Judge extends restraining order, temporarily blocking opening of NM horse slaughterhouse
Horse slaughter in Roswell has been stopped! For now at least. ~ HfH
By: Jeri Clausing AP News
SANTA FE, New Mexico — A Roswell company that has been fighting for two years to restart the slaughter of horses in the U.S. was dealt another setback Friday when a Santa Fe judge extended a temporary ban on its operations.
State District Judge Matthew Wilson put Valley Meat Co.’s planned opening on hold for 10 more days so he can hear testimony Jan. 13 in a lawsuit brought by New Mexico Attorney General Gary King, who is one of several parties trying to block the company in federal and state courts.
King filed the state lawsuit last month after a federal appeals court lifted its order barring the company from opening, saying The Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection groups had failed to show a likelihood of prevailing in their appeal of a lawsuit that was thrown out last year by a federal judge in Albuquerque.
Valley Meat owner Rick De Los Santos, who had been preparing to open after the first of the year, seemed unfazed by the latest delay.
“We’ve been going through this for two years now,” he said outside the courthouse. “We’ll see what happens in 10 days.”
King’s lawsuit alleges the company would violate the state’s food safety, water quality and unfair business practices laws.
Assistant Attorney General Ari Biernoff told the judge the company would be putting horse meat into the food chain without knowing what kind of drugs the animals might have been given in the past. He also argued that the plant would be violating environmental laws because it does not have the proper wastewater discharge permit.
Valley Meat attorney Blair Dunn argued that the state lacks jurisdiction because the meat would not be sold or consumed in the U.S. He told the judge the federal government has sole jurisdiction over meat shipped to international markets. He said the company is working with state environmental officials to ensure its waste is lawfully disposed of.