ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Bad news for Roswell's Valley Meat, they will not be opening as planned.
On Friday, Federal Judge Christina Armijo granted an injunction blocking the opening of the Roswell slaughterhouse and another in Iowa – until further order of the court.
The controversy has been brewing ever since Valley Meat applied to become a horse slaughterhouse.
The facility has since been the focus of national attention, including death threats and harassment. Just last week, a fire broke out at the slaughterhouse – arson is suspected.
Valley Meat owner Rick de Los Santos has told KRQE News 13 in the past, that he wants to run a lawful operation.
He and supporters claim that a federally regulated slaughterhouse would be more humane than what some unwanted horses endure in transports to other countries for slaughter.
Opponents argued for an environmental review and say they're concerned about the environmental impact.
They said horses aren't raised for slaughter and could potentially contain harmful drugs. Supporters said those concerns were speculative.
After all was said and done the judge decided those environmental concerns outweigh the monetary concerns of slaughterhouse operators, and blocked the openings in Roswell and Iowa.
"The USDA missed everything," said Bruce Wagman, the Plaintiffs' attorney. "They denied their obligation under federal law to engage in proper environmental review to protect the public from the environmental harms that are likely to come from horse slaughter in America."
"They've already suffered 18 months of waiting, probably well over $25 million over the last year that they've already suffered," said Blair Dunn, attorney for Valley Meat Co. "So this is just further continuance of the waiting game that they've had to endure, and they will continue to do the same."
The judge also blocked any further inspection for horse slaughter until further review of the court. A hearing for a preliminary injunction will be scheduled within 30 days.
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