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Horse-Meat Opponents Ask Appeals Court to Block Inspection

Opponents of commercial horse slaughter filed an emergency request with a U.S. appeals court to block federal inspection of facilities that could resume production as early as today.

The U.S. Humane Society and the state of New Mexico are among opponents who asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver to preserve the status quo while they pursue their appeal of a Nov. 1 ruling allowing U.S. Agriculture Department inspection at slaughterhouses to resume without an environmental-impact review.

Unless the appeals court acts, the Agriculture Department will allow horse-slaughter to proceed in the U.S. for the first time in more than six years, “exposing the environment to the toxic byproducts created by the slaughter of animals raised outside a regulated industry and not meant to be processed for food,” the opponents said in today’s filing.

From 2006 through 2011, Congress halted funding for inspection at horse-slaughter plants. The prohibition on funding was not extended for 2012 and 2013, thereby allowing commercial horse slaughter to resume legally. The Agriculture Department has received application for horse-slaughter inspections in five states, U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo in Albuquerque, New Mexico, said in said in her Nov. 1 ruling.

The case is Front Range Equine Rescue v. Vilsack, 13-2187, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th District (Denver).

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