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NM Judge Blocks Horse Slaughter – At Least Until Friday Hearing

Update: At the Jan. 3, 2014, hearing, the temporary retraining order was extended by 10 days to Jan. 13, at which time the judge will hear oral arguments from the parties in the case.

New Mexico District Court Judge Matthew Wilson issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on Monday to prevent Valley Meat of Roswell, NM, from opening as planned on Wednesday, Jan. 1. The judge’s action halts horse slaughter operations at Valley Meat under USDA inspection at least until Friday, when a hearing is scheduled. The company plans to export horsemeat for human consumption, most likely to Asia and Europe.

Valley Meat’s plans were previously put on hold until Dec. 13, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit lifted an earlier TRO, stating it was likely that USDA and the company would prevail in an ongoing federal challenge. But, on Dec. 19, New Mexico Attorney General Gary King filed for a state TRO on somewhat different grounds.

“With the newly scheduled hearing, the court can now more fully consider the dangers posed by commercial horse slaughter and Valley Meat’s long history of non-compliance with existing laws,” King said in a statement issued after his office obtained the TRO.

King called commercial horse slaughter “a new untested enterprise that poses health and environmental risks to New Mexicans.”

“Horses in America are not raised to be eaten, and are widely administered drugs that are forbidden for use in food animals,” he added.

Blair Dunn, an attorney for Valley Meat, told the Albuquerque Journal that King’s allegations are not substantiated. He said the former beef plant will work through both the attorney general’s court challenge and its pending application for a state water discharge permit. Valley Meat is seeking a so-called “pump and haul” discharge permit, which Dunn said can be resolved with the state in a couple of weeks.

“Judge Wilson has only seen their side of the story so far,” Dunn said about the latest legal challenge. “I expect that when this judge gets all the facts put in front of him, he will dismiss this one, too.”

King’s request for a TRO was originally assigned to First District Judge Raymond Z. Ortiz, who had to recuse himself due to a peremptory challenge. The case was then assigned on Dec. 23 to Wilson, who is Santa Fe’s family court judge. He signed the TRO ahead of the hearing set for Friday and without any written arguments.

© Food Safety News
  • AllenLadd

    as my good friend Shane correctly warned you, it was premature for you to report that a TRO would not be issued, wasn’t it, Dan Flynn ? Are you beginning to learn not to report A. Blair Dunn’s bombast, which is nothing but hearsay, as if it were fact verified by two sources ? Now Dunn is stating confidently that when the judge hears the facts, he will dismiss this case too. Well he’s been wrong all along why would he not be wrong this time too ? The “pump and haul permit” will not be resolved within a few weeks, not likely before February. It is very likely by then the issue of funding for federal inspectors will be resolved long before that so once again A. Blair Dunn is just blowing smoke !

  • dk

    Where are the details of the peremptory challenge for First District Judge Raymond Z. Ortiz? Thank you, New Mexico District Court Judge Matthew Wilson, for issuing the TRO.

  • savinghorses2

    Undunne again! He keeps Grandstanding pointing the crooked finger and getting louder! Really? Serious. AG King has been quiet and respectful, Not Grandstanding. As for All the made up facts and revealing Sensitive Company Data publicly this shows Dunne would Undo any company with his lack of professionalism and sporting attitude. The fact is he has Statex Everyone against slaughter is grandstanding. Its to confuse the judge and public with a media blitz. Dunne seems to feel its working. What happens when it doesnt? Well they submit a hundred or so page paper saying what the judge would want to hear instead of what is currently happening in transport out of the state to slaughter and that if they feed horses for a hundred and eighty days the cost of feeds would destroy profit margin Completely.

    • Curt

      Wonderful point that feeding a horse for 180 days is not economically feasible. Here in Missouri hay is $6 a bale. We feed 1/2 a bale a day to each horse. that is $3 x 180 = $540. Lil Ricky says he will make $350 per horse……Good luck!

  • gail

    This is the best news yet. If this judge does his homework beyond the state of new mexico, he will see exactly what will happen to your environment. I live in Illinois where the last slaughter plant closed. The company left damage to the environment and fines for violations unpaid. It is very sad to see people taking advantage of the poor economy. I was part of a group that drove to Springfield for every meeting and hearing. It goes without question the slaughtering and transportation of our equines out of our country is not wanted by 80% of Americans. Would you feed your family tainted meat? Thank you attorney general king for your position on this subject. I just hope the judge can see through all the untruths about horse slaughter. A very good source of reference ms bacon, the past mayor of Kaufman, Texas.

    Gail wiot
    Orland park, illinois

    .

  • Lisa Warriner

    Thank you

  • DeedieFay

    Thank you from my horses and me!

  • Plutocracy Politician

    Keep it closed? I guess unwanted horses will fair better when they are abandoned or sent to inhumane slaughter plants in Mexico.

  • Teri

    Tama, I cannot agree with you more. Inspectors? What the hell kind of inspectors would actually, and they DO, there are videos of it, would start cutting apart an innocent companion animal before they are even deceased?! INSPECTORS??!? What kind of lobbyist pocket lined INSPECTORS are they?? I also agree and have been saying for years that there needs to be funds set aside, and trust me, there are funds if used correctly, to limit the breeding of our gorgeous, majestic wild horses, and the chronic breeding of racing, QH’s, and other breeders, how about taxing them, as they just sold ONE horse in Lexington, KY, for 4 MILLION dollars, and one racing auction in Nov. brought in over a hundred million dollars, let’s have some laws for the bigwigs down there and everywhere that are spending millions on one horse, use that money towards eradicating this companion animal slaughter issue for once and for all. People just breed and breed and breed them, with no regards to their futures. The almighty dollar is speaking. Time for the almighty dollar to start coming out of their pockets and going for the horses they bring into the world. This is the USA for Heaven’s sake! WHAT are we doing? This is sick. And, I will tell all of you, as horse owners, not one of them has not had a vet at one time or another give them a shot of something that is not supposed to be in meat. Ugh, makes me sick to even type that word. May every person that murders, are involved with murdering them, and eating them, suffer the effects of that medication. Karma is a …..

  • 14151617

    Well the TRO is in place untill 1/13/2014 when a full hearing is scheduled.

  • Plutocracy Politician

    If you don’t like this industry, don’t participate. Personally, I have no interest in owning or eating a horse, but this seems like a solution for several problems. Why do you feel the need to impose your beliefs on others?

    • Michelle

      because we do have horses and we are in this industry and believe it is wrong.

  • 123tl78

    Good news for now. Don’t encourage people who never cared about horses to make money off of them please. This man in New Mexico was already shut down due to violations with his beef slaughterhouse. Why would we want to encourage this behavior? Horses are companion/work animals. If you can’t feed your horse or commit to it, just please don’t get another horse and stop breeding so many horses. The wild horses should be federally protected and not pushed off of public lands to make way for livestock farms and energy producers. At the most there are 75,000 wild horses (that number varies) and millions of livestock on public lands and supposedly there is an overpopulation of wild horses? They should not be sent to slaughter either and should be thriving on public lands. Don’t dump your domestic horse in the desert when you don’t want to feed it anymore. There is nothing humane about horse slaughter and they shouldn’t be sent to other countries either for slaughter like some people in the quarter horse and racing industry has been doing for years. They are pumped full of drugs to perform and to mask injuries. There are some good horse owners but not enough. The culture needs to change for more responsible breeding and care of horses in general. They helped settle lands, rode soldiers into war, worked to plow fields and deserve better. The US doesn’t want horse slaughter.

  • Gloria Kersey

    God forbid they open this chamber of horrors! Stop the slaughterhouses and save the horses! These creeps want to get rich on the misery of horses!

  • Lynn Clark-Perser

    OK OK LOOK PEOPLE ITS ABOUT THE HORSES. THE “WILD” HORSES OF THE UNITED
    STATES OF AMERICA BEING ROUND UP HELD IN PENS SEPARATED FROM THERE
    FAMILY’S BY THE “BLM” ON PUBLIC LAND DO YOU SEE THIS “PUBLIC LAND” FREE
    LAND THAT DOES NOT BELONG TO ANYONE BUT THE “WILD” ANIMALS THAT LIVE ON
    IT. THERE BEING HALL D OFF TO SLAUGHTER HOUSES IN MEXICO AT NIGHT AND
    ALL BECAUSE THE CATTLE COMPANY’S COMPLAIN THERE EATING ALL THE “FREE
    RANGE GRASS” FROM PUBLIC LAND THAT THE CATTLE HAVE NOTHING TO EAT.I
    COULD GO ON AND ON ABOUT ALL THE WOOL BEING PULLED OVER EVERYONES EYES
    BY WHY. THE CATTLE COMPANY’S PUT UP FENCES TO 1. KEEP THERE CATTLE IN,
    AND 2. TO KEEP THE UNWANTED OUT RIGHT? “RIGHT” THEN WHY ARE THE
    COMPLAINING ABOUT THE “WILD HORSES” EATING UP THE “FREE RANGE GRASS
    LAND” WHEN THERE CATTLE SHOULD NOT BE ON PUBLIC LAND IN THE FIRST PLACE.
    I GUESS WHEN HUNTING SEASON COMES AROUND THEY CAN SELL TAGS TO SHOOT
    CATTLE ON “PUBLIC LAND” JUST AS THEY DO DEER, ELK, FOX, RABBIT RIGHT?
    JUST FOOD FOR THOUGHT…..ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Country_Concerned1

    The do-gooders are at it again. My take is that it should be put to a referendum vote in the US with a covenant. Those that vote no have to cough up the trillion dollars lost to the US economy since its closure. They should at least be charged the 50 billion per annum in lost tax revenue from the devastated horse industry since its closure. Put some dollar value to it and see who votes in which direction. Welfare recipients would be charged in the form of reduced benefits.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

    And Rains Natural Meats dropped its DNR waste water appeal in Missouri, effectively ending this battle.

    http://168.166.15.111/DataTier/Documents/Repository/0/0/1/5/8b09dba8-a1dc-4196-a72f-58e4956ffe47.pdf

  • Dani Kellogg

    I am a horse owner and shame on you Mr. Dunn. Yes I don’t like the fact of slaughtering horses at first, yes you say it’s done in a nice manner, but that’s Bull….on top of that What I have put into my horses as far as medicine s and pro feed that stuff doesn’t just come right out of the meet. Your obviously in it for more money and don’t care about the human safety. Thank God for a smart enough Judge who see s that. Go get em Mr. King.