Horse slaughter plants a step closer on US soil


eye-stockA judge’s ruling has largely cleared the way for horse slaughter to resume in the United States.

US. District Court Judge Christina Armijo, in a ruling in Albuquerque on Friday, ruled that the United States Department of Agriculture was not required to conduct environment impact assessments before granting equine inspection services to meat plants.

In doing so, she denied the application for a permanent injunction in the case, filed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and several other animal protection groups.

Armijo, who originally issued a temporary injunction to prevent three plants opening while she made a final determination, ruled that the department had little or no discretion over whether to issue a grant of inspection to the companies. It had a duty to inspect meat and meat products, she ruled.

The suit arose after the US Department of Agriculture granted federal inspection services for three proposed horse slaughter plants.

The approvals were considered the last major impediment to the resumption of horse slaughter, which has not occurred on US soil since 2007.

It is understood one of the original plants granted approval has since opted to process beef, but Valley Meat Company, based in Roswell, New Mexico, and Rains Natural Meats, in Missouri, are reported to remain determined to commence operations.

Attorney Blair Dunn said the companies were pleased with the decision, describing the judge’s decision as well reasoned and thorough.

“Both companies will now focus on final preparations to open and begin work.”

The HSUS voiced its disappointment over the ruling, saying it would appeal. It said it would also work with the states to block the plants from opening in Iowa, Missouri and New Mexico.

It vowed to step up efforts in Congress to stop the slaughter of American horses, not only on US soil but in Canada and Mexico.

President and chief executive Wayne Pacelle said: “Our legislative and legal activities have prevented horse slaughtering on American soil since 2007.

“With today’s court ruling and the very real prospect of plants resuming barbaric killing of horses for their meat in the states, we expect the American public to recognize the urgency of the situation and to demand that Congress take action.

“Court fights and state legislative battles have been important, but this is an issue of national importance and scale, and Congress should have an up-or-down vote on the subject.”

Another of the plaintiffs in the case, the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife, expressed its disappointment.

“We are extremely disappointed in today’s decision which opens the door to the senseless slaughter of one of our most precious and treasured animals,” it said in a statement.

“While we had worked hard towards, and hoped for, a different outcome, this development will not deter our steadfast commitment to protect these animals and to help develop humane alternatives to this barbaric practice.”

Latest research and information from the horse world.

3 thoughts on “Horse slaughter plants a step closer on US soil

  • November 4, 2013 at 11:31 am

    We do not want the proposed horse slaughter plant, Rains Natural Meats, to open in Gallatin, Mo. Horses being shipped for slaughter are not required to have health certificates. This means all types of diseases from out of state horses could enter Missouri.
    Furthermore, there are over 100 equine drugs that we (the collective horse owners) give our horses that make them unfit for human consumption. The USDA has no business getting mixed up in this.
    Additionally, this plant would cost U.S. taxpayers $400,000.00 per year for the USDA inspections, and the meat would be shipped overseas.
    Also, we would be worried about horse thieves stealing horses in the surrounding area for slaughter, especially in this economy.
    What’s more, toxic waste from the plant could contaminate the entire area from a lagoon that has been dug in the clay at Rains Natural Meats, and the Grand River is nearby and is downhill from there. The area is also porous with limestone, and clay cracks.
    Finally, slaughter plants want the healthy horses and never the old or sick horses. These are horses that could benefit the community as therapy horses for children and veterans, or as police mounts.

    Please sign the petition to Ban Horse Slaughter in Gallatin, Missouri, and share! Thank you!

    • November 4, 2013 at 7:38 pm

      This is an excellent argument against the opening of the slaughter plant.

  • November 4, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Please ask your U.S. Senators and Representatives to support the Safeguard American Food Exports act, which will ban slaughter in the U.S. and the shipment for slaughter to Canada and Mexico. Safeguard American Food Exports act is S. 541 in the U.S. Senate and H.R. 1094 in the U.S. House of Representatives. This website makes it easy to contact your elected officials:


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