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updated: 11/1/2013 5:28 PM

Judge clears way for domestic horse slaughter

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Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A federal judge in Albuquerque has cleared the way for horse slaughterhouses to begin operating in the U.S. again.

U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo on Friday threw out a lawsuit by The Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection groups. They alleged that the Department of Agriculture failed to conduct proper environmental studies when it issued permits to Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, N.M., and an Iowa company to slaughter horses for human consumption.

The decision ends, for now, a two-year battle by Valley Meat to open the horse slaughterhouse.

The Iowa company converted to cattle because of the court fight. But attorneys say Valley and a third company in Missouri are poised to open as soon as next week.

The companies want to ship horse meat to countries where it is consumed by humans or used as animal feed.

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