In Albuquerque, N.M. on Monday, the New Mexico Environmental Department refused to renew the discharge permit for waste to Valley Meat Company of Roswell. The company, once a cattle slaughter plant, has now been converted to a horse slaughter facility and plans to open on August 5 despite huge opposition.
According to Associated Press and Fox News.com, Redford’s Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife’s first act will be to join the Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue, Marin Humane Society, Horses for Life Foundation, Return to Freedom, and private individuals in a lawsuit against the USDA asking for an immediate injunction under the National Environmental Protection Act for the failure to conduct the necessary environmental review before granting permission for the opening of the slaughter plant.
Redford, the president and founder of the Sundance Institute and best known for his love of horses in the movies “The Horse Whisperer” and “The Electric Cowboy” stated:
“Horse slaughter has no place in our culture. It is cruel, inhumane, and perpetuates abuse and neglect of these beloved animals.”
An August 2 hearing is set.
Redford is joined in support by former Governor Bill Richardson, a lifelong horse advocate and humane supporter. New Mexico Attorney General Gary King also filed a motion to intervene on behalf of those against horse slaughter.
Redford and Richardson’s foundation will help to protect wildlife and help support animal shelters.
Domestic horse slaughter plants have been closed since 2007 when funding for federal inspectors was cut from the budget. Special interest groups, however slipped the funding into the 2011 fiscal budget.
The USDA approved a permit on June 28 to Valley Meat Company for federal inspectors. A few days later another permit was issued to a horse slaughter facility in Iowa.
Each horse slaughter facility opened in the U.S. would cost taxpayers in America over $400,000 per year in operation costs. Americans do not eat horse meat. Horses are not raised as food animals and are routinely given drugs that have been proven to be carcinogenic and not permitted to be administered to animals meant for food for human consumption. The funding would also take away the needed inspectors for cattle, pork and other meat industries.
Blair Dunn, the attorney for Valley Meat Company stated the lack of permit will not postpone their anticipated opening on Aug. 5; it will just be more expensive for the plant to operate because they will have to haul the remains of dead horses away.
Both the House of Representatives and Senate appropriations committees have already voted to halt all funding for horse slaughter in FY 2014. A request for Congress to prevent tax dollars from supporting horse slaughter was also included. In addition the Safeguard American Food Exports Act would ban slaughter operations in the U.S. and end the export of American horses for slaughter in order to protect consumers from eating toxic meat.
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