Arsonist halts cattle plant’s transition to horse slaughterhouse

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A fire burning Valley Meat Co.’s building in New Mexico halted a company’s plan to convert the cattle plant into a horse slaughterhouse. The fire harmed a part of the building’s exterior and a refrigeration unit.

Lt. Britt Snyder of the Chaves County Sheriff’s Department said fire officials were investigating the cause of the fire, but the fire seems to have been intentional. Snyder referred to the blaze as “very suspicious.” There are no known suspects.

This horse slaughterhouse was to be the first operational one in the nation since federal courts and state lawmakers closed the last three plants in 2007. While about 80 percent of the American public opposes the human consumption of horse meat, most horse meat is exported to countries where it is eaten.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued the slaughterhouse operator an inspection permit, which the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) called a “mystifying and horrifying decision.” 

Earlier this month, the HSUS and a few other organizations and private individuals filed a lawsuit against the National Environmental Protection Act to stop this plant from opening. The lawsuit accused the agency of failing to conduct the necessary environmental review before allowing the slaughterhouse to operate.

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