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Judge Rules Against USDA Horsemeat Inspection

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
  • I read the decision. I’m pretty sure the HSUS/Front Range Equine Rescue et al folks are going to prevail in this case.

    • dk

      Let’s please hope so, Shelley!

    • Marion Mohrman

      Me to Shelley!!

  • tellthetruth

    Plaintiffs should very well prevail in this case, because: 1) NEPA needs to be done, as horse slaughterhouses have devastated communities environmentally; 2) 80% of Americans oppose horse slaughter; 3) the meat of American horses is adulterated, given all the toxic substances given to them; 4) Congress will likely pass the Ag Appropriations bill with the prohibition on USDA inspections of horse meat; 5) Obama’s budget will likely pass with same.

    Give up, all of those who would profit from this predatory industry. Give up now.

  • Anna P

    It was just released, that yet again the GOA has been caught telling lies, the latest GAO 11-228 report, of which reintroduction of horse slaughter was based, is fraudulent.

    just google and numerous releases will appear

    • No, it was not fraudulent. It wasn’t exactly comprehensive, and made some faulty extrapolations, but it wasn’t fraudulent.

      We in the animal welfare community need to tone down the hyperbole.

  • susanrudnicki

    Just in case any of you document readers retain a shred of doubt about the legitimacy of the plaintiff’s complaints, there is a extensive compilation of the

    FOIA Documents

    FDA Case Reports

    Court Documents

    Video Downloads

    at this link http://www.kaufmanzoning.net Pretty well exposes the secrecy and subterfuge mounted by the pro-horse slaughter position. Recent findings in the investigation of the GAO report justifying the need for horse “processing” (love those euphemisms) have also turned up doctored data and conclusions. Even if the above fails to elicit disgust at the idea of sending drug laden meat overseas, the prospect of the American taxpayer footing the bill for foreign owned horse slaughter plant inspectors from USDA, passing a product destined to leave our country, this ought to raise the ire of even the most ardent free-market adherent.

  • ihatenazis

    i’ve been listening and have yet to hear a “free market” clamoring for horsey-burgers.
    (some humans just like killing things..no matter what it is)

  • Windhorse49

    I can’t see how the USDA can ignore the fact that horses are not subjected to the same regulations as other “meat animals”?? It is a waste of taxpayers money to “inspect” tainted meat. Exporting TOXIC MEAT is looking for a fat lawsuit from the EU Countries and others. this is the hard FACT not “emotion”. On the other hand the intentional “torture or cruelty” to any animal, is a punishable offense. There is tons of evidence that there is NO “HUMANE” way to slaughter horses, especially in an assembly line fashion. Most are gutted and skinned alive. What kind of monster of a nation the USA became?!

    • Lenna Hanna-O’Neill

      I *get* that you love horses, and I sympathize with your tender sensibilities, but not enough to let you continue to spread misinformation masked as fact. No they are NOT ‘gutted and skinned alive’ etc. Dear God. I am guessing you have never been to a slaughter house. I have been in several. The animals are quite dead before they get to being skinned or gutted; if they were not, a horse, even on a hoist, can KILL a man with a blow of one hoof. If they are not completely dead, from the bolt, they are certainly unconscious and past feeling. It’s one thing to have a strong feeling against horse slaughter. It is another to spread misinformation to promote that position. It’s dishonest.

  • Windhorse49

    Plaintiff will prevail, and it is a ridiculous idea to post “money to compensate for an illicit business”. Horses are NOT raised for food and NOT subjected to regulations like other meat animals. They are fed all kinds of toxic medications and other substances, that cause blood disorders and cancer in humans and other animals alike! Why are we wasting the taxpayer’s money for a “tainted meat inspector”?? On the other hand, cruelty to animals is a punishable offense. Horses can NOT be slaughtered in a “humane way” no matter where the slaughter house is located. Most of the poor horses are gutted and skinned alive, and die in a horrific way. What kind of monster would do a thing like that?

  • elizabeth dana

    If I can not feed a USDA inspected SALAD and HAMBURGER to my children without being worried about food poisoning ********** then why in the world is one red cent even spent discussing this ridiculous jackass idea? We should not even have a discussion on slaughtering horses – JUST NO NO NO! $400,000 for 2 men to stand to watch horses crucified ALIVE so that some jerk can make money off OUR TAX DOLLARS feeding meat unfit for dogs to third world children? De Santos SHOULD BE SUED FOR WASTING TAX PAYERS DOLLARS!!!!!

    • Marion Mohrman

      De Santos is hoping to get into the slaughter game one way or another, he has his nasty lawyer looking for one small hole to slither through.

  • Horse Eater

    It appears that most of those commenting have not read the final positon by the USDA about HSUS’s 56 page pettion having “Zero” merit in their arguments over reidues and Humane Handling. I would love to see the “TONS” of evidence wich shows Horses cannot be handled humanely. 1 ton equals 2,000 lbs by the way.

    • What makes you think the USDA isn’t happy about this decision?

  • elizabeth dana

    STOP wasting taxpayers money on poison meat being fed to third world children!!!!! CLOSE the door – slam it shut on slaughtering horses FOREVER – Pass the SAFE Act and move on to fighting crime…ps drug dealers use horse trailers in and out of Mexico to hide guns and drugs…hmm perfect cover – who is going to unload and tear apart horse trailers that stink with blood and feces so even the dogs can’t smell them…..ever think of that?

  • Lydia Aaron

    Slaughtering horses is wrong on so many accounts. The majority of people who are aware of it don’t want it. It is toxic for human and animal feed. Allowing the opening of slaughterhouses here would be a giant step backwards.

  • AnimalID123

    Let me start out by saying first and foremost I am an animal lover. I dedicated my higher education to the physiology, behavior, and management of domestic livestock species. I have no greater respect than that of an animal that provides so many things, not just meat, to make our lives easier. As stewards we owe it to these animals to give them the best care during their lives and to make the best use of the sacrifice of their life for us. Like horse processing or not, this is just another situation of law makers missing the mark. You regulate the problem within the practice not the practice itself. If the issue is substances such as drugs, institute withdrawal periods and banned substances as FSIS has done with other species. Set traceability measures in place just as they have for other food animals. If the issue is with desensitizing the horses then require a bolt made for horses, require tubs and shoots designed based on the behavior patterns and physical build of horses. If you don’t think this is possible read up on how Temple Grandin revolutionized beef processing. There are viable solutions to these problems. As for the argument that people aren’t clamoring for horse meat, travel anywhere outside the US. Japan, France, Belgium, many of the Caribbean Island nations, unless the menu has beef in the name, if you’ve eaten roast or steak it’s likely horse meat. Also, let us not forget the major crisis we have with the horse population in this country. As much as we idealize and would like to thinks so, don’t kid yourselves folks, there are simply not enough resources (financial and otherwise) to take care of all the horses out there. Humanely desensitizing an animal for processing is a hell of a lot better than seeing them starve, shot, run off cliffs, and any number of ill fates that face our massive horse population. I respect the fact that they’re a symbol of our American heritage but we are failing them miserably. Travel our country’s rangelands and you’ll see it for yourself. See their poor body conditions and injuries from intensive competition and tell me we’re able to manage this species without slaughter. The idea of horse meat may go against some of your sensibilities but above all else it’s sad to see our naiveté on this matter.

    • susanmeanslily

      Excellent points.

  • Snuff Ridge Ranch

    I don’t believe 80% of the American People oppose horse slaughter. How is it possible that people who know nothing about the facts and are wrapped up in an emotional state of mind have so much control? Many of these folks feel like horses are equal to house pets and have never owned one. Horses are livestock. When are you shutting down beef, pork and chicken slaughter as well?

    • susanmeanslily

      This “80%” is from a survey that was paid for by the ASPCA, so it was biased. Theses are Animal Rights Activists who have every intention of closing down all slaughter.

    • terri

      That surgery was more than one. They were done by independent agencies, not the humane groups. The polls were taken in various posts of the country, randomly. And i own horses too. I’m sure thati know every bit as much add you claim to know ambit horses. Difference is, after 50 years, I’m still open to learning. I still stand against horse slaughter for many reasons. In todays society, they are not livestock, not raised for or regulated food animals. It’s that simple. In a business sense bedding fit profit is stupid considering the economy. So your argument really is redundant in my opinion.

  • the real deal

    Do any of you own a horse? Have any of you raised horses? Have any of you been involved in the horse business? I have, and do on all accounts because they are wonderful animals that we treat with respect and love. Know they are animals, just like cattle and pigs are animals. They are here to serve us. When the time comes that they are not of service anymore they will cease to exist. Either by natural death or otherwise. To waste their flesh is exactly that… a waste. I will not prevent someone else from having food because I have flowery feelings about an animal.

    • 11thStPopulist

      So, by your logic, the meat of a dead animal must be consumed by other animals? Since humans are also animals as well as predatory carnivores, do you then advocate that funeral homes be turned into slaughterhouses so human flesh can be eaten too? After all, according to Dr. T. Colin Campbell (The China Study, pg. 30) human protein is the most compatible type of animal protein for other humans.

      • susanmeanslily

        I assume you are against organ donation? Human cadavers used by medical students to study anatomy? Harvesting skin from cadavers for burn victims? Using bone from cadavers for bone fusing? Using bone marrow from cadavers to treat leukemia? I don’t think anyone would want to eat a dead person, unless they were starving to death, like the Donner Party. Horse slaughter isn’t going to force you to eat horse meat. There are unwanted horses and a market for their use. As long as it is done in a tightly regulated facility and the meat is tested for safety, there is no sensible reason for not selling it for human consumption or zoos. It’s not as though the horse cares what is done with its dead flesh.

        • ethanspapa

          I will donate my body to a medical school to use it as they wish. Since we are millenniums behind in studying the human brain. I hope they dissect that first and see if there is anything that may help solve Neuromuscular Diseases. We are animals too.

        • Marion Mohrman

          That is a huge part of the problem Susan horse slaughter is not regulated, next kill video I get I will share with you. I think you will change your mind once you see what the equines go threw and I’m not speaking of just once they get to the slaughter houses, the tractor trailer stuffed with animals their babies, horses that are disruptive get their eyes poked out to calm them down so they don’t upset the others, I could go on all day, do some research

          • susanmeanslily

            I have done a lot of research. I don’t know what YOU consider “research” but if it is from a special interest group such as HSUS or ASPCA, it is biased. There are very stringent regulations on slaughter in this country. The USDA/APHIS are in charge of transporting to slaughter here in the US, but animals going to other countries don’t get that regulation. It sounds as though you have been influenced by the mass amounts of propaganda used by animal rights activists.