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.
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