There is a battle going on, mostly behind the scenes, to open the first horse slaughterhouse in the United States.
Front Range Equine Rescue, an anti-slaughter group from Larkspur, Colorado, has revealed four names of horse slaughter applicants vying right along with Valley Meat. These five have filed applications on Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) forms with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
These five companies want to operate horse slaughtering plants in the United States:
Valley Meat, Roswell, New Mexico (population 48,386)
Filed application December 13, 2011. Opposed since then by Front Range Equine Rescue. Company has gone to court to get a federal judge to order FSIS to provide inspections. Company owned by Sarah and Ricardo de los Santos. Slaughterhouse was previously a beef plant that ran into financial problems.
Rains Natural Meats, Gallatin, Missouri (population 1,791)
Division of Pro Show Enterprises Inc., wrote January 15, 2013 cover letter signed by manager David Rains. Letter states company is starting changes in their HACCP Plan to address drug residue in horses.
Trail South Meat Processing in Woodbury, Tennessee (population 2,681)
Application is dated June 1, 2012. Known in foreign trade directory as a supplier of boxed frozen horse meat to Asia and Europe. Was started in 2012. Chief executive officer is Stanley Dobson.
Oklahoma Meat Company, Washington, Oklahoma (population 520)
Owner and manager listed on May 18, 2012 application is Ahsan Amil. This location in Oklahoma is very close to Norman and the University of Oklahoma.
Responsible Transportation, Sigourney, Iowa (population 2,059)
Company apparently turning Louis Rich plant into horse slaughterhouse. Want to be up and running by late spring or early summer 2013 to commence killing. Company is supported by Sigourney News-Review. President and chief executive officer is Keaton Walker. Des Moines office of USDA wrote company on December 26, 2012 that they cannot start operations until a “Conditional Grant of Inspection is issued, and provided a worksheet was completed “before or during” a walk-through.
As we know, Oklahoma has introduced legislation intended to lift its ban on horse slaughter with the caveat that the meat is processed exclusively for export only.
Originally, USDA declined to provide copies of the applications outside of the formal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process, but since the request filed by the Colorado horse rescue group was approved, FSIS opted to provide them to Food Safety News.
Per some experts, the consequences of having stopped horse meat inspections several years ago have resulted in more cruelty to animals that before. Per Food Safety News source, “The Government Accountability Office (GAO) of Congress documented those concerns in a report two years ago, and the Obama Administration and Congress opted to lift the ban a year later.”
Source: Food Safety News
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