The slaughter of horses in Iowa and New Mexico is on hold after a federal court on Friday issued a temporary restraining order to halt U.S. Department of Agriculture inspections of horse slaughter plants, which effectively prevents any plant from opening on U.S. soil. Front Range Equine Rescue, The Humane Society of the United States, and other horse advocates filed suit against USDA last month challenging the agency’s failure to conduct the required environmental review prior to placing inspectors in horse slaughter plants. The injunction will remain in place for 30 days, at which time the court will decide whether to extend the order.
Both companies had hoped to begin slaughtering Monday.
For the past seven years, horse slaughter had been illegal in the USA but the ban was lifted last year, paving the way for the slaughter of unwanted and wild horses across the United States.
The horse meat would be exported for human consumption and for use as zoo and other animal food, USA Today reported.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, said: “We’ve won a temporary but life-saving reprieve for horses, and it’s good news indeed that the kill boxes in New Mexico and Iowa will be empty of horses in the weeks ahead. We’ll continue to make arguments when our case resumes in a month that these plants cannot legally operate because of inadequate environmental review.”