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Food Safety News

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Friday Hearing Last Stand to Stop Horsemeat Packing

The federal court in New Mexico next Friday will hear the motion for a preliminary injunction against USDA granting inspections to equine meat packing houses that are close to opening in New Mexico and Iowa.

It is the hearing that Bruce Wagman, the top attorney for animal welfare groups, said had to happen last month to stop what would be the first horse from legally going to slaughter in the U.S. since 2007.

Wagman is asking the court to grant a preliminary injunction against USDA based on arguments that providing inspection services requires environmental review by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

If the long list of animal welfare groups does not prevail in the federal court hearing on Aug. 2, Valley Meat Company in Roswell, NM is ready to begin equine meat packing operations as early as the following Monday, Aug. 5. Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, IA could begin horse slaughter in an old Louis Rich plant just as quickly.

New Mexico cancelled Valley Meats’ wastewater discharge permit last week, a move that will not stop the horsemeat packing from proceeding, but rather will require the more costly transporting of wastewater.

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King intervened in the federal case brought by Wegman’s animal welfare groups. King claims chemicals from the treatments horses receive contaminate all horses. USDA plans post-mortem inspections to check on drug residues in horses.

The possibility of horse slaughter beginning in New Mexico also brought out Robert Redford, “The Electric Cowboy,” to campaign against it with former Gov. Bill Richardson. Redford owns property near Santa Fe and now claims residence in New Mexico after a long association with the Sundance Ranch in Utah.

If and when packing horsemeat resumes in the U.S. and it’s for human consumption, it will be only for export to the many countries around the world where human consumption of horsemeat is common. Any sold in the U.S. would be for non-human consumption, such as to zoos.

A ban on horsemeat packing lasting about 5 years was imposed during the Bush Administration, and then lifted by the Obama Administration after Congressional auditors questioned whether horses were experiencing more inhumane conditions.

USDA meat inspectors are now set to provide inspection services to qualified applicants, at least up until the moment when Congress tells them differently.

And there is a move to do just that in the budget Congress may adopt later this fall.

© Food Safety News
  • George Sidoti

    Horses weigh over 1,000 lbs and have a much different diet. Veterinarians at race tracks and horse farms and all human doctors prescribe drugs according to the patients weight. When horse meat is sold on the market, any and all residue from ingesting any drug will remain in the horses body for days, months and even years later. When any other human, or any other animal, whose weight is less than that of a horse, is fed horse meat, that residue from that 1,000 pound animal is now in another smaller living creature, humans and/or pets. Not healthy… All horses at any racetrack and or farm are given drugs at one time or another in the horses life.

    • Jean Ortiz

      It’s all for $$$ You don’t see anyone against slaughter making a damn dime. I m Nohorseslaughter Ortiz on FB. Don’t know how to change my name here yet

  • gatorepi

    How wonderful that Mr. Redford has stepped into this fray. Maybe he and his fellow proponents of banning equine slaughter would be willing to house and feed the thousands of either unwanted or aged horses that would be typically eligible for slaughter. Where else are they going to go?

    • Jodi Messenich

      How about greedy horse breeders only breed what they can feed and if a horse in injured or old and suffering how about a death with dignity rather that squeezing the last couple hundred bucks out of them in a slaughter lot? Humanity is far from humane in slaughter plants and in the horse meat market…. Don’t breed em if you’re not going to feed em

    • BHumane

      Where should ‘unwanted’ or ‘aged’ horses go? Euthanasia, tho that’s not a new option, just new to you. Maybe you’ve heard of euthanasia? And how about responsible breeding, instead of ‘gosh, I’d love a cute foal, Jethro’. AQHA, are you listening now?

    • debbie

      WHY are you spouting on this site if you are not wanting or willing to stop horse slaughter?? Cause slaughter has NEVER been the answer after 30, 40 years and still an abundance going over the borders, it is a vicious cycle that needs to stop…. Hold Breeders responsible for the OVER breeding, make them reg. their foals to the State, like we do with dogs, hold them accountable from NOW ON, Org. like AQHA, that has 70% of their breed in the slaughter pipeline, GREED by this Org. and the horses pay….. NOPE it is unacceptable any longer…. If any of us own a animal it is our responsibility to care for it till the end if you can’t then you should NOT have animal’s, you do not throw them away to virtual torture… Endorse and PASS the Safe Act 1094/S.541 Ban Horse slaughter & transport….. Please call your Senators and REPS to get this OUT of committee since Pete Sessions would not even let this bill have a voice on the floor NO DISCUSSION denied it, now THAT’s a Democracy isn’t it???

    • mfrazier74@hotmail.com

      Actually, the aged, crippled, skinny horses aren’t wanted for slaughter – they want the nice fat young mainly quarterhorses. The quarter horse assn. is all for slaughter – gives them a place for their “culls” to go. Then they & other breed assns. can continue registering more foals every year.

    • notIvy431

      Hmm, gatorepi, I hope your family feels the same about you when you are old-, to the slaughter for you!

    • Standardbred Horse Fan Club

      Why should Mr. Redford feed and house horses that he didn’t breed? Maybe the breeders need to stop shovelling their pockets with $$ and start to be responsible for the lives they churn out – for the most part – recklessly.

    • dk
  • lindi23MN

    Obama is much worst on wildlife than Bush! How sick! Which “Congressional Auditors” thought it would be more humane to kill and eat wild horses and burros than let them live in their territories on US Public Land. I will bet they have links to ranching or fracking. We are seeing our wildlife rounded up and held for slaughter for no other reason than that ranchers want to exclusively “own” the public land that they rent and ruin for all of $1.75 per cow per month! We need to allow public land for wildlife first and let the dirty ranchers have the leftovers (or better yet nothing at all).

  • So they will check for drug residue after the horse has been killed? If they find drug residue in the carcass, what then? How will they dispose of the body? Why kill an animal if you may not be able to eat the meat after it’s slaughtered? Isn’t that a waste? This is wrong on so many levels.

    • Jean Ortiz

      There is NOTHING right about slaughter. For all of the times I have cried, watching videos, seeing pictures, nothing can compare to the shear horror these beautiful animals endure. TY GOD we won Friday. 30 Days to regroup! Imagine we, every tax payer paid for the 6-9 lawyers for the USDA. To make it worse? The USDA is AGAINST horse slaughter but was forced to join with Valley Meat because they had sued them! IF, and I say IF a slaughter plant was to open? It will cost taxpayers $400,000 a year for Federal to inspect, then ship the meat to other countries? WTF is that? on FB I am Nohorseslaughter Ortiz if you want to friend me

  • Thank-you, Jean, for positive news.

  • Adahy Linda

    Well i find it interesting that if it becomes legal , it won’t be for human consumption in US , just for zoos here .Hmmm , how they gonna getta hold on that ???

  • Jodi Messenich

    American can not afford the USDA meat inspectors for regular operations, how can we justify more spending for meat inspectors for foreign interest? We can’t! No more spending of US tax dollars to support foreign interests. How many Americans benefit from horse slaughter? less than .0001 percent of the population at a 5-7 million dollar a year cost to tax payers. No Horse Slaughter on US soil.

  • Jodi Messenich

    Great news.

  • Jo

    I don’t understand the statement that Congressional auditors questioned whether horses were experiencing more inhumane conditions. More inhuman then what? So inhumane they would be better off slaughtered? The BLM has made a mess of their job, which is supposed to be taking care of the safe law…but because they are run by the cattlemen, they are not following proper procedures…maybe they should be looked at, and should suffer some inhumane conditions…and the USDA isn’t doing a very good job either…GMO’s and all…We don’t need any more places where people can cheat, we seem to have enough of them.

  • SoSad forthe Future of America

    Wow, so now the consumption of horse meat ranks right up there with smoking weed? Really tired of the fed getting involved in our daily lives…the only thing that is worse is the constant barrage of crazy anthroposilliness attached to this debate…folks these are animals.and delicious ones at that. I am very dissappointed that you have this kind of control over my decisions and my life. When did you become more important than me, and why do you get to make my decisions?

  • kat

    NO this is wrong this has to STOP and now do not kill our horses

  • susan

    Couple of horse petitions to sign.. no horse slaughter!

    Protect Our Nation’s Horses and Keep the Food Supply Safe: Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 1094/S. 541)

    Federal Bill Introduced to End the Cruel Practice of Soring (H.R. 1518)

  • elizabeth dana

    Checking a dead horse to see if it should be slaughtered is like saying a prostitute will prevent unwanted pregnancies. What in Tar-nations would we want to spend $400,000 a year for 2 or 3 USDA inspectors to inspect this butchering so some SPecial Interest Pro Horse Slaughter Group can make money sending American Horses as UNFIT cancer causing horsemeat to a foreign country? The crime , pollution and carnage caused before by Kaufman Texas was evidence enough to have a Texas President ban it. Nothing has changed. There is still 1 percent of the horse population that needs to either be adopted, rescued, trained or euthanized BUT WITHOUT the . involvement of repealing laws, using taxpayers to profit off from or Killing Our American Horses. see http://www.kaufmanzoning.org for FACTS. DO NOT LET HISTORY REPEAT ITSELF!!!

  • MareCadTITANIC

    Why don’t we let ALL the members of blm show us, with THIER bodies how these plants work?

  • mfrazier74@hotmail.com

    There was NO ban on horsemeat “packing” – The government stopped paying for horsemeat inspections. When in the world did “congressional auditors” ever question whether or not the horses were experiencing inhumane conditions? What happened was 3 politicians in a closed room pulling out the ban on inspections from a bill! Three men! Not Congressional auditors & certainly no one concerned about inhumane conditions for the horses. It also seems to me that I read somewhere that zoos were no longer feeding horsemeat due to the drug residue. Wouldn’t that make it wrong to send the same meat to other countries for PEOPLE to eat?? Apparently that’s no concern for these people who want to kill horses.

  • Debbie Hogan Tate

    Where is the petition?

  • anitajennings

    The USDA does not have a good record. So now they are willing to take on another inspection job? What’s the deal? Is this a larger budget for USDA that increases the salaries for agency administrators? There has to be some agency gains that aren’t apparent.

  • marietc

    Good news Jean Ortiz

  • Pat Wicker

    JEAN ORTIZ, I hope you are right . NO TO HORSE SLAUGHTER!!!!!!!!

  • lone Monderline

    Again, man is the destructive factor in our fauna ..

    It makes me sad that we do not learn from history, we have only borrowed mother earth and we allow ourselves to still treat her badly.

    We should be able to live side by side with the animals that we are in pact with ..

    There must be some people who are going to be held accountable for this heinous act which is now happening.

    We should be ashamed, politicians should be ashamed, farmers should be ashamed of their greed.
    But one day it probably will work, we are going to beat us to death.

    Our grandchildren will ask us one day, “Where were you during the Holocaust of the animals?
    What did you do against these horrific crimes?
    This time around we will not be able to say, “We didn` t know it was going on ”

    Denmark follows the case of the wilde horses being robbed of sin freedom and land som right fully belong to them.

    Do not destroy your history, as the world knows you for.

    Slaughterhouses lead only two the worst form of animal cruelty, theywill go through the torture on sina last journey ..

    Let’s show the next generation at vi acted with morality and ethics, and not as monsters.

    Vi kan change the world to a place where there is room for everyone and where torture is not present ..

    Show mercy two dem som having no voice

    • Jean Ortiz

      I actually coined the phrase “Holocaust of the Horses” and my friend put it on a picture. Holocaust is not exactly right according to Mirriam Webster but close enough for me. It is my phrase & I will spread it until there is no more chance of it, not just in the US but World wide

    • Jean Ortiz

      Belgium is the biggest backer of the plant in Roswell, where I live

  • Suzanne

    This sounds positive. I also support the SAFE ACT and hope it is passed. I will keep emailing and sending letters and that is what we should all do. I now hate the Obama admistration!!

  • Standardbred Horse Fan Club

    Would be a sad day to see the USA poison their allies with toxic horse meat just like the Canadian horse slaughter houses are doing since no amount of inspections can stop the dangerous medications administered to horses from entering into the human food supply as long as horses are slaughtered in the numbers that have to be done to meet profit lines (which by the way, the public benefits 0% from although the public funds the barbaric industry). Canada slaughters nearly 90,000 horses annually and even a simple administration of horse wormer has ingredients inherent dangerous for human consumption according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Racetrack people wouldn’t touch horse meat … those of us who own horses and work with horses read the labels of the medications that are administered to the animals and we wouldn’t even feed that meat to our pets. It’s no small wonder that CANCER is on the mercurial rise in Europe and the Asians are encountering horrific diseases that were almost unheard of centuries ago. Keep eating toxic horse meat and feed it to your children too. Those of us who work with horses have warned the EU and all of you that horse meat is not full of protein, it is full of Toxic, Dangerous drugs to humans. Peace be with our allies.

  • Equine_Right_To_A_Quality_Life

    Horses have served humans since early civilization by building our communities, harvesting our crops, providing transportation, serving in our wars, and continuing to provide sport, happiness and industry to our population. Why would anyone torture an animal to death in a horse slaughter torture chamber? Has anyone really fathomed yet that humane slaughter does not exist. The animals are vivisected alive? Where did our humanity go?

    • Jean Ortiz

      I’m ashamed to be an American at times, stranger in my own country. On FB I am Nohorseslaughter Ortiz

  • mfrazier74@hotmail.com

    Yesterday I posted a comment – which apparently never got “moderated”! If horsemeat consumption in other countries is “common” – does that make it right for the US to send adulterated meat to them? I believe the zoos – at least in this country – no longer feed horsemeat to their animals because of this adulteration (drugs, medications, wormers etc). So there would be no market here for it. There was no ban on horsemeat packing imposed = our government stopped paying government inspectors to inspect the meat – therefore the plants were closed down -finally.
    And frankly, I do not believe any “congressional auditors” EVER questioned the inhumanity the horses are suffering – either here or Mexico & Canada!! I think Dan Flynn should have done a little more research.

  • “A ban on horsemeat packing lasting about 5 years was imposed during the Bush Administration, and then lifted by the Obama Administration after Congressional auditors questioned whether horses were experiencing more inhumane conditions.”

    This is in error.

    Check out section titled “Congress, Ah Congress” for details of what happened.


  • Not to burst bubble, but this delay will only happen if the Judge rules against the animal welfare plaintiffs.

    • Jean Ortiz

      didn’t burst MY bubble, nor the horses.

  • Jamal Jackson

    I can’t wait for the My Little McPony sandwich. It’s gonna be tasty as all heck. If they want, give me a bat and I’ll take out the first horse myself if it moves things along.

  • Jean Ortiz

    I just posted some comments, awaiting approval, I refresh the page & they are gone? Are you people associated with the Alb Journal? They have lopsided journalism.