On Monday, two judges from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver issued a temporary stay of a lower court opinion over USDA inspections of horsemeat slaughter and packing facilities.
Senior Judge David M. Ebel and Judge Gregory Alan Phillips granted the plaintiffs in the case, led by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), temporary injunctive relief and called for responses to a HSUS motion by 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7.
The plaintiffs promised to appeal the case to the 10th Circuit after the U.S. District Court in New Mexico last Friday dismissed their case challenging USDA inspections of up to three horsemeat facilities without going though more extensive and formal environmental reviews.
According to HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle, the plaintiffs are asking the federal appeals court to block all horse-slaughter inspections in the U.S. until their appeal is resolved.
“Horse slaughter is a predatory, inhumane business, and we are pleased to win another round in the courts to block killing of these animals on American soil for export to Italy and Japan,” Pacelle said Monday after the appeals court stay was issued. “Meanwhile, we are redoubling our efforts in Congress to secure a permanent ban on the slaughter of our horses throughout North America.”
Horsemeat was last packed under USDA inspection for human consumption and export more than six years ago. However, an attorney for two of the businesses that are ready to resume the practice sees the 10th Circuit challenge as just another part of the process.
Albuquerque attorney A. Blair Dunn represents both Valley Meat in New Mexico and Rains Natural Meats in Missouri. “The 10th Circuit order is temporary,” Dunn said. “We know the 10th Circuit will follow the law and allow my clients to proceed as soon as our side is considered. The Plaintiffs have misstated the law, the facts and the science.
“We look forward to a quick decision when the facts are considered and the District Court’s careful decision is reviewed,” he added. “Both Valley and Rains are confident that once the 10th Circuit has had a chance to hear both sides that they will recognize this to be more frivolous delay and interference litigation by HSUS and company.”© Food Safety News