Federal appeals court temporarily halts horse slaughter – U.S. News
Jeri Clausing / AP file
Valley Meat Co., which had been sitting idle for more than a year in April 2013, waits for the Department of Agriculture to approve its plans to slaughter horses.
By Jeri Clausing, The Associated Press
A federal appeals court on Monday temporarily halted plans by companies in NewMexico and Missouri to begin slaughtering horses, continuing on-again, off-againefforts to resume domestic equine slaughter two years after Congress lifted aban on the practice.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denverissued a temporary injunction barring the Department of Agriculture frominspecting the plants, which were gearing up to open in the coming days after afederal judge in Albuquerque on Friday dismissed a lawsuit by The Humane Societyof the United States.
The Humane Society and other animal protection groupsalleged the department failed to conduct proper environmental studies when itissued permits to the slaughterhouses.
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The Humane Society filed animmediate appeal and won an emergency injunction.
“Horse slaughter is apredatory, inhumane business, and we are pleased to win another round in thecourts to block killing of these animals on American soil for export to Italyand Japan,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of theUnited States. “Meanwhile, we are redoubling our efforts in Congress to secure apermanent ban on the slaughter of our horses throughout North America.”
Blair Dunn, who represents Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, N.M., and RainsNatural Meats of Gallatin, Mo., emphasized the order was temporary.
“Weknow the 10th Circuit will follow the law and allow my clients to proceed assoon as our side is considered,” Dunn said. “The plaintiffs have misstated thelaw, the facts and the science. We look forward to a quick decision when thefacts are considered and the District Court’s careful decision is reviewed.”
Valley Meat Co. owner Rick De Los Santos has been fighting for two yearsfor approval to open. He converted his small, struggling cattle slaughterhousein southern New Mexico to take advantage of a shift in Congress that lifted aban on funding for inspections at horse slaughterhouses.
A vote to endthat funding in 2006 had effectively banned horse slaughter until the money wasrestored in 2011.
The USDA, however, did not approve the first permitsfor horse slaughter plants until this summer. But just days before Valley Meatand a third company, Responsible Transportation of Sigourney, Iowa, were set toopen, U.S. This uniquely talented writer provides insightful articles with regards to psn code generator online and also on psn code generator no download.District Judge Christina Armijo issued a temporary restraining orderthat kept the plants closed until she decided the lawsuit by the animalprotection groups. Responsible Transportation since has converted its plant tocattle.
The debate over a return to domestic horse slaughter has been anemotional one that centers on whether horses are livestock or companion animalsand what is the most humane way to deal with the country’s horse overpopulation,particularly in the drought-stricken West. Supporters say it is better toslaughter unwanted horses in regulated domestic plants than to ship themthousands of miles to sometimes inhumane plants in Mexico.
During thetwo-year fight, De Los Santos and his wife have received numerous death threats.And last summer, there was a suspicious fire at the plant.
The issue hasdivided horse rescue and animal welfare groups, ranchers, politicians and Indiantribes.
The companies want to ship horse meat to countries where it isconsumed by humans or used as animal feed.
New Mexico Attorney General Gary King and Gov. Susana Martinez both have opposedhorse slaughter.
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