applied to USDA to operate a horse slaughtering facility.
As a result of foot dragging by USDA and threatened lawsuits, the family has hired attorney A. Blair Dunn.
The HSUS has filed a notice of intent to sue...over the Endangered Species Act!
Below is some interesting reading for your Monday morning. First up is a slightly edited email from Dunn about the notice and the potential threat to all facets of the livestock industry. That is followed by an email exchange between Dunn and NM AG Gary King, and the King press release that precipitated the exchange.
Fwd: Valley Meat: HSUS' Notice of Intention to Sue Under the Endangered Species Act
Wed, 17 Apr 2013 11:41:41 -0600
A. Blair Dunn, Esq.
Sarah De Los Santos
This is a new twist. We were figuring on a NEPA suit. This will happen after the grant of inspection is issued and I have spoken to DOJ about it. They (DOJ) will get an additional 60 days to answer the complaint but the grant of inspection should be coming and they anticipate it will be issued in the next several days. I anticipate that this new ESA case will have to be brought in New Mexico.
The NEPA issue may be going by the wayside. Apparently USDA OGC has drafted a memo concerning the fact that slaughter facilities fit within the categorical exclusion for FSIS.
So as expected HSUS is planning to spend some bucks on lawyers to try to shut this down.
The biggest problem on this is the collateral damage could destroy the dairies and other agriculture all around. Think about it this way, if the very minor (if any) environmental impact of Valley is going to trigger consultation with US FWS and poses a environmental threat to endangered species then what about dairies, what about farming in general, feedlots, etc.:
"The horse slaughtering process produces by-products and waste products that are a threat to the environment and to wildlife in the vicinity of the slaughter facility. Horse slaughtering produces the following: (1) manure, contents of rumen and intestines; (2) edible products, including offal and blood; (3) inedible products such as hair, bones, and feathers; (4) fat; and (5) large volumes of wastewater. Most slaughterhouse processes require the use of water, and the pollutants contained in wastewater can impact the environment when the wastewater runoff enters into groundwater, streams, and rivers. Horse slaughtering also requires large amounts of hot water and steam for sterilizing and cleaning. Generating the energy for heating water emits gasses, which contribute to air pollution."
If there was any question as to whether or not HSUS has all of animal agriculture in its sights this should dispel that.
Valley Meat is located near South Spring River, Pecos River, Bitter Lake Wildlife Refuge, and Bottomless Lakes State Park. Threatened and endangered species are found within the vicinity of Valley Meat, and their continued existence may be jeopardized by the horse slaughtering activities. Valley Meat's operations may also adversely affect or destroy the habitats of the threatened and endangered species. Affected species may include, but are not limited to, the Pecos bluntnose shiner, the Least tern, the Pecos Assiminea snail, Koster's springsnail, Roswell springsnail (collectively "snails"), and Noel's Amphipod.
Sent: Thursday, April 18, 2013 4:40 PM
To: King, Gary
Subject: Re: Threatening Valley Meat with Special Treatment
Also what science do you have that supports the slanderous statement that horse meat fits the definition of adulterated food? (Where did you get your information, HSUS perhaps? Are you aware that they have a large financial stake by virtue of a exclusive marketing stake in PZP the horse contraceptive?) Have you given thought to what those kinds of statements may mean for other industries beyond the horse industry, say for instance the dairy industry?
I think you may be very wrong about the "many people" part of the ag industry supporting this position by you. But I am happy to help you take a poll at the midsummer meeting of the Cattle Growers. I know for a fact they are on the opposite of this issue from you.
This is unsolicited political advice from a member of another long time political family, but aligning yourself with HSUS and APNM will cost you more rural votes than you can spare. People are already very angry about the ESA ruse now being trotted out by HSUS.
I respectfully offer that if you truly want to keep rural New Mexico on your side that you reconsider your position.
A. Blair Dunn, Esquire
6605 Uptown Blvd. NE, Ste. 280
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110
After we spoke last summer, I was led to understand that you understood agriculture's perspective on this issue. This press release, however, belays that your office is acting as nothing more than a mouth piece for animal rights activist groups. I find it extremely disappointing that a candidate for Governor can find nothing more important to devote staff to than harassing a small lawful family business. Perhaps a review of AG's office priorities is in order. General King you as much as any person should understand that the real animal welfare stewards are those of us involved in agriculture. Perhaps you should listen when groups such as the NMCGA talk about how they feel that this plant is actually better for the welfare of the land and the horses themselves. Perhaps your office should be investigating the threats "to come and shoot" my client in the head and to "slit his wife's throat." They are New Mexico citizens and they deserve your protection, not your harassment.