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Court Temporarily Halts Horse Slaughterhouses in Neighboring NM, MO

PHOTO: A court action is stopping a New Mexico company from opening its horse slaughterhouse, at least temporarily. Photo courtesy HSUS.
PHOTO: A court action is stopping a New Mexico company from opening its horse slaughterhouse, at least temporarily. Photo courtesy HSUS.
November 7, 2013

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Valley Meat Company, Roswell, N.M., 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 ruling allowing horse slaughterhouses in Arizona's next-door neighbor and in Missouri. Animal rights groups claim the USDA didn't adequately consider the environmental impact of the plants.

Wayne Pacelle, CEO, Humane Society of the United States, 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," Pacelle said. "It promises to be fraught with confrontation and courtroom activities, and political activity."

These slaughterhouses would be the first to operate in the U.S. since 2006. Since that time, however, there have been reports of Arizona horses being shipped to Mexico to be slaughtered.

Pacelle said Americans are loud and clear in their opposition to slaughtering horses for human consumption.

"Americans don't eat horses; we never have eaten horses. And 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," he said.

Congressional action in 2011 restored funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughterhouses, a move that essentially ended what had been an unofficial five-year ban on killing horses for food. Pacelle said even if these operations begin, he expects Congress to pass laws next year to ban the controversial practice.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ