The ongoing debate about the resumption of horse slaughter in the United States has taken a dramatic turn in favor of killing horses for their meat due to the ruling of U.S. District Court Judge Christina Armijo on Friday, November 1, 2013. As regards Valley Meat, the judge effectively made the decision that the slaughterhouse does not require an environmental review.
Valley Meat, encouraged that its two-year battle in the courts is over, is going ahead with its long-term plans to slaughter at least 150 horses daily and send the meat abroad. De Los Santos, who along with his wife owns Valley Meat, estimates it will be seven to ten days before he is up and running.
The attorney for Valley Meat, A. Blair Dunn, says Rains Natural Meats located in Gallatin, Missouri, is prepared to be operative as early as Monday.
About Valley Meat, Dunn says:
What they are negotiating right now is when the inspectors will show up for the first day of work for the plant to be operating. So, actually processing horses will be the first day, and that is what they are looking at hopefully doing next week.
The temporary restraining order that has kept several horse slaughterhouses from opening expired on October 31. Judge Armijo’s ruling followed that expiration within a matter of hours.
Opponents of horse slaughter have argued about humane handling of the country’s horse population concerns other than horse slaughter, that horses are companion animals, and that environmental reviews are necessary prior to any operation of a slaughterhouse.
As concerns the environmental reviews, opponents filed for an extension of the restraining order on November 1, but Judge Armijo denied that extension filing.
The Humane Society of the United States has already filed an appeal to the judge’s decision.
The New Mexico Attorney General's office is also fighting the horse slaughterhouse, particularly the Rosewell plant in its own state.
Assistant Attorney General Ari Biernoff noted:
The Attorney General is certainly disappointed in her decision. We respect Judge Armijo's authority, and we respect her decision, but we strenuously disagree with it.
Attorney General Gary King issued a statement that the decision of the judge is under review and, in fact, may be appealed at once. New Mexico Attorney General Gary King and Governor Susana Martinez both oppose horse slaughter.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society, is calling upon Congress to impose an outright ban on horse slaughter.
With today's court ruling and the very real prospect of plants resuming barbaric killing of ffhorses for their meat in the states, we expect the American public to recognize the urgency of the situation and to demand that Congress take action. Court fights and state legislative battles have been important, but this is an issue of national importance and scale, and Congress should have an up-or-down vote on the subject.
This whole fight to kill off American horses in American slaughterhouses is for no other reason than to send the meat out of America to foreign countries and to line a few individuals’ pockets. The entire country has taken issue, whether for or against, with at least 66 percent vehemently against horse slaughter. Some would place that percentage much higher. In any event, it is sad that the horse has become the “pawn” in this grisly business and that nothing remains safe and sacred.
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