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Tenth Circuit Puts Horse Slaughter on Hold
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The Tenth US Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency injunction on Monday against the order of a federal judge that permitted the launch of horse slaughterhouses in the US. The order issued by US District Judge Christina Armijo made on Friday was appealed against by the Humane Society of the United States and other parties on Saturday. By Monday, things were temporarily back to square one.

Currently, two slaughterhouses are waiting for decisions of the court before starting operations – one in New Mexico and one in Missouri.


The lawsuit against the slaughterhouses alleged that the Agriculture Department had not conducted proper environmental studies before issuing permits to the companies. An Iowa company embroiled in the fight has already abandoned its plan to process horse meat.

After the issue of the emergency injunction, Wayne Pacelle, the President of the Humane Society said in a statement, “We are pleased to win another round in the courts to block the killing of these animals on American soil for export to Italy and Japan.”

The temporary injunction of the Appeals Court also bars the Department of Agriculture from inspecting the plants and issuing any new approval.

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Blair Dunn, the attorney for the defendants said the injunction was only a temporary predicament. He said, “I feel very confident and my clients feel very confident that when the US government presents its side and the companies present their side, this is very temporary.”

The issue of horse slaughter revolves around the emotional attachment of Americans to horses and whether horses should be considered as livestock or as companion animals. There is ongoing debate about dealing with the overpopulation of horses in the country and about finding humane ways to solve the situation.

These companies had come up with the solution of processing horse meat and exporting it to countries that had high demands, in the process generating employment, reducing overpopulation of horses and earning foreign exchange.

However, emotions matter, because if they didn’t then nothing else would matter.



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