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New Mexico's attorney general files lawsuit to block domestic horse slaughter

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Attorney General Gary King filed a lawsuit on Thursday to block a New Mexico horse slaughter plant from its anticipated opening on Jan. 1, when the owner claims to be ready to slaughter 20 American horses stated

On Dec. 10, the 10th United States Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, removed the temporary ban on horse slaughter. Since then, the owner of Valley Meat Company, Rick De Los Santos, states he plans to begin the slaughter on Jan. 1 of 20 horses already purchased.

During Thursday's press conference, King stated the lawsuit alleges Valley Meat violated state and federal environmental and safety laws specifically water quality and food safety. During the years from 1986 to 2005 when De Los Santos operated as a beef slaughterhouse, carcasses and rotting animal flesh were illegally dumped. For three years the facility operated without state approval to discharge water.

In a press release from Front Range Equine Rescue, the organization states:

"For years, Valley Meat illegally dumped and buried cow carcasses and pieces of dead animals, despite repeated requests from state regulators to cease and desist and clean up the mess. Last week FRER documented these violations, and hundreds of others, in a submission to the New Mexico Environment Department, to support its argument that Valley Meat’s application for a wastewater discharge permit should be denied."

Valley Meat still needs a state permit before it can discharge wastewater, and has now stated they will begin operating on January 1, 2014, whether or not they receive the permit.

Federal legislation has also been introduced in the United States House of Representatives and Senate that includes language to defund the practice.

"We don't eat horses in New Mexico," stated Attorney General King, "and we think this is an inappropriate use of this plant."

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