August 16, 2013
Responsible Transportation, which owns a slaughterhouse in Sigourney, Iowa, is dropping plans to slaughter horses in the wake of a federal judge's ruling that temporarily banned the practice as animal welfare groups challenge it in court, a company executive said.
The company can't afford to wait for more deliberations in court and will instead turn its focus to cattle processing, said the company's president, Keaton Walker.
Earlier this month, a federal judge issued a restraining order in a lawsuit brought by The Humane Society of the United States and other groups against the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The case has ignited an emotional national debate about how best to deal with the tens of thousands of wild, unwanted and abandoned horses throughout the United States.
Responsible Transportation was one of two companies that had secured federal permits for horse slaughter. Walker's company had been given federal approval to slaughter horses at the company's Iowa plant starting Aug. 1. The Iowa plant will now seek federal approval to become a beef-only operation, Walker said.