New Orleans, Louisiana (Jan. 20, 2007) — Horse slaughter is criminal again in the Lone Star State.
A three-judge appellate panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana, ruled unanimously yesterday that horse slaughter plants operating in Texas will face criminal charges if they slaughter horses for human consumption.
The ruling overturned the decision handed down in 2005 by Texas Federal Judge Terry Means in favor of foreign-owned Beltex of Fort Worth, and Dallas Crown, Inc. of Kaufman, who in 2002 filed for injunctive relief from a state law dating back to 1949 prohibiting the slaughter of horses for human consumption, stating that the state law interfered with federal trade regulations.
The two Texas horse slaughter plants have two options. They can either call for a hearing or apply for an appeal with the Supreme Court. It is highly unlikely they would have any success.
Elimination of horse slaughter in Texas leaves one horse meat plant in operation, Cavel International in DeKalb, Illinois.
According to USDA records, more than 100,000 horses were slaughtered in 2006 for their meat in the Texas and Illinois plants.
“Closing the horse slaughter plants in Texas will save 50,000 to 60,000 equines from a brutal and terrifying death this year alone,” states Vivian Farrell, President of Houston-based Int’l Fund for Horses.
“This ruling, however, does not ban horse slaughter in the states where it is not illegal, nor does it prohibit the trade of our horses across U.S. borders where horses are routinely slaughtered for the foreign meat market,” adds Farrell. “A federal mandate against horse slaughter is imperative to bring it to a full end for US horses.”
Federal legislation banning horse slaughter and export for slaughter was introduced simultaneously in the House and Senate on January 17, 2007. The bill numbers are H.R. 503 and S. 311, respectively.
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