Friday, December 20, 2013

N.M. attorney general files last-ditch lawsuit to keep horse slaughterhouse from opening

In a last-ditch effort to stop a horse slaughterhouse from opening in New Mexico, state attorney general Gary King announced Thursday he's suing Roswell-based Valley Meat Co., "saying the plant's horse meat could constitute an adulterated product, which is prohibited" in the state, reports KRQE in Albuquerque. King told the station, "I believe that the operation of this plant in New Mexico is antithetical to the way that we do business in New Mexico. I think that we don't eat horses in New Mexico."

Gary King
King claims Valley Meat has a poor record of compliance with environmental and safety laws, and said, "We believe that horses not being raised as food animals in New Mexico are subject to having a lot of various drugs in their bodies that are not allowed for human consumption." A federal judge rejected similar arguments, and Valley Meat owner Rick De Los Santos, who said he plans to open on Jan. 1, said "The attorney general doesn't have any proof that this meat could be contaminated."

Last week a federal court lifted an emergency stay on Valley Meat and plants in Missouri and Iowa, paving the way for the companies to begin processing horse meat for export. The Missouri plant expects to get a "federal permit within a week and the state permit should follow soon after," and is expected to begin operations in the next few weeks, Deirdre Shesgreen reports for the News-Leader in Springfield, Mo. The Iowa plant has switched to beef, but is struggling against more established competition and might ride the horse again, so to speak. (Read more)

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