Horse slaughter house gets USDA approval

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ROSWELL, NM. (CNN) - A meat company in Roswell New Mexico is getting the go ahead to process horse meat.

Laura Thoren tells us when the plant will start.

In just a few weeks.

Blair Dunn, Valley Meat Company attorney:  "Probably mid-July"

A New Mexico company will start up operations -- some have called outrageous and cruel… butchering horses.

Gov. Susana Martinez, (R) New Mexico:  "It's kind of a reserved victory for them."

That's because Blair Dunn, the attorney for Valley Meat Company says his clients have waited over a year to get the permit finally granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

And still - he has doubts.

"You wonder whether or not this is actually going to stick, whether or not USDA will actually follow through and actually provide the inspectors."

The governor is already expressing distaste for the decision.

"It's disappointing that the federal government has said this is something that can be done, but I still don't support it."

Though valley meats says it'll be creating jobs.

"Right off the bat the plant needs about 40 people."

"Slaughtering our horses, I just don't see that as a positive way of creating jobs in New Mexico."

"Horse meat is not consumed in the United States. We're told everything processed will be shipped abroad."

"The demand in Europe has gone up in countries like France, Belgium. Even the UK has seen a surge."

And there's already been a surge in animal rights advocates coming forward to stop the operation.

Dunn says several groups are suing.

Though he argues-- what valley meats is doing is humane for horses.

"Leaving them to starvation and neglect I think is far more inhumane than giving them a quick and painless death."

KOAT reports officials plan to grant similar permits to horse processing operations in Iowa and Missouri.

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