A Colorado group has found out that a New Mexico slaughterhouse is trying to become the first in the nation to be certified to slaughter horses for meat. The Valley Meat Company's plant in Roswell has been cited in the past for inhumane handling of cattle.


A Colorado group has found out that a New Mexico slaughterhouse is trying to become the first in the nation to be certified to slaughter horses for meat. The Valley Meat Company's plant in Roswell has been cited in the past for inhumane handling of cattle.

Colorado's Front Range Equine Rescue first uncovered the plan, which has also been condemned by the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

Bruce Wagman, an attorney for Front Range Equine Rescue, makes a case for keeping horses from the abbatoir.

"Horses just are our American icons. They provide us with companionship, with work, with their lives. And their lives shouldn't end hanging from an hook in a slaughter plant."

Horse slaughter for meat has been blocked since Congress withheld funds for USDA inspections of horse meat plants in 2006. But Congress has renewed inspection funding, and several plants are now under consideration, including one in Missouri.

Elizabeth Jennings, who heads Animal Rescue New Mexico, says it's a false choice to suggest that slaughtering be done in the U.S. instead of other countries such as Canada or Mexico. Her point is that there are humane alternatives to killing unwanted horses.

"We want to see a comprehensive safety net for horses, that's compassionate, put in place in America, just like we have for unwanted dogs and cats."

Bruce Wagman says that, unlike other livestock, horses are usually raised as companion or sport animals, and are given drugs and other supplements that are unsafe for human consumption.

"The danger of horse meat is so overwhelming that, you know, the question has got to arise, 'Do we want to take that chance?'"

A 2012 national poll has found 80 percent of Americans favor banning horse slaughter for human consumption. The opposition crosses all partisan, regional and gender lines.