The attorney representing newly licensed horse slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Iowa says the plants are set to open Aug. 5.
But lawyer Blair Dunn says those plans hinge on an Aug. 2 court date before a federal judge in New Mexico overseeing a lawsuit by animal protection groups.
The Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue of Larkspur, Colo., and others filed the suit against the Department of Agriculture, alleging it failed to conduct the proper environmental reviews before issuing permits for Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, N.M., and Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa.
Dunn says the judge will decide whether to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent the plants from opening. They would be the first horse slaughterhouses to operate domestically since 2007.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.