Meat and Poultry Industry News

Lawyer for horse processing plant intends to sue New Mexico AG for defamation

January 7, 2014
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The lawyer for Valley Meat Co., a proposed horse processing plant in Roswell, N.M., says that he intends to sue New Mexico Attorney General Gary King for malicious abuse of the court system.  According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Blair Dunn sent a letter to the state government saying that he will sue King for harassing the slaughterhouse with the substantial resources of his taxpayer-funded office. Written notice is required before a lawsuit can be brought against the state, Dunn said.

King last month filed a lawsuit in state court to stop the company from opening. He said Valley Meat poses environmental and health risks to New Mexico residents.

Dunn said political gain, not the public interest, motivated King to sue the company.

King is one of five Democrats running for governor, and he hopes to use the horse-slaughter case to generate campaign contributions, Dunn said.

King’s press secretary, Phil Sisneros, said Dunn’s allegations had no merit.

“We’ve taken a very strong stand against the horse-slaughtering plant. The lawsuit [by Dunn] is an attempt to intimidate this office from protecting the state’s interests,” Sisneros said in an interview.

King’s legal team recently told a judge that the food chain could be contaminated if the horse-slaughter plant goes into operation.

Dunn said the U.S. Department of Agriculture has regulatory authority over meat-packing plants, and it would make sure the public was safe. Dunn said King has no jurisdiction in the horse-slaughter case, but was harassing the company through the courts.

In a separate notice, Dunn told the state he also intended to sue King for defamation. That complaint will include Sisneros and the Attorney General’s Office as a whole.

Source: Santa Fe New Mexican

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