(DAILYMAIL) — A New Mexico meat company has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, accusing it of politically motivated inaction on its application to become the first domestic business to resume slaughtering horses for food.

Valley Meat Co. is seeking to force the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct inspections necessary to open what would be the nation’s first new horse slaughterhouse in more than five years.

The company and its owner, Rick de los Santos, have also sued the Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue, and Animal Protection of New Mexico, accusing the organizations of defamation during a yearlong dispute that has reignited debate over the humane treatment of horses and how best to control the nation’s exploding equine population.

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