Iowa processor drops plans to slaughter horses

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Responsible Transportation, which owns a slaughterhouse in Sigourney, Iowa, is dropping plans to slaughter horses in the wake of a federal judge's ruling that temporarily banned the practice as animal welfare groups challenge it in court, a company executive said Aug. 13, The Associated Press reports.

The company can't afford to wait for more deliberations in court and will instead turn its focus to cattle processing, the company's president, Keaton Walker, told AP.
"We just can't sit with our heads down," Walker said. "We have to get back to work. Our main focus now is going to be beef."

Earlier this month, a federal judge issued a restraining order in a lawsuit brought by The Humane Society of the United States and other groups against the US Department of Agriculture. The case has ignited an emotional national debate about how best to deal with the tens of thousands of wild, unwanted and abandoned horses throughout the US.

Responsible Transportation was one of two companies that had secured federal permits for horse slaughter. Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, NM, has been at the fore of the fight, pushing for more than a year for permission to convert its cattle plant into a horse slaughterhouse.

In June, USDA gave the company approval to begin slaughtering horses. Agency officials said they were legally obligated to issue the permits, even though President Barack Obama's administration opposes horse slaughter and is seeking to reinstate a congressional ban that was lifted in 2011.

Walker's company had been given federal approval to slaughter horses at the company's Iowa plant starting Aug. 1. His Iowa plant will now seek federal approval to become a beef-only operation, Walker said.
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By anne 8/15/2013 11:17:12 PM
I love how "Dave" demonstrates his intelligence with his exceptional spelling and grammar. Have you seen the movie "Idiocracy", Dave? Yeah...Maybe you should rent that one. The answer to the over-population of American horses isn't killing them. Should we start a dog and cat meat processing industry to deal with our dog and cat over-population problems? Anyone who had responsibly owned a horse would agree that the intelligence, dedication, loyalty, and love received com their horses equals, or I would say, exceeds that given by the best dog. And just as it is felt to be morally wrong to process dog meat for the almighty dollar, it is also felt to be morally wrong to do the same to our horses. BUT!!! The absolute main reason why it is wrong to process our horses for any kind of consumption is because ANIMAL MEAT PROCESSED FROM AN ANIMAL THAT WAS NOT RAISED AS A MEAT ANIMAL IS UNSAFE TO CONSUME!!! PERIOD!!! Didn't all of you horse slaughter yahoos spend your childhoods in 4H??? It's a very basic concept to grasp! Im not a vegetarian. I think meat is yummy and sometimes healthy to consume. I have no problem with raising horses as a meat crop and slaughtering them humanely, as say France does. Those horses are bred and raised as a meat animal. Now, I personally would ABSOLUTELY NOT eat horse because of my feelings about their role in human culture, but I don't morally oppose horse meat in that way. And then you might say, "Well, what about our wild horses?" Well, don't those animals represent something to our national identity? Don't they deserve the same respect as the bald eagle or the grey wolf? I SAY YES. They don't deserve such a horrifying fate. The answers to our over-population problems are education for new horse owners about the responsibility of caring for their animals, regulations enforced by national horses breed registries to limit the numbers of foals allowed to be registered by a breeder a year to cut down on UNWANTED HORSES BEING BORN EACH YEAR (ahem...Quarter Horse, Paint Horse and Thoroughbred registries...I'm looking at you!!), humane fertility management of our wild herds, private groups being able to team with BLM to care for our wild herds (thank you Madeline Pickens!!), and other non-slaughter solutions. They exist! I believe America is a country that stands for what's right and good. I believe real patriotism requires sharing this belief.

By Terri Russell 8/15/2013 7:58:54 AM
Thanks to the owner of Responsible Transportation for having the foresight to understand that horse slaughter goes against the grain of the American culture. It was a business that was bound to fail, full of false promises that would never be realized. I wish that the writer for associated press would refrain from using the term emotional and use passionate because the term emotional alludes to frivolity. Thanks for the updated release.

By Dave 8/14/2013 2:19:08 PM
So now we can load them on unsuitable trailers too ride a 1000 miles or better with no water or feed to be slaughtered hopefully in a humane way after that trip. Good thing we did not employ people here to slaughter them humanely and ship them over seas.Lets tax hard working people and save these horses. Great Job!! HSUS and horse lovers NOT!!!