Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Owners of Iowa plant drop plans for horse abbatoir; New Mexico plant owner vows to keep fighting

Almost two weeks after a federal judge temporarily banned two horse slaughterhouses -- in Iowa and New Mexico -- from opening operations, owners of the plant in Sigourney, Iowa, have decided to end their pursuit to slaughter horses, and instead focus on cattle, Grant Schulte reports for The Associated Press.

Keaton Walker, president of Responsible Transportation, told Schulte, "We just can't sit with our heads down. We have to get back to work. Our main focus now is going to be beef." The Humane Society responded to the decision in a statement: "Horse meat is a product of cruelty that Americans don't want to buy, and which pollutes the air and water wherever it occurs." Rick De Los Santos, owner of Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, N.M., said he has no plants to back down. He told AP, "We are going to see this deal all the way through." (Read more)

The plants were scheduled to open the week of Aug. 5, but on Aug. 2 a New Mexico federal judge blocked those plans, saying the U.S. Department of Agriculture should have done an environmental review before granting inspection to the meatpackers. Animal-rights groups filed a lawsuit against the proposed horse slaughterhouses, and Aug. 8, a federal magistrate ordered the groups to post a bond of nearly $500,000 to cover the companies’ costs and potential lost profits, if the animal-rights groups lose the case.

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