NM horse slaughter plant to open soonBy JERI CLAUSING
The Associated Press | May 01,2013ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The southern New Mexico plant that has been fighting for more than a year for permission to slaughter horses will open soon, unless Congress reinstates a ban on the practice, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday.
In a telephone interview Tuesday, Vilsack said the department is working to make sure the process is handled properly for the opening of what would be the first domestic horse slaughter house in six years.
“We are going to do this, and I would imagine that it would be done relatively soon,” Vilsack said.
Valley Meat Co. sued the Department of Agriculture last year, claiming that inaction on its application was driven by emotional political debates and that the delays had cost it hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The USDA re-inspected the plant last week.
“It will open unless Congress restores the ban on horse slaughter that they had in place,” said Vilsack. “If that doesn’t happen, then we are duty-bound to do what needs to be done to allow that plant to begin processing.”
The Obama Administration opposes horse slaughter. Its recent budget proposal eliminates funding for inspections of horse slaughter houses, which would effectively reinstate a ban on the practice. Congress eliminated that funding in 2006, which forced a shutdown of domestic slaughter facilities. But Congress reinstated the funding in 2011, prompting Valley Meat Co. and a handful of other businesses around the country to seek permission to open plants.
The debate over whether to return to domestic horse slaughter has divided horse rescue and animal humane groups, ranchers, politicians and Indian tribes.
At issue is whether horses are livestock or pets, and how best to control the nation’s exploding equine population. Supporters of horse slaughter point to a 2011 report from the federal Government Accountability Office that shows horse abuse and abandonment have been increasing since 2006. They say it is better to slaughter the animals in humane, federally regulated facilities than have them abandoned to starve across the drought-stricken West or shipped to inhumane facilities south of the border.
The number of U.S. horses sent to other countries for slaughter has nearly tripled since 2006. And many humane groups agree that some of the worst abuse occurs in the slaughter pipeline. Many are pushing for a both a ban on domestic slaughter as well as a ban on shipping horses to Mexico and Canada.
Vilsack says the administration understands the concerns and “needs to be more creative” in finding alternative solutions to horse overpopulation.MORE IN National / World BusinessWASHINGTON — U.S. Full StoryNEW YORK — Stocks ended the day mostly flat on Thursday, recovering from broad losses earlier in... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day 1739, 'Richard Palmer' identified in prison at York Castle as the notorious outlaw DICK TURPIN; IN 1836, Battle of the Alamo begins near San Antonio de Bexar, Texas; 1896, the Tootsie Roll invented by LEO HIRSCHFELD.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1472, Orkney, Shetland islands put up as collateral by Norway to Scotland in lieu of dowry for MARGARET OF DENMARK on her marriage with JAMES III, king of Scotland; 1962, JOHN GLENN first American to orbit Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City mayoral candidates debate campaign issues; Hartford, Conn., woman still missing; Neal Goswami reports attempts to legislate suicide; local woman loses 100 pounds through TOPS program.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1878, JOHN TUNSTALL murdered near Lincoln, New Mexico, by the outlaw JESSE EVANS; in 1930, ELM FARM OLLIE first cow to fly in aircraft, first to be milked airborne; 1955, nuke test WASP; '79, snow in Sahara.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Keays and staff writer Gordon Dritschilo discuss stories planned for the February 18, 2015, edition of the newspaper: Winter budgets maxed, legal marijuana, Springfield bank job, USPS slowdown
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1249 AD, ANDRE of LONGJUMEAU is dispatched by LOUIS IX of France to meet the KHAGAN, ruler of the Mongol Empire; in 1804, during 1st Barbary War, STEPHEN DECATUR scuttles the pirate-held USS Philadelphia in Tripoli.