(CBS NEWS) — Wild horses that roam America’s prairies are the very heartbeat of the old west. While some see majesty in their freedom, others see profit. Not in what horses bring to wranglers and ranchers, but to slaughterhouses for their meat.

Rick de los Santos of Roswell, New Mexico has spent tens of thousands of dollars to retrofit his slaughterhouse hoping to become the first meat plant since 2007 to butcher horses and export their meat.

The tough economy took its toll on de los Santos. He and his wife Sarah run this family business together. They’ve lost more than $200,000 over the past two years.

But they saw a new opportunity.

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