In 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.
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.