Horse Health

Horse Slaughter Case: All Parties Want it to End


Agreement in Horse Slaughter Case: All Parties Want it to End
By Dan Flynn | August 28, 2013

The parties suing USDA to stop horse slaughter before it can start up again in the U.S. agree with the government on one thing: they, too, want to get the court case they brought over as quickly as possible. Bruce A. Wagman, attorney for the plaintiffs, has filed a motion with the U.S. District Court in New Mexico supporting the government’s request for an expedited hearing and briefing on the merits.

Wagman, who represents the Humane Society of the U.S. and several other animal welfare and horse rescue groups, has suggested a schedule that could put the issue in the hands of Federal District Court Judge M. Christina Armijo by Oct. 10. New Mexico Attorney General Gary K. King joined in Wagman’s motion, which was filed Tuesday.


Judge Armijo has scheduled a Sept. 3 status conference, which attorneys can access by telephone.

Wagman still wants Armijo to rule on his motions to change the Aug. 2 temporary restraining order that blocks two companies with grants of inspection for horsemeat packing from starting those operations unless permitted by the court and to reduce or eliminate the costly bond plaintiffs must come up with for the case to proceed.

On the TRO, Wagman wants it to only prohibit USDA from providing equine inspection services to Valley Meat in New Mexico and Responsible Transportation in Iowa. Currently, it also prohibits those companies from operating horse-slaughter businesses, even though the plaintiffs are not suing them. As long as USDA is barred from doing inspections, horses cannot be slaughtered for human consumption.

That became a big concern for the plaintiffs after a federal magistrate imposed a bond against them of nearly $500,000 a month to cover the possibility that USDA wins the case. In other words, it’s meant to cover the economic harm imposed by the plaintiffs if they lose.

Government attorneys representing USDA’s top three food-safety officials say it’s time to end the court battle that has temporarily banned horse slaughter in the U.S. They’ve asked the U.S. District Court in New Mexico to move immediately to an expedited hearing and ruling on the merits of the case.

This would eliminate the next step that had been anticipated in the case – a hearing on whether to grant the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction. They already won a temporary restraining order.

8 replies »

  1. Having witnessed this disgusting mess my advice to wagman is to stepup-up his game. he is doing a less than steller job in this potential health crisis.


    • He’s doing a GREAT JOB representing several plaintiffs in a VERY DIFFICULT & long-term issue – these court delays have saved hundreds of horse’s lives & brought the issue to the forefront of national debate – as has all the hard work done by so many people from every walk of life to lend a hand to save these magnificent animals – Wagman deserves our undying respect & gratitude for all his dedicated hard work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  2. We have been lulled into a state oF complacency by the USDA’s supposed opposition to horse slaughter. Of course, do not forget t is the USDA who holds the photos their inspectors took of the abuses, on their watch, when slaughter was illegally happening before 2007. It grates on my nerves contemplating that the slaughterhouses were operating against state law and USDA was fine with that. But here, they pose as concerned “stakeholders.”
    Who cares anymore amongst those who have the responsibility to make change?
    STOP eating and buying BEEF. Let’s be the ones concerned enough to take responsibility to make change.


  3. We have been armed for some onslaught of horses in the slaughter pipeline in the event that the EU imposes their we have done the things that we needed to do to pick up the pieces. We are responsible for those in our care. . It’s the USDA who has systematically deprived the horses of fruitful life and peaceful ending to their lives.


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