sacrifices in 1993. Pichardo thinks the guerilla activist is just using scare-tactics to get people interested in his cause. "Since Palo Mayombe has been getting this horrible rap, it plays into the American psyche very well. You can say 'these people are evil, they kill goats, and let me implant in the listeners' mind that it was done for a dark, evil religion.'"

Even Couto's religious consultant, Anthony Kail, is quick to distance himself from Couto's provocative comments. "True enough there were some religious artifacts at the scenes, but the fact is that the acts of cruelty have little to do with religion and everything to do with sociopaths and deviancy," he wrote New Times in an e-mail.

Here's the raw footage of ARM's investigation into VIP Animal Farms. Regardless of your views on Palo Mayombe, it's graphic stuff:

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15 comments
fiatallis16b
fiatallis16b

These criminals should be executed with all the other animal abusers.

mabrown189
mabrown189

Why is it when a person does not agree with someone's way of life it becomes cruel, or evil. Whatever floats your boat. Christianity is no saint filled religion, For Centuries upon centuries Christains have brutally killed in the name of Christ and goodness of GOD, Please no one is going to tell me what is right or wrong, Just like you eat a damn pork chops, steaks, chickens and no one worries about the slaughter of these animals is just like we honor our spirits with the blood of the animals. The animals are not treated with cruelty or abuse trust me I have worked this religion for more than 20 years. 

ChildOfGod
ChildOfGod

Matthew 9:13 But go you and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

305carolann
305carolann like.author.displayName 1 Like

It's barbaric.  Mr. Cuoto feels the SAME way most people do... take this crap back to the shit hole you come from.  To compare Christianity to this form of religion is absurd.  Christians dont slice up Jesus and poor his blood all over the place.  Who the fuck does this kind of shit?  Educated cubans are appalled by this Juahito crap too!  No animal deserves to be treated in such a horrific manner,  Do the world a fucking favor and sacrifice each other!  Who believes that slicing an animal's neck open and allowing it to bleed out pleases God?  It has nothing to do with bigotry - it has to do with HUMANITY, with evolving with thinking with a rational mind and having a compassionate heart.  In my eyes, it's a sin to kill anything to please anyone.  A humane and loving GOD doesn't want a sacrifice - He wants you to treat all of his creatures with love and compassion.

Mr. Cuoto is a HERO for exposing how completely vile this stuff is.    There are plenty of people helping shelter pets!  How many people have the nuts to do what Cuoto does?  It's dangerous.  Frankly, the fact that he is able to keep his cool when he finds this shit is amazing.  I don't think I could.

jamiefoxer
jamiefoxer

@305carolann by the way, if you have so much courage to post all this, would you mind posting your Facebook profile or Twitter account, I mean...you don't have any problems launching anonymous hate spews....

jamiefoxer
jamiefoxer

@305carolann Actually, if you read your Bibble, Old testament, it teaches how God wanted to receive sacrifices: a ram, sacrificed upon an altar of stones.

Which is very, oddly, similar to the practice in Santeria and Palo, often involving animal sacrifices upon wooden, metal, or stone altars made of consecrated stones, sticks, herbs, or pots.

Ain't that something....sacrificing rams to an altar of stones in the Old Testament and sacrificing rams to a collection of stones in a Shango sacrifice.

Hmmmm.....guess Christianity ain't so different after all....

mabrown189
mabrown189

@jamiefoxer @305carolann  its really not but people know the Palo or Santeria religion from what they see on television or hear from a friend. They need to research the truth about Christianity before they judge.

mabrown189
mabrown189 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Elaine, I have been a practitioner of African Religion for a very long time I have never seen or participated with any form of animal cruelty. This video is a set up and a meat market for the town because in the religion  you are not allowed to torture your sacrifice. As skucklick stated, its a form of bigotry and discrimination. If you go to the back of a meat market you will see WORST, but this is not the practice or the religion. This is a view that makes the religion look brutal and its not 

ElaineinFL
ElaineinFL

@mabrown189 ANY religion which casts evil spells and enlists the help of evil spirits to harm any other human being is from the pit of HELL.  Christianity teaches LOVE ONE ANOTHER, DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO TO YOU.  Only Satan and his demons desire sacrifices and the suffering of innocent animals.  GOD desires MERCY, not sacrifice, why not try HIM and leave this primeval wickedness ALONE.  God can save you from this abomination in the name of His Son, Jesus the Christ, the LIGHT of the world!


ElaineinFL
ElaineinFL

Its about the cruelty and abuse, MORON!  Are you saying that the way these monsters are treating those innocent animals is OKAY?  If that is they way "people of color" treat animals, we do not tolerate that in a civilized culture!  If this is accepted in this religion, it is at the least unmerciful and at the worst, horrific animal abuse.  Don't try to make these evil, filthy, cavemen victims, they are perpetrators of egregious cruelty on poor, helpless ANIMAL VICTIMS!  If you want to act like this, go to flipping Africa, get the heck out of a civilized country and get back to your third world roots!  There is a God and you will stand before HIM one day! 

skucklick
skucklick like.author.displayName 1 Like

If Mr Couto tried his shenanigans with any religion other than one of a historically oppressed African religion, he would be in a secure facility somewhere. This is likely not about animals or he would be doing something about shelter pets. It's about a wanton desire for attention and a pathological hatred for people of color.

ElaineinFL
ElaineinFL

@skucklick Its a passion to help animals that NO ONE else is bothering to help and NO ONE is exempt from the laws of this great nation, if you want to live here, learn to read and become a law abiding citizen.  If you want to sacrifice helpless animals, treat them humanely and mercifully.  Trying to play the race card to defend this immoral behavior is perverse and we'll see if they court buys it.  I'm thinking NOT!  Go to Africa, the darkest corner of it!  Don't come to this country and think you can treat animals this cruelly and get away with it!  God Bless Couto!

skucklick
skucklick

"Darkest corner of Africa?" Really, ma'am?

mabrown189
mabrown189

@ElaineinFL @skucklick  but we do get away with treating animals like this in America its called the Butcher Shop

ElaineinFL
ElaineinFL

@mabrown189 @ElaineinFL @skucklick Did you watch the video?  This is not how animals are treated in slaughterhouses where laws protect them to some degree, any deliberate abuse is WRONG.  I DO NOT eat meat or dairy because I have a kind, compassionate heart that will not allow me to support ANY cruelty and I stopped when I saw how animals were treated, that is not part of who I am.  God Bless Couto for exposing the evil being done in the dark allies down there among the most wretched, vile savages.  Someone needs to get in there with the GOSPEL and preach some light, hope and compassion to some demon possessed brutes!  Only God can change hearts so black and wicked.  Please find HIM.  There is a better way, a way of peace, love, forgiveness without brutalizing innocent creatures or casting spells to harm others.  Try it!

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