Horse Processing a Necessary Option
Mar 26, 2013
Unthinkable for some and long overdue for others, it appears horse processing is about to resume in the U.S. for the first time since Congress ended it in 2007. Valley Meat Co. hopes to open a plant near Roswell, New Mexico by the end of April. Emotions and opinions on horse processing are strong and many as the debate rages on. Opponents can’t stand the idea of their beloved horses going to slaughter like cattle while supporters (including many horse owners) point to large numbers of abandoned and starving horses as proof of the need for processing as a humane end of life option. Even some who previously supported the end of processing now admit the unintended consequences of the ban. Sadly some who oppose the New Mexico plant, supposedly over concerns of treatment of the horses, have resorted to bomb and death threats at the plant site. Evidently they don’t believe in humane treatment for humans. Whether or not this plant opens remains to be seen. FSIS says it needs time to update its inspection process and the recent sequestration battle over meat inspectors may make it hard to add horse inspectors at this time. Still it seems the return to horse processing is more a question of when rather than if. The original ban, no matter how well intended by some, has failed to protect horses and in many cases made things worse. Resumption of processing doesn’t mandate anyone to send their horse to slaughter but it will provide a humane option that should not have been taken away in the first place.