Horse Meat Sales by New Mexico Company Blocked by Court

Commercial horse slaughter operations scheduled to start tomorrow at a New Mexico plant were blocked by a judge until a Jan. 3 hearing on whether a longer halt is merited.

The court order stops Valley Meat Co. in Roswell from beginning operations as planned, state Attorney General Gary King said today in a statement. King opposes commercial horse slaughter, saying the animals aren’t raised for U.S. human consumption and are given drugs banned for use in food animals.

The attorney general sued Dec. 19 in state court after a federal appeals court refused to halt commercial horse slaughtering. Opponents are trying to overturn a lower-court decision saying that the U.S. Agriculture Department correctly allowed food-safety inspectors at plants without environmental review. The appeals court denied a stay pending the appeal.

Congress from 2006 to 2011 halted funding for horse slaughter plant inspections, which are required to sell the meat. The prohibition on funding for inspections wasn’t extended for 2012 and 2013, allowing the practice to resume legally.

A. Blair Dunn, a lawyer for Valley Meat, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the temporary restraining order.

The case is State of New Mexico v. Valley Meat Co., D-101-CV-2013-3197, First Judicial District New Mexico (Santa Fe.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Federal court in Los Angeles at

epettersson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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