(Edited press release)
In the latest in a series of blows to the foreign-owned horse slaughter industry, a federal district court ordered March 28 a shut-down of a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that allowed the slaughter of American horses for human consumption to be paid for by the slaughter houses. The program was put into place shortly after Congress voted in 2005 to cut federal funding for inspections of horsemeat.
The Humane Society of the United States was the lead plaintiff in the case, and it is asking USDA secretary Mike Johanns to immediately withdraw all inspectors from the three remaining horse slaughter plants in the United States to comply with the court’s order.
“This latest ruling restores the will of Congress and should shut down all three U.S. horse slaughter houses,” said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO.
In January, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous opinion upholding a Texas state law banning the sale of horsemeat. Two of the three slaughter plants in the U.S. are located in Texas. The third plant is located near DeKalb, Ill., and last week a committee of the Illinois legislature approved legislation to ban horse slaughter by a vote of 8-4.