BREAKING NEWS: USA Slaughterhouses Will Not Open Monday

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(Before you break out the champagne, we won a Temporary Restraining Order, not a final ruling – Jerry)

JERI CLAUSING / Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge on Friday temporarily halted plans by companies in New Mexico and Iowa to start slaughtering horses next week.

U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo issued a restraining order in a lawsuit brought by The Humane Society of the United States and other groups in case that has sparked an emotional national debate about how best to deal with the tens of thousands of unwanted and abandoned horses across the country.

Armijo issued a restraining order and scheduled another hearing for Monday in the lawsuit. The move stops what would have been the resumption of horse slaughters for the first time in seven years in the U.S.

The groups contend the Department of Agriculture failed to do the proper environmental studies before issuing permits that allowed companies in Iowa and New Mexico to open horse slaughterhouses. The companies had said they wanted to open as soon as Monday.

The horse meat would be exported for human consumption and for use as zoo and other animal food.

Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, N.M., has been at the fore of the fight, pushing for more than a year for permission to convert its cattle plant into a horse slaughterhouse.

The Department of Agriculture in June gave the company the go-ahead to begin slaughtering horses. USDA officials said they were legally obligated to issue the permits, even though the Obama administration opposes horse slaughter and is seeking to reinstate a congressional ban that was lifted in 2011.

Another permit was approved a few days later for Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa.

The move has divided horse rescue and animal welfare groups, ranchers, politicians and Indian tribes about what is the most humane way to deal with the country’s horse overpopulation.

Some Native American tribes, including the Navajo and Yakama nations, are among those who are pushing to let the companies open. They say the exploding horse populations on their reservations are trampling and overgrazing rangelands, decimating forage resources for cattle and causing widespread environmental damage.

The Navajo Nation, the nation’s largest Indian reservation, estimates there are 75,000 horses on its land, many of which are dehydrated and starving after years of drought.

On the other side, actor Robert Redford, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, current Gov. Susana Martinez and Attorney General Gary King are among those who strongly oppose a return to domestic horse slaughter, citing the animals’ iconic role as companion animals in the West.

‘‘Horse slaughter has no place in our culture,’’ Redford said in a statement last week in announcing formation of a foundation that has joined the fight. ‘‘It is cruel, inhumane, and perpetuates abuse and neglect of these beloved animals. We must oppose it with all of our might.’’

Supporters of domestic slaughter point to a June 2011 report from the federal Government Accountability Office that shows cases of horse abuse and abandonment on a steady rise since Congress effectively banned horse slaughter by cutting funding for USDA inspection programs in 2006.

They also cite USDA statistics compiled by the Equine Welfare Alliance that shows the number of U.S. horses sent to other countries for slaughter has nearly tripled since domestic horse slaughter ceased, with many of those being shipped thousands of miles to points south of the border to be slaughtered in unregulated and inhumane facilities.

They said it is better to slaughter the horses in regulated and humane domestic facilities than to let them starve or be shipped to Mexico.

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AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
24 Comments
  • Debbie Tracy

    I know this is THE BEST NEWS EVER, still have to pinch myself, we still have a ways to go but OMG this is HUGE VICTORY, finally we have a good fighting chance to stop all of it>>>>>> I can’t stop saying it JUST THE BEST 🙂 YEEHA by god we did it…………

    August 2, 2013
  • Linda carey

    If .gov can find funding for salaries for inspectors, office staff, and all the equipment that goes with those positions (such as gov. Vehicles, cell phones, computers, software, etc.) wouldn’t it be less expensive to create a fund to humanely euthanize and dispose of our equine friends when the time comes?

    Why yes it would be less expensive! However, no one makes money this way, and as usual, follow the money.

    If a vet requested the funds for such purpose, seems pretty simple, but i would bet with that paper trail it would point to TB breeders and QH breeders being the culprits for our “unwanted” horses. Every vid i see on horse slaughter, and shipping manifests to plants shows young horses, not old abandoned horses.

    This is an excellent win for us, but the bigger picture is to ban horse slaughter and ban shipping to over-the-border slaughter houses while simultaneously instituting funding to humanely euthanize.

    At approximately $300 per horse +\- that would be $300,000 per year for the program. I am sure it could be administered by existing state agricultural staff very easily.

    I would bet that to hire the aforementioned inspectors etc. would cost MUCH more. Several million when all is said and done.

    Why is this solution not being discussed? Again, follow the money, slaughter and transport is lucrative, euthanasia is not.

    Greed pure and simple and it is abhorrent.

    Keep fighting and making your voices heard.

    August 2, 2013
  • peggy peterson

    Pray every day to help the horses, donate as much as you can and let the good people with a voice do what they can ,thank God there are good people out there!!

    August 2, 2013
  • Nancy Albin

    ok well how do they see this as humane haven’t they seen the video’s of horse slaughterhouses? I guess not. But i am upset that they now have the “Navajo Nation” vote which is very upsetting to me being as my roots are Apache & I thought we all had the same beliefs in seeing the horses as a sacred great spirit because with out the horses the Indians wouldn’t of survived so I feel like everything has gone commercial & $$$ is more sacred then a life. That is so sad but I will not give up I know all the horses in my area are gone, but im going to go to Palamino Valley Tomorrow & see what’s up. thanks be good to eachother 🙂

    August 2, 2013
  • Linda carey

    Apologies, i left off some zeroes. 35,000,000. However if administered on a need basis (i.e. those whose income finds the cost prohibitive) the figure would be much less. Again, would make the over-breeders think twice about over-breeding as they would probably not fall under the income guidelines.

    August 2, 2013
  • Linda carey

    Apologies for leaving off zeroes. 30,000,000. However if income based that cost would be much lower and would make over-breeders think twice about breeding as they probably woukdn’t qualify for the funds.

    August 2, 2013
  • Dr Cate Wines

    Owners need to be licensed or certified. Their horses need to be licensed. Many towns require dogs to be licensed. Why not horses?

    If every certified trainer in the country took one abandoned/abused/unwanted/ wild horse once a year, and cleaned it up, rehabbed it and placed it we wouldn’t have nearly the problem. Horses that a trainer and a vet agree are not “fixable” would need to be humanely (really humanely) euthanized.

    I cannot believe that the Al Dunnings, the Lynn Palms, the Pat Parellis and the Monty Roberts of this country can’t manage to take one horse a year. Add in the Bob Bafferts and all the other racing trainers, TB, QH and others. Barrel trainers, roping trainers, etc., draft horse trainers, show stables, pony and mini trainers, breed specialists. We have enough trainers.

    August 2, 2013
    • Robyn

      Why not develop a program for existing horses people who can take in a few horses and offer subsidy?
      We need a new assisted program that could be on a voucher system that you have taken in some horses that were unwanted or taken in a few wild horses and get subsidy from the govt. A coupon to get so much hay,& supplements a month where no money handed out and used incorrectly??? Voucher through vets paid by the govt. to get your vaccines??

      August 4, 2013
      • Robyn

        New options new ideas are needed. Helping horse owners afford taking in more horses and or adopting the BLM Mustangs.
        I do not believe we will see any changes immediately for our LTC Wild Horses and we need to come up with another option to help find homes for them.
        There is welfare ranching, so let’s do welfare horsemanship?? Seriously this isn’t rocket science??

        August 4, 2013
  • Linda Brown

    Well, I am still going to continue to pray and pray, that the pro horse supporters continue to fight for these beloved horses. We can’t give up the fight for their rights. Protection has to be there. We are saving as many as we can, and trying to educate people that they have to commit to the horses and take care of them. There should be no horses at sale barns!!!

    August 2, 2013
    • Nancy Albin

      Linda Brown, Hi well yes i agree with you 100%, I am running out of ideas. I mean there has got to be more I/we can do to make them stop this madness! This is like a dark nightmare & I can’t wake up. Isn’t it really odd that this is an issue in the 21st century?Together we make a great no. speaking for the horses & also us, don’t have to except these actions around us To the Wild Horses or other living creatures & besides I have my opinion
      about who has really been destroying Mother Earth. good day

      August 3, 2013
  • sherriey

    ….and again…i hold my skeptical breath….

    August 2, 2013
  • Sue Wallis Lies

    Ten’s of thousands of starving unwanted horses. Where are they? We should be up to our asses in starving asses! What a joke, I love how the PSA’s skew the #’s.

    August 2, 2013
  • Arlene

    YAAAAAAAAA HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, holding breathe also , but this a fabulous feeling !!!!!! MY HEART IS OVERJOYED !!!!! We must tell all the horses………………… God Bless all here and all who made this happen !!!!!!!!

    August 3, 2013
  • Ricky Rogers

    As a trainer I adopt and train several wild horses a year not to mention numerous rescues as well – It’s NOT but a drop in the bucket but if every trainer did the same our horse issue goes away.

    August 3, 2013
  • Kat

    What you all don’t understand, They claim your land fills will take your died horses, There is NO such thing, There are also hundreds of horses, pony, donkeys, that are being starved daily and dying from no care, What part of that is humane…..

    August 3, 2013
    • sherriey

      if you feed it, if you buy it, if you adopt it, if you breed for it, then its yours!
      its your obligation when you take an animal on…to give it a good life and give it a good death! if you can’t afford the feed or care or are medically incapable of caring for these lives you took on…then either give them to someone who can or humanely put them down!!!!!! THINK BEFORE YOU TAKE ON AN ANIMAL…THINK!…THINK on how long they may live, THINK about the cost of their food, THINK about the care needed for the rest of their lives, THINK of how and where they will be humanely put down and buried at the end of their time! horses like any animal are not free….they require commitment and responsibility. if you can’t give that…then go to a riding stable and ride their horses once a week….or go pet the neighbors dog or cat for you ‘animal’ satisfaction. but for heaven sakes….do not get any of your own!!!!!!!! animals, any animal, is not a throw-away piece of trash that when the chips are down or you get tired of it, that you then can ignore it and forget that its out there or in the house by your feet!

      the trouble with people is that we have become a throw-away society and we throw anything away we don’t want any more…that includes animals and even people.
      sad…but oh so true!
      where did the responsibility that we should have, go?????????

      August 4, 2013
      • Arlene

        Dear Sherriey, some great advice you have given , you decide to have them IT IS Your RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE sure they are always taken care of !!!!!!!!THERE is no such thing as a throw away animal !!!!!!!! If you are incapable to handle responsibility for this , just help someone else care for their animals !!!!!!!!!!

        August 5, 2013
        • sherriey

          honestly, Arlene, some people make me want to vomit!
          i see this everyday working for a Vet…so many discarded beautiful loving animals that were once cute and cuddly kittens or puppies, just abandoned and thrown out like trash when their people move and can’t take with! or they grow tired of! i rescue a lot of these animals, spay/neuter/test/vaccinate and then find good forever loving homes for, but am so careful, so very careful, as to not put them back into the same situation they just came out of. and ya know…..a lot of these animals come from well off people too….not just poorer people on bad times….those people make me the sickest!…b/c they will just go out and buy another one….and do it all over again when ‘Fluffy’ isn’t cute and cuddly any more!
          a throw-away society!!

          August 5, 2013
          • Arlene

            Dear Sherriey, I volunteer for a Cat rescue , we also trap spay and release , Always wondered why the owner does not like people now i know why !!!!! We have seen what some people do to these sweet innocent cats and kittens, our adoption papers are 3 pages of questions, and we check on all adoptions personally !!!!!! We have several cats who will never be adopted because of injuries received from previous owners it is a sin for sure, these little loving babies will always be with us !!! Thank God !!!!

            August 5, 2013
  • It’s not over under the SAFE Act becomes Law. Continue to campaign, sign petitions, and FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT for the SAFE Act. Then, help Canadians FIGHT tooth and nail to end horse slaughter in Canada. Let’s abolish the dreaded horse slaughter disease from North America entirely.

    August 3, 2013