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New Mexico Judge to Decide Friday Whether to Continue TRO on Horse Slaughter

After day-long testimony very similar to last October’s hearing examiner proceedings for a state ground water discharge permit, a state judge said Monday that he would issue an order Friday on whether to lift a temporary restraining order and allow Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, NM, to start slaughtering horses.

Meanwhile, New Mexico State District Court Judge Matthew Wilson continued his temporary restraining order against Valley Meat’s startup of processing horsemeat for export under USDA inspection.

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King is using a civil lawsuit in an attempt to block Valley Meat from becoming the first USDA-inspected horse slaughter operation since 2007.

A hearing officer for the New Mexico Department of the Environment has already recommended denial of a discharge permit for Valley Meat that the company needed to avoid having to collect and haul the blood and other slaughtering wastes.

The civil lawsuit says Valley Meat’s plans would violate state water quality and food safety laws. State officials testified both last October and yesterday that the company’s former beef processing operation repeatedly violated state water quality regulations.

Wilson also heard testimony from a Colorado veterinarian on the potential for horses having drug residues. Dr. Randy Parker said there is no evidence that 120 days in a feed lot would make the meat safe from drug residue.

Blair Dunn, Valley Meat’s attorney, challenged much of the testimony and said the company is working with the Department of Environment to ensure that it operates legally. Valley Meat is expected to challenge the hearing examiner’s recommendation that the discharge permit be denied, and Ryan Flynn, the state’s Secretary of the Environment, will make the final decision.

© Food Safety News
  • dk

    Hopefully this will be a moot point as the Federal Government will shut this down shortly.

  • crookedstick

    I hope Food Safety took note of the groundwater depth. Valley Meat’s lagoon is an an area that is 5-10feet below the surface. He allowed overflow an numerous times. He had 15′ high piles of offal rotting out back. Where was Food Safety back when this was happening?

  • ethanspapa

    Leave the horses alone . They once helped this country build itself. If it wasn’t for horses, the United States borders may of been Southern Maine to the North the Appalachian trail to the west and Georgia to the south. With Horses we have become the greatest country in the world with all the defects of character in it’s short history that we constantly live with and try to correct. We need to do a better job of it. Killing these gentle animals is not negotiable. We owe them to much.

  • fl

    Are any of you even aware of what the unwanted horse population is doing to the horse industry? Taking care of the 100,000 horses that become unwanted each year is expensive and will ultimately destroy the horse industry. Personally I think the benefits of horse slaughter outweigh the negatives.

    • Amy

      FL, so many people are listening to the bleeding heart animal RIGHTS people and refuse to listen to the animal WELFARE issues surrounding horse processing. People use the word “slaughter” and breathe a huge gasp for “those poor horses” without thinking about the fact that meat on their table was “slaughtered” at some point. I read an article recently that informed the reader that when horses reached the plant their throats were cut to dispatch them. Someone else also wrote that horses should be buried or cremated like we do our small companion animals. If people would check with their state DNR they would realize that burying a large animal is against the law for most property owners – also, they have no clue that there aren’t an abundance of crematoriums that can handle an animal as large as a horse or the extreme temperatures it takes to burn something that large to ash. So many untruths and misconceptions are told to the public to evoke an emotional response it’s ridiculous. Horses are humanly, INSTANTLY, put down with a captive bolt system just like the beef and pork we eat every day. It’s no different. Since the closure of the plants in 2007 there have been close to a million cases of neglect and abandonment in this country. I guess people think it’s more humane to let horses slowly starve to death than to quickly and cleanly kill them in a controlled environment. As a slight aside – the horse processing industry generated 3 billion dollars a year for the U.S. That’s billion with a B. That stimulates our economy and provides much needed jobs. By the way – I’m a horse owner. I’ve owned horses for over 25 years and I would rather send every horse I own to a processing plant than have them starve to death or die any other slow, horrible death.