Protesters set to converge on a reopened slaughterhouse in Westwold say the Interior is joining a rare and shameful list of facilities that slaughter horses.
KML Meat Processors, according to federal documents posted online, is slaughtering and processing horses — one of only five such facilities in Canada.
The operation is at the former Medallion Meats plant in Westwold that closed more than five years ago.
The company refused repeated interview requests from The Daily News.
Jacquie Sharpe, a horse owner who lives in Canoe, is urging people to come to Westwold elementary school at 11 a.m. on Saturday, then travel to the plant to show disgust at the practice.
"They're not licenced to slaughter anything else at the plant," said Sharpe, adding the technique is inhumane and most Canadians are revolted at the practice.
Horse slaughter for human consumption is not permitted in the United States. But many of those animals are shipped across the border for processing in Canada.
News reports say in 2011 nearly 90,000 horses were slaughtered in Canada. Horse meat is eaten by consumers principally in Quebec in this country. It is considered a delicacy in Japan but has been the subject of scandal in Europe when discovered in lasagna and other commercial foods.
"My objection is I believe it's a hidden industry and the majority of Canadians disagree with the practice of slaughtering horses for export consumption, Sharpe said.
Sharpe added hidden video taken by horse advocates at kill plants shows inhumane practices.
"They're processing horses in cattle plants."
The nearest registered slaughterhouse for horses is in Fort McLeod, Alta.
Another horse owner who will be at the protest Saturday took personal action in the past by purchasing a feral horse that was slated for slaughter and meat processing.
"I still have her," Belinda Lyall of the horse she bought a decade ago. "She had a foal a month after I got her."
Lyall said horses are sold through auctions and purchased by meat buyers.
"The industry is expanding."