Judge in Horse Slaughter Case Corrects Mistake; No Next Round Date Set

Source: By Dan Flynn of Food Safety News

“Magistrate Judge Scott entered a massive injunction bond in this case – perhaps the largest ever in a public interest NEPA case…”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Federal District Court Judge M. Christina Armijo has amended her order temporarily banning horsemeat packing in the U.S. because it was too broadly drawn. Armijo’s original Aug. 2 temporary restraining order said USDA was ordered to suspend or withhold the provision of “meat inspection services” to Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation until further order of the court.

Armijo officially amended the temporary restraining order Wednesday to order USDA “to suspend or withhold the provision of horse meat inspection services to Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation until further order of the Court.” And although the judge’s Aug. 2 order promised a hearing on the plaintiff’s motion for a temporary injunction, it has not yet been scheduled. There has been a blizzard of filings over the request to change the temporary restraining order and the injunction bond.

Bruce A. Wagman, the San Francisco attorney representing the Humane Society of the United States along with horse rescue and animal welfare groups, wants Armijo to waive under the “public interest exception” the nearly $500,000 per month bond plaintiffs would have to pay to see the case move forward.

“There is no dispute that Magistrate Judge Scott entered a massive injunction bond in this case – perhaps the largest ever in a public interest NEPA case,” Wagman wrote. “Defendants were able to secure this crippling bond by exploiting an oversight in the Court’s order – which not only enjoined the only party sued and the only party accused of violating federal law, but also the private non-federal company interveners.”

Plaintiffs in the case also argued that since Iowa’s Responsible Transportation has withdrawn its equine application for the cattle business and New Mexico’s Valley Meat is having state water permit issues and isn’t approved for shipment to the European Union, there is no real need for the bond coverage. (The EU is a large consumer of horse meat for human consumption.)

In the blizzard of paper now before the court, however, perhaps the most dramatic is the declaration from Ricardo De Los Santos, general manager of Valley Meat in Roswell, NM.

“Valley is a small locally operated Hispanic business that lacks the resources to protect itself from the economic harm sought to be done to it by the large multi-million activists groups that are seeking to enjoin USDA from facilitating Valley’s lawful agribusiness operation,” he states.

De Los Santos says Valley has spent $150,000 retrofitting its plant for equine operations and is now out almost $22,000 per day in gross revenue for each day the court prevents it from processing horse meat.

“The actions of Plaintiffs have trapped Valley with no alternative but to devote its extremely diminished and dwindling resources toward litigation and the bare minimum needed to keep the plant in a ready state should the hurdles imposed by Plaintiffs and this Court be removed,” his declaration states.

The Yakama and Navajo Indian nations are intervenors on the side of the defendants in the cases in part because of their concern about the damage being done to tribal and public lands by the swelling populations of wild horses.

Principal defendants in the case are Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Under Secretary for Food Safety Elizabeth A. Hagen and Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator Alfred Almanza.

Click (HERE) to comment at Food Safety News

9 comments on “Judge in Horse Slaughter Case Corrects Mistake; No Next Round Date Set

  1. I did not know the bond was 500,000 per month. I have never hear of a bond which most people only have to pay 10% through a bonds men and only one time not every month until the trial. I mean the trial could take 6 to 12 months before it goes to court. Are you sure this bond is ones per month?


  2. The Navajo Nation doesn’t have a problem with “Wild” Horses! It has a problem forcing individuals to limit breeding having no range management or even will to stop the random breeding of it’s horses! Force the Navajo Nation to instill a sense of responsibility for it’s citizens! Hell they won’t even spay/neuter their pets and it’s free most of the time as vets donate their time periodically to provide free spay/neuter/vaccination clinics on the Rez. Because of the random breeding of domesticated horses they hold round-ups every year and those horses are sold to slaughter! It’s despicable for a “Horse Culture”!! I know because I lived there for about 20 years!


  3. So Mr. De Los Santos at 22,000 per day is going to Gross around 682,000.00 per month slaughtering 100 horses a day. So out of that gross profit he has to buy (or steal) horses, pay workers, and keep his plant in running conduction. Which means what 20 works at 7.25 a hours is 5,800 in salaries, 10,000 to 20,000 for some 3,100 horses (if that much) and 10,000 a month in maintaining the plant. While the American people pay 400,000 for USDA inspection of his plant per year to inspect meat that we don’t eat. in the mean time the BLM rounds up (paid for by the American people) and runs all the wild Mustangs through slaughter by way of the Yakama and Navajo Indian nations. I wonder what will the BLM do ones they have totally killed off the wild mustangs to run no more on pubic land? However, the biggest problem I have is who is he going to sale this meat to? I know we the people are going to get all the toxic drug meat pushed off on US under the label of beef like they did in the UK. To bad we can’t buy up the land around Mr. De Los Santos plant and block his access to public road. Then he would be dead in the water with no way in our out.


  4. Let me help mr santos out this is not a race issue, hispanic, or any other ethnic background aside. He is an American citizen, therefore, that actually excludes him from actually stating this is a race oriented dispute. The dispute is actually based on safety, food, and environmental harm. Race ethnic background including Native American origin is of absolutely no bearing in the bond, nor legally in this suit.


  5. The defendant, Valley Meat in Roswell, NM, should have looked carefully at the situation involving the slaughter of horses for human consumption. It is not the fault of the Plaintiffs that he, the defendant, rode headlong into a losing proposition from the start. ALL of those intent on slaughtering horses for human consumption better get used to the impossibility of such businesses. The American people won’t stand for it!!!!


  6. De Los Santos should quit while he is ahead. Maybe he should try slaughtering goats or sheep. The Indians better back off and leave the wild horses alone. I’m sure the Indians are just after the money for the wild horses. The sad truth is Pro Horse Slaughter people just want to make money off of horse meat. They don’t care about the horses.


  7. This is all getting to be a very sad, sick joke, only no one is laughing! It’s non-stop, constant back & forth, with no real progress being made. We stalled them, but even the temporary stall is losing ground! None of us know what the future holds, but unfortunately, unless there is a miracle, some sort of Divine intervention, some sort of public take-over, & it will take a LOT of power, our horses & all that we continue to believe in & fight for, will be lost. Evil will win, IF we let it! I am a very sensitive, emotional & caring person, & this just breaks my heart to tears everytime I read more bad news. How can so few evil people get away with this, how is it even possible for them to “win” this fight? I’ve always heard & been taught there’s power & strength in numbers, we out-number them, this should be a non-issue. We need to take things into our own hands, & out of the hands covered in blood!


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