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Judge rules against New Mexico horse slaughterhouse

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Perhaps the latest court action has stopped a Roswell horse slaughterhouse from its planned opening, and the horses it has on standby have a reprieve. On Friday night, Jan. 17, a Santa Fe district judge issued a preliminary injunction against Valley Meat. Judge Matthew Wilson agreed with the New Mexico attorney general Gary King’s presentation and arguments – and the likelihood that operations of horse slaughter at Valley Meat would damage the environment.

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For two years Valley Meat’s owners and lawyer have been embroiled in court actions. King’s lawsuit is just the latest battle. Along the way, the public and media and polls have kept up the pressure, especially since the majority of Americans do not want horse slaughter. With all the hype in the media, the controversy, the publicity, and the company’s bravado, it is not at all surprising that yet another “sideline” surfaced.

This time Valley Meat "went after" Judge Wilson.

Attorney Blair Dunn, Valley Meat’s lawyer, went on record with an emergency motion requesting Judge Wilson to step down from the King case. Dunn asked Wilson to recuse himself due to his conflict of interest, stating that Wilson’s Facebook page shows bias against Valley Meat. He also said that Wilson’s ties to King’s office were not disclosed during the hearing on Jan. 13. According to Dunn, Judge Wilson worked as a special assistant attorney general in the Human Services Department and his lack of disclosure of that fact is inappropriate.

Attorney Dunn said he plans on taking the matter to the New Mexico Supreme Court to have Wilson removed from the case.

It is Dunn’s contention that the Facebook page should not have permitted postings from the public on his open active case.

The Jan. 13 hearing had a fair amount of verbal jousting. King alleged that Valley Meat intended to butcher horses without a state-required sewage system. Dunn said these allegations were not true. Dunn also claimed that Wilson’s court had no jurisdiction over water quality complaints, meat inspections and that the Environment Department was reviewing the case.

Since money for horse meat inspections has been eliminated from the fiscal year 2014 spending bill by Congress, no horse slaughterhouses will be able to operate in 2014. Therefore, regardless of court rulings and other actions, the horse slaughterhouses must remain inactive. This action is not unlike the budgetary constraints In 2007, when horse slaughterhouses in the United States were closed down.

Read the New Mexico Preliminary Injunction wording: Wins Injunction

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