The owners of a New Mexico horse slaughterhouse have announced plans to sue Attorney General Gary King, a longtime opponent of the horsemeat industry in the case. The battle between these parties has raged for two years, most recently with a lawsuit filed by King. King alleged that the company, Valley Meat Co., would violate state environmental and food safety laws if it opened this month as planned.
Now, the owners of Valley Meat Co. are countering with their own lawsuit, suing King's office for slander, harassment, conspiracy and abuse of process. The company's lawyer, Blair Dunn, says that the horsemeat industry is legal, AP reports:
Dunn says King is conspiring with the animal protection groups, the Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue, to block a lawful business with a frivolous lawsuit to further his gubernatorial bid. "They are trying to drive Valley out of business," Dunn said. "They don't agree with the lawful business so instead of changing the law they decided they will try to destroy Valley. HSUS and Front Range have stated their goal is to drive Valley out of business."
The news of Valley Meat's lawsuit comes just days after a New Mexico judge temporarily halted the opening of the plant for 10 days so he could hear King's testimony.
A federal court recently lifted a ban on horse slaughter across the country, but The Humane Society of the United States immediately filed an appeal of the court's decision to lift horse slaughter restrictions, calling for a moratorium of the practice on U.S. soil.