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Federal appeals court lifts injunction against U.S. horse slaughter

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The most recent development in the hotly-contested horse slaughter issue, being fought in the court arena, has resurfaced as of Friday, Dec. 13 with the removal of the temporary ban on domestic horse slaughter. The federal appeals court has lifted what had been a temporary ban on U.S. horse slaughter, thus clearing the way to kill horses domestically for meat exports.

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The ban on horse slaughter was lifted by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver effectively removing the emergency injunction originally issued in November 2013. The ban has been put into place temporarily when the Humane Society of the United States and others animal welfare groups appealed the ruling of a federal judge in Albuquerque.

It was that Albuquerque judge who ruled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture followed appropriate procedure when it issued permits to Valley Meat in Roswell, N.M., Rains Natural Meats in Gallatin, Mo., and Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa.

The Friday, Dec. 13 appeals court ruling said the “groups failed to meet their burden for an injunction pending appeal."

This horse slaughter issue has spurred a major division between many groups that include ranchers and politicians, Indian tribes and animal welfare groups as well as horse people everywhere. Three horse slaughterhouses were poised to open and begin butchering horses but one dropped away from the horse slaughter issue. As before, the New Mexico plant is “chafing at the bit” to start the horse killings.

Despite this ruling against countless horses that can now be slaughtered legally in the United States, Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, continues to speak out on behalf of the horses. He calls the practice of butchering our American companion animals “barbaric” and has said blocking a return to domestic horse "is an issue of national importance and scale."

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