Regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prevent the cruel practice of horse “soring” are being challenged in federal appeals court, prompting the Humane Society of the United States to file a friend-of-the-court brief.
The HSUS is asking the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to uphold the regulations, which require uniform mandatory minimum penalties for violations of the Horse Protection Act. The district court in Texas previously ruled against the plaintiffs and upheld the regulations.
The Horse Protection Act prohibits the showing and transporting of horses who have been “sored,” which involves the application of caustic chemicals and other painful training methods used to force horses to perform an artificially high-stepping gait for show competitions. Horse industry organizations are the industry’s self-policing groups that operate alongside the USDA to conduct inspections at Tennessee walking horse competitions.
The appellants in the current appeal include the individual horse show participants but not SHOW. Their arguments have already been rejected by the district court, and The HSUS’ brief makes clear that they have no legal foundation.
— Photo not filed with this Release.
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (AP) — A federal appeals court on Monday temporarily halted plans by companies in two U.S. states to begin slaughtering horses, continuing on-again, off-again efforts to resume domestic equine slaughter two years after Congress lifted a ban on the practice.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver issued a temporary injunction barring the Department of Agriculture from inspecting the plants in New Mexico and Missouri, which were gearing up to open in the coming days after a federal judge in Albuquerque on Friday dismissed a lawsuit by The Humane Society of the United States. The Humane Society and other animal protection groups alleged the department had failed to conduct proper environmental studies when it issued permits to the slaughterhouses.
The Humane Society filed an immediate appeal and won an emergency injunction.
A federal judge in the court case regarding horse slaughter in the U.S. has reversed course from her initial ruling and cleared the way for U.S. Department of Agriculture inspections of horse slaughter plants in several states.
The Humane Society of the United States will not only appeal the decision, but also work with the states to block the plants from opening in Iowa, Mo., and N.M. and step up its efforts in Congress to stop the slaughter of American horses—the states and also in Canada and Mexico.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said:
“Our legislative and legal activities have prevented horse slaughtering on American soil since 2007. With today’s court ruling and the very real prospect of plants resuming barbaric killing of horses 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.”
“Missouri horse slaughter plant set to open”; KRCG, CBS Channel 13, St Louis; November 4, 2013.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A northwest Missouri horse slaughter plant is preparing to open for business Monday as a legal battle that stretches across the country continues to unfold. Read full report >>
“Ex-NM Governor vows to halt horse slaughter”; by Gary Strauss; USA Today; November 3, 2013.
Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson vowed Saturday to fight a federal ruling that will allow U.S. horse slaughterhouses to operate for the first time since 2007. Read full report >>