Opponents of horse slaughter, led by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), have successfully obtained a temporary stay preventing the resumption of horse slaughter on American soil.
The society confirmed on its Facebook page that a federal appeal court had issued an order temporarily blocking the resumption of horse slaughter in the US, after a District Court judge sitting in New Mexico, in a November 1 ruling, tossed out its action challenging federal meat plant inspections.
The HSUS and other advocates had challenged the US Department of Agriculture’s approval of inspections on the basis that it had failed to conduct appropriate environmental reviews.
The HSUS said the temporary stay had turned around its fortunes after the ruling in New Mexico.
“This is a bit of a roller coaster ride, and it’s only temporary, but score this round for our side and for the horses,” the society said.
“The horse slaughter industry killer buyers and traffickers need to know we’ll never relent in our quest to protect horses from the industry’s predatory and barbaric practices.”
The society confirmed on Monday that it had filed an emergency appeal to block the resumption of slaughter, with at least two companies making preparations to begin operations.
Plaintiffs in the case were the HSUS, Front Range Equine Rescue, the state of New Mexico and other individuals.
It took the action before the Federal Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, seeking to block slaughter inspections until the appeal was resolved.
The court in Denver that issued the temporary stay said it was issued “pending further order”.
It asked the US Department of Agriculture to respond to the request to block inspections pending the determination of the appeal.
Meanwhile, the HSUS called on Congress to permanently ban the slaughter of American horses — both at domestic plants and abroad.
“The HSUS is urgently calling on Congress to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports Act to accomplish this ban,” it said.
“Congress should also include language in appropriations legislation that outlaws the use of taxpayer dollars to fund inspections at horse slaughter facilities.”
Horse slaughter has not been conducted on US soil for six years.
The prohibition resulted from Congress refusing taxpayer funding for the plant inspections required for horse slaughter to proceed.
However, the defunding language was omitted from an agriculture bill in 2011, opening the door to resumption of American horse slaughter.
About 140,000 US horses are trucked annually to Mexico and Canada for slaughter.