Federal appeals court temporarily halts NM, Mo. companies' plans for horse slaughterhouses
Nov 5, 2013 / 10:16 am
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A federal appeals court on Monday temporarily halted plans by companies in New Mexico and Missouri to begin slaughtering horses, continuing on-again, off-again efforts to resume domestic equine slaughter two years after Congress lifted a ban on the practice.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver issued a temporary injunction barring the Department of Agriculture from inspecting the plants, which were gearing up to open in the coming days after a federal judge in Albuquerque on Friday dismissed a lawsuit by The Humane Society of the United States. The Humane Society and other animal protection groups alleged the department failed to conduct proper environmental studies when it issued permits to the slaughterhouses.
The Humane Society filed an immediate appeal and won an emergency injunction.
"Horse slaughter is a predatory, inhumane business, and we are pleased to win another round in the courts to block killing of these animals on American soil for export to Italy and Japan," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "Meanwhile, we are redoubling our efforts in Congress to secure a permanent ban on the slaughter of our horses throughout North America."
Blair Dunn, who represents Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, N.M., and Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, Mo., emphasized the order was temporary.
"We know the 10th Circuit will follow the law and allow my clients to proceed as soon as our side is considered," Dunn said. "The plaintiffs have misstated the law, the facts and the science. We look forward to a quick decision when the facts are considered and the District Court's careful decision is reviewed."
Valley Meat Co. owner Rick De Los Santos has been fighting for two years for approval to open. He converted his small, struggling cattle slaughterhouse in southern New Mexico to take advantage of a shift in Congress that lifted a ban on funding for inspections at horse slaughterhouses.
A vote to end that funding in 2006 had effectively banned horse slaughter until the money was restored in 2011.
The USDA, however, did not approve the first permits for horse slaughter plants until this summer. But just days before Valley Meat and a third company, Responsible Transportation of Sigourney, Iowa, were set to open, U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo issued a temporary restraining order that kept the plants closed until she decided the lawsuit by the animal protection groups. Responsible Transportation since has converted its plant to cattle.
The debate over a return to domestic horse slaughter has been an emotional one that centres on whether horses are livestock or companion animals and 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 to slaughter unwanted horses in regulated domestic plants than to ship them thousands of miles to sometimes inhumane plants in Mexico.
During the two-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 has divided horse rescue and animal welfare groups, ranchers, politicians and Indian tribes.
The companies want to ship horse meat to countries where it is consumed by humans or used as animal feed.
Read more Business News
|QHR Technologies Inc||1.28||+0.09|
|Anavex Life Sciences||0.38||0.00|
|Copper Mountain Mining||1.54||-0.01|
This column is the last of three, for how to prove your personal injury claim. It is the piece de resistance of the trilogy, the Chuck Norris piece – the final say! As mentioned in the first two...
The bank manager just phoned and asked for full and immediate repayment of the line of credit because the latest, (and they were late!), financial statements showed continuing losses and falling sales...
Recently I recorded a video series for my keynote speaking business. It was called from Faith to Future. In one of the episodes, I talked about the concept of using hard work to get out of a difficul...
- Spotify to allow users to create playlists on phones and tablets and listen to them for free
- US lurching from 'crisis to crisis,' politics influenced by money: Gary Doer
- Governments offers help to develop seal products in backing Atlantic industry
- Precision Drilling shares plummet as Alberta fund manager sells stake
- Most actively traded companies on the TSX, TSX Venture Exchange markets
- CIBC logs $836M profit in Q4, cautiously optimistic about next year
- Auto insurers urge holiday season refresher as young drivers return home
- Canadian Press NewsAlert: Canada creates 21,600 jobs, Nov. jobless rate 6.9%
- New CEO will help prepare Royal Bank for future, as divisions feel the pressure
- TD Bank Q4 profit rises to $1.62 billion, adjusted earnings up but miss estimate
- TSX drops 105 points amid mixed earnings from RBC, TD and CIBC, Fed concerns
- Loonie advances, traders look to Canadian, U.S. jobs data being released Friday