While the owner of a New Mexico meat processing plant awaits approval from the USDA to begin processing horses for human consumption, that state’s governor is working to ensure such a facility never opens.
Horse slaughter has been blocked in the U.S. since 2006, when Congress withheld funds for USDA inspections of horse meat plants. However, the practice once again became possible in November of last year when Congress passed an appropriations bill restoring revenue for USDA horse meat inspections.
A month after the bill was passed, the owner of a Roswell meat processing plant submitted an application requesting placement of USDA personnel to carry out horse meat inspections. If the USDA grants the owner’s application, horse processing at the Valley Meat plant could begin shortly, with products intended for sale in Mexico.
Meanwhile, Governor Susana Martinez has announced her intentions to fight against horse processing in New Mexico. She was quoted: “A horse’s companionship is a way of life for many people across New Mexico. We rely on them for work and bond with them through their loyalty. Despite the federal government’s decision to legalize horse slaughter for human consumption, I believe creating a horse slaughter industry in New Mexico is wrong, and I am strongly opposed.”
Advocates of the legislation claim USDA-regulated facilities represent an improvement over the conditions at the foreign slaughterhouses to which 100,000 American horses each year. While acknowledging the suffering of horses slaughtered abroad, animal advocacy groups argue the answer is to stop sending horses away to be killed — not to start killing them here. We like that plan!
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