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Letter From the Editor: A Trial Court Surprise

Opinion

Friday’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Christina Armijo surprised me.

I was expecting New Mexico’s top federal judge to issue a permanent injunction barring USDA from providing equine inspection services. Then I thought the U.S. Department of Justice attorneys assigned to represent USDA would appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, where Armijo’s ruling would be reversed.

My thinking was that New Mexico’s political leadership, from both parties, are enough anti-horse slaughter that the body politic  would influence Armijo. It was part of a stereotype I’ve created in my own mind about New Mexican political groupthink.

But surprise me she did, especially by nailing the legal reasoning I thought we would see from a 10th Circuit appeals panel of judges. After reading Armijo’s 33-page decision, I was struck by how clear everything looks now. With some tweaking along the way, Congress has, for more than a century, tasked USDA with inspecting meat and meat products, whether it’s from beef, lamb, pork, horse or whatever else has hooves.

The legal challenge was based on apparently misguided readings of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Both are about government decision-making where discretion exists, not where government action is mandated.

USDA has a job to do, albeit one that some find unpopular.

In other words, a grant of inspection for meat is a “ministerial act,” the common definition of which is one “performed according to legal authority, established procedures or instructions from a superior, without exercising any individual judgment.”

The concept of the ministerial functions of government is a good thing because it means we don’t have to worry about whether the bureaucrat at the passport agency or building department likes us or not. We still get our passport or building permit based solely on meeting the application requirements.

My powers of prediction went south on this one when all the lawyers involved agreed to a so-called “expedited review.” My mind immediately went to why each side agreed to it. I thought the government attorneys figured they would win on the law once the case got to the Appeals Court in Denver and that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) wanted a trial court win timed for right before a final budget deal is struck in Congress.

HSUS is the power player in this controversy, and it does pursue its goals as a game of chess, not checkers. It seems reasonable to me to think that the end game is this controversy is always Congress, which can continue to stop and start horse-slaughter inspection through the appropriations process.

That’s the reason this is a big loss for HSUS. It was expecting a well-timed win and instead now has to retool for the new reality. With the help of one of the nation’s premiere animal-law experts, it went up against the largest and most powerful law firm in the country, DOJ, but lost.

Sort of like St. Louis and Boston in the World Series. Neither has anything to be ashamed about. And, for the record,  I also thought St. Louis would win.

Attorney Wagman has already filed his notice of appeal to the 10th Circuit, and HSUS has vowed to continue the fight at the state level and in Congress. (They retool fast.)

Blair Dunn, the Albuquerque attorney representing Valley Meat in New Mexico and Rains Natural Meat in Missouri says his clients are ready to call in the USDA inspectors and begin packing horsemeat for human consumption abroad as soon as tomorrow.

The fact that I was wrong on how this chapter came out makes me doubt my ability to predict what happens from here. I did not think at this point in the story that we’d be hearing HSUS chief Wayne Pacelle refer to “the very real prospect” of horse slaughter resuming in the states.

Yes, that is now a very real prospect. But, this hotly contested dispute was, in a sense, contained for the past four months in a single courtroom in Albuquerque. Now it is again busting out all over.

© Food Safety News
  • elizabeth dana

    Today New Mexico should FIRE the Homeland Security Director as there is a new event – 11-1 Eco terrorism – the day New Mexico is now the doormat of Mexico and China to sell poisoned horsemeat to the poor and label it “The New Beef ” coming to a Wal-Mart near you soon!!! Every county where horsemeat is eaten in its “culture – which is a face paint job for POVERTY” – there also is no free education system, lack of health care and children CAN BE WORKED TO DEATH in factories or sold as sex slaves ! New Mexico is now FORCED TO JOIN this criminal drug run cartel of horse slaughter because Santos shook hands with his master – El Diablo!

    • Art Davis

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/17/countries-that-eat-horsemeat_n_2697565.html

      France, Germany, Belgium and some others in the attached article all eat horse meat. They have decent education systems, adequate health care and don’t work kids to death. Might be worth a fact check or two before taking off on a rant that ruins your credibility.

      • Judith Keene

        And i suppose you havent read about the horsemeat contamination in so many beef products in Europe? And i dont suppose you read about the horsemeat coming from America as being adulterated with drugs that are condemned for human consumption? I suppose to you, its ok to have humans eating this meat? Why do you think all our horse medications, from wormers to steroids to pain killers all have an FDA warning on the wrapper? They clearly state that these medications are not for use in animals intended for food!!! Yet, its ok for the USDA to go against the FDA regulations and pass this meat for humans to eat? You are some kind of messed up if you think its ok for people to eat this meat!!! If you dont believe me, then go to the FDA site on the web, and check out the medications for use on horses. There are at least 53 of them and they all have that same warning on them!!

        • BB

          I agree with the judge’s decision. The law is the law and the government has an obligation to provide inspection. I think horses are beautiful animals and I understand the connection humans have with these animals. I’m also a USDA inspector….would I want to work at a horse slaughter plant? No….What would I do if I was assigned to one? I’m not sure…..there is actually a plant in Woodbury, TN that applied for a horse inspection grant and I’m the closest inspector….let’s just hope I’m not the one because I would have a hard time with it. I don’t enjoy seeing livestock slaughtered, but meat eating has been a part of our culture for thousands of years. If you don’t agree agree with meat eating or horse slaughter then don’t participate…….
          I don’t agree with a lot of practices in modern animal agriculture, but as much as I hate to admit it, horse slaughter would not be any different from any other livestock (contrary to uninformed people like Judith). The romantic/pretty/backyard pet argument is irrelevant to whether or not the USDA should provide inspection coverage under the law.

          • cjoakwood

            You need to find a new career…sounds like you do not have the stomach for meat inspection…..

          • savinghorses2

            Ok, so you work for the USDA as an inspector then I am sure you are familiar with Dr. Lester Friedlander and his information on how the USDA and FSIS ignored and simply did not follow up on issues they were very well aware of? I also am curious is you have talked to those who previously handled the plants? And last if you are so big on the law but would not want to be in the plant with these horses being butchered then you are actually aware this is NOT supposed to happen. Maybe its time for a lot of the So called MODERN animal agriculture has to change in order to be better. This is all about the Dollars and nothing else. Inspecting these poor animals being butchered is not easy-I know we lived near the DeKalb plant and we heard from many people in conjuction with it. I want you to understand that regardless of the law some things have to be stopped because they are NOT right to do.

          • Marcella Covault

            “some things have to be stopped because they are NOT right to do”— IN YOUR OPINION. That’s what the anti-animal-use “animal rights” extremists would say in regards to ANY use of animals, and if you are indeed from a ranching background, I’m amazed that you could say what you did.

            America was founded from a melting pot of people and cultures with differences of opinion in some areas. Insofar as MAJOR crimes, like murder of humans, there is less disagreement, but in areas dealing with animals, it’s not so clear-cut. Certainly, animal welfare is of great concern to society and the majority of its individuals. Beyond that, there are many areas where individual CHOICE (a hallmark of this country, supposedly) must be respected. Ideally, that doesn’t mean special interests get to tell the rest of the nation what to do. We know that in practice that’s less true, but to keep that in mind as we try to preserve our democratic republic is a noble goal of everyone who believes in what our country stands for.

      • cjoakwood

        Right on……horsemeat is the most healthy nutritious meat product you can eat……please do not paly the drug card……if that was an issue , how come we have not killed thousands in countries that eat horsemeat? IT IS NOT A PROBLEM!!! DUH! You bunny huggers need to get a life and gt a “whinnie burger”!

        • commonsensebeliever

          cattle are raised for food, records kept and can be humanely killed BEFORE slaughter……horses bought by kill buyers are not, neither is there a way to humanely kill a horse at a slaughter plant, like a cow, so added to the horror of people eating diseased, tainted horse meat, is the fact many horses are being slaughtered alive due to inappropriate and ineffective euthanasia. I am a meat eater, love my little riding horse I have, but would never eat horse meat the way horses are gotten and tortured….that is barbarism, not slaughter for food……….

      • savinghorses2

        Also please fact check yourself. France has only 3 Butcheries left because its going out of popularity to eat any horsemeat and they do NOT want the American horses in particular. You may also read that while a few thousand people in Belgium still “say” they eat it in an article, a Belgium article stated that they reduced the amount consumed and were worried about the amount of meat hidden possibly in their food supply.

  • Rcatheron

    Have either of these plants disclosed their proposed method of disposal of the horse blood, bones, offal and carcasses? I cannot imagine how they plan to do that within the confines of the USDA’s regulations, unless the USDA simply doesn’t care. I also cannot imagine the local residents allowing copious amounts of toxicity anywhere near the Pecos River and other waterways. Can someone please inform me?

  • debbie

    I had been wondering WHY HSUS agreed to expedite this also?? TO ME this judge showed she was leaning for stopping this, then she did an abrupt turn around, wonder who GOT TO HER?? Because NOTHING would surprise me and nothing is off limits of the powers who have the pull and money….. All of us fighting to stop horse slaughter will NEVER give up never…. Horse slaughter embodies the very thing pro slaughter says it will help, over breeding with NO RESPONSIBLITY, NO ACCOUNTABLITY and the horses pay for ignorance of us…… WE WILL STOP THIS….

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  • 14151617

    Perhaps when the BLM sends all the wikld horses to slaughter they will be happy and Congress can pass the bills banning slaughter and transportation to slaughter of our equine.
    For the life of me I just cannot see what the obsessive the BLOOD LUST to slaughter horse is so important to these people.
    The citizens of this country don’t want it,per the USDA request to the President they don’t want to inspect the meat.Vilsack says he doesn’t want and the President made a campaign promise to end it.
    Everybody lied I guess.

    • Bonnie Thompson Jensen

      Do you really think all the people we have in office tell the truth? Our President is one of the biggest story tellers yet!

  • Oginikwe

    Why does everything in our culture have to become a commodity?

    • Judith Keene

      In this country, everything and everyone have their price!! Its all about money, greed and power!

  • Trish Pauley

    I am so disappointed in the citizens and government in the United States. America is no longer the home of the free. The government no longer stands by the laws that are in place. The rich hold all the power and their greed is bring this country to its knees. Horses helped build this country on their backs and this is their reward. Instead of holding onto bloodlines of those same horses that built this country we now can slaughter them all on the same grounds. Instead of the government backing the law of the land that was set aside to protect those bloodlines and let them roam free – the government backs the inhumane round ups, holding, transporting to slaughter and then inhumanely slaughter this bloodlines. Why do they want to let them be slaughtered? So their pockets can be lined by the Cattlemen’s Asso and the mine owners that will take over the protected lands and turn it into nothing but dust. The meat from the American owned horses is tainted by drugs that owners have used on them. But what the heck, more than likely it will make its way into schools and middle class American diets so if they die from it oh well nothing lost. Americans need to wake up to what is going on. Slaughtering horses is just another step in the government and land of the rich to flourish and to hell with the rest. The USDA does not have in place the testing that is needed to test the meat for consumption, the government has not budgeted for more USDA inspectors and the USDA inspectors that are in office now are over work now and cannot protect the public from what is already being slaughtered from consumption so how are they going to have the people to inspect horse meat?

    • Barb3000

      I agree 100% with what you have said not to mention all of the constant recalls on meat. The USDA don’t have enough inspectors to check the millions of chickens that are slaughtered every year that is part of our food chain let alone the horse slaughter plants these crooks want to start up again. The politicians in DC don’t care what happens to this overpopulated country just so they get theirs. It looks like we are on our own. This is not a free country any more.

    • tallen2007

      If and it’s a big IF, USDA/ FSIS does their job and monitors the slaughter process for “Humane Kill” there is a very good chance that they would end up shutting down the plants and pulling their inspection, based on what I have read about the poor instant kill rate of horses. We can only hope.

    • Marcella Covault

      And yet, the USDA APHIS is asking for millions more in their budget for inspectors to go after home pet breeders after passing the AWA Final Rule in September (under pressure from the animal rights anti-breeding groups like the H$U$). Basically, if you have more than four “breedable” females (of any of the categories covered, e.g., 2 dogs, 2 rabbits, 1 hamster–even if you are not breeding them), and you ship even ONE PET without the buyer coming to your place, you must be USDA licensed (commercial facility requirements NOT in the home unless you rip up the carpet, remove furniture and put a drain in the floor, AND you have to have someone available during all normal business hours for the unannounced inspector visits or you get written up and potentially fined). Doesn’t that sound like a great way to spend taxpayer money instead of on our food inspections? NOT.

    • Marcella Covault

      The only way this country has ever truly been home of the free is when the “free” have had choices and not had someone else’s non-choice belief rammed down their throats. In addition, we have far too many laws and regulations (most lobbied for by special interest groups) in this country already. It has been said (and I believe it) that every citizen breaks a law every day in some way—we have too many life-micromanaging special interest-spawned laws. Through the decades, we have gotten mere lax in insisting on Constitutionality. Instead, lawyers have found weasel-wording and loopholes to negate portion of the Constitution and interpret way beyond it, many times to improve the position of a special interest group specifically trying to get around the Constitution and bring to fruition their beliefs of how people should live.

  • Linda Brown

    I don’t get it – with horse meat inspections being defunded in 2014 and supposedly the EU is going to stop importing American horse meat (was that a lie?), why would anyone want to open a plant? It MUST be that they are going to take all the BLM horses in the holding pens. That just has to be it.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

    The FRER, HSUS, et al groups have filed for an emergency injunction preventing horse slaughter inspections until the appeal is decided.

    https://www.facebook.com/FrontRangeEquineRescue/posts/10200489292747288

    • Bonnie Thompson Jensen

      Well Shelley Powers, I know you and Wayne must all have their panties in a wad about now! Guess what you can’t win or buy them all!!

      • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

        I’m posting an informative note, Bonnie. And you’re being your usual troll self.

        Times never change.

    • Sheri E

      I own quite few horses ages 33-3. I have a real concern about horse slaughter. IF horse slaughter begins again in the USA then horses must be considered “food animals” by my way of thinking. Then all horses, whether show, pasture or bred as food, will be under the same drug regulations as “food animals”. I think then, that bute, nitrafurazone, clenbuteral (ventpulium) will be outright banned as we have no passport system and no way of signing a horse out of the food chain. Banamine, Regumate, Amakacin, and other drugs will be severely restricted (as in administered by vet only) as they have a clear waiting period. So killing horses means no more Banamine in the tack room and perhaps my own horses would die an unnecessary death.

  • Gail Clifton

    Big AG wins again…and “the will of the people” means nothing, yet again. How is it that, as a nation with budget issues, we can afford to pay for USDA inspectors for horse slaughter plants that will have absolutely NO benefit to the American public—but we MUST cut back on the Food Stamp program because we can’t afford it. This country is so messed up. The wealth of a few over the welfare of the many. In this case, it is the American tax payer and American horses that are getting screwed. This is SO incredibly wrong on SO many levels.

  • Diogenes22

    When the earth is Ravaged and the animals are Dying, a new tribe of people shall come onto the earth from many colors, creeds, and classes and who by their Actions and Deeds shall make the earth green again. They shall be known as the Warriors of the Rainbow. Hopi Prophecy

  • 14151617

    80% of Americans do not want horses slaughtered or transported for slaughter out of this country.
    But our tax dollars have to go to USDA inspectors and to the DOJ to fight ourselves from stopping horse slaughter plants from opening. That really makes a lot of sense doesn’t it.
    The American public gets nothing from slaughtering horses,no tax money nothing into the economy only our tax dollars spent to clean up the mess when it is shut down again.

    • Marcella Covault

      Who conducted the survey and how was it worded? One can slant a survey any way they want by how they word it, especially a survey of urbanites who romanticize horses and the old west and who “have no dog in the hunt”, so to speak. Of the people I personally know (many equestrians), only a *minority* are against humanely run horse slaughter plants, especially once they understand the pros and cons AND if they can separate emotion from fact. It is well known psychologically that few people think as clearly when they are in an emotionally heightened state about a topic.

      • 14151617

        Inhumanity is inhumanity.There is no HUMANELY RUN HORSE SLAUGHTER PLANT.
        Why when someone disagrees with something others want they are given labels and called names and being only emotional.
        If I where you I would get some new equestrian friends.

        • Marcella Covault

          Under your reasoning, if there is no humanely run horse slaughter plant, then slaughter plants for meat animals such as cattle are not humane either. Slipper slope!

          • 14151617

            No slaughter is humane.Inhumanity is inhumanity.

          • Marcella Covault

            Oops. AR-brainwashing alert.

  • JanWindsong

    W. and Bonnie: Neither one of you know how horses metabolize drugs being as how they are not cows, sheep or pigs. But that is the thing about you Aggie types, you tend to be short of brain cells. Probably all those oysters you all eat out there curbing yor own bull populations. The public might like to read that any show cattle, sheep or pigs are run through strenuous testing and more times than not, REJECTED, due to the drugs they have been fed to read their show time status. What is it about sending an animal who has done its duty for man to slaughter that is so attractive to you people. You are missing a few genes I think.

    • ForeverKnight

      Hey girlie Jan, until you have a common frame of reference you need to be quiet!
      When these processing plants re-open , we will have inspections like any other slaughter plants in this country.
      BB
      below has a great post!

    • cjoakwood

      Let’s set the drug record straight….eauine vaccines were not testedfor withdrawl dates like in other food animals. YES Horses are FOODS ANIMALS! It would cost a lot of $$$$$$$$$$ for the vaccine companies to do this testing……Horse Meat is as safe as BEEF Pork or Chicken….deal with it bun
      ny huggers!

      • savinghorses2

        YOUR right they were NOT tested and it does cost money and BEFORE we send contaminated meat elsewhere it is required they do the testing for safety!

  • susanmeanslily

    I think the reason the HSUS agreed to the case being expedited has to do with $$$$. The HSUS was having to fork over close to a half a million for each month the restraining order was in place. I hope the plants are opened up quickly and that animal welfare is regulated and the meat is tested for safety. The sooner there are multiple plants across the country, the better as it will be less stressful on the horses to have shorter transportation time.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley Powers

    The appeals court just issued an order temporarily halting all horse meat plant inspections while the case works it way through the appeals system.

    • Bonnie Thompson Jensen

      I will believe that when I see it!

  • savinghorses2

    The above is another well calibrated piece oh hoo hah. This is exactly the type of writing I was expecting them to dictate. Their centerpiece for this is not about the welfare of animals in fact its solely about business and putting Wayne Pacelle down. It seems this strange fixation they have on him has gone beyond normal and into the Space above Dunne and Santos know for dropping off aliens. Its very disproportionate to completely IGNORE that 80 percent of the population and most of the Entire Horse Community in the United States are against this. WE are sick and tired of the perpetual commentary from the door proppers that try to Expose the HSUS because WE THE PEOPLE not a single individual are actually against this. As for the wheels of Justice there are many questions raised when the Navajo Nation released a revised and Corrected number of horses running wild from 75,000 to 11,000 which makes more sense. We need so many things corrected and assessed. As usual if you look at the last of the editorial they comment on HSUS having to RETOOL their side and how it happened quickly. Actually when you have the truth on your side you do NOT have to use words like RETOOL. You RETOOL when you constantly manipulating to fiction that proslaughter used to fit the situation to APPEAR to be the truth. We do not have to RETOOL the facts on Anti slaughter side because it is all documented facts, there are people being Federally Indicted to prove the abuse, neglect, and outright disaster this industry is. There are actual photographs that prove the truth, there are documents by the SAME USDA that backs up the actual complaints. Just because they attempt to bury the truth in their lies doesn’t change the truth. The truth is slaughter is founded on lies. If the bottom fell out of the Industry since the plants were closed then how did reports from Illinois Horse Council become published stating that just in Illinois alone in 2012 they had 1.2 Billion in income and it was rated as horses being larger than petroleum and coal production in the state, or ranked the 4 th largest recreational activity in the State??????????? The horses in the State were proven to be worth 300 million dollars? Since many articles online have been removed or altered to provide their false truth, we have saved the hard copy and a digital copy of the State’s Report. Always good to keep the evidence before they alter or erase it. Please fight to stop the propaganda and the slaughter of America’s horses. As well, they state the long drive is what makes it harsh on these horses and we need the plants in the USA to prevent this. I do want to take a moment to point at the obvious. The abuse, the injuries, deaths in transport take place within the Individual State’s Borders and NOT at the Border itself. The issues with the abuse the horses suffer at feed lots and kill pens ARE WITHIN THE UNITED STATES not the border. The horses turned loose at the Border, were driven back into the UNITED STATES AND dumped here not there. So it really proves the danger is INSIDE AMERICA! STOP HORSE SLAUGHTER!

    • Marcella Covault

      While I can appreciate your fervor and strong belief, I believe you are wrong and letting emotion cloud judgment with interpretation of faux-facts. Every “cause” has polar opposites in belief, and they all think they are right and can point to “proof” of their position. I think it is true that sometimes it takes extremes to bring about moderate changes, but to cling to the extremes (and try to force others to abide by that belief system) is counter-productive and not what this country was founded upon.

  • savinghorses2

    Your Argument would make sense except for in France people have died from horsemeat and the meat was traced to the DeKalb Illinois in 2006 by the Center For Disease Control. You may call them and they can verify.

    • Marcella Covault

      And you think that with the high-profile equine slaughterhouse regulations now that there would be a repeat of that (if indeed it is linked to the slaughterhouse and not some other handling in the chain)? It was not widely publicized, and you KNOW that the anti-horse-slaughter folks would have been all over it like stink on dung if it was the slaughter house’s fault. There have been recalls of beef too. So should we ban cattle slaughter? If you answer yes, we know your camp. If you answer no, then how do you explain your logic as applied to horse slaughter?

      • savinghorses2

        We raise cattle too so we know both parts of industry and we were raised with all the information available. I am NOT from a camp, however, your small mindedness shows you were. We live near DeKalb so we have first hand information. As for your comments on the high profile reg

        • Marcella Covault

          I was referring to the animal rights anti-animal use “camp”, not knowing who you are and being aware that AR trolls lie to make themselves seem credible. How is an insult of “small mindedness” relevant rather than just nasty name-calling?

  • tallen2007

    That is why responsible horse owners have their animals humanely euthanized. Slaughter houses don’t want sick starving horses either and USDA will not (supposedly) allow them to be slaughtered.

    • Marcella Covault

      It’s about CHOICE and you have bought into the anti-slaughter propaganda that says we should have NO choice. We either spend hundreds each euthanizing horses that can’t be sold or even given away, or in the situation where a person or family’s finances go south, they shouldn’t have a slaughter-house choice. This country got on the recycle bandwagon decades ago, but I guess that doesn’t include 1000 pounds of horse that can be fed to animals or humans. People in this country, especially ones who have the time to communicate on the internet while denying themselves very little in desired luxuries have NO standing to deny others recycling choices for their property. Demanding humane methods is appropriate, but saying ‘no way, no how because I don’t believe in it’ is not a good argument, IMO.

      • savinghorses2

        So what your saying is you would EAT the birds off your shoulder you are kissing and to hell with normalcy as long as its recycled? BPA from recycled plastics is an example of recycling gone wrong and you insist we do more?

        • Marcella Covault

          Obviously, that’s not what I’m saying, but then you don’t care so long as you get your attacks in on someone who disagrees with you, do you?

      • tallen2007

        I’m saying that if you can afford to own a horse than you need to be sure that if that horse becomes sick or disabled that it will be humanely euthanized. That is called responsibility. I’m not talking about healthy horses that have NEVER been given drugs that shouldn’t be in the food supply for ourselves or our pets. If you have one of those and want to butcher it for your own use or custom sale than that is OK by me. When slaughter facilities prove they can humanely handle horses and do a quick kill AND test every single one for banned drugs BEFORE it enters the food system then and only then will I consider eating or feeding horse meat.

      • 14151617

        Marcella.Horse are not recycle objects.Nor are they plants to be harvested.If you want to eat your horse or dog or cat have at it.That is your priviledge and no one is taking it away from you.But slaughter plants for horses,gas chambers for dogs and cats,abortion clinics,to dispose of unwanted lives that we either purchased or bred and created is not the answer.
        They are not old worn out shoes .When you take on the responsiblity of a life it is a little different than when you take on an inanimate object.You have the choice not to take on that responsiblity of another life if you choose.
        Venus and Mars will not come together on this issue.
        Your views are yours.But because I don’t share them please respect my right to have them.

        • Marcella Covault

          Didn’t I say CHOICE? That’s respecting another’s viewpoint. When someone tries to eliminate my choice, that’s when respect ends and the battle begins.

          • 14151617

            You can send your horse to slaughter today.There is nothing stopping you.1 dies every 5 minutes on the slaughter floor.So your choice to do that is very real.

  • Marcella Covault

    No slaughter option makes for animal neglect/abuse, either from animals being abandoned because their owners cannot feed them or going cheaply to kill buyers to transport to Canada or Mexico. How is that humane in any stretch of the imagination? Your comments on the area’s growth are very likely unrelated. Areas evolve if they have something to offer people and businesses. Blaming Dekalb for previous non-growth is disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst.

    • savinghorses2

      Wow, sorry but that’s not true. Killer buyers were actually caught in the process and tracked down for “dumping in New Mexico animals turned down by the Mexico Plant” by the authorities. Horse slaughter is the dumping ground to HIDE the animal abuse. I know from personally witnessing the relief in our community. However, in an economic downturn our State increased the number of horse clubs, horse related businesses, and shows because of the VERY public relief of no more slaughter plants. Sorry but slaughter is a dumping ground for persons needing to be followed up by the authorities for abuse and neglect as well as abandonment. As for Canada and Mexico, same captive bolt guns, same issues, Mexico had to change from puntillas and such to participate in EU. Which isn’t it ODD that the US plants wont be able to participate in the EU?

      • Marcella Covault

        Your first statement is a fact in favor of U.S. slaughter plants. There are a few bad actors in every business, but that doesn’t make the cage for banning something “just because” it then meets an agenda. I suspect the last statement that the US plants won’t be able to participate in the EU, but Mexico will, is not entirely accurate and in fact, doesn’t make sense at all.

        • commonsensebeliever

          do a search on animals being stolen and slaughtered in their own backyards……big problem in South Florida…..I cannot imagine finding my beloved Charlie’s carcass and inners laid out one morning behind his paddock and the though of someone eating him…it is happening to dogs, too……….

  • Marcella Covault

    So since we can’t regulate other countries, it’s okay for Mexico and Canada to sell the horses that can’t be processed in the U.S. and the EU doesn’t know squat because they allow horsemeat into Europe? I also bet there are a lot of poor folks in third world countries that put horsemeat on the table when they can get it. We are way too wealthy and indulgent a country when we think we are the annointed ones of the world who have it right for what everyone else should do. Give me a break!

    • savinghorses2

      Sorry Marcella your garbage doesn’t fly. In fact they are attempting to pass the SAFE ACT and close the borders. The fact is that I wouldn’t harm poor people in any country to give them contaminated meats. May I remind you that its OUR country SELLING horses to Canada and Mexico. If they weren’t so money blind from greed our horses wouldn’t be shipped there at all!

      • Marcella Covault

        Oh, you mean because I differ in opinion from you, my views are garbage and your don’t stink, huh? ROTFLMAO!

  • Rcatheron

    Not only am I opposed to slaughter because of emotional reasons, but also for logical and practical reasons.  The only way a horse should be put down is humanely, either by EUTHANASIA performed by a licensed vet, or a well-aimed bullet if absolutely necessary.  Any other method is cowardly. 
    Slaughterhouses were designed and built for cattle, which are far different than horses.  Cattle do not possess the fiight or flight response;  they stand still in the kill chute, as opposed to horses, who are terrified and will thrash around looking for an escape.  The shooter almost always has to fire multiple times at a horse’s head.  The captive bolt is not effective on horses, it wasn’t intended to be.  The horse’s skull is thicker and denser, and their brain is further back in their head.  Therefore, the captive bolt only stuns them for a few seconds.  The horse is immediately strung up and its throat slit to bleed out, but because it was only temporarily stunned, IT IS FULLY CONSCIOUS AND AWARE OF WHAT’S HAPPENING.  That horse, the next horse in the chute, and the next horses in line are all screaming   because of not only the terror in the room, but because of the thick smell of  blood in the air. 
    Cattle have much less blood than horses, and because they are raised for human consumption, they aren’t given the toxic chemicals that are routinely given horses, like Bute (which has no “waiting period”, it’s in the system forever), Banamine, etc.  Therefore, blood and bones from cattle can be used in agricultural products for crops and home gardens like blood meal and bone meal.  Their organs can be used for pet food, and the meat is safe for human consumption. 
    Horses, on the other hand, have copious amounts of blood and offal that must be disposed of, and as far as I know, no one has come up with a safe method of disposal.   Federal law presents it from being dumped in a landfill, and it can’t be buried locally because of seepage into the soil and streams, eventually infecting drinking water. 
    I strongly recommend anyone who supports horse slaughter do some reading about Kaufman, Texas, and the other last operating slaughterhouses such as DeKalb, Illinois, and find out how those communities felt about the thick stench of blood that constantly permeated their towns, simply due to the vast quantities of blood in the soil, and offal that lay in massive piles near the slaughterhouses.  Read about how fast their crime rates fell after the slaughterhouses were shut down, and how quickly their real estate values rose. 
    One more thing, if anyone believes that U.S. slaughterhouses will be more regulated, run more efficiently, more humanely, and more safely, they’re mistaken.  Nothing has been changed or improved upon since the last three slaughterhouses were closed in 2007 to ensure any of that, nor has anything been changed or improved upon to accommodate horses.
    Btw, horse slaughter only exists because there are companies and people abroad who buy American horsemeat.  Eliminate the demand, and it will eliminate the supply. It’s all about the mighty dollar.   Period.

    • Marcella Covault

      This post is so full of errors and misconceptions, it should be embarrassing for the writer.

  • savinghorses2

    Horse slaughter is totally unnecessary. The Navajos stated they had 90,000 horses and an official release stated it was totally false and ONLY 11,000 horses! The GAO report was falsified about the numbers of so called unwanted horses. As well, just because kill buyers PURCHASE, the word is PURCHASE horses to kill it in NO way means they were unwanted. As well the illegal dumping of horses in New Mexico to appear as unwanted private owned animals was found to be actual kill buyers rejected animals they didn’t want to haul back to another sale or care for, or euthanize. As for rescues its confusing to some people, some rescues are killer buyer/traders posing as rescues and they apply for the tax exempt in order to keep their profits and sells to slaughter allowing them greater access to retrieved and surrendered horses. That’s not animal welfare that’s abuse on the slaughter industries part. This industry has ruined the atmosphere at many auction houses over the years and made it difficult for new comers to purchase a reasonable horse. In other words they don’t drive the prices up they made it impossible for many to get a good deal. This is so very sad that people who will not euthanize and treat an animal with respect will send it through a chain of abuse, scared, cramped in a trailer without food and water, to be injured in transport, and to killed all to save a FEW measly bucks!

  • Shane

    Shant to Marcella Covault – if you are the new quick draw intelllect for hire by cattlemen (the Jack Wilson of the movie Shane so to speak), I am visibly unimpressed ! Here are just the beginnings of your contradictions: 1) you claim you represent freedom of choice yet taxpayers are being forced to subsidize $400, 000 a year inspectors at each new proposed horse slaughter plant. Where was their freedom of choice on that ? They already voted again in Congress to defund horse meat inspection. You and your cohorts (e.g. Susanmeanslilly every one knows is Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis) : a handful of pro horse slaughter extremists can sabotage the will of the American people and votes in Congress but somehow you are the force of democracy and freedom of choice ? 2) “only a minority of equestrians you know are against humane horse slaughter (a contradiction !)” therefore this anecodotal hearsay is the same as scientific polling ?! And you rail about “slanted “polling who don’t even bother to cite one of your own ? 3) “it’s a slippery slope from arguing that horse slaughter can’t be done humanely to cattle slaughter can’t be done humanely”
    (said the corporate shill for the beef industry !) No, horses as flight animals represent greater difficulties in the kill pen than cattle do who bunch for protection against predators (like yourself and Sue Wallis) 4) your friends in the horse breeding business, who produce 90% of the horses bound for slaughter are the cause of any “surplus horses” not individual owners. Why don’t you talk to your bosses about your new found abiding compassion for suffering horses bound for slaughter.? It would take days to mine all the hypocrisy and lack of logic in your fulminations. If your the best the pro-slaughter fringe group can do intellectually, they are in big trouble. Their hired gun would never even clear the holster in a duel of wits !

    • Marcella Covault

      Another resort to name-calling and insults because you cannot convert someone to your way of thinking. Not impressed.

      • Shane

        just as I thought you didn’t adress a single one of the logical points I made and so you fall back on “you called me a name” – like a child. Your were incapable of adressing the arguments. Not only can you not clear the holster in a duel of wits , your gun shoots blanks logically speaking. Had I indulged only in ad hominem arguments I would have simply pointed out that you profit from overbreeding in your business exactly like Sue Wallis, puppy mill breeders, etc. Instead, I gave you arguments opposing horse slaughter quite independent of your particular motive for supporting it. No reply from you. You are incapable of logical argument – who are always following the standardized propaganda about people being emotional and incapable of logical argument who are opposed to horse slaughter. I would never have any intention of trying to convert you to any point of view. The purpose of these posts are to reveal that the pro horse slaughter fringe groups ( a tiny minority compared to those who find horse slaughter revolting) are as intellectually barren as the lifeless surface on the moon.
        Having read your posts on many other sites, your most disturbing view is that slaughtering animals somehow increases the bond between human beings and Nature. That is as morally bizzare as claiming that war increases the universal bond between human beings ! Before attributing sociopathy to animal rights groups, take a look in the mirror, Marcella. The well known psychological

        phenomenon involved is called “projection”. Check it out and consult a shrink.

        • Marcella Covault

          Ah, more personal attacks from a TROLL (yes, I meant to say that). I’m done with you. I won’t feed the trolls.

  • Badbutton

    I thought the USDA inspected meat for human consumption? I thought it was illegal to sell horse meat for human consumption in the United States?

    • Marcella Covault

      It is illegal to sell horse meat for human consumption, but it’s not illegal to butcher your own horse for your own consumption. Problem is, if you can’t do it yourself (either physically or emotionally), it would be hard to find a processing plant that would since they are not licensed for horse slaughter. That’s why horse slaughter plants are trying to open–OPTIONS and CHOICES.

  • commonsensebeliever

    When kill buyers purchase horses for slaughter THERE ARE NO RECORDS! As well, many diseased, wormy or sedated wild horses are shipped to slaughter houses by kill buyers, again, no records………..

  • commonsensebeliever

    Kill buyers at horse auctions have no record of these animals…..they buy up old, crippled, sick, diseased and sedated horses no one wants and they are sent to slaughter houses that day…please refrain from childish name calling, thank you