Federal officials approve horse slaughter inspection permit

Horse on his way to slaughter.

ABC NEWS reports:

Federal officials cleared the way Friday for a return to domestic horse slaughter, granting a southeastern New Mexico company’s application to convert its cattle facility into a horse processing plant.

In approving Valley Meat Co.’s plans to produce horse meat, Department of Agriculture officials also indicated they would grant similar permits to companies in Iowa and Missouri as early as next week.

With the action, the Roswell, N.M., company becomes the first operation in the nation licensed to process horses into meat since Congress effectively banned the practice seven years ago.

But the company’s attorney said on Friday that he remained skeptical about Valley Meat Co.’s chances of opening any time soon, as the USDA must send an inspector to oversee operations and two animal rights groups have threatened lawsuits to block the opening.

“This is very far from over,” attorney Blair Dunn said. “The company is going to plan to begin operating in July. But with the potential lawsuits and the USDA — they have been dragging their feet for a year — so to now believe they are going to start supplying inspectors, we’re not going to hold our breath.”

The company has been fighting for the permit more than a year, sparking an emotional debate over whether horses are livestock or domestic companions.

The decision comes more than six months after Valley Meat Co. sued the USDA, accusing it of intentionally delaying the process because the Obama administration opposes horse slaughter.

The Justice Department moved Friday to dismiss the case. Dunn said he would fight to keep it open until all issues, including attorneys’ fees, are resolved.

Valley Meat Co. wants to ship horse meat to countries where people cook with it or feed it to animals.

The plant would become the first horse slaughterhouse to operate in the country since Congress banned the practice by eliminating funding for inspections at the plants. Congress reinstated the funding in 2011, but the USDA has been slow in granting permits, citing the need to re-establish an oversight program.

The USDA said it also expects to issue permits next week for Rains Natural Meats in Missouri and Responsible Transportation in Iowa.

“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,” USDA spokeswoman Courtney Rowe said.

“The administration has requested Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter. Until Congress acts, the Department must continue to comply with current law.”

The Obama administration’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year eliminates funding for inspections of horse slaughterhouses, which would effectively reinstate the ban. And both the House and Senate agriculture committees have endorsed proposals that would cut the funding. But it is unclear when and if an agriculture appropriations bill will pass this year.

Link to source article on ABC.com >>

8 thoughts on “Federal officials approve horse slaughter inspection permit”

  1. Is only one word to describe this…. grossly insanity…We are heading into dangerous times.. I truly believe just about the whole fricxxg world is on heavy duty drugs ..especially the ones who are running the country…..


  2. Isn’t this New Mexico facility the one where the guy shot the horse and then buthered it right there on YouTube? Wasn’t that appalling enough? Also what was the reason this “processing plant” stopped slaughtering cattle? Is this owner even an American? He looks Mexican to me. Also his wife. This all makes me sick.


  3. Heres more crap from sue

    Dear Arlene Orlando,

    Below please find a press release in regards to the welcome news that the horse processing industry will once again be able to provide a humane option that provides value and a good use for horses otherwise at high risk of abandonment and abuse, as well as jobs and opportunity in hard hit rural and tribal communities.

    Attached are information and answers to frequently asked questions that apply to the horse processing industry as a whole.

    “The Promise of Cheval,” is a documented report that was previously released by IEBA. It is linked here, as well as attached below.

    As the chairman and the U.S. representative on the International Equine Business Association I will make myself available to answer the questions from the press that will inevitably arise as the result of this renewed opportunity to improve the welfare of horses and horse people in the United States, and to point to accurate information instead of the misinformation and defamation campaigns of radical animal rights activist groups.

    sue’s sig
    U.S. Chairman

    International Equine Business Association





    Friday, June 28, 2013

    Contact: Sue Wallis, U.S. Chair

    307 680 8515 – sue.wallis@ieqabassn.org

    Return of Humane and Regulated Horse Processing is Welcome News

    The majority of the overall equine industry and the horse people of America are celebrating today the announcement that the option of humane and responsible horse processing under federal oversight has finally been granted. Valley Meats of Roswell, New Mexico, announced today that they have received the necessary USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) grant of inspection.

    “The U.S. horse industry owes a huge debt of gratitude to Valley Meats and the De Los Santos family,” says Sue Wallis, Wyoming State Representative and U.S. Chairman of the International Equine Business Association, “without their determination and courage to stand up to vicious abuse from animal activist groups led by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) the entire horse world would be facing the continued devastation of the horse market, horrific environmental degradation of rangelands due to the absence of a humane option for excess horses, the unacceptable decline in overall horse welfare as the result of radical action that deprives otherwise unwanted and unneeded horses of their intrinsic worth…not to mention depriving the rich, cultural and traditional use of horse meat in the cuisines of ethnic groups, and health and value conscious consumers both here and abroad.”

    Wallis goes on to say that “for the majority of people who are in the horse business, who actually make some part of their living by raising, training, or otherwise using horses for the benefit of themselves, their families, and communities, this welcome news is long in coming. Finally, we can look forward to a positive outcome where every horse has value, is treated humanely from birth to death. When their highest, best use is to be turned into food for a very willing and eager market, horse people generally agree that is best accomplished in small state-of-the-art facilities, such as Valley Meats, that are designed for the purpose, manned by trained professionals, under the watchful and rigorous inspection of the USDA – Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) for both food safety and humane handling. IEBA members have instituted systems that go far beyond FSIS requirements to ensure that no contaminated cheval (horse meat) ever enters the food system, and that all horses are treated right at every point. ”



  4. This is the most unbelievable thing I think I have ever encountered… USDA is against it but gave them a go, the Attorney General in NM says it’s altered meat which it is so can’t be sold, but they still can open? shall I go on, this makes NO since to me NONE, what the hell I am sorry but is going on??? If this takes place I swear it will be a devastation for the horses obviously the towns the people, our COUNTRY what is the matter with our GOV> it is SO obvious that this is NOT a venture the American people want the MAJORITY, absolutely sick it endorses the very thing pro slaughter claims it will help , it ENDORSES OVER BREEDING oh my god it does not take a rocket scientist to SEE it CLEARLY whether you want to see it or not ……. SOMEONE in our GOV. better step up and stop this I mean oh my god MY TAX DOLLAR OUR TAX DOLLAR I don’t think so,, NO NO NO


    1. It all seems surreal. However, keep in mind that NM AG said it won’t happen oin his state. Obama instructed defunding of inspections. USDA has been forced to issue permits by court due to some statutory limitation. Advocacy groups will sue to stop Valley Meats. Obama promised he will sign a ban on slaughter if it gets to his desk.

      Don’t give up. The horses and mules and burros have friends on many important places. But we can’t hold our breath, we must act and Now.

      Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


  5. These names are a joke, right? Rains Natural Meats in Missouri and Responsible Transportation in Iowa.

    Slap organic, natural food in the face or is this an underhanded way of admitting he will be in the business of slaughtering wild horses. After all, it has been the habit of BLM to allow sale authority buyers to do as they will.

    And Reliable Transportation!?! Really? Well, I guess the transporters are now going to fix those bald tires, bad brakes, worn out hoses – since they won’t be driving over the international borders now.

    I must be asleep still.


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