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New Mexico horse slaughterhouse receives approval to begin operations

The USDA is legally obligated to perform horsemeat inspections unless a slaughter ban is reinstated.

June 30, 2013

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HorseIn the ongoing battle over horse slaughter in the United States, the horsemeat industry has moved one step closer to victory. Valley Meat Co., an operation out of New Mexico, has received U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approval to begin slaughtering horses for meat.

Earlier this year, Valley Meat Co. sued the USDA for delaying the approval process of the slaughterhouse, even though horse slaughter has technically been legal in the U.S. since the 2012 fiscal year after five years of being effectively banned. While there is no viable domestic market for horsemeat, Valley Meat Co. and other aspiring horse slaughterers intend to sell the meat overseas in countries where it is routinely consumed. Prior to the 2006 ban on horse slaughter, this business model was used by foreign-owned companies operating horse processing plants on U.S. soil.

In order to process horsemeat, an operation must have federal inspections performed by the USDA. For its part, the USDA has been pushing for an outright ban of horse slaughter, a move that the Obama administration has said it supports.

"Since Congress has not yet acted to ban horse slaughter inspection, (the agriculture department) is legally required to issue a grant of inspection today to Valley Meats in Roswell, N.M., for equine slaughter," said USDA spokeswoman Courtney Rowe. "The Administration has requested Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter. Until Congress acts, the Department must continue to comply with current law."

Even with approval, Valley Meat Co. and other operations that may be approved in the near future will not be able to begin with their business of slaughtering equines until the USDA sends inspectors to the facility. As of right now, the USDA has not offered a timeline for when they plan to do so. Furthermore, with widespread congressional and public opposition to horse slaughter, a ban could be included in this year's agriculture appropriations bill, shutting down any plants that gain approval to process horses.

Further Reading
How Humane is Horse Slaughter?
Horse Slaughter Timeline

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New Mexico horse slaughterhouse receives approval to begin operations

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Reader Comments

Clarissa    Provo, UT

7/24/2013 10:44:22 AM

Thanks for posting all of those links Diana! I hope you also sent an email to Congress through the link I posted.

Diana    Kansas City, MO

7/20/2013 9:05:38 AM

I'm attempting to re-post this link on the SAFE act:


Diana    Kansas City, MO

7/20/2013 9:03:25 AM

Here is information on the SAFE act (Safeguard American Food Exports) that is in both the House and Senate with identical wording, and links where you can take action to stop horse slaughter. This will not only prevent horse slaughter in the U.S., but make it illegal to transport horses to Mexico or Canada for slaughter:


Please sign the petition to ban horse slaughter in the U.S.:


Here is a petition to Stop Horse Slaughter Factory in Missouri:


Diana    Kansas City, MO

7/20/2013 9:01:33 AM

Horse slaughter is a highly expensive proposition for taxpayers.

Each plant will cost taxpayers $400,000.00, according to this press release, for inspections. This issue crosses all party lines. Voters and politicians from all sides of the isle are against horse slaughter for a laundry list of reasons.

Here is the press release:


This is the worst economy since the Great Depression. In addition to the cost of the USDA inspecting plants, at a price tag of $400,000.00 per plant to U.S. taxpayers, the meat will not even be eaten in the U.S. Why should we, as American taxpayers, pay for these inspections?

Additionally, we have to factor in the taxpayer expense of police officers who will likely be taking more reports on horse theft and making more investigations into horse theft.

As a horse owner, the thought of horse theft and stolen horses ending up at slaughter concerns me greatly. I would hope that it would concern you, too. Many people think of their horses as family members.

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