In the culmination to a long and occasionally embarrassing struggle with both USDA and animal activists, a New Mexico meat plant received federal approval this week to begin operations as a horse meat plant.

Roswell, N.M.-based Valley Meat Co., after compliance with multiple federal requirements, and after filing a lawsuit charging that USDA was dragging its feet on approval, was notified that the department is indeed legally compelled to assign meat inspectors to the plant, allowing Valley Meat to become the first packing plant allowed to slaughter horses since Congress banned such operations in 2006.

The company quickly issued a statement touting its victory.

“Today, Valley Meat Company received its Grant of Inspection from USDA FSIS to process equine animals at its Roswell facility. Valley will now begin final preparation to hire 40 to 100 employees over the coming weeks and months so that they may go to work providing a humanely harvested, safe, legally compliant product to the world markets. Valley looks forward to working cooperatively with USDA FSIS to ensure that all applicable laws and regulations are followed.”

Let me help with that statement.