Roswell-area slaughterhouse is ground zero in horse debate

Posted at: 04/23/2013 8:01 AM
By: JERI CLAUSING Associated Press

ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) - Federal agriculture officials are scheduled to visit the southeastern New Mexico town of Roswell Tuesday for an inspection of a proposed horse slaughterhouse.

Valley Meat Co. is a former cattle slaughterhouse whose kill floor has been redesigned for horses to be led in one at a time, secured in a huge metal chute, shot in the head, then processed into meat for shipment overseas.

It's also become ground zero for an emotional, national debate over a return to domestic horse slaughter that has divided horse rescue and animal humane groups, ranchers, politicians and Indian tribes.

The company hopes the inspection ends a yearlong political drama that has left it idle and made owner Rick De Los Santos and his wife, Sarah, targets of vandalism and death threats.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)