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Missouri Horse Slaughter Facility: Humane Society Files Lawsuit To Block Processing Plant

Thumbnail image for horse-file.jpg
via Wikimedia Commons
Last week, we reported that a Missouri horse slaughter facility may get the green light from federal officials who say they are legally required to approve the processing plant if it meets a series of requirements.

Animal rights advocates argue the practice is cruel and that horse meat is dangerous for human consumption -- and now the U.S. Humane Society is hoping to block horse slaughter altogether with a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"We feel...the USDA did not do proper inspections or evaluations of the environmental impacts that this plant is going to have," Amanda Good, Missouri state director for the U.S. Humane Society, tells Daily RFT, adding, "There's just some really, really inhumane practices that go into horse slaughter."

See also:
- Horse Slaughter In Missouri? ASPCA Slams Cruel Practice
- Humane Society: Missouri Still Has Nation's Worst Puppy Mills
- Photos: Animal Cruelty in Missouri and Rescues from Abuse

The lawsuit targets the USDA inspections and reviews of horse processing plants in New Mexico, Iowa and Missouri.

horse-eyes.jpg
via aspca.org

In Missouri, a Gallatin-based business called Rains Natural Meats, has applied for federal approval for horse slaughter, a practice which was banned by Congress seven years ago. The restriction, however was not renewed in 2012 laws.

That means for the first time since 2006, facilities in the U.S. may once again slaughter horses for human consumption -- which would generally happen overseas.

Officials with the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) say they can't deny these interested businesses.

"As long as they meet all the guidelines, there's nothing to stop them from approving," Good says.

But her organization is alleging in a complaint that names several key USDA officials that the federal agency is "embarking on a nationwide program of horse slaughter that presents clear threats to the environment without complying with Congressionally-mandated requirements intended to protect the public and our natural resources."

The slaughter of American horses for human consumption, the lawsuit alleges, "presents unique and extensive dangers that have never been adequately considered by [the USDA], despite their obligations under [the National Environmental Policy Act]."

If a judge ruled in favor of the Humane Society (which has several co-plaintiffs, including other animal rights groups), it would block the horse processing plants in all three states, Good explains.

And in the meantime, the legal action has delayed horse slaughter inspections for weeks.

aspca-horse-image.jpeg
via aspca.org

The argument is that the USDA is going forward with horse slaughter inspections before complying with federally mandated environmental review obligations.

Good and other animal rights groups point to the negative impacts a horse slaughter plant had on a town in Texas.

"There were limbs ending up in people's yards," Good says.

Blood from the slaughters can cause problems for local municipalities as well, she says..

And officials with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told us last week that horse slaughter plants hurt local economies, because of harmful environmental impacts, such as terrible stenches and damaged sewage systems.

Continue for more from the Humane Society and a copy of the lawsuit.


My Voice Nation Help
20 comments
coltmiller2
coltmiller2

As well the USDA and FDA and FSIS label everything safe-WE CONSTANTLY HAVE RECALLS TO REMIND US they don't always work.

fiatallis16b
fiatallis16b

AS Fire fighters die we cut funding to them and then fund horse slaughter.

The U.S. Forest Service's $2 billion-a-year firefighting budget - the government's biggest - has been cut by 5 percent. Agency officials say that has meant 500 fewer firefighters and 50 fewer fire engines than last year. Just think of the 19 fire fighters that died, maybe if they had the funding that would be used to slaughter horses they would be alive today.

david_vaughn
david_vaughn

EVERYONE, please don't believe anything a horse: trader, racer, eventer, jumper, hunter, polo team player, big purebred breeder, team penner, sorter, reiner, roper, rodeo, show person tells you. they are the abusers who utilize the chemicals and devices. break the tail and form it over a bustle for show. chains and other such to accent a gait. nerving to relieve pain. ad nauseam. i agree the horses who are old, sick, medicated should not be introduced into the food stream, however viande de cheval raised with accountability will harm no one

morgansinkc
morgansinkc

I am against the USDA opening up inspections for the proposed horse slaughter plant in Gallatin, Missouri, or in any other city or county in Missouri or in the United States.  Horses in the U.S. are not raised for human consumption.

They are our friends and companions, and as such, horses are treated along with dogs and cats with a wide variety of vaccines, bacterins, topical and oral treatments that are not approved for human consumption.  People use gloves with topical treatments, such as Surpass, because they do not want equine drugs touching their skin, let alone consuming them.

It's not economical to raise horses for slaughter in the U.S., because it takes a whole lot more money to feed a horse than it does a livestock animal such as a bovine (or cow), for example. The USDA has no business inspecting a horse slaughter plant that by default will be receiving horses that are not fit for human consumption.  The horses they will be receiving have not been raised drug-free for human consumption.

As a grower of corn, wheat and soybeans, the USDA's reputation directly affect many.  The European Union, which is where most of the horse meat would go, has a zero tolerance for Bute (phenylbutazone), which is routinely given to horses in the U.S.  It is estimated that 90% of horses in the U.S. have been treated with this drug, not to mention other drugs.

There is no way to test for all of these drugs on every horse destined for slaughter. We had a horse at one of the Universities that was sick and on the premises of the University, and it took two days for us to get the test results of one test. Many tests would need to be run on each horse, and there is no way to do this in a timely fashion. 

Most of the horses destined for slaughter are young or middle-aged, and in the prime of their lives.  Two that have been rescued from slaughter have gone on and are now showing at the Morgan Grand Nationals.

Horse slaughter has no place in America.



btyrr14
btyrr14

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/international-affairs/exporting-products/export-library-requirements-by-country/European-Union

Export Requirements for the European Union

EU-150 (Jun 28, 2013)

B. Ineligible Products

1.Lamb and mutton are not currently eligible for export to the European Union. Parties interested in exporting lamb or mutton to the European Union should contact FSIS, Phone (202) 720-0082 or (855) 444-9904, Fax (202) 720-7990.

2.Eligibility of equine products, including horsemeat, has not been determined at this time. Information will be provided as it becomes available. Until eligibility information is provided, export certification cannot be issued for equine products intended for export to the European Union.*


The biggest market for US horsemeat is to the European Union for human consumption. According to Animals’ Angels the US has not even submitted a drug residue monitoring plan and the EU says it could take up to 6 to 9 months to be approved. 

ut_4_me
ut_4_me topcommenter

WILBUR!!!!!!!!


chica2270
chica2270

Why are we slaughtering horses for the europeans to eat the meat?  If they want horse meat, let them do it...

fiatallis16b
fiatallis16b

@david_vaughn Don't believe a word this person says, he never supplies any supporting evidence for his uneducated opinions. 

david_vaughn
david_vaughn

@btyrr14 go back to the fsis site and search for the constituent update pdf associated with horse slaughter.  interesting reading.

david_vaughn
david_vaughn

@fiatallis16b @david_vaughn never is a broad generalization and i dare say that i am sufficently educated.  there is no need for supporting evidence for this comment.  people can do their own research. 

btyrr14
btyrr14

@david_vaughn @btyrr14  I went back and read it and I still do not see where the FSIS submitted a drug residue monitoring plan to the EU and no attempts have been made by FSIS to add a new slaughter plant to the EU "Third Country Approved Establishment" list. This process could take approximately 6 to 9 months to get the approval once a drug residue monitoring plan has been submitted. Even with USDA approval and inspectors ready to go, without an EU accepted drug residue monitoring plan the US cannot export horsemeat products to the primary consumer. 

btyrr14
btyrr14

Has a drug residue testing plan been approved by the EU and has any US horse slaughter plant been approved by the EU as a "third country approved establishment? The EU will be the biggest market for US horsemeat.

david_vaughn
david_vaughn

@btyrr14 @david_vaughn  my mistake. 

fsis does the testing in the u s:

"FSIS has modified several Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook Methods to add equine muscle. These methods include: Screening for Phenylbutazone by ELISA; Screening for Chloramphenicol by ELISA; Screening and Confirmation for Aminoglycosides by LC-MS-MS; Screening for Pesticides by LC-MS- MS and GC-MS-MS; Identification of Poisons and Toxins by GC-MS; and Screening and Confirmation of Animal Drug Residues by UHPLC-MS-MS, which can analyze for multiple drug classes."

"Among other measures to protect the public health, FSIS will test equine carcasses for illegal drug residues. Because of the particular concerns about the possibility of drug residues in equine carcasses, FSIS will conduct intensified residue testing at establishments that receive a grant of inspection to slaughter equines."

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