Horsemeat packing will not get underway in Iowa and New Mexico on Monday. Instead, there will be another hearing in federal court in New Mexico for the limited purpose of establishing a security bond. On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Christina Armijo issued a restraining order, preventing the nation’s first horse slaughter operations since 2006 from getting underway on Monday.
It wasn’t the order for “preliminarily and permanently enjoining” USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service from granting equine inspection services, as the attorney for the Humane Society of the United States wants. But a another hearing for that preliminary injunction will follow within 30 days.
In Friday’s ruling, Judge Armijo said plaintiff’s are likely to prevail at trial.
President George W. Bush appointed Armijo to the federal bench in 2001. She currently serves as chief judge for the District of New Mexico.
The last legal horsemeat packing under USDA inspection occurred in 2006. Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, NM and Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, IA are ready to begin packing horsemeat with USDA inspection. The judge put at least a temporary halt to those plans.
Both equine slaughter operations planned to export horsemeat for human consumption and sell it as animal food for zoos.© Food Safety News