A New Mexico district court judge has sided with that state’s attorney general by expanding a 2014 injunction to include the new owners of a plant that was once intended to process horses.
Horse slaughter has not taken place in the United States since 2007 when a combination of court rulings and legislation shuttered the last two processing plants. Since then, American horses have been transported to Mexico and Canada for processing.
Horse processing once again became possible in the United States in 2011 when Congress passed an appropriations bill that did not contain language specifically forbidding the USDA from using federal dollars to fund horsemeat inspections. Shortly after that bill became law, horse processing operations were proposed in several states, including at a Roswell, New Mexico, facility owned by Valley Meats Company. In June 2013, Valley Meats’ owners announced that, after months of waiting, the company had received a USDA Food Safety Inspection Service permit, which allowed USDA personnel to conduct horsemeat inspections at the plant.
In late 2013 New Mexico’s then-Attorney General Gary King filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order and an injunction preventing the firm from launching its horse processing operation. In January 2014, the court issued a primary injunction stopping Valley Meats from opening its plant.
In a letter sent to the court in May of this year, the state’s current attorney general, Hector Balderas, requested that the injunction be extended to include owners of D’Allende Meats, a firm launched by an investment group which purchased the Roswell plant from Vall