A New Mexico processing facility that has been sitting idle for over a year received Federal permission Friday to convert operations to slaughter horses. Applications are expected to be approved for facilities in Iowa and Missouri next week.
The decision grants Valley Meat Co. permission to convert its facility from processing cattle to horses. The FSIS issued the grant of inspection Friday. Horsemeat from the facility would be exported to countries where it can be prepared for human and animal consumption.
According to the Associated Press, Valley Meat has been fighting for USDA approval for more than a year, filing a lawsuit against the USDA, claiming the Obama Administration intentionally delayed a decision.
The processing facilities will require approval from USDA inspectors before operations can begin. The New Mexico plant, located near Roswell, could be the first horse slaughter plant to operate since 2007.
Operation at the facility still has a long road ahead. The Associated Press notes a lack of funding in the Obama Administration's upcoming fiscal year budget and proposals from the House and Senate agriculture committees show a cut in funding for horse slaughter.
Facilities in Iowa and Missouri are expected to receive permits for horse slaughter during the first week of July.