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Meat company sues feds over horse slaughterhouse

By JERI CLAUSING
Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico meat company that wants to resume domestic horse slaughter for food is suing the federal government, alleging inaction on its application has cost it hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Valley Meat Co. is seeking to force the U.S. Department of Agriculture to resume inspections necessary to open what would be the nation's first new horse slaughterhouse in more than five years

The company and its owner, Rick de los Santos, also sued groups that advocate for the humane treatment of animals that he claims defamed his business during an expensive, yearlong fight over the proposal.

The USDA declined comment this week on the pending litigation, and the agency has until January to respond to the suit filed in federal court in late October.

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