with Horse and Hound

Horse Slaughter: State Judge Trumps Federal Appeals Court

A district judge in New Mexico has delayed for ten days the planned operations of the nation’s first horse slaughter plant in seven years. On January 13, 2014, State District Judge Matthew Wilson will listen to testimony in a lawsuit brought by state Attorney General Gary King.

King filed the lawsuit last month after a federal appeals court vacated a temporary restraining order blocking the openings. It seemed, momentarily, that the way was cleared—once again—for processing plants to reopen.

Going back in time, that temporary restraining order was allowed in July after the U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the go-ahead for resumption of the regulated slaughter of horses.

This latest lawsuit by the New Mexico attorney general claims that the processor would violate the state’s food safety, water quality, and unfair business practices laws.

The processor’s attorney argues that the state lacks jurisdiction because the meat would not be sold or consumed in the U.S., that the federal government has sole jurisdiction over meat shipped to international markets, and that the company is working with environmental officials to ensure lawful disposal of all waste.

Click for more details in the Associated Press report by Jeri Clausing.

Posted January 4, 2014