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Bond Hearing Set for Thursday in Horse Slaughter Case

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Hayes Scott has postponed until Aug. 8 the bond hearing to determine how much the Humane Society of the United States and other plaintiffs should have to put up to obtain injunctive relief against two companies prepared to go into the horsemeat packing business.

The bond hearing was originally scheduled for Monday, but Scott opted to delay it to Thursday, saying he needed more time to hear arguments. Roswell, NM-based Valley Meat Co. and Sigourney, IA-based Responsible Transportation will argue a bond of several million dollars each is required.

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has agreed to inspect horsemeat produced by the two companies, but New Mexico’s chief federal judge issued a restraining order on Friday to prevent the two companies from slaughtering horses while the issue is being disputed in her court.

Judge Christina Armijo has also agreed to schedule a hearing within 30 days on whether to grant the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction. Judges typically only grant a preliminary injunction if they believe there is a high degree of probability that the plaintiffs will prevail at trial. The bond is put up to cover the possibility they are wrong. In the meantime, her restraining order will remain in force.

Judge Scott’s order will allow attorneys to appear in person in the federal court in Albuquerque or participate in the proceedings by phone. His decision might not come right away, however, as the magistrate judge is going to entertain a discovery order during the hearing.

Also hanging over the proceedings is whatever action Congress might take later this year. The five-year ban on horse slaughter in the U.S. came about when Congress prohibited USDA from spending money on equine inspection. That prohibition was lifted two years ago, but at least the House Appropriations Committee wants it reinstated.

If an appeal is filed regarding the New Mexico court decisions, the case will move up Interstate 25 to the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

© Food Safety News
  • How did this issue ever make it to Federal Court? We have never used horses (or donkeys) for food in this country and due to the inhumane treatment of these noble animals, all slaughter houses were closed due to the horrid stench, pollution and just nasty rendering of an animal that certainly has done nothing but provide us with the ability to travel this Country for many centuries to make it what it is today. What you are witnessings is a mere 10 to 20% of our population looking to profit from this animal either through slaughter or transport. Even if we were to get slaughter houses closed down permanently, we would still have to battle their transport (which is a long, grueling ordeal) into Mexico and Canada. We must vote and pass the SAFE act. We must write letters to our reps and ask them to support it. It is imperative that we get this passed in order to stop the inhumane slaughter of our majestic horses and donkeys once and for all. Please join us in voicing your concerns regarding this issue.

  • Where is my message?

  • Where is my comment????

  • Reporting this……you cannot have a open forum linked to social media and not allow comments you do not like.

  • terri

    Again, any businessman knows that there is a possibility that the business isn’t going to make it. They don’t receive compensation. Why is a horse slaughter plant any different? Just because these people say it’s costing them, it isn’t valid because they have not started killing. They are not even open for business. Are you going to finance every failing business? If that’s the case, I’ll open a few myself and make my money that way..

  • We must support the SAFE act. We have never used horses/donkeys for food in this country and suspect we never will. With the many drugs that are used including bute, wormer medications, etc. there is a real danger to create a food supply that will cause great harm to not only the American people with lawsuits, using their tax money to send this to Asian or European markets, paying for USDA to inspect facilities. And last but not least, the inhumane treatment once taken, repeatedly on trips lasting 30 hours or more without food and water and when they reach their destination, using a system that does not work.

  • Kathy Heinisch

    Americas Horses Have No place in the Human Food Chain or The
    Consumer food Markets. They are not purpose raised as a food source.
    Slaughter is for food production, the Human Food chain should not be
    used to “dispose of” displaced Horses, or used to receive “a salvage
    fee” for Horses, deemed “unusable” by their owners or breeders .http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s541 http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr1094

  • debbie

    NO Horse Slaughter, no more, no more…… Call your Rep’s to support Safe Act 1094/S.541 to Ban Horse Slaughter & Transportation for human consumption… Call the White House 202-456-1111 stay on line someone will answer, tell President to stop horse slaughter, sign petition’s keep doing it all that you can, sense the corruption goes right to the Broadcasting networks, no one hear’s about it, spread the word let people know, WE ALL can stop this, be LOUD & CLEAR…. WE WILL WIN for the horses, for the people for the environment…….. 🙂

  • Merri Mare

    Horses are not food. There are better ways to control the horse population. Regulating horse breeding in the horse industries and starting a birth control program for the wild horses. Horse slaughter is a quick and profitable fix for the pro-slaughter, but is inhumane. End of story.

  • Sue Ellen Ewing

    Support the safe act. The FDA says horses are pets not livestock. Horses are not meant to be in food chain. Slaughter is never humane. The greedy and irresponsible are the people pushing for slaughter. Because it isn’t the old and lame and starving heading for slaughter. It is the healthy and young . Pregnant mares watch as foals are bludgeoned to death while her throat is slit. Polluted soil, air, water accompanies slaughter because horses have twice the blood. And then there is the crime from stolen horses and the barbarians usually with criminal records hired to kill

  • Lori Hackman

    I used to live 20 miles from the now closed Cavel International, DeKalb, IL. It was out of wastewater compliance since day 1. The fines were never paid. Horse slaughterhouses are not something you want in your community.

    “Cavel International in Illinois was a sparkling new, purpose built facility that re-opened in June, 2004 with a state-of-the-art pre-treatment system.

    Additionally, Cavel International had special Industrial Waste Permits that allowed much higher (8 times higher) contamination levels for waste water leaving the slaughter house. But Cavel was still out of compliance, and not just a few times. This facility was in significant non-compliance hundreds of times. In one report, a Cavel employee acknowledges “chunks” from slaughtered horses were oozing out of tanks. This does not include the numerous safety violations documented by the FSIS.”

    After Cavel International was closed in the US they moved operations to Canada, where they repeated the offense …

    “In Canada, Natural Valley Farms in Neudorf, Saskatchewan, was shut down by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in 2009 for food safety concerns. NVF went into receivership on September 22, 2008, yet horses continued to be slaughtered at the facility by Velda Group, an international Belgian-based company. Velda was infamous in Illinois for numerous environmental charges and convictions at their Cavel International horse slaughter plant that closed business in September 2007.

    Blood disposal appears to have been equally problematic for NVF as with other horse slaughter plants. Not only do horses have twice the quantity of blood as cows, but the blood is notoriously difficult to treat. The bacterial agents used in standard cattle digesters fail to provide acceptable discharge levels because of antibiotics often found in horse blood. As a result, pollution follows the horse slaughter industry where ever it goes.”

  • Concerned citizen

    If you kill a horse (via euthanasia from a vet or with a bullet there will still be drugs in this carcass (or so you say if this animal has been treated with drugs). The euthanasia solutions are formulated where they won’t decompose so.. they’ll stay in the decomposing carcass so… what do you suppose the horse owner is going to do with this carcass. Yes, that’s right, bury it or take it to a landfill etc. You folks think that by halting a controlled slaughter and letting the owners of these animals take care of these carcasses that it changes the contamination of your water supply and runoff? When these animals are given drugs what do you think happens to these drugs? Do they stay in this horses body forever? No,you idiot, they are excreted from its body thru feces, urine, saliva, etc. So everyone lets get real. The horse owner has been contaminating his/her property every time drugs are used in said horse. The same goes for every dog,cat, cow, chicken,rabbit, turkey etc,etc and yes more importantly humanes (all the drugs we all take goes right down the toilet folks and into water treatment systems like these slaughter houses use). Take a guess folk were tthose cancer fighting drugs go. The list goes on because there is someone out there using a pharmacological product in whatever species of animal they have.
    Horses transported over distances have to follow any transportation regulations set forth by the USDA. The controlled slaughter of these animals is overseen by competent USDA inspectors. The horses themselves will be tested for drugs (be it antiinflammatories such as bute or antibiotics) just as is done in other species used for humane consumption.

    • savinghorses2

      I am really glad you actually called me an idiot, I am a professional horse trainer, won World and Nationals in 3 registries, Won Congress multiple times, we have a multi-million dollar stables, we have farm ground in three states with corn crops, vegetables, an orchard, and vineyard. WE own 2 retail stores, and we are VERY well established in the Horse Industry with 4 generations of horse trainers, my grandfather knew Hank Wisecamp personally. So I want you to understand that you are very wrong about the issue with euthanasia. When you put down one animal or two on your farm you are NOT affecting the environment, in fact, I asked the University of Illinois that question and the only thing it would affect is wildlife that consumed it if it was above ground or if you left it in a stream of water. What gets me is how you think for one freaking second that over filling the pre-treatment waste water systems and the rendering plant and landfills with this large a quantity of horses is safer. In fact we live in Illinois near DeKalb plant, we have tons of pictures, newsclippings, facts from the local agencies including the Sanitation Group in DeKalb. If you wish I can tell you detail for detail all the horrible things they said happened to the local environment. But since you know everything I am sure you have visited the plant and saw for yourself, or maybe you know these tiny plants don’t have a brand new multi-million dollar facility with a STATE of the ART pre-treatment waste water management unit that was under a permit for Industrial Waste Water and they were 8 times larger than any unit ever built for a slaughter plant and they STILL had problems with the environmental issues. If you still don’t believe me then I can quote to you word for word exactly what the Sanitation Department statements were. And furthermore horses spread out across the US are put down and die natural causes or abuse causes to the tune of over 900,000 a year, what difference will another 170,000 bodies in this matter? Except you know and I know that the difference these are able bodied animals that people would want alive not dead. So sorry! But you lose! The distribution of animals across America not a big issue, but pile tonnes and tonnes of them in one spot and over work all the resources to get rid of it all then we have problems. Besides normal horse owners are not nuts, we don’t cut the horses apart and spread the environmental issues with the drugs, fluids, tissue, and body parts being separate damaging everything, its all contained in the complete bodies buried spread across the United States, and the GAO report is a fraud google it on Forbes.com enjoy the read! Don’t cry to hard, we know the truth is hard to take!

      • concerned citizen

        Ooch!! The truth must hurt. The point I was trying to make in your weak argument about drugs in horses and contamination to the environment is no different than in other species. Yes pentobarbital is not broken down in an animal that is euthanized. The total completion of the pharmacokinetics of this drug is not achieved because – the animal is dead!! If the decomposing carcass is quanitatively tested for the presence of this chemical it will be found both In the decomposing carcass and in the soil around the carcass. Therefore, leaching through water or soil erosion will expose this chemical in our environment. You ask your consultant to drink that water. I say no thank you, kindly. Don’t know how to make this any simplier than that for you. The argument about drugs (chemicals) and the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of these drugs stand. Drugs DO NOT STAY in an animal forever. They are eliminated from their body either protein, lipid, or carbohydrate bound, metabolically broken down, transposed/ inactivated and excreted from the body. Don’t want to sit here and give a lesson on the pharmacokinetics of drugs to you or anyone else. These same drugs used in horses are used in other FOOD PRODUCING animals. Under the advice and oversight of a licensed veterinarian these drugs can be used in a restricted or a non customary way. Residue testing is in place just as it is in other species being slaughtered and consumed by the American public. If the environment was being damaged when these other establishments, were operating then appropriate complaints would have been filed with EPA, state water quality authorities such as TCEQ in Texas,and other local authorities that deal with water contamination and runoff. These government authorities do not take compliants lightly and such are thoroughly investigated. If it was their findings that shut these places down, then justice was served. However, if these new places have approached this complex issue as they should and have proposed a plan that has been approved by the appropriate authorities then your argument is bogus, nil, moot and they would get the chance to operate until they prove otherwise. The compliant about water, air, and sound qualities would be a concern if these establishments didn’t apply for the appropriate liscenses which require the appropriate initial testing along with monitoring and verification throughout the process – whatever the process. Most locations of these establishments is rural to boon docks. That is what it was initially. If encrochment by population expansion as occurred during the time these places were in operation well the way I see it I shouldn’t have moved there in the first place- I didn’t do my apropriate homework on the location before I moved. By the way I don’t need to stroke my ego, my name is followed by titles such as BAS, MS , DVM , PHV and I make a living not from associations, lobbyiest, and societies but from the common normal people in this country trying to make it. Look, I love horses just as much as you. I don’t want to kill them either. The argument over whether horses are companion animals is your personal preference. However, the federal government (IRS) will not grant appropiate deductions on your income tax unless you list said animals as livestock. You see we use our horse’s . Deduction’s, claimed on our Schedule F of our Federal Income Tax, such as feed, hay, veterinary medications/services, farrier services, transportation etc. are legitimate. Deductions/exemptions on our property taxes are also included as a benefit of a horse being claimed as livestock by allowing a person to claim agriculture exemption changing the property value in which you are taxed. Another such argument is transportation using Farm Exempt registrations and tax rate with your vehicle. Seems that a double standard is implicated in this respect and the public should know about it also. The argument that horses can’t be killed humanely with a mechanical bolt but shooting them in the head with a gun is just as humane as being chemically euthanized is bogus. The establishment in MO is going to shoot them in the head with a gun so maybe the others should also as this will make it humane. So this argument is nil. The argument that 80% of the public is against horse slaughter is very controversial. I’m sure 80% of the people polled don’t want horse slaughter but how many of these people actually own, provide, and take care of a horse. We all know there has been a drastic decline in the number of horse owners (be it from the actual cost of care, limited time available, or just no interest in ownership) doesn’t matter at this point and can’t be changed back overnight. There has NOT been a drastic decline in the number of horses. What we are left with is horses (livestock) that have never been handled, received appropriate care for, and habituated to our domestic lifestyle we all enjoy and cherish. These homeless uncared for horses are the ones we don’t have an answer but we must do something just as we do in wildlife conservation programs used today. I do respect a person’s objective/subjective thoughts on this issue but when half truths and untruths are spoken it angers me and I must counteract this abuse.

  • valhalla

    Man’s betrayal to a beautiful animal that has worked beside him -carried him through war’s -only to meet a horrific -inhumane -death.

  • cbf

    As a society we need to educate ourselves on horse slaughter, both the positive and negative effects. Issues that surround this topic like regulating horse breeding in the wild. Lets be real, that is not feasible nor is that possible. Also need to understand that horses cannot go, by law, over 24 hours without food and water, not over 30 hours as mentioned above.There are many that call horse slaughter in humane. Is letting a horse starve to death and suffer for several months without food and water not in humane? This act states that horse meat will not be used for human consumption in the U.S. It will be for export use only. If somebody wants to eat horse meat, that is their business. We have no right to tell people what they can and cannot eat. There are 2 sides to every story. I’m not saying its right nor is it wrong, but as a society, where the need for food safety and quality is at an all time high, we need to educate ourselves on topics like this and and not jump to conclusions and take sides.

    • savinghorses2

      U r right about the 2 sides to every story so go to Forbes.com and look up the Gao report is fraudulent! That will show our side of the story, the truth is now out!

  • NEPA actions rarely result in large bonds. Especially when the action is by non-profits against a government entity, which is what this action is really about. Yes, the horse plants may be intervening, but for all the bluster about the plants being able to start _right now_, the actions are unlikely. And I do believe the non-profits will prevail in this case, which also impacts on bond amounts.

    The whole point of citizen actions is that the little guy can sue the big guy when it comes to matters in the public interest, and the little guy doesn’t have to be as rich or powerful as the big guy.

    I do strongly believe the non-profits will prevail. They do have the stronger case. They have precedence on their side, as the judge noted in her order regarding the restraining order.

    As for the Congressional actions, restating the ban against horse plant inspections really isn’t an effective solution: we need a complete ban, as the GAO noted. I just don’t feel Congress is capable of passing any bill, much less one specific to animals. Still, the SAFE act does have bipartisan support, which is a rarity nowadays.

  • Thank you so much dk! Much appreciated!