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Court Temporarily Halts Horse Slaughterhouses in NM, MO

PHOTO: A court action is stopping Valley Meat Company in Roswell, New Mexico, from starting its horse slaughterhouse, at least temporarily. Photo courtesy HSUS.
PHOTO: A court action is stopping Valley Meat Company in Roswell, New Mexico, from starting its horse slaughterhouse, at least temporarily. Photo courtesy HSUS.
November 6, 2013

SANTA FE, N.M. - Valley Meat Co. in Roswell cannot begin its horse slaughterhouse business, at least for now.

A federal appeals court issued a temporary injunction after the Humane Society of the United States appealed an earlier court decision allowing horse slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Missouri. Animal rights groups claim the U.S. Department of Agriculture didn't adequately consider the environmental impact of the plants.

Wayne Pacelle, the society's chief executive, said people in the business of selling American horse meat to overseas buyers have a rough road ahead.

"I don't, for the life of me, understand why anyone would get into this business," he said. "It promises to be fraught with confrontation and courtroom activities, and political activity."

Congressional action in 2011 restored funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughterhouses, a move that essentially ended what had been an unofficial ban on killing horses for food. Even if these operations begin, Pacelle said, he expects Congress to pass laws next year to ban the controversial practice. He said Americans are loud and clear in their opposition to slaughtering horses for human consumption.

"Americans don't eat horses," he said. "We never have eaten horses. Just like we wouldn't set up a slaughter plant for some unwanted dogs and then try to find some market halfway around the world that will buy the meat, we shouldn't do that with horses, either."

These slaughterhouses would be the first to operate in the United States since 2006.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM