Roswell-area Valley Meat Co.’s epic fight to attain federal approval to open the nation’s first horse slaughterhouse after a seven-year ban has ended, the plant announced Friday.
USDA’s move may allow the plant to open in early July, but the threat of legal action by national animal rights activist groups could delay plans.
The plant’s owner, Rick De Los Santos, will begin final preparation to open and hire 40 to 100 employees over the next few weeks and months, said attorney A. Blair Dunn.
“What we would really like to do is go to work, so it’s good to finally at least get the grant of inspection,” Dunn said.
USDA’s grant of inspection for Valley Meat ended a nearly 15-month permitting logjam and legal struggle for the plant.
The 7,200-square-foot plant proposes to accept horses from a third party, process the meat and deliver the resulting products to another company to be shipped abroad.
Beyond delays by the USDA, Valley Meat’s plans have sparked a national outcry from animal rights activists and public officials threatening legal and political action for months. Legal troubles and federal delays may not be over, Dunn suspects.
“Even though the USDA has issued a grant of inspection, until an inspector actually shows up at the plant, we don’t really trust they are going to now fulfill their word,” Dunn said. “There are plenty of national organizations Login to read more