What timing: With Europe trying to rein in a horse meat scandal, the US may give the green light to a horse slaughtering plant in New Mexico. The facility, which would produce horse meat that's safe to eat, could get Agriculture Department approval within the next two months, the New York Times reports. The production of US horse meat for humans requires USDA inspection—and the department hasn't offered the service since 2007, after a move by Congress prohibited the USDA from funding such inspections. As such, the meat hasn't been processed here since 2007—but the financing ban expired in 2011.
A USDA rep says the White House wants Congress to renew it, and the Humane Society, citing issues with horse drug treatments, is calling on the USDA to hold off on approving such facilities. But Valley Meat, which owns the New Mexico plant, sued the USDA in 2012 over the lack of inspections; it's one of "several" companies calling for the inspections to be relaunched. A lawyer for Valley Meat says he was told by the Justice Department that the USDA intends to issue a grant of inspection within 60 days. The Times notes that the company does not intend to sell its meat in the US.