Welcome to Habitat For Horses!|Thursday, November 20, 2014

Horse slaughterhouse opening on hold 

Valley Meat Plant

Our hopes have come true, at least for a while, in New Mexico where a state judge has temporarily put a halt on horse slaughter due to the NM Attorney General’s lawsuit. Perhaps this will truly be the Year of the Horse.~ HfH

From: Albuquerque Journal
By: Lauren Villagran

Valley Meat New Mexico

A state district judge has issued a restraining order temporarily preventing this Roswell slaughterhouse from opening. Owner Valley Meat Co. wants to use the building for horse slaughter. (Pat Vasquez-Cunningham/Albuquerque Journal)

A state district judge on Monday issued a temporary restraining order to prevent a Roswell horse slaughterhouse from opening this week before a hearing scheduled for Friday.

The company previously said it planned to open on Jan. 1.

Valley Meat Co. attorney Blair Dunn said the company expected to wait to start operations until management has clarity on two remaining hurdles: the lawsuit filed by State Attorney General Gary King in the 1st Judicial District earlier this month and a wastewater discharge permit required by the state Environment Department.

Judge Matthew Wilson scheduled a hearing for Friday for Valley Meat to show cause for why the temporary restraining order “should not be extended or a preliminary injunction issued,” according to the order.

The potential opening of what would be New Mexico’s only horse-slaughtering facility has been at the heart of an emotional debate over how the state, and the nation, should handle unwanted horses. Currently, the U.S. exports tens of thousands of horses to Mexico and Canada each year, an unknown percentage destined for slaughter.

The Valley Meat plant previously was a beef slaughterhouse, but has been closed since March 2012.

In the lawsuit, King charged that Valley Meat has chronically failed to comply with state environmental and safety laws over the years, and sought a temporary restraining order, as well as a preliminary and permanent injunction to prevent the slaughterhouse from opening.

Dunn denies the allegations against Valley Meat, saying of King’s lawsuit, “Their legal claim is not substantiated.”

The attorney general filed his lawsuit after a federal appeals judge rescinded an injunction that had kept the slaughterhouse from opening as a separate lawsuit winds its way through the federal appeals system

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