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Animal Advocates, New Mexico Win Fight to Block Horse Slaughter

A New Mexico judge's order has blocked a Roswell company from opening a horse slaughterhouse. (sgarton/morguefile)
A New Mexico judge's order has blocked a Roswell company from opening a horse slaughterhouse. (sgarton/morguefile)
February 8, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. - A state district judge's order has put an end in New Mexico to plans for the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The state and the Front Range Equine Rescue sued Valley Meat Company in Roswell in 2013 over its plans to slaughter horses and sell the meat overseas.

Bruce Wagman, an animal rights attorney who represented Front Range Equine Rescue, says the order will block horse meat production in the state.

"The parties agreed to end the case because Valley Meat agreed to a permanent order from the court which prohibits it from ever slaughtering horses or even being involved in the production of horse meat again," says Wagman.

Valley Meat was planning to convert its beef-processing plant in Roswell to slaughter horses. Wagman says the New Mexico Attorney General's office and Front Range Equine Rescue successfully argued that such an operation would violate the state's environmental and food-safety laws.

Wagman called the judge's ruling a major win for animal rights.

"The horse-meat issue has been a big controversy and New Mexico has very much the battleground because Valley Meat has been so vocal about it," he says. "So I think it's a very important day for those of us who oppose horse slaughter."

Horse slaughterhouses closed in the U.S. in 2007 after Congress withheld funds for federal inspections. Funding was restored in 2011, but was revoked by President Obama in 2014. Currently, unwanted horses are shipped to Canada and Mexico for processing.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - NM