With the expiration of a temporary restraining order (TRO), the slaughter of horses under U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection again became a legal possibility today. That reality has sent opponents of packing horsemeat for export back into U.S. District Court in New Mexico asking for an emergency motion to extend the TRO that ended Oct. 31 until the judge rules on the merits of the plaintiffs’ claims. Albuquerque attorney Blair Dunn, who represents both Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, NM, and Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, MO, says he will oppose extending the TRO and that his clients could be packing horsemeat by Monday. Since last Monday, all parties in the Front Range Equine Rescue v. Vilsack case have expected Judge M. Christina Armijo to issue her ruling, but it did not come before the TRO expired. Animal law attorney Bruce A. Wagman, New Mexico Assistant Attorney General Ari Biernoff, and lawyer Brian Egolf, representing the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife, signed the emergency motion. Wagman represents the major plaintiffs in the case, including the Humane Society of the United States, based in Washington D.C. Earlier, those attorneys and the U.S. Department of Justice had agreed to a so-called “expedited review” that has the chief judge of the New Mexico district making a decision on the merits of the case without any of the usual preliminaries. The emergency motion would again enjoin USDA from providing equine inspection services to three businesses that are ready to begin the first slaughter of horses in the U.S. since a congressional ban was lifted two years ago. At least two of three of the businesses impacted by the case are ready to resume the practice, but they were held up by the litigation over whether USDA can provide inspection services without formal environmental reviews.