On Friday afternoon,United States District Judge Christina Armijo in Albuquerque, N.M., cleared the way for domestic horse slaughter to resume when she dismissed the lawsuit of The Humane Society of the United States and other humane organizations alleging the Department of Agriculture failed to conduct the proper environmental studies before issuing permits to proposed horse slaughter plants in Roswell and Iowa according to abcnews.go.com.
On August 1, a Temporary Restraining Order was granted prohibiting Valley Meat Co. in Roswell from slaughtering horses when Front Range Equine Organization's attorney Bruce Wagman told Judge Armijo that no environmental impact study had ever been done to realize the effects of horse slaughter since horses ingest drugs labeled carcinogenic to humans.
In June, the United States Department of Agriculture granted permits to the slaughterhouses stating they were legally obligated to do so, even though Congress seeks to reinstate the ban on domestic horse slaughter. The ban was lifted in 2011 by a three person special interest group.
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New Mexico Attorney General Gary King and Governor Susana Martinez were disappointed in the judge's surprise decision.
Rick De Los Santos, owner of the Valley Meat Co., and his lawyer Blair Dunn were pleased, and plan to begin slaughter to ship horse meat to countries where the meat is sold for human consumption.
In a statement by The Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the organization stated:
"Our legislative and legal activities have prevented horse slaughtering on American soil since 2007. With today's court ruling and the very real prospect of plants resuming barbaric killing of horses for their meat in the states, we expect the American public to recognize the urgency of the situation and to demand that Congress take action. Court fights and state legislative battles have been important, but this is an issue of national importance and scale, and Congress should have an up-or-down vote on the subject."
The Front Range Equine Rescue Facebook page states an appeal has already been filed.
"Of course we are extremely disappointed but are keeping up the fight however we can."
According to the Equine Welfare Alliance, in an earlier statement:
"It should be noted there is still a case pending in NM for the water permit. The testimony I previously sent from John was for the water permit case. Should he receive the permit, the earliest he would be able to open is February."
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