According to the lawyer for Valley Meat Co USDA inspectors have cleared the slaughter facility to kill horses for their meat.
ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORT
ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — About 5 miles from this southeastern New Mexico town’s famed UFO museum, tucked between dairy farms, is a nondescript metal building that could be home to any number of small agricultural businesses.
But Valley Meat Co. is no longer just another agricultural business. It’s a former cattle slaughterhouse whose kill floor has been redesigned for horses to be led in one at a time, secured in a huge metal chute, shot in the head, then processed into meat for shipment overseas.
It’s also ground zero for an emotional, national debate over a return to domestic horse slaughter that has divided horse rescue and animal humane groups, ranchers, politicians and Indian tribes.
And Tuesday, it moved one step closer to becoming the first plant in the country in more than six years to slaughter horses, with a successful inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
At issue is whether the majestic symbols of Western culture are livestock or pets, and whether it is more humane to slaughter them domestically than to ship tens of thousands of neglected, unwanted and wild horses thousands of miles to be slaughtered in Mexico or Canada.
Front and center in the debate is Rick De Los Santos, who along with his wife, Sarah, has for more than two decades worked this small slaughterhouse, taking in mostly cows that were too old or sick to travel with larger herds to the bigger slaughterhouses for production.
Food Product Design reports:
Valley Meat Company is one of six businesses that have applied for approval to slaughter horses. In addition to Valley Meat Company, FSIS is reviewing applications from Missouri-based Rains Natural Meats and Iowa-based Responsible Transportation LLC. The other applications were either incomplete or the applicant lost contact with the agency, she said. Read more here >>