NEWS: Court Lifts Ban on Horse Slaughter

It’s a controversial subject. Where do you stand?

[top image: Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue]

A federal court has lifted a temporary ban on horse slaughter, opening the way for three horse processing plants in New Mexico, Iowa and Missouri.

Here’s what happened. The three slaughterhouses were set to open in early November. These would be the first slaughterhouses to reopen in the U.S. since 2007, because a 2006 bill effectively banned¬† horse slaughter by defunding processing plant inspections. In 2011, the funding for inspections was restored.

The Humane Society of the United States tried to block the opening of the plants on a technicality, challenging a judge’s ruling that the plants obtained permits in the proper manner. On Friday, the appeals court order “said the groups had “failed to meet their burden for an injunction pending appeal.” Now the case is no longer considered to be under emergency status, it could be months before a final decision is reached.

Blair Dunn, an attorney for Valley Meat and Rains Natural Meats, says that the plants will be ready to open soon, unless HSUS posts a bond that would cover the company’s losses. “They are getting ready to go as quickly as they can. It shouldn’t take too long. Not more than two weeks,” he said.

The Humane Society, however, said “the fight for America’s horses is not over.”

Horse slaughter has always been a contentious issue, with some arguing that it’s inherently inhumane, and others arguing that it’s better than the alternative of being shipped to Mexico or Canada for slaughter. And that’s not even taking into consideration whether companion horses sold to kill buyers at auction are safe to eat.

Only time will tell exactly how the story will end. If you feel strongly about this issue,  contact your representative to share your opinion.


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