Good News Sunday: New Mexico succeeds in legal fight to bar horse slaughter

Source:  Albuquerque Journal

By Susan Montoya Bryan / The Associated Press

dh010314a/a-sec-metro/01032014---Sue Carter (CQ) left, and Donna DiBanco (CQ) protest horse slaughter outside the Steve Herrera Judicial complex in Santa Fe, photographed on Friday January 3, 2014. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

Sue Carter, left, and Donna DiBanco protest horse slaughter in Santa Fe in January 2014. A court decision Thursday finalizes a settlement that will prevent a horse slaughter operation in New Mexico. (Dean Hanson/Journal)

A court decision will prevent a horse slaughter operation from opening in New Mexico after the state’s lengthy legal battle.

A state district judge in Santa Fe granted an order late Thursday that makes final a settlement reached with the Attorney General’s Office, animal advocates, Valley Meat Co. and other associated businesses.

Valley Meat had sought to convert its cattle processing plant in Roswell to the slaughtering of horses, but the state sued in 2013 in an effort to stop those plans, saying such an operation would violate New Mexico’s environmental and food safety laws.

The order and previous rulings from the judge effectively end any chance of a horse slaughter operation opening in New Mexico, said Bruce Wagman, an attorney for the horse advocacy group Front Range Equine Rescue.

“This is the end. It can’t happen here in New Mexico,” Wagman said Friday.

This April 2013 photo shows the Valley Meat Co., which had been sitting idle for more than a year waiting for approval of its plans to slaughter horses. the associated press

This April 2013 photo shows the Valley Meat Co., which had been sitting idle for more than a year waiting for approval of its plans to slaughter horses. (The Associated Press)

Blair Dunn, an attorney for Valley Meat, said the closure of the case means his clients will no longer be harassed by the Attorney General’s Office and the others who joined the fight.

During the legal wrangling, proponents had argued that domestic slaughter was the most humane way to deal with a rising number of abused and abandoned horses. Now, unwanted horses are shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

The last domestic horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007, a year after Congress initially withheld funding for the required federal inspections of the slaughtering process. After the money was restored in 2011, plants in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa began trying to start horse slaughtering.

The efforts were again derailed in 2014 when President Barack Obama signed a budget measure that withheld the funding for inspections.

The lawsuit by the state, the horse rescue group and others was meant as a possible insurance plan in the event the federal government authorized funding for inspections in the future.

The order issued Thursday by Judge Francis Mathew makes permanent an injunction granted by Judge Matthew Wilson in January 2014 to prohibit the Roswell company from moving forward with its plans.

After receiving the order, state Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement, “There is no place for horse slaughter in the state of New Mexico.”

Read the rest of this story here.





  1. Well, its a small step forward – now if the AQHA & other breed organizations would stop pushing registration of more & more foals – that would help. Making sure that BEFORE someone buys a horse – they are made aware of the responsibility that goes with it. But after saying that – if you look at the cat & dog shelters & rescues – people still throw them away – no difference when an animal is bigger! Sadly, the way some people (lots) look at animals is no different than the way they look at any “new thing” that comes along. Throw it away when youre “done” with it. Thats the outlook that needs to change.


  2. THANK YOU to all of those staunch people who have refused to give up. Over and over again they have pushed back against those forces which view living, breathing and feeling, Creatures as nothing more than commodities


  3. Every little step is actually a BIG step for our animal friends. It continues to amaze me and sicken me that so many people work so hard to destroy and terrorize animals for the sake of the almighty dollar. Thank all of you who work so diligently for what we know is “right”.


  4. What is especially welcome is the understanding that at least two candidates for AG, including the one now in office, opposed horse slaughter. Congratulations to NM for showing the rest of civilization what civilized people can do.


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