U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01), a member of the House Agriculture Committee, released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a grant of inspection for a horse slaughter facility in Roswell, NM:
"I am deeply disappointed and saddened that the USDA is allowing horse slaughter to take place right here in New Mexico. By issuing a grant of inspection to Valley Meat Company in Roswell, the USDA has ignored the significant and compelling food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection concerns associated with this particular plant.
"It is completely irresponsible for the USDA to blame Congress for not acting when the USDA has failed to be an engaged and effective regulator in this process. I sent a letter to the USDA two months ago -- which has gone unanswered -- outlining numerous legal justifications for denying a grant of inspection to the Roswell plant and to other horse slaughter facilities. And recently, I joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to send a letter to the USDA urging it to defer any final decision until it fully considered all of these concerns.
"It is the job of the USDA to ensure that plant operators meet necessary standards before issuing grants of inspection. Based on his fraudulent applications and past felony convictions alone, the owner of Valley Meat does not come close to meeting those standards.
"I am personally dissatisfied with the USDA's leadership on this issue. It has failed to consider the views of the seventy percent of New Mexicans who oppose horse slaughter, a cruel process that causes great pain and distress to the animals. Horse meat also poses significant food safety issues that make it dangerous for human consumption.
"Although the USDA has declined to do its job, I remain optimistic that Congress will continue moving forward with a bipartisan solution to end this inhumane practice."