(HORSE SLAUGHTER) On August 2, a judge will decide whether to issue a temporary restraining order preventing horse processing plants from opening in the U.S. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) along with other animal protection groups are currently suing the USDA, claiming the agency failed to conduct the necessary environmental review before authorizing horse slaughterhouses. Not only do 80 percent of Americans oppose horse slaughter, but activists also maintain the U.S. government could spend millions of taxpayer dollars to operate horse slaughter facilities, only to have Congress eventually terminate the process. Nevertheless, reports show the Valley Meat Company plant in Roswell, New Mexico, and Responsible Transportation’s plant in Sigourney, Iowa, are set to open just three days after the scheduled court hearing. Read on to learn more about the ongoing debate and sign the petition requesting that Congress pass the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. — Global Animal
Photo Credit: Facebook, Fox42 News
The HSUS and other animal protection groups are suing the USDA, claiming the agency did not conduct the necessary reviews before authorizing the operation of horse processing facilities. Photo Credit: Facebook, Fox42 News

Horse Talk

An August 2 court hearing before a federal judge in New Mexico appears to be the last major hurdle remaining in the way of horse slaughter plants returning to the United States.

The judge will decide whether to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent plants from opening.

The bid for the restraining order has been filed by the Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue, the Marin Humane Society, the Horses for Life Foundation, Return to Freedom, and five private individuals.

They are suing the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the National Environmental Protection Act, alleging the agency failed to conduct the necessary environmental review before authorizing horse slaughterhouses to operate.

Reports out of the US suggest the Valley Meat Company plant in Roswell, New Mexico, and Responsible Transportation’s plant in Sigourney, Iowa, are set to open on August 5, just three days after the scheduled court hearing.

The USDA issued a so-called “grant of inspection” to each of the plants, saying it was required by law to grant the inspections if all federal requirements were met. It said it was obliged to assign meat inspectors to the plants.

The department said in a statement: “The Administration has requested Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter. Until Congress acts, the department must continue to comply with current law.”

Slaughter plants have not operated on US soil for six years. The refusal by Congress to fund federal plant inspections effectively prevented the operation of plants, but the removal of the defunding language in an agriculture bill in 2011 opened the doors to the resumption of slaughter.

The animal protection groups challenging the approvals say the federal government could spend millions of taxpayer dollars to start inspections at horse slaughter plants, only to have Congress terminate the process in the coming months.

Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation with the Humane Society, said: “Horse slaughter plants pollute local water bodies with blood and offal, permeate the air with a foul stench, diminish property values and put horses through misery.

“The USDA’s decision to visit these horrors on the citizens of New Mexico, Missouri, and Iowa – without even conducting an environmental review first – is irresponsible, and a clear violation of federal law.”

Front Range Equine Rescue president Hilary Wood said: “The USDA has failed to consider the basic fact that horses are not raised as a food animal.

“Horse owners provide their horses with a number of substances dangerous to human health. To blatantly ignore this fact jeopardizes human health as well as the environment surrounding a horse slaughter plant.

“The negative consequences of horse slaughter will be felt immediately and over the long term if allowed to resume in the US. America’s horses are not food.”

The founder of the Horses For Life Foundation, Allondra Stevens, said: “The USDA’s decision to grant horse slaughter inspections is an outright insult and a betrayal to the overwhelming majority of Americans who are against horse slaughter, to the welfare of the animals themselves, and to consumer and environmental safety.

“With the environmental and food safety risks of horse slaughter operations, the FSIS is leading the USA down a reckless and dangerous path due to the toxic byproducts of horse slaughter.

“As a nation of horse lovers, our time and resources will be better spent thinking outside the slaughterbox, working to implement more programs and infrastructures that assist with horse rescue, retention and retirement solutions.”

Sign the petition here!
Sign the petition requesting that Congress pass the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.

Return To Freedom president Neda DeMayo said: “We join 80 percent of Americans in their opposition to horse slaughter. America is the original home of the horse and has never been a horse-eating culture.

“Horses have been our companions, fought battles with us, worked from sun up to sun down by our side. They have never abandoned us and we will not abandon them now. We will not have their blood on our hands.”

More Horse Talk: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2013/07/17/slaughter-plants-open-just-days-injunction-hearing/#axzz2ZTZe5j8E

Related Articles:

White House Proposal To End Horse Slaughter?

Horse Slaughterhouses: A Reality In New Mexico?

Oklahoma Approves Horse Slaughter

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11 COMMENTS

  1. @ Colts Western Shop…You are obviously very emotional about this issue. No one is wanting to kill and eat your pet horse. Not all people who own horses share your views. Horse processing will have to follow regulations, just like the processing of other animals. The current USDA secretary may not want horse slaughter, but he has to follow the law. If there was a safety or environmental issue he would be able to stop it, like he wants.
    Like you, I have put down horses that have needed it and I was attached to. That isn't going to change with the opening of US plants…you and I will still be able to do that. Not all horses are pets, however, and they are personal property that can be bought, sold, traded or given away. It is important that all animals be transported and killed humanely. It is important that the meat be safe for humans or other animals to eat. Any horses with drug residue (and unusable parts) will be rendered…which kills any residues. That is scientifically proven.

  2. Slaughter is NOT A practical option, I lived near DeKalb. The number of stolen horse complaints and follow up was staggering. The stench from the plants went for several miles outside of the plant and seeing the men actually get into arguments out in front of the plant with the same guns they kill horses with doesn't make you feel very confident in the industry, we saw fist fights and in the summer you could smell the stench with your windows closed, the body parts constantly winding up in full view of the public, the body parts falling off of trucks, the injuries and the blood trails on the pavement from the live horses coming in. The screams of the horses being killed, and the complaints from previous workers stating often the horses came to life and were aware of what was happening. I am sorry but this is a predatory industry we don't want back in the United States. Regardless the USDA is NOT wanting to endorse this, and FSIS actually doesn't have all the answers to the questions so they issued a statement without the answers to the questions many veterinarians and physicians have had on the medications and such. We also want to note that regardless of the situation the horses are only usable to 60 percent of the body-the rest including the blood and offal (fluids and pieces of body parts) are then compiled so that averages to half a horse in waste so if they process 100000 horses they have 50000 bodies in halves left over. So yes they are still wasting the same amount of horses. As for the rendering-the plants will then have drugged horse meat in the rendering to go into pet foods. Which is illegal in the US by Federal Law, which is USDA mandated so FSIS needs to read its own regulations before attempting to adapt them. As for the safe new procedures, they have NOT been tested, and have no idea the validity of them. They have also allowed foods with ecoli-and salmonella, pass tests to be recalled so we cant rely on their testing programs. Sorry, but if your horse is useless hire a trainer, otherwise have it put down, if you cant afford to put it down then, let it be a lesson to be better in charge of your finances. We have put down 3 older horses and we had the vet do it-less than 250 bucks for 3 animals, we buried with a free backhoe, we just called to find out depth requirements and that they couldn't be buried with anything that would interfere with decomp. Easy enough.

  3. For starters the same killer buyers in America are the ones transporting into Mexico, will be the same kill buyers who will trafficking horses to the US plants. So there is no real difference in the transportation of the horses, a point to that effect, I lived near the DeKalb plant and consistently saw the injuries, dead bodies pulled out of the trailers, these animals are packed tightly, in bad conditions, in trailers I would be scared to haul anything in. The other point your missing is the number, which is very high of accidents in traffic with these overloaded trailers, not to mention one with thirty horses in it burning to death in New York a couple months ago. Nothing beats the day we saw a horses leg fall through the bottom of the trailer going to the plant and the horses hoof was pulled off, they refused to stop til a sheriff pulled them over. WE don't need that in America. But keep in mind you always reference the Mexico plant which is the same location where killer buyers were turning away refused animals in the thousands and they were left to die in the desert. New Mexico had to foot the bill to save those animals. So again its on the US soil side, as well the plant in Canada has its fair share of issues as well. They were again cited for too many hits to the horses skulls but they are not regulated by the US so we cant stop them for the abuse.

  4. Horses that are going to slaughter are being sold by the pound at auction. The seller knows that when the horse is sold in this manner, it will likely go to slaughter. I've been a part of the horses industry all my life. I've seen the horses purchased for slaughter, and most of them wouldn't be a horse anyone would want to take home for a pet. There are exceptions, of course, but unfortunately there is a small demand and too many horses on the market. Horses live for 25-30 years. They are very expensive to keep. There aren't nearly enough rescues to take them all in. Slaughter is a practical option. The USDA is in charge of the humane transportation, euthanasia and testing of horse meat for safety. If there are problems in this area, they need to step up regulations and impose stiff fines. The closing of the domestic plants didn't work and no solutions have been found for the unwanted horse population. At least the meat will be used for a good purpose, instead of wasted in a landfill. Any meat with residues will be condemned and rendered. There is a demand for the product and the FSIS is confident it will be safe as they have new testing procedures. US horses should be processed in US facilities with US workers under US regulations.

  5. Ditto Karla,, folks have no idea what happens to those horses on the trucks after they cross the border into unregulated slaughter houses. After the US houses were shut down so many horses were dumped out in the woods to starve or fend for themselves.. To commit them to a regulated US slaughter house is far more humane.

  6. They already test for these drugs in European markets on horses received from the US. I was fortunate enough to meet a veterinarian from Ireland and we discussed that. Further, Bute does leave their systems. it's not there forever. But that's something you don't hear said much.

  7. You make some good point Blue Ribbon Morgans – however, you are overlooking the fact that there are many horses in this country that cannot be useful members of the equine world. Today those horses are being shipped to old Mexico and other out of the country places for slaughter where there is no regulations. If you consider the transport and kind of kills that are made there you would understand that this is a better solution. I fully support horse slaughter in this country.