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Proposed horse slaughterhouse polarizes industry

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Emaciated horses barely cling to life at a New Mexico auction house. People unable to afford the rising cost of hay dump horses on the side of the road.

As horse rescue operations struggle to keep up with a growing number of neglected, abused and starving animals, a Roswell, N.M., businessman wants to open what would be the first horse slaughterhouse to operate in the United States in five years.

The proposal has reignited emotional debate over what constitutes humane treatment of horses, and how best to control an exploding equine population. Supporters of domestic slaughter point to a 2011 Government Accountability Office report that shows horse abuse and abandonment on a steady rise. Others, including New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, are strongly opposed to resuming slaughter of "companion" animals.

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