Updated: Horse slaughter on hold – again

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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ALBUQUERQUE, NM – A federal judge on Aug. 2 issued a restraining order that has temporarily stopped companies in New Mexico and Iowa from slaughtering horses. US District Judge Christina Armijo issued the restraining order following a lawsuit by The Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights groups.

"While disappointing, this is really just the very first skirmish in what will inevitably be a long haul," said Sue Wallis, chairman of the International Equine Business Association and a rancher in Wyoming. "We have proven already by our progress to this point that the horse industry will not lay down and die. We will not quit. We will continue to fight to our dying breath to preserve our way of life, to protect our horses, to protect our lands, and our freedoms."

Efforts to block horse slaughter in the United States have been ongoing since Congress lifted a ban on funding horse meat inspections. Groups such as The Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue, Marin Humane Society, Horses for Life Foundation have filed a lawsuit under the National Environmental Protection Act.

“We’ve won a temporary but life-saving reprieve for horses, and it’s good news indeed that the kill boxes in New Mexico and Iowa will be empty of horses in the weeks ahead," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS. We’ll continue to make arguments when our case resumes in a month that these plants cannot legally operate because of inadequate environmental review.”

The US Department of Agriculture has so far issued grants of inspection to Sigourney, Iowa-based Responsible Transportation LLC and Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, NM. A facility in Missouri had applied for grants of inspection.

Wallis said a bond hearing will be held in the next week or two to determine the amount of money plaintiffs would have to put up in advance to cover financial losses to the companies if the plaintiffs lose the lawsuit. An attorney for Responsible Transportation said the company borrowed $.15 million and received another $1.4 million from investors. An attorney for Valley Meat Co. is requesting $10 million be set aside, AP reported.

The hearing and a decision on the injunction will come in the next 30 days.

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READER COMMENTS (11)

By Name Required 8/8/2013 5:15:08 PM
Under speculation don't assume. That's what the USDA actually says when you spell it out.

By Cynthia 8/8/2013 5:12:56 PM
Luke I would rather that instead of starving horses running in your night visions that you read the GAO report is a fraud read about it on Forbes!

By Cynthia 8/8/2013 5:09:36 PM
Oh Federal Inspector I am so glad to hear your reassuring comments, especially after the DeKalb plant in our area was in continuous violations of the processing and humane procedures. In fact, I am glad you commented on the lies about the animals because the Forbes press release today Gao report is a fraud really contradicts your comment and the fact the DeKalb plant went to Canada and became Natural Valley Farms which if you google Investigation of Natural Valley Farms and view the photos of the piles of dead horses we would appreciate it. As for the humane killing of the horses, we ALL know that unless they are 100 percent accurate, 100 percent of the time and they are 100 percent sure the horse is fully stunned, because they are not dead they are in violation, and to date not one plant in the world has found a way to be 100 percent for humane treatment. As well, I want to add that the DeKalb plant was in violation on every count up until their closure on 2007 1 year after the date they were originally told to close. As for the Inspections of the meats, I am sorry, but FSIS was well aware of the multitudes of violations and really did essentially nothing to correct their bad behavior. So are we to assume this same procedure ignorance will continue with the 3 new plants? They do not have a state of the art water pretreatment unit and cannot guarantee our safety. As well, If you ARE a meat inspector, why do we keep getting recalls on meat such as beef? Is it not getting properly inspected? Because recently one of the largest beef recalls happened again! So our confidence in your rhetoric is not necessarily comforting!

By M. Johnson 8/6/2013 4:47:51 PM
I am a Federal Inspector and have inspected every species of livestock offered up for inspection, other than Equine. I grew up in a western family in Texas and horses were more than beast of burden, they were our friends and pets. This being said, I feel these groups protesting equine slaughter need to sit back and understand what happens to overpopulation and under abundance of foliage in the animal kingdom. The horses offered for slaughter are being done so in a humane manner, what you are causing is to have them vie for nourishment that may not be there and live in inhumane conditions. There is a harvest of wildlife which is strictly regulated, although you also oppose that system. As far as I can see, if an animal is used for protein you are going to fight it! I'm not interested in eating horse flesh, but the are those that are and that should be their right, not yours!

By JanWindsong 8/6/2013 3:34:18 PM
It is such a breath of fresh air to have this issue finally before the courts who are above being bought and paid for - for hte most part. No disrespect intended, but after seeing how the politicians have been bought off and then refuse to respond to the demand by Americans to ban the transport of American horses and slaughter of American by sitting on their hands - seeing a District Judge finally rule on the law is ALRIGHT! Sue Wallis doe snot speak for the horse industry. The horse industry depends on horses being alive. Her industry is the meat industry which has nothing to do with the culture of the horse. the Indians which speak for the tribes and nations ar enot even real Indians, they are paid employees. The real Indians are those who have joined with HSUS and Front Range to fight the opening of these slaughterhouses. Demand your Washington politicians get off their hands and pass S 541 and HR 1094 to President Obama, who waits to sign.

By D.K. 8/6/2013 12:00:27 PM
Here is more information on horse slaughter. Please read these links, Tracy and Luke, before commenting further: https://awionline.org/content/horse-slaughter-facts-faqs http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/horse_slaughter/facts/facts_horse_slaughter.html http://www.animalsangels.org/the-issues/horse-slaughter.html http://www.kaufmanzoning.net/

By D.K. 8/6/2013 11:57:08 AM
I am very thankful that the judge has blocked this. In other breaking news, the European Union has dealt a death blow to U.S. horse slaughter as of 7/31/13: http://rtfitchauthor.com/2012/... "Horse slaughter activists such as Wyoming State Rep. Sue Wallis have been ignoring the European recommendations. That will now be impossible."

By Joyce Moore 8/6/2013 7:33:01 AM
Tracy and Luke, your arguments are ridiculous. It's still legal to ship horses for the purpose of slaughter yet some irresponsible owners are still starving their horses. Obviously, the slaughter option doesn't prevent starvation. What's the difference between a horse and a cow?? Pathetic that you need to ask this but here are some issues to consider. Horses are not raised as food producing animals as cows are. Therefore, horses receive numerous medications that are BANNED from use in food producing animals. With regard to the slaughter process, it doesn't matter where the plant is located, death in a kill box is barbaric. Read the 900 plus page USDA report which details only some of the abuses that occured in the US plants and in transit to the plants. Horses were butchered while alive and able to feel pain. Foals were cut out of mares and left to die in offall pile. The list of abuses is extensive. Not to mention the abuse that human residents living near the plants were subjected to. Lowered property values, horse theft, contaminated ground water, blood and tissue coming up from drains and out of faucets, etc. Do some objective research and stop blindly following the idiotic rants by Sue Wallis and her cohorts.

By Tracy Sellers 8/5/2013 9:29:24 PM
Again these organizations give no thought to what will happen to all the horses that are unwanted and have no place to go. A humane death is better than starving..

By Luke Thomas 8/5/2013 3:54:16 PM
We live in a very hypocritical society - if you can eat a cow, why not a horse. What's the difference other than the horse meat is more lean and no mad cow issues.

By Luke Thomas 8/5/2013 3:52:49 PM
Okay-then the horses will be sent to Mexico where they are hacked to pieces with saws still fully awake and conscious.