The plaintiffs "alleged that the Department of Agriculture failed to carry out environmental reviews before it gave approval to Roswell-based Valley Meat Co." and two other companies, reports Tim Gaynor of Reuters. District Judge Christina Armijo rejected the groups' contention "that horses are given medications not approved for livestock, so the waste products of slaughter plants may include pollutants."
Responsible Transportation of Sigourney, Iowa, gave up plans to slaughter horses after the judge issued a temporary restraining order in August, but Valley Meat said it planned to open in seven to 10 days and its attorney "said Rains Natural Meats, in Gallatin, Mo., was poised to open as early as Monday," reports Jeri Clausing of The Associated Press. The Humane Society said it would "work with the states to block the plants from opening . . . and step up its efforts in Congress to stop the slaughter of American horses."
U.S. plants exported horse meat to other countries until 2007, after Congress barred the Agriculture Department from spending money to inspect the plants. "The ban had been extended a year at a time as part of USDA funding bills, but the language was omitted in 2011," Gaynor notes. That was after a Government Accountabilty Office study suggested that the lack of slaughter plans as a bottom for the horse market was worsening the abandonment problems that became prevalent during the Great Recession.