Cross-posted from the Star Tribune
WRITTEN BY JOAN BARRON
CHEYENNE — A group of potential investors in a Fremont County horse slaughtering plant are watching the national political scene to see whether such projects can get started in other states.
Valley Meat Co. — a proposed slaughterhouse in Roswell, N.M. — is slated to open in late April.
According to published reports, the plant is expected to receive approval despite strong opposition from various advocacy groups, including the Humane Society of the U.S., and efforts to block it in Congress.
Four members of Congress recently introduced federal legislation to ban the slaughter of American horses and to prohibit shipping horses out of the country for slaughter.
The attorney for the owner of the Valley Meat Co. in Roswell is A. Blair Dunn. The plant’s plans are still on track, Dunn wrote Thursday in an email to the Star-Tribune.
If the Roswell plant opens, it will be the first operation to slaughter horses in the United States since 2007.
In Wyoming and particularly in Fremont County, there is considerable interest in establishing a horse slaughtering plant, said Keja Whiteman, a Fremont County commissioner.
“Nothing is set in stone but there definitely is interest for a multitude of reasons,” Whiteman said last week.
In addition to being centrally located, the county has a significant population of feral, as opposed to wild, horses.
“People are turning out their domestic horses out on tribal land and federal land in Fremont County,” Whiteman said. “And, frankly, horses are starving to death and the ones that aren’t are multiplying, and neither is good.”
Asked if people are turning out their horses to fend for themselves because they can’t afford to feed them, Whitman it’s hard to say because no one is coming forward to say the horses are theirs.
“We also have a large, untapped labor pool with the reservation. I think the reservation would be an ideal location,” she said, referring to the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Plans are on hold for now, she added.