A suspicious fire has been reported at the Valley Meat Company plant in New Mexico, which plans to resume horse slaughter next week.
The fire occurred around the compressors that run the plant’s refrigeration system.
Authorities are investigating.
Reports suggested the damage may delay the opening of the plant, set for the next week.
The plant’s fate also rests on the outcome of a court hearing set for this Friday, in which horse advocates are seeking an injunction to stop the resumption of slaughter on US soil.
The plaintiffs, which include the Humane Society of the United States, argue that the US Department of Agriculture should not have given the plants approval without first conducting proper environmental reviews.
The department said it had no choice but to grant approval for the required mandatory inspections, provided applicants met all legal requirements.