U.S. approves second horse slaughterhouse, but renews bid for ban


July 3, 2013, Reuters, Charles Abbott

Responsible Transportation LLC in Sigourney. (Mark Carlson/The Gazette)

Responsible Transportation LLC in Sigourney. (Mark Carlson/The Gazette)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The government approved a horse slaughter plant in Iowa on Tuesday, its second such move in four days, but at the same time it renewed its appeal to Congress to ban the business.

In a statement, the Agriculture Department said it was required by law to issue a “grant of inspection” to Responsible Transportation, of Sigourney, in southeastern Iowa, because it met all federal requirements. USDA will also be obliged to assign meat inspectors to the plant.

An application from a Missouri company also was expected to win approval this week.

“The Administration has requested Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter,” the USDA said in a statement. “Until Congress acts, the department must continue to comply with current law.”

A company in New Mexico, Valley Meats in the city of Roswell, on Friday became the first horse plant to clear the USDA review process since a ban on horse slaughter ended in 2011.

Animal welfare groups said last week they would sue USDA to overturn approval of horse plants. The Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue say horse meat may be unsafe because horses are given medications not approved for livestock.

Horse meat cannot be sold as food in the United States but it can be exported. The meat is sold for human consumption in China, Russia, Mexico and other nations and sometimes is used as feed for zoo animals.

Nearly 159,000 horses were exported from the United States to Canada and Mexico during 2012, most likely for slaughter, officials said.

Congress effectively banned horse slaughter in 2006 by saying the USDA could not spend any money to inspect the plants. Without USDA inspectors, slaughterhouses cannot operate.

The ban had been extended a year at a time as part of USDA funding bills, but the language was omitted in 2011.

Lawmakers may vote in coming weeks on horse slaughter as part of work on Agriculture Department funding. In addition, two free-standing bills would ban horse slaughter and the export of horses for slaughter.


AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Debbie Tracy

    This morning I am dismayed and sick at heart…

    USDA said in the past that horse meat war NOT ok to eat and now they say it’s fine, WHICH IS IT,??

    They also have admitted that the horses when we had it, were NOT being humanly slaughtered…

    But NOW it’s going to be better?????

    I don’t know what to say I am numb is what I am, couldn’t sleep last night, couldn’t get this out of my head, it is just so SHOCKING what in hell has happening??? WOW unreal>>>>

    July 3, 2013
  • Terri Wennberg

    Thanks Obama for keeping your promise as well as you have kept all the others!So many years this has been fought against and we end up right back where we started, whose country is this, not the majority for sure

    July 3, 2013
  • shirley mix

    The horse is a symbol of American Heritage. Something that is being killed almost daily. Our freedom are being taken away as are the horses.
    I have a horse that is good for nothing, can’t be ridden because of an injury, bought him because he was being abused. And he will stay here as long as I live.

    July 3, 2013
    • Daryl

      I have one too that I got out of a bad place and he is not good in his hind end, but he has learned how to be a horse again, and he does trust us, big deal with this horse, he makes me happy, I got him and he is happy too. Shame on the people who abuse these helpless animals, and if they fight back they get beat or worse, Just sick.

      July 3, 2013
  • Daryl

    votes are coming up, 2 bills in the works to try and help the horses & burros, we need to pray these bills pass and help is on the way for the animals.

    July 3, 2013
  • Lorrie Roehm

    I have contacted both Senators and Congressman about this since they all are against horse slaughter; sponsors and appropriation. Senator Feinstein (she used to show Saddlebreds) is so mad, she will be looking into this matter.

    July 3, 2013
  • Daryl

    I called the white house to day and the operator snickered at me, I said this is not a laughing matter, these animals are some times not dead when they start skinning them or cutting them up, foals are cut out of the mother and thrown to the floor to die, this is serous, we don’t want out horses to go through this, it’s no way to die. I hope the radio interview will do some help, wake up more people to what is happening.

    July 3, 2013
  • Lorrie Roehm

    Daryl did you get the name of the operator? If so, relay to Senators and Congressmans. It is not a laughing matter! I would contact Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer especially Dianne Feinstein they are both already mad about what the USDA are doing. They are both against horse slaughter! I forwarded your comment so they will have a “heads up” what is happening at the White House.

    July 3, 2013
    • Daryl

      Lorrie, I did not get a name the person was low and quick on the pick up of my call, kept telling me, I got the message and will give it to the office, I said I was not finished then she snickered, I went off on how the horses were treated in the slaughter houses, she then stopped trying to get rid of me and waited till I was done speaking, & thanked me nicely. It was like I hear you, now hang up. I guess they want small short words & that is it.

      July 4, 2013
  • Paula Denmon

    You are mistakenly blaming the USDA. You should be blaming the Judge who sides with the corporations when they sue
    For their way. Valley Meats sued the USDA to force them to provide the inspectors. The Judge sided with them and the USDA had to comply. Didn’t anyone actually read the article. The President and the USDA are begging Congress to act and ban horse slaughter. The administration does not
    Have the power. So the answer is to force the
    Congress to ACT to save our horses and save people from eating contaminated meat. No sense to call White
    House. Already on our side. Call the congress.

    July 3, 2013
  • Kelly Calkins

    I’am an Iowan that is against horse slaughter. There are many issues regarding horse slaughter.

    July 5, 2013