USDA gives Roswell meat company go ahead to process horse meat
Roswell, NM (CNN) — A meat company in Roswell, New Mexico is getting the go ahead from the United States Department of Agriculture to process horse meat.
In just a few weeks, approximately mid-July, a New Mexico company will start up operations that some have called outrageous and cruel, butchering horses.
Blair Dunn, the attorney for the Valley Meat Company, said his clients have waited more than a year to get the permit finally granted by the USDA, but he still has doubts.
"You wonder whether or not this is actually going to stick, whether or not USDA will actually follow through and actually provide the inspectors," said Dunn.
Governor Susana Martinez is already distaste for the decision.
"It's disappointing that the federal government has said this is something that can be done, but I still don't support it," said Martinez.
Valley Meat said it will be creating about 40 jobs, but that is not enough to convince the Governor.
"Slaughtering our horses, I just don't see that as a positive way of creating jobs in New Mexico," said Martinez.
Dunn said horse meat is not consumed in the United States, and is told everything processed will be shipped abroad.
"The demand in Europe has gone up in countries like France, Belgium. Even the UK has seen a surge," said Dunn.
There has already been a surge in animal rights advocates coming forward to stop the operation. Dunn said several groups are suing, but argues that what Valley Meats is doing is humane for horses.
"Leaving them to starvation and neglect I think is far more inhumane than giving them a quick and painless death," said Dunn.
Officials plan to grant similar permits to horse processing operations in Iowa and Missouri.