New Mexico AG Requests Further Injunction on Horse Slaughter

September 16, 2015 05:06 AM
 
New Mexico AG Requests Further Injunction on Horse Slaughter

The New Mexico attorney general is asking a state district judge to take further measures to prevent horse slaughtering in Roswell.

The AG is asking the judge to expand an injunction against a horse slaughter operation in the city to prevent another firm, which he considers a "shell company," from starting one, reported The Albuquerque Journal.

"This is just harassment," said A. Blair Dunn, the lawyer for Valley Meat Co. He said the request is "much ado about nothing" because there are no plans for horse slaughter at the site and it is prohibited by federal action anyway.

The AG sued Valley Meat in 2013 and a preliminary injunction prevents the plant from operating. The next hearing in the lawsuit is scheduled for Sept. 22.

But the office of Attorney General Hector Balderas asked the judge to go further because two people who have a business relationship with Valley Meat have formed D'Allende Meats, which Balderas thinks is aimed at sidestepping the injunction.

The new firm has applied for federal permission to slaughter horses at the same Roswell plant.

In a letter filed in state District Court, the AG's office argues that D'Allende Meats is a "front company" meant to "carry on the very same commercial horse slaughter" that the court has prohibited Valley meats from doing.

Balderas is asking the court to modify the injunction to make it clear that it also applies to D'Allende Meats.

In court documents, Dunn says the case should be dismissed and calls for the attorney general to stop his "harassment."

He also said that "D'Allende has no plans to open anything in that facility at this juncture."

The AG has been trying for more than a year to get information about Valley Meat, its investors, the proposed slaughterhouse and any contracts to buy horses or sell horse meat.

But the company has refused to comply, saying the lawsuit is moot because it has dropped plans for horse slaughter in Roswell.

In a separate lawsuit filed with the state District Court in Roswell in July, Dunn is suing horse protection groups. He argues that the groups -- including the Humane Society of the United States and the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife started by former Gov. Bill Richardson and actor Robert Redford -- illegally interfered with Valley Meat's business activity.

The Foundation has asked the court to dismiss the complaint, which it says is vague and not supported by facts.

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