(HORSES/HORSE SLAUGHTER) Earlier this year, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin lifted Oklahoma’s horse slaughter ban when she signed legislation that would allow Oklahoma facilities to process and export horse meat. Now, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an emergency stay on the slaughter of horses, claiming animal protection groups “failed to meet their burden for an injunction pending appeal.”
This decision by the court opens the door for the Roswell, New Mexico-based Valley Meat Co. and Gallatin, Missouri-based Rains Natural Meats to begin processing equine for human consumption immediately.
“They are pushing full steam ahead to be ready to go as soon as possible,” said Blair Dunn, an attorney who represents the Valley Meat Co. and Rains Natural Meat.
In fact, according to Dunn, Rains already have horses on site.
It has been a long struggle between animal protection groups and Valley Meat Co., who has led the way in pushing for horse slaughter in America after Congress reinstated funding for inspections of horse slaughterhouses in 2011.
In August, both slaughterhouses prepared to resume the slaughter of horses before a federal judge in Albuquerque issued a temporary restraining order after animal protection groups sued to contest the permitting process.
The lawsuit was thrown out in November, again paving the way for the slaughter houses to prepare for business.
Animal rights groups immediately filed an appeal to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which blocked the plants from opening yet again, before lifting the stay last week.
Following the decision by the court, Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) began legal challenges in New Mexico and Missouri targeting Valley Meats and Rains.
FRER filed a 90-page brief in New Mexico explaining why “state law mandates Valley Meat be rejected in its quest to start slaughtering horses for meat.” The brief argues that Valley Meat’s history of negligence includes “5000 violations of state environmental laws designed to protect groundwater, the environment, rivers and other waterways.”
According to FRER, these violations are the basis by which Valley Meat’s application for a wastewater discharge permit should be denied, and thus be prevented from resuming the slaughter of horses.
In Missouri, FRER is arguing that the slaughter of horses would damage Missouri’s water.
According to FRER, they have “collected objective testimony from veterinarians and horse trainers proving that virtually every American horse who goes to slaughter has been given drugs that render their meat illegal and unsafe. Such drugs present a recipe for disaster when the byproducts, blood and wastewater from horse slaughter end up in the environment.”