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Judge’s Order Stopping Horse Slaughter ‘Potentially Invalid’; HSUS Lawyers File Motion Seeking Clarification

Iowa Company Shifts to Beef Operations

The Humane Society of the United States praised the temporary ban on horse slaughter signed by U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo last week. But the group’s attorneys this week say the order is “potentially invalid.”

They’ve filed a new motion seeking expedited review so Armijo’s highly publicized order can be clarified.

UPDATE: Government attorneys for USDA have until next Wednesday at noon (Aug 21) to respond to the plaintiff’s motion for expedited review of the bond and temporary restraining order in this case.  The same deadline applies to Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation, according to the order signed Friday by Judge Armijo.

In that order, in addition to enjoining the federal defendants (USDA) from dispatching inspectors or carrying out inspection services at the horse slaughter facilities of intervener-defendants Valley Meat (VM) and Responsible Transportation (RT), the judge also stopped the businesses “from commercial horse slaughter operations until further order of this Court,” says the latest motion from the HSUS-led plaintiffs.

“Because Plaintiffs neither brought any cause of action against VM or RT, nor sought any remedy against them, the Court’s order enjoining them is potentially invalid, and likely to lead to unintended consequences,” it continues. “The only defendants Plaintiffs sued – and whose actions may be properly restrained based on violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) – are the federal defendants.”

Attorneys for the plaintiffs said the “potentially invalid injunction” against the two equine businesses has “dramatic financial implications” for the animal-welfare groups because it led to a federal magistrate requiring them to put up a bond of $495,000 just to cover a period of less than 30 days.

The business reality of that favorable bond decision, however, did not go far for the Sigourney, IA-based Responsible Transportation. “We can’t just sit with our heads down,” said RT’s President Keaton Walker. “We have to get back to work.”

Walker said the company could not afford the time and expense of waiting around in a federal courtroom in New Mexico and would instead shift to beef operations. The other company that won a grant of inspection for equine operations, Roswell, NM-based Valley Meat, is not dropping out.

Plaintiffs want the bond eliminated entirely under a so-called “public interest” exception. They also argue that neither NEPA nor APA provide the court with any jurisdiction to “enjoin non-federal third parties.”

In requesting the expedited review, the plaintiffs say it was not necessary for Armijo, the chief federal judge for New Mexico, to “enjoin the conduct of the slaughter facilities in order to provide complete relief.”

“The injunction against the federal defendants is all that is needed to ensure that they do not carry out inspections – which would in turn authorize slaughter for human consumption – pending this Court’s review,” they say.

In other words, no inspections means the companies cannot slaughter horses for human consumption. Further, the plaintiffs say the bond amount was based on “wishful thinking” and “fanciful projections.”

Government attorneys for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service have not yet responded to the plaintiff’s latest motion. Armijo plans on holding a hearing on a preliminary injunction within 30 days.

© Food Safety News
  • Kelly Blevins

    Of course they are going to say its invalid. What they want say is the fact that the E.U. only test 1% of the carcasses that enter the E.U. from Mexico and Canada and those are destroyed because they are tainted with banned substances. Could you imagine how many would be destroyed if they test the whole amount ? The horse slaughter industry is nothing more than organized crime. Sue Wallis is so greed stricken that she is trying to get her filthy hands into it anyway she possibly can. Now she wants a DOT. Number so she can transport horses. Already Kill Buyers owe the Federal Government over 2 million dollars for violations of transportation of horses to slaughter. They are making no attempts to collect on this and the violators keep adding up more fines. Why is the U.S. still partaking in a business that is nothing more than Bio-Terrorism against other countries ? Supplying toxic meat for their food chain is just that. Disgusting all the way around.

  • Kelly Blevins

    Another flop by the now totally discredited Sue Wallis. This politician should be worried about what goes on in her own state and keep her animal hating but out of other states. Why has she not been jailed for conflict of interest ? She runs around the country like some kind of buffoon trying to promote horse slaughter in others states,, They dont want it in hers. She needs to just stop with her big dumb self.

    • Your comment doesn’t map to the story. I can sympathize, but it doesn’t aid discussion if people don’t respond to the story.

      • Kelly Blevins

        Shelley just who made you the moderator of conversation. I see you have tried to run this conversation by pointing out everyones faults how about your own. You act like some media bully. Mind your own business and let others have their say,,, or is their a control issue with you and this subject ?

        • OK, so let’s have a discussion, shall we?

          The author of this piece covered a recent legal filing in the Front Range Equine Rescue et al vs. USDA court case. It was about the working on the TRO, as well as the bond amounts.

          The writing is about a recent court filing, an important one for the animal welfare groups. If the Judge keeps the wording the way it is, it makes these groups vulnerable to a financial lawsuit depending on if they win or not.

          Another important component of this filing is that the bond is close to half a million dollars _a month_. This is an extraordinary amount of money. It sets a nasty precedent for a NEPA case. Normally, if there’s a bond, the monetary amount is nominal.

          It’s a good filing. Dan’s write up was a good write up.

          And Sue Wallis has nothing to do with the article, or the filing.

          • Kelly Blevins

            DUH !!! What planet are you on. Who do you think encouraged these people to open the filthy plants ? Sue Wallis was a major role player in the Iowa plant. Everyone I thought knew that. But I guess You know it all dont you Shelley. I bet Y ou know as well who is backing the New Mexico plant. You go ahead on with your bad self. Im setting here laughing !!

  • terri

    That’s bs. The Roswell plant doesn’t deserve anything. The Missouri plant is going back to slaughtering cattle. Get off it.

    • Next time, read the article before you respond.

    • dk

      Where did you hear that the Missouri plant is going back to slaughtering cattle?

      • MorganLvr

        It’s been in the news for days, dk.

  • You covered the salient points of the motion. I’m rather expecting a decision on the motion today. We’ll see.

    It was a good, solid filing. Necessary, too.

    In the meantime, if your readers want to read the motion directly, they can at



  • dk

    There is a brand new Facebook page dedicated to consolidating all of the anti-horse slaughter petitions into one place, so you no longer have to go looking for them all!


  • crookedstick

    I would like to see some firm figures on how many animals Valley Meat could really slaughter and process in one day. It is a 7,000 sq. ft. Facility. Besides the chutes and killing floor, break room, offices, bathrooms etc. How many butchers can actually work there? 100 horses a day is totally fanciful. How long does it take to kill, gut skin, wash and package a horse? And exactly how many pound of waste are generated from one horse? How many gallons of blood? Where is the waste going? He can,t pile it up in mountains of rot, outback again. How many trucks does he have? How far will he take it from the Pecos River? De Los santos is delusional. Why would the Court proceed based on a figure of one hundred horses a day? Prove it.

  • ihatenazis

    again i ask; where is the DEMAND for mr ed burgers, pony paninis, filet o’filly in this country??
    and then i bet these abbotoir enthusiasts go aroung touting “free market” nonsense. disgusting.

  • crookedstick

    What about the Public Meeting in Roswell concerning the Public’s Environmental concerns ? It is scheduled for mid-October in Roswell…

  • Bonnie Lewenza

    This is the problem we were targeting one slaughter house that had intentions of opening as a wild horse slaughter house “Because Plaintiffs neither brought any cause of action against VM or RT, nor sought any remedy against them, the Court’s order enjoining them is potentially invalid, and likely to lead to unintended consequences,” so there were two others waiting in the shadows to let them be tied up in court appeals knowing full well that the verdict would not touch them.

  • FrankSR

    Whether or not you agree with horse slaughter, I commend this judge. It is about time that these liberal groups that punish companies and individuals through the courts because they have some
    other conviction (whether it’s plight a delta smelt that shut the water off to farmers in California causing most into bankruptcy or it’s the slaughter of old/unwanted horses that are shipped out of country or abandon anyway) understand there are consequences to their actions.

    • Kelly Blevins

      By the way when they loose their case,, AND they will. They will get nothing,, Not one red cent. Lol.

    • MorganLvr

      LIBERAL groups? This is NOT a political issue and has broad support from BOTH sides of the aisle. Why do you radical rightists insist on making EVERYTHING political? This has nothing to do with anyone’s political views.

      Besides that, your own statements are incorrect. Old Unwanted horses are NOT the ones that are slaughtered anywhere. These slaughter plants are making HUMAN FOOD. They will NOT accept less than high quality horses, and USDA records support the fact that over 90% of the horses have gone to slaughter were young, healthy, sound and had no behavioral problems. The only documented abandonment of horses is in the Desert Southwest and these are the slaughter plant rejects that the kill buyers themselves abandon when they cannot sell them.

      Whose Koo-Ade have YOU been drinking?