It has been announced that the option of humane and responsible horse processing under federal oversight has been granted. Valley Meats of Roswell, New Mexico, announced today that they have received the necessary USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) grant of inspection.
"The U.S. horse industry owes a huge debt of gratitude to Valley Meats and the De Los Santos family," says Sue Wallis, Wyoming State Representative and U.S. Chairman of the International Equine Business Association, "without their determination and courage to stand up to vicious abuse from animal activist groups led by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) the entire horse world would be facing the continued devastation of the horse market, horrific environmental degradation of rangelands due to the absence of a humane option for excess horses, the unacceptable decline in overall horse welfare as the result of radical action that deprives otherwise unwanted and unneeded horses of their intrinsic worth…not to mention depriving the rich, cultural and traditional use of horse meat in the cuisines of ethnic groups, and health and value conscious consumers both here and abroad."
Wallis goes on to say that "for the majority of people who are in the horse business, who actually make some part of their living by raising, training, or otherwise using horses for the benefit of themselves, their families, and communities, this welcome news is long in coming. Finally, we can look forward to a positive outcome where every horse has value, is treated humanely from birth to death. When their highest, best use is to be turned into food for a very willing and eager market, horse people generally agree that is best accomplished in small state-of-the-art facilities, such as Valley Meats, that are designed for the purpose, manned by trained professionals, under the watchful and rigorous inspection of the USDA – Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) for both food safety and humane handling. IEBA members have instituted systems that go far beyond FSIS requirements to ensure that no contaminated cheval (horse meat) ever enters the food system, and that all horses are treated right at every point. "