Arsonists set fire to a southeast New Mexico company called Valley Meat Co. which planned to resume domestic horse slaughter next week, the company's owner said Tuesday.
Chaves County Sheriff Rob Coon said fire officials were investigating but no official cause had yet been determined for the blaze. He said he remains concerned, however, that there will be trouble at the plant if it begins slaughtering horses.
Attempts by companies like Valley Meat Co. to resume domestic horse slaughter have ignited a divisive and emotional national debate that has resulted in a string of threats against owner, Rick De Los Santos, his family and his business.
On Saturday, De Los Santos said someone apparently jumped the fence, then poured accelerant over the compressors to his refrigeration unit. A passer-by alerted authorities. However, due to the fire, the company will be unable to open as planned Monday without a working refrigeration unit.
The company also goes to federal court today to fight attempts by The Humane Society of the United States and other groups to block the opening of Valley Meat and another recently approved horse slaughterhouse in Iowa.
Reprinted in part from www.agweek.com