WASHINGTON, June 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. Agriculture Department said Friday it would provide required inspections for a New Mexico plant that will slaughter horses for human consumption.
Agriculture Department spokeswoman Courtney Rowe said Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, N.M., has met all of the requirements of the Federal Meat Inspection Act, The New York Times reported.
While it has not yet been cleared to operate, the New Mexico facility is now another step closer to becoming the first horse slaughterhouse in the United States since Congress effectively banned the practice seven years ago.
Valley Meat said it was "encouraged that after well over a year of delay that the process has finally reached completion," the Times said.
Rowe said inspections services likely will be granted to two other plants "in the coming days," the Times said. Companies in Iowa and Missouri have applied to the department, which has not disclosed their names, the newspaper said.
The Obama administration wants Congress to put the ban on horse slaughtering back in place and legislation is making its way through committees. Rowe said the Agriculture Department must comply with current law, however, in dealing with companies desiring to start up horse slaughterhouses.