(AP) - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the southern New Mexico plant that has been fighting for more than a year for permission to slaughter horses will open soon, unless Congress reinstates a ban on the practice.
In a telephone interview Tuesday, Vilsack said the department is working to make sure the process for opening what would be the first domestic horse slaughter house in six years is done properly.
Valley Meat Co. sued the Department of Agriculture last year, claiming that inaction on its application was driven by emotional political debates and that the delays had cost it hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The USDA re-inspected the plant last week.
The Obama Administration opposes horse slaughter, but Vilsack says it is duty bound to open the plant barring action from Congress.