Two animal advocacy groups, Front Range Equine Rescue and the Humane Society of the United States, have filed a 60-day notice to sue the U.S. Department of Agriculture if that agency agrees to provide inspections to a Roswell, N.M.-based slaughterhouse that hopes to begin processing horses. The Valley Meat Company would become the first U.S.-based plant to begin processing horse meat since the federal government restored funding for such operations.
According to a report in the Albuquerque Journal, officials with the Valley Meat Company expect the USDA to carry out a final walk-through of the plant next week, before deciding whether to issue a permit that would clear the way for horse-processing operations to begin.
The advocacy groups claim that the USDA has “failed to adhere to the Endangered Species Act because the agency did not consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the impact Valley Meats' proposed operations could have on threatened and endangered species in the area.”
The processing plant is located near the South Spring River and the Pecos River, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Bottomless Lakes State Park. The groups claim that waste water and other byproducts could threaten the habitats of several threatened or endangered species in the area.
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