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Attorney general of New Mexico files horse slaughterhouse lawsuit

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The writer’s Examiner article on Dec. 19, The Roswell horse slaughterhouse is ready to open on New Year’s Day, came out soon after the Valley Meat announcement about the horse slaughterhouse opening. Almost immediately and from the Facebook Examiner link, additional comments about this issue started to come in on the writer’s public email and Facebook, including a letter written personally by New Mexico Attorney General Gary King on Dec. 19 to a mutual social media connection.

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The King letter states in part:

Today I announced that I have filed a lawsuit ...

Valley Meat has a very poor track record of compliance with environmental and safety laws, racking up literally thousands of violations over the years, ...

The slaughter of horses, no matter how it’s done, presents a genuine risk to New Mexicans’ health and to our natural resources. Horses in the US are not raised to be eaten, and therefore are administered drugs that are banned for use in food animals. These drugs are either harmful to humans or their effects are unknown. Combined with the risks to our groundwater, I simply cannot stand by and let this plant open.

Thank you for standing with me on this important issue. ...

All along Valley Meat owner Rick De Los Santos intended to open Jan. 1. According to Attorney Blair Dunn, those plans to become operational on New Year’s Day have not changed.

In fact, Dunn calls the New Mexico Attorney General’s lawsuit “frivolous” and, worse, a waste of taxpayer money. The Huffington Post states that Dunn said, "As a New Mexican, as a taxpayer, I'm beyond offended and I think it's almost criminal what they're doing. They're wasting everybody's money."

King has defended the New Mexico lawsuit. The problem is that Valley Meat will violate state laws related to food safety, water quality and unfair business practices. As might well be expected, animal welfare groups were among organizations throwing their support behind King's lawsuit.

In a prepared statement and as reported by Reuters, King writes:

Commercial horse slaughter is completely at odds with our traditions and our values as New Mexicans. It also poses a tangible risk to consumers and to our environment.

The factual issue, as stated in the King lawsuit, is that Valley Meat has a known history of violations from the days it operated as a beef slaughterhouse. Their failure to test and monitor water as part of past discharge permits is decades old. In addition, Valley Meat did not properly dispose of carcasses.

In response to these statements, Dunn challenged and accused King of playing the political card saying King “is grandstanding the issue.”

Valley Meat has no intention of pulling back from its target date of Jan. 1 since it will take weeks to resolve King’s lawsuit and Valley Meat has multiple international contracts lined up.

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