Horse News

Update: Federal Judge Postpones Bond Hearing in Horse Slaughter Case

Source: Multiple

American Icon by Terry FitchALBUQUERQUE, N.M.  – A federal judge in Albuquerque has postponed until Thursday a bond hearing for the equine advocacy groups who won a temporary ban on domestic horse slaughter.

Front Range Equine Rescue, the Humane Society of the United States and others on Friday won a temporary restraining order that blocked plans by companies in Roswell, N.M., and Sigourney, Iowa, to start slaughtering horses this week.

But before their lawsuit challenging the Department of Agriculture’s June decision to open the plants can proceed, a bond must be posted to cover the companies’ losses should the animal groups lose.

Blair Dunn, who represents Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, says he will seek at least $10 million.

The hearing was scheduled Monday. But federal Magistrate Robert Scott says he needs more time to hear arguments.

11 replies »

  1. Mr/Ms Federal Magistrate:

    Be sure to ask-

    (1) where and how much are feedlot, pending HCHS equines actually costing Iowa and NM….contracts please with locations and documented costs;
    (2) why aren’t they (HCHS equines) going to Can/Mex/canner ships until killbox is actually operational;
    (3) re: Dunn and 10 mil is from what fantasy land…documentation please, Mr Dunn…no more blowin’ it out your butt speak;
    (4) NM had a fire…uhhh, not operational anyway, right? Why a bond for them?

    This is getting stoopid…….


  2. My first thought a Fire at Valley Meats and Dunn is asking for a bond of 10 million????…This attorney’s ego is so off the Map of reality….I agree Denise….Laughable and Stupider…..LOL!


  3. Dunn is what we used to call and ambulance chaser. So desperate for attention and national exposure he’ll say or do anything…sort of like Ted Cruz R-TX


  4. Wow we’re all millionaires. Never knew my horses were worth so much dead. Beware, the Federal Courts always favor capital. After they diminish the plaintiffs they stick the sward in.


  5. 90% of the wild horses that are slaughtered in Canada come from the United States….and there arent as many advocacy groups and private citizens as we have here in the US… > Horses > Horse Slaughter> Horse Slaughter

    Awaiting their journey to doom.© HSI

    Horse Slaughter

    With more than 93,000 horses slaughtered in 2009 alone, Canada’s horse slaughter industry is among the largest in the world, and a shameful betrayal against our loyal companions.

    Horses are slaughtered in Canada primarily to provide horse meat to European and Asian countries where it is eaten as a delicacy. Horses are brought to slaughter in every possible condition—old, young, sick, healthy, injured, and even pregnant. They are not all unwanted—often, their guardians can no longer afford to keep them, and bring the horses to auction hoping to find them a good home. But horribly, more than 50 percent of horses sold at rural auctions go to slaughter after being bought by “kill buyers”.

    A Terrible Journey

    Many times, horses are crammed in trailers designed for shorter animals and travel in uncomfortable positions over very long distances. Loading and unloading is extremely stressful and dangerous for horses as they are moved along the relatively steep ramps. Canadian animal transport standards are among the worst in the industrialized world. Current regulations allow horses to be transported for up to 36 hours without food, water or rest.

    Inhumane Slaughter—NOT Humane Euthanasia

    There have been many reported cases of animal welfare violations in Canadian horse slaughterhouses including failure to provide food and water, illegal unloading of animals, animals left for extended periods in kill pens and sick or injured animals denied veterinary care. Not surprisingly, veterinary experts around the world and leading animal protection groups have denounced horse slaughter as inhumane.

    Once the horses are corralled into the slaughterhouse, the end is predictable—violent and bloody. Sometimes injured and emaciated, horses are beaten and electro-shocked in overcrowded pens and must endure the smell of blood and the sights and sounds of other horses in pain and being killed before they, too, are led into a kill chute.

    Horse slaughterhouses use the same type of stalls and techniques as cattle slaughterhouses. These stalls are too wide for horses and the captive-bolt stun gun method used with cattle is ill-suited for horses. Horses are an extreme example of a flight animal. The panic and instinctive desire to escape they experience in the slaughterhouse causes them to thrash their heads frantically in the kill chute, making it difficult to effectively stun them prior to slaughter. Witnesses (and video footage) document horses subjected to a sharp blow to the head from the captive-bolt gun three or four times before they are rendered unconscious for exsanguination. In a recent investigation of carcasses discarded by a Canadian slaughterhouse, skulls of many horses processed for meat were found without any holes from a stun gun or rifle whatsoever!

    Times Are Changing—Time to ACT

    The Canadian horsemeat industry had been in decline in recent years. However, with the closing of the remaining equine slaughter plants in the United States, the number of horses imported to Canada for slaughter has increased by a whopping 49 percent. As a result, several new equine slaughter plants have recently opened in Canada. We need to act now to stop this growing climate of cruelty to horses in Canada!

    What We’re Doing

    Horse slaughter is an urgent problem that needs to be addressed throughout North America. In 2008, for example, House Judiciary Committee Chairman, John Conyers (D-MI)—along with Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN)—introduced the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008, which prohibits the slaughter of American horses for human consumption and their export for slaughter in other countries.

    In Canada, HSI is working to achieve a federal ban that would end the slaughter, sale, transport and export of horses for human consumption. Such a ban would save tens of thousands of gentle creatures from a horrible fate.


  6. Wild horses to the slaughter?

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    Found this on the Internet,from High Country News was written October of 2012
    On Monday, the Bureau of Land Management began its helicopter-assisted roundup of 3,500 wild horses and burros from public lands. Horses gathered from the range are corralled temporarily around the West and then shipped to pastures in the Midwest, where they’re either adopted or spend the rest of their lives chomping on grass at the taxpayer’s expense.

    The costs of the BLM’s wild horse and burro program have ballooned to $75.8 million, up from around $16 million in 1989. In that same timeframe, the number of wild horses in long-term holding pastures has increased from just 1,600 to over 45,000 this summer, stretching the agency to near capacity. At the same time, adoption rates of wild horses have dropped sharply since the program started in 1995.

    What that means is there are now more wild horses in captivity than on the open range, and the BLM is running out of places to put them.

    The agency could, of course, kill the horses. As of 2004, when Congress passed the Burns amendment to the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM is allowed to sell old or unadoptable horses for $10 a head to anyone—including to slaughterhouses or to kill buyers. But two years after that amendment, Congress withdrew funding for USDA inspections of horses destined for food, effectively ending domestic horse slaughtering. Funding was reinstated last November after a Government Accountability Office report found the domestic slaughter ban had unintentionally harmed horses. Horses were now traveling further to be slaughtered, to places like Canada and Mexico where they are not protected by the USDA’s humane slaughter rules.

    But the BLM still won’t sell horses to slaughterhouses or kill buyers because of uncertainty about what Congress wants and the PR disaster it would create, according to BLM spokesman Tom Gorey (domestic horse slaughterhouses have also had a tough time getting USDA approval, despite being legal again). Instead, the agency requires all buyers to sign an agreement saying they will not knowingly sell a horse to someone who might have it slaughtered. Violating that agreement is a felony.

    But a damning investigation published September 28 by journalist Dave Philipps (stay tuned for his upcoming HCN story on the BLM’s wild horse and burro program) and ProPublica suggests the agency has already been selling horses to a buyer who may be shipping them to slaughterhouses in Mexico.

    According to the story, since 2009 the BLM has sold over 1,700 horses to Tom Davis, a known horse slaughter advocate who told Philipps that “some of the finest meat you will ever eat is a fat yearling colt.”

    Although Philipps didn’t have clear documentation proving Davis was funneling the horses into a slaughterhouse, the evidence he did amass certainly suggests as much. Davis didn’t care what types of horses he bought, as long as they were big. He buys an average of 35 horses at a time, while most buyers only purchase one or two, and claims to find them “good homes” in the Southeast. However, a wild horse rescuer in Georgia that Philipps spoke with expressed skepticism that Davis was able to find homes for so many wild horses, saying the market is “deader than dead.”

    Davis also admitted to illegally shipping horses across state lines, including down to the Texas-Mexico border, where veterinarians say they sometimes see horses with BLM brands headed for slaughterhouses in Mexico. But Philipps’ paper trail ended when he asked to see documentation of BLM horses bound for slaughterhouses. The USDA stalled his Freedom of Information Act request for records of veterinarians conducting border inspections of the BLM horses, arguing it would cost tens of thousands of dollars and months to comply with, Phillips said. So he and ProPublica decided to publish the story anyway and let readers connect the dots.

    Not surprisingly, the BLM maintains that none of its horses are ending up in slaughterhouses. “No evidence was provided by the article that horses sold to Tom Davis ended up in slaughterhouses,” Gorey said in an official statement. “We take allegations of this type seriously and will look into any allegations that have a degree of credibility.”

    Since Philipps’ report came out last week, horse advocates have called for the BLM to halt all wild horse roundups. “The safest place for a wild horse is in the wild,” said Ginger Kathrens, executive director of the Colorado Springs-based Cloud Foundation, a wild horse advocacy group, in response to the investigation. “The fate of horses, once they are captured, is murky based on some of the newest revelations of what’s going on.”

    But the BLM can’t just stop rounding up wild horses without facing lawsuits from other users of public lands, who contend the horses erode soil, increase sedimentation in streams and generally destroy the range, according to Gorey.

    So what should the agency do?

    Some wild horse advocates say the BLM should give more wild horses birth control and release them, like they’re doing with 900 of the 3,500 horses to be rounded up this fall. But the agency says that’s difficult to do with large herds, and mares need to be re-vaccinated every year. “We only gather the herds every four years, so that’s a problem,” Gorey told The New York Times in 2009.

    Killing old and unadoptable horses could be a viable, and legal, solution to the problem, but it seems unlikely the BLM will ever do it. “It’s off the table as far as an option,” Gorey said, “this administration has made it clear…it was not going to be considered.”

    That leaves the BLM stuck with more horses than it can handle, fewer places to put them and an increasing population on the range.

    “The BLM is in an impossible situation,” Philipps said in an interview, “I don’t know if they’re going to find a way out of it.”

    Emily Guerin is an intern at High Country News.

    Photos courtesy BLM Idaho and BLM Nevada. Chart data courtesy BLM Spokesman Tom Gorey.


    • @Nancy, Do you have any suggestions as to just how anyone can force the US Senate to pass S.541 ? If you do I would like to hear it. I have been in this fight for ten years, in all that time it has continually been the US Senate that steadfastly refused to budge on any Senate bill that would have stopped horse slaughter in its tracks. Right now there is more than enough votes to pass H.R. 1094, the House of Representatives anti-slaughter bill. I have said this before and I will say it again, and again. You can’t stop horse slaughter if you do not have enough votes in the US Senate to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. The House can’t pass H.R.1094 alone to stop slaughter it has to be both bills S.541.


  7. They need to argue these points on Thursday-
    1 horse =3 cows (the horse has 3 times the blood of a single cow so they are 1 one horse per cow slaughtered in terms of blood volumn
    1 horse=2 cows (the fluids and tissue are that of 2 cows for every 1 horse slaughtered which is a lot more volumn
    1 horse ONLY 62 percent of the body and body parts including the hide is used in any way. The bones and meats are banned from pet foods in The US. That leaves nearly 1 half a horse per horse slaughtered. Higher waste to haul off than cows who are used up to 96 percent of their complete body and parts. So they haul off one half of a horse per 10 cows at 6 percent which fills landfill, or rendering facilities overwhelming both. They also have to truck more body parts away which is many times more the risk when moving much more waste than in cattle.
    Last they need to make sure they are arguing that this would be less of a bio hazard and would not tax all the public services in the states if the horses were killed by injection or bullet on their respective farms, it would allow for people to avoid the environment issues.
    The stagnant waste water and the foam in the heat in the lagoons the waste water was kept in brought about fumes in the air that were so horrible that their damage the air quality far beyond what the cattle plants air quality was reduced to. We are in an age of being green and these plants are in NO way green and there is NO way to properly recycle this mess quick enough to resolve the issues that come from them. From AIR to WATER, overtaxing the resources we have to protect our environment we have to stop this. To have people put their horses down in their own farms only has a small number in each state being disposed of by services for this purpose while the services do charge a small fee it eliminates ALL these issues.


  8. Slaughter houses

    [hide] 1 Overview
    2 Canadian Slaughter Houses
    3 Mexican Slaughter Houses
    4 Discussions 4.1 US
    4.2 Canada
    4.3 Mexico

    5 Australia
    6 Demand: Europe and Japan


    There are no currently operational horse slaughter houses in the United States. Horses are being shipped across the borders to Canada and Mexico for slaughter for the human consumption of the horse meat.

    Horses shipping to slaughter in Canada and Mexico must pass the border for inspection. They are categorized as slaughter-bound and a charge per load is administered ($25) for Canada. Horses might also be shipped across the border as “feeder” horses. These horses are not going directly to slaughter, but to a feedlot, awaiting slaughter. A different charge is administered for this category, as well as other horse categories (note, I observed on paperwork for one of our horses shipping to Woodbine that it was written the horse was not for slaughter). This charge is “by the head” rather than by the load. There is a fear that if Federal legislation is passed, then horses will simply be shipped across the border as feeder horses. If killer buyers attempt to falsify their border paperwork, they will be subject to the Federal False Claims Act.

    Slaughter-bound horses cannot ship in double deckers in the US. They can in Canada. Horses shipping for non-slaughter can ship in Double Deckers in the US. Thus those crossing the borders to Canada can ship in Double Deckers if heading to a point other than the slaughterhouse, a feedlot for example.

    Slaughter houses get the majority of their horses from contracts they provide to kill buyers. Kill buyers operate in the US to satisfy the demand for the contracts in Canada and Mexico. The large area of North America and dispersement of horses requires this type of process for procuring horses. Horse slaughter in much smaller countries (UK for example) more of the horses slaughtered are dropped off by their owners. UK also has a law to prevent live shipment to mainland Europe for slaughter-bound horses.

    The beginning of this report provides good insight into the overall market for horse meat from slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico: A Study of Equine Slaughter/ Abuse Patterns Following Closure of Horse Slaughter Plants in US

    Canadian Slaughter Houses

    The market for Canadian slaughtered horse meat is mostly Europe, some Japan (shipped live), and a small amount is eaten in Canada. Some horses are bred for slaughter in Canada (Bouvry breeds slaughter horses). However, since the closing of the US slaughter plants, the majority of horses slaughtered are shipped in from the US.

    There are seven federally licensed horse slaughter houses in Canada. Five of the seven plants are EU approved: Canadian Slaughterhouses Update 3/09. They are:

    Viande Richelieu – QC

    Bouvry Exports – AB Bouvry also ships live horses to Japan via its feedlots.

    Kour Holdings – BC

    Natural Valley – SK (Contracted by Cavel’s Belgian parent company, Velda LLC, within a week of the closing of Cavel) Appears to have been closed down in Spring 2009

    Canadian Premium Meats – AB

    EU approval is required in order to ship horse meat to Europe.

    The two remaining federally licensed slaughter houses are:

    Norval Meats – ON, was slaughtering in 2009 through early June, and then seemed to stop.

    Les Cerfs De Boileau – QC

    Canadian Food and Inspection Agency: CFIA is charged with overseeing the slaughter process for the federally licensed slaughter houses.

    Natural Valley, in the Province of Saskatchewan, has recently been exposed for its inhumane practices: Horse Slaughter Investigation Feb to May 2008

    There are also smaller, provincially-approved slaughter houses. These slaughter houses can only sell their horse meat within their province. They are not overseen by the CFIA.

    Notice to Industry – Transporting Horses in Canada: is that Animal Fit for the Trip?

    Mexican Slaughter Houses

    Slaughter-bound horses cross the Mexican border at Santa Teresa, NM, Eagle Pass, TX (Animals’ Angels Investigation, Eagle Pass Texas-June 2008) and Diploma Programme Socorro, TX where the majority of horses cross the border between El Paso TX and Mexico. This facility is run by the Texas Department of Agriculture. Unlike exporting horses to Canada, the border crossing requires an on – off load process with a switch in haulers.

    Unlike Canada, where horse meat is only consumed in few places and is considered a healthy alternative to other meats, horse meat in Mexico is consumed as a poorer substitute for other meats. Some slaughter plants are licensed by the EU to ship horse meat to Europe. More provincial slaughter houses have no such licensing and need for licensing as their market is local.


  9. Nothing should be paid to the slaughter houses. It was the chance they took and hopefully they’ve lost. That’s typical with any new business. They knew it was against American cultural values. They knew it would be fought. They knew it could fall short. That was the chance that THEY took.


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