According to a news source, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted permission for slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Iowa to convert their facilities into horse-processing plants, the first such facilities to be licensed since Congress banned the practice seven years ago. Other applications for horse-processing plants are reportedly being considered in Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Before horse slaughter can begin, however, plants must be inspected by USDA inspectors who have reportedly not yet been hired. “This is very far from over,” an attorney for the New Mexico plant was quoted as saying. “The company is going to plan to begin operating in July. But with the potential lawsuits and the USDA—they have been dragging their feet for a year—so to now believe they are going to start supplying inspectors, we’re not going to hold our breath.” See The Associated Press, June 28, 2013; Emporiagazette.com, July 11, 2013.