The latest effort to rejuvenate the horse-slaughtering industry in the United States has been dealt a setback.
The Associated Press reports that the Valley Meat Company was planning to open its horse-meat facility in Santa Fe, N.M., after the first of the year.
In June 2013, the U.S. government gave the green light to Valley Meat for a facility to slaughter horses for human consumption. The last U.S. horse-meat plant closed years ago, after the U.S. Congress banned funding for inspection of horse-slaughter plants.
The nationwide ban lapsed in 2011 and, last June, the federal government gave its strongest indication yet that a new era of horse slaughter was about to begin.
But a Santa Fe judge has put Valley Meat's planned opening on hold for 10 days so that he can hear testimony in a lawsuit attempting to block the company from operating. New Mexico's attorney general has joined in the suit against Valley Meat. The horse-meat company's attorney Blair Dunn argued that the state lacks jurisdiction because the meat would not be sold or consumed in the U.S. He told the judge the federal government has sole jurisdiction over meat shipped to international markets. He said the company is working with state environmental officials to ensure its waste is lawfully disposed of.
A report in a Dec. 5, 2011, edition of the Twin Falls Times-News said Idaho may be considered an ideal spot for a horse slaughterhouse "because it is agriculturally based and contains high amounts of unwanted horses."