The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver lifted its emergency injunction from early November, clearing the way for the slaughter of horses before the year ends from any of three establishments the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has found eligible for equine inspection services.
In removing the emergency injunction, the 10th Circuit found those trying to stop USDA from inspecting horsemeat production "have failed to establish a likelihood of success on appeal." It means that further review will not be expedited of a New Mexico trial court judge's ruling favoring USDA's position on horse slaughter.
Congress effectively banned horse slaughter in 2006 by halting USDA plant inspections. Due to Congressional action that lifted the ban in 2011, USDA is required to grant inspection for facilities to engage in commercial horse slaughter. Proposed operations include Valley Meat Co. in New Mexico, Responsible Transportation in Iowa and Rains Natural Meats in Missouri.
Horse meat is not sold for human consumption in the United States.
A new twist has New Mexico Attorney General Gary King seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent Valley Meat Co. from slaughtering horses. King claims horse slaughter puts consumers' health and natural resources at risk.