Federal inspection permitted at 2 horse plants

An Iowa company says it has been granted an inspection permit from the USDA to slaughter horses. It is the second plant this week to receive approval from the Agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) – the first one is in New Mexico and a third plant, located in Gallatin, Missouri, (in northwest Missouri), reportedly could receive a permit this week.

Because Congress lifted the ban on funding of federal inspection of horse slaughter plants in 2011 – the agency is by law required to make sure the facilities meet the requirements of the Federal Meat Inspection Act.

The owner of the plant in Sigourney, Iowa, tells the Cedar Rapids Gazette they plan to employ 25 people and are considering markets for the processed horse meat. Selling it as zoo feed is one option. He says they will “humanely euthanize” horses.

The next step is for federal inspectors to make sure all guidelines are met before operations can begin.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is seeking to remove funding for horse slaughter inspection and the Senate ag appropriations bill zeros out funding for those inspectors.

Some anti-horse slaughter groups are seeking to overturn the permit approvals through an emergency injunction.

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