The new year has begun with the resumption of domestic horse processing still in limbo in the U.S. Hurdles for the two plants approved by the USDA to begin horse slaughter currently exist at the state level but Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack tells Brownfield there have been and could be others. If overcome, he says, the agency will be ready with federal meat inspectors at the New Mexico and Missouri plants.
“Obviously, Congress could come in can reinstate the (horse slaughter) ban. Courts can basically provide injunctive relief. Courts can basically suggest that environmental concerns that have been raised at the state level are sufficient enough to prevent companies from doing this. But, if all the hurdles are cleared then it’s obviously our responsibility to comply with the law and we will.”
Last Friday, a state judge in New Mexico extended a temporary injunction against Valley Meats for another 10 days. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the judge needs more time to hear arguments from that state’s attorney general on his lawsuit against the plant.
The owner of the Missouri plant, Rains Natural Meats, continues to seek state approval from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to process horse meat.