Equine Vampire Farms Exposed!

By as published on The Mirror

“Cruel horse hormone scandal as pregnant mares’ blood is injected into British Meat supply…”

Crammed into pens and ­repeatedly forced into pregnancy, these are the pitiful horses whose blood is extracted on horrific “vampire” farms to boost meat production.

Tens of thousands of mares have giant needles stuck into their jugular veins to suck out a powerful fertility hormone which is later injected into other animals so they can have more babies much quicker.

Meat sold in Britain comes from animals that have been given the hormone, known as ­Pregnant Mare’s Serum Gonadotropin.

It is used in the farming of pigs for meat ­products such as bacon, sausages and chops.

Sign the petition (here).

In concentrated form the powerful hormone is more valuable than gold.

Known as pregnant mare’s serum gonadotropin (PMSG), it is injected in to pigs to speed up their natural fertility cycle.

It brings females back in to season just two days after their piglets have been taken away from them giving their bodies little time to recover.

PMSG is used mainly in pigs but also sheep and cows to increase production of a wide range of meat products.

There is no obligation on farmers or supermarkets to declare which products were produced using the hormone drug, where it was produced and under what conditions.

It is unclear how widespread PMSG use is in the UK.

Campaigners and politicians are now demanding a transparency and a legal requirement to reveal what meat sold on our supermarket shelves was prduced using it.

Kerry McCarthy MP, former shadow environment secretary, said: “Consumers quite rightly want to know what is going into the food that they eat, and it is wrong that such controversial practices can be kept secret.

“Many meat-eaters would not eat meat produced in this way by choice, but they are being kept in the dark.

“We also need to look at the animal welfare issues and impact on human health. We cannot do this unless we are told what is really going on.”

Tens of thousands of horses are thought to be on blood farms, based mainly in rural Uruguay and Argentina as well as Chile.

Campaigners say horses are forced in to stalls where a large bore needle is inserted directly in to their jugular vein.

The hormone can only be found in the blood of mares in their early pregnancy.

When the mares can no longer fall pregnant they are slaughtered and sold as meat.

The Mirror can reveal seven PMSG products are now being sold here in Britain.

Five of the seven UK registered PMSG injections are for use on pigs on farms. The other two injections can also be used on sheep, goats and cattle.

The National Office for Animal Health (NOAH) said suppliers undergo audits and ensure veterinary supervision of horses.

It insisted suppliers “adhere to blood collection limits” but would not specify what these were.

But campaigners have questioned the ethics of keeping mares continually pregnant to harvest their blood at facilities largely hidden from international scrutiny.

The EU does not require farmers to record amounts of PMSG imported or used on factory farms.

Reports in German media from 2015 estimated that 80% of pork farmers there use PMSG.

The body representing the UK animal medicine industry claims it is “not widely used in the UK” but there is no national record.

Wendy Higgins, spokeswoman for Humane Society International, said: “Consumers are often unaware of the animal suffering hidden behind their food choices, particularly in factory farming.

“But the hideous suffering of horses to enhance bacon and pork takes such suffering to a whole new level that will surely shock British shoppers.

“The lives of deprivation and distress that these perpetually-pregnant horses seem forced to endure is obscene.

“Awareness of how animals can suffer for our food is the first step towards avoiding it.

“Knowledge is power and with it consumers can refine their diets to avoid the worst factory farming practices.”

Since the use of PMSG was revealed in mainland Europe a campaign has been launched to have the import of pregnant horse blood products which involve cruelty banned from the EU.

In a fortnight since animal welfare campaign group Avaaz launched a petition more than 1.6 million have signed up.

Oliver MacColl, Avaaz campaign director, said: “It sounds like something from a vampire film, but pregnant horses are having their blood drained to supply a gruesome global trade.

“Now this sickening secret is out more than a million people are demanding that the EU ends this horse horror show for good.”

German-based AWF, which first exposed the horse bleeding practice in 2015, obtained footage at horse blood farming facilities in South America showing staff beating mares with boards and electric rods to force them in to stalls.

It also showed horses so weak they fall down as their legs give in.

One mare is seen resting her head on railings still trembling. A worker climbs the railings and kicks her three times in the face before she collapses.

The AWF claims up to 10 litres of blood can be taken a week per horse on some farms.

This the risk of anaemia, hypovolemic shock, miscarriage and death.

The investigation by AWF also found horse bones and a dead mare on land linked to a blood farm which it claimed provides PMSG for European pharmaceutical firms.

Former workers reportedly told the AWF that 12 litres could sometimes be taken in a single extraction.

European safety guidelines state between 3.4 and 4.5 litres should be taken in a single sitting. Extracting too much can lead to hypovolemic shock and even death.

The European Union does not have specific legislation on standards for drawing blood from pregnant horses.

It is believed mares are bought at livestock auctions in South America and start being ‘bled’ when they are three years old.

Some foals are delivered to ensure a steady supply of horses while others are miscarried or aborted.

The UK National Office for Animal Health said: “Animal welfare, supported by high standards of animal health, is a primary concern of NOAH and its member companies.

“Whilst blood plasma products are not widely used in the UK, such products are available for both human and animal health and provide therapeutic benefits for a range of conditions.

“The principle of recovery of the natural hormone from horses is an authorised practice around the world.

“Member companies employ suppliers, who are experts in blood plasma collection, and have to ensure veterinary supervision and adhere to blood collection limits.

“Audits of suppliers take place to ensure they meet these standards, which includes checking animal health and welfare, both during the collection process and the conditions in which they are kept.”

A spokeswoman for the National Pig Association said: “We are aware that a small number of products containing PMSG are authorised for use in pigs in the UK for the induction and synchronisation of oestrus.

“However, our understanding is that these products are used very little, if at all, in UK pig production as good management of pigs negates the need to use them.”

A spokesman for Defra said: “The import of PMSG is agreed at EU level. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate assesses veterinary medicines to assure their safety, quality and effectiveness.”

What happens on the vampire farm?

Blood bags and drain lines

Blood bags and drain lines

Pregnant mares secrete PMSG from their endometrial cups between 40 and 130 days into their gestation.

Once their blood is removed the plasma is extracted, deep frozen and developed in to PMSG drugs by European pharmaceutical firms.

This drug, often in the form of an injection, is then used alongside progestogen to induce ovulation in livestock.

As soon as the young livestock are separated from the mother after weaning she is injected to bring her back “on heat”.

Critics of this intensive factory farming practice argue it does not give mothers’ bodies time to recover naturally…(CONTINUED)

How you can help

Mexican Livestock Association Targets Horses for Human Consumption

Source: KRGV News

International Food Safety Documentation Tossed to the Wind

Horse MeatMCALLEN –Beef prices are at an all-time in Reynosa, Mexico. The concern prompted a livestock association to find other alternatives for consumers. They think horse meat could be the answer.

Gildardo Lopez, president of Reynosa Livestock Association, said studies showed that horse meat is cheaper than beef. He said Mexican consumers pay up to $13 for two pounds of beef, compared to the $7 they would spend on horse meat.

“We’re trying to focus on helping the low to middle class citizens,” Lopez said. “The high prices of beef increased significantly. In the world market it went up about 300 percent. Our alternative is to sacrifice horses for human consumption.”

Lopez said horses between the ages of 3 to 5 will be target for human consumption. The first animal will be prepared at a local slaughter house on Wednesday.

On Friday, the livestock association will invite the public to a Reynosa meat market, where they will offer a variety of dishes for consumers to try for free. They will also provide nutritional information.

“Studies show horse meat is nutritious,” Lopez said. “It doesn’t have grease. It’s low in cholesterol. It’s high in protein and rich in iron and other vitamins.”

Officials said it will likely take a while before local residents buy in on the concept of consuming horse meat.

The process of educating the public will be essential.

“We’re not going to fool anybody,” Lopez said. “We’re not going to start businesses and not tell people what they’re buying. They’ll know if it’s horse meat.”

Lopez said residents are already doing research on their own. They’re going online and checking out other countries that sell horse meat.

Gildardo Lopez said about 20 percent of people talking about the it are in support of horse meat consumption. He said he expects the number to grow.

The meat market that will offer the free sample is located on Heron Ramirez Street in Reynosa. They will be sampling on Friday from noon to 4 p.m.

Cynthia Martinez, a registered dietician, said she isn’t familiar with horse meat and would look into it’s nutritional values.

People cannot cross horse meat from Mexico to the United States through cargo or passenger lanes at any port of entry. The meat can only be enterable from foot and mouth disease-free countries like Canada and New Zealand. Argentina and Paraguay are also approved countries, because they have horse meat inspection systems that are approved by the USDA.

Consumers can learn more about horse meat through the USDA website.

Federal Legislation Introduced to Prohibit Slaughter of American Equines

Source: Multiple

“This bipartisan bill seeks to prevent and end the inhumane and dangerous process of transporting thousands of horses a year for food.”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

On April 22nd, 2015, federal lawmakers introduced legislation to prevent the establishment of horse slaughter operations within the U.S., end the current export of American horses and donkeys for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 1942, was introduced by Reps. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.).

Last year, more than 140,000 American horses, donkeys and mules were slaughtered for human consumption in foreign countries. The animals often suffer long journeys to slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico without adequate food, water or rest. At the slaughterhouse, horses are  brutally forced into a “kill box” and shot in the head with a captive bolt gun in an attempt to stun them before slaughter—a process that can be inaccurate due to the biology and nature of equines and result in animals sustaining repeated blows or remaining conscious during the kill process.

For centuries, horses have embodied the spirit of American freedom and pride,” said Rep. Guinta. “To that end, horses are not raised for food – permitting their transportation for the purposes of being slaughtered for human consumption is not consistent with our values and results in a dangerously toxic product.  This bipartisan bill seeks to prevent and end the inhumane and dangerous process of transporting thousands of horses a year for food.”

Horses sent to slaughter are often subject to appalling, brutal treatment,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “We must fight those practices. The SAFE Act of 2015 will ensure that these majestic animals are treated with the respect they deserve.”

“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is an absolute travesty that must be stopped,” said Rep. Buchanan.  “This bipartisan measure will finally put an end to this barbaric practice.”

Horse slaughter is an inhumane practice that causes great pain and distress to the animals, and poses numerous environmental and food safety concerns,” said Rep. Lujan Grisham. “The vast majority of my constituents oppose horse slaughter. I’m proud to support the SAFE Act to ban this cruelty once and for all.”

The SAFE Act would also protect consumers from dangerous American equine meat, which can be toxic to humans due to the unregulated administration of drugs to horses. Because horses and donkeys are not raised for food, they are routinely given hundreds of toxic drugs and chemical treatments over their lifetimes that are prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption. Those drugs, although safe for horses, are potentially toxic to humans if consumed. In December 2014, the European Union announced its suspension of imports of horse meat from Mexico after a scathing audit of EU-certified Mexican horse slaughter plants, which kill tens of thousands of American horses each year. Additionally, the discovery of horse meat in beef products in Europe shocked consumers and raised concerns about the potential impact on American food industries.

The concerned American public is encouraged to contact their U.S. representatives and urge them to cosponsor the SAFE Act in order to protect America’s horses and overall consumer health from horse slaughter.

Banned substances on horses undercut compliance claims

by Paul C. Barton, Tennessean Washington Bureau

“Has there ever been any sporting event with that rate of cheating?”

SoringWASHINGTON – Putting mustard oil, kerosene, diesel fuel and other blistering agents on Tennessee Walking Horses has long been part of the cruelty of soring — the infliction of pain on the animals’ front legs and hooves so that touching the ground causes them to recoil in agony and achieve a higher-stepping gait.

But Department of Agriculture documents show the horses frequently face a second set of chemicals as well — those used to mask scars and numb a horse’s pain to fool inspectors.

And walking horses at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville — which starts Wednesday — test positive for masking and numbing agents more often than not, leaving critics to doubt the industry’s claim that at least 97 of every 100 horses are free of soring and their owners and trainers are in compliance with the Horse Protection Act of 1970.

USDA‘s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has a long list of banned substances its inspectors test for at events like the Celebration. They are banned because they can be used to hide evidence of soring. They include many substances associated with industrial processes, such as making dyes and pesticides, bleaching wood pulp, and making paper and packaging.

Some, such as o-Aminoazotoluene or anthraquinone, are animal carcinogens. Still another, sulfur, is sometimes mixed with motor oil to make a paste that is rubbed on a horse’s damaged areas to cover up soring.

And pain-blocking chemicals like lidocaine are applied in amounts calculated to keep a horse quiet during inspections but wear off in time for the pain to return in the show ring when the horse needs to demonstrate the exaggerated “Big Lick” gait, the American Veterinary Medical Association contends.

USDA records show 67 percent of horses examined at the Celebration in 2013 tested positive for substances that could mask soring.

“Has there ever been any sporting event with that rate of cheating?” said Teresa Bippen of Friends of Sound Horses, a St. Louis-based organization.

The masking and numbing agents wouldn’t be needed if soring were as limited as Big Lick owners and trainers contend, say supporters of the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act. The proposed bill in Congress would amend the 1970 Horse Protection Act and significantly bolster USDA’s ability to police the practice.

“The percentage of prohibited foreign substances found at Tennessee Walking Horse shows in recent years speaks volumes regarding the high degree of soring that still occurs within the Big Lick segment of this breed,” said Keith Dane, a specialist on equine issues for the Humane Society of the United States.

Dane and other PAST Act supporters see the prevalence of substances used to hide soring as rigging the Horse Protection Act compliance statistics cited by bill opponents.

Jeffrey Howard, spokesman for the Shelbyville-based Performance Show Horse Association, one of the major groups representing the industry’s Big Lick faction, declined to answer questions about the results for banned substances, saying they were based on “fundamentally flawed” information coming from “other parties,” a reference to groups like the Humane Society and the USDA itself…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story

Federal appeals court temporarily halts horse slaughter for human consumption

Source: Fox News.com

“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,”

horse-meatA federal appeals court has temporarily put the brakes on plans to resume horse slaughter for human consumption in the U.S., after a New Mexico judge last week dismissed a push by animal rights groups to stop the practice.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Monday issued a temporary injunction barring the Department of Agriculture from inspecting the plants.

Slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Missouri had hoped to start up as soon as this week after the federal judge in Albuquerque on Friday threw out a lawsuit by The Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection groups.

Their lawsuit alleged the Agriculture Department failed to conduct proper environmental studies when it issued permits to the slaughterhouses. The groups filed an immediate appeal and won the emergency injunction.

The practice of slaughtering horses for human consumption was legal and fairly common in the United States for many years.

In 2005, Congress voted to withhold funding for USDA inspections of horse meat. It was a way to stop the slaughters because meat for human consumption at the time had to be inspected.

However, the USDA gave the OK for slaughterhouses to pay for their own inspections. Congress voted to end the practice in 2007.

The measure to stop the slaughters lapsed in 2011 and now U.S. companies are clamoring to get back into the game.

Across the country, businesses have been applying for permits with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They want to ship horse meat to countries where it is eaten by humans or used as animal feed.

Retail purchase of horse meat for human consumption in the U.S. is not yet approved but the possibility could be coming.

The Humane Society had pledged after the New Mexico judge’s decision that it would “not only appeal the decision, but also work with the states to block the plants from opening in Iowa, Missouri and New Mexico and step up its efforts in Congress to stop the slaughter of American horses.”

“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,” Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle said in a statement last week. “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.”…CONTINUED

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to comment at Fox News

Update: NM Butcher Continues to Loose Ground in Horse Slaughter Fight

Source: Front Range Equine Rescue

Rick De Los Santos, owner of Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, stands in the slaughterhouse where he plans to butcher horses for the foreign meat market. (PAT VASQUEZ-CUNNINGHAM/JOURNAL)

Rick De Los Santos, owner of Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, stands in the slaughterhouse where he plans to butcher horses for the foreign meat market. (PAT VASQUEZ-CUNNINGHAM/JOURNAL)

“We had a good week in our New Mexico litigation to stop horse slaughter:

First, the Court rejected the Defendant-Intervenors’ motion to strike statements from our merits brief related to the environmental havoc caused by the last three horse slaughterhouses to operate in the U.S. The Court can now consider this evidence in its final ruling.

Second, the Court rejected Valley Meat’s motion to strike statements from our merit brief about Valley Meat’s history of environmental violations.

Third, the Court denied USDA’s attempts to pretend that it considered the environmental havoc caused by the last three horse slaughterhouses to operate in the U.S. before issuing the recent grants of inspection.

Finally, the Court denied Rains Natural Meat’s motion for a security bond.”

USDA: Horse Slaughter Environmental Review Pointless

Source: By Josh Long as published at Food Product Design

“…individuals in the vicinity of previous horse slaughter plants were forced to endure a noxious stench, dealt with blood in streams, and sometimes even found blood and horse tissue running through their water faucets…”

Americans say NO to Horse Slaughter in U.S. ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Americans say NO to Horse Slaughter in U.S. ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—An agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) lacks discretion to deny requests to inspect horse slaughter facilities if they meet requirements under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, rendering an environmental review essentially meaningless, government lawyers argue.

Citing the failure of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), animal welfare groups—including Front Range Equine Rescue, Horses for Life Foundation and Humane Society of the United States among others—have sued the agency in federal court.

The lawsuit has at least temporarily thwarted the plans of three facilities in Iowa, Missouri and New Mexico to slaughter horses for human consumption. The controversial practice has infuriated animal rights groups and divided Native American tribes.

In a brief filed last month, Justice Department lawyers argue NEPA doesn’t apply to its horse slaughter oversight because FSIS lacks the authority to impose environmental conditions or deny a proposal for inspection on environmental grounds.

Since federal law requires FSIS to grant inspections to facilities that meet eligibility requirements under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, “environmental considerations pursuant to a NEPA analysis could not have changed FSIS’ decision,” the government lawyers wrote.

The animal rights groups that have sued FSIS vigorously disagree, and a federal judge is leaning in their favor. In temporary restraining orders that enjoin FSIS from dispatching inspectors to the horse slaughter facilities, Chief U.S. District Judge Christine Armijo has found plaintiffs are likely to prevail on their claims.

The judge is expected to make her final decision—whether to grant a permanent injunction—by the end of October. A final ruling is likely to be challenged before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

Plaintiffs have challenged FSIS’s decisions to grant inspections and a directive that relates to a drug residue testing program for equines. FSIS Directive 6130.1 provides instructions to government personnel on how to inspect horses before and after they are slaughtered, including instructions for drug residue testing.

In the lawsuit, plaintiffs cite a number of environmental hazards associated with horse slaughter facilities before three plants closed six years ago.

“As described in the record, individuals in the vicinity of previous horse slaughter plants were forced to endure a noxious stench, dealt with blood in streams, and sometimes even found blood and horse tissue running through their water faucets,” plaintiffs wrote in a brief. “Whether this will happen again is precisely the question that should be explored in a properly prepared NEPA document.”

NEPA

NEPA typically requires federal agencies to assess the environmental consequences of a proposed action through an “environmental assessment” (EA) and/or a more comprehensive “environmental impact statement” (EIS). FSIS has conducted neither an EA nor an EIS in connection with the horse slaughter facilities or the agency’s drug residue testing program.

NEPA’s requirements don’t apply to a federal agency if a proposed action will not have a “significant” impact either individually or cumulatively on the human environment. Regulations excuse FSIS from preparing an EA or EIS unless the agency’s administrator, Al Almanza, decides “an action may have a significant environmental effect,” according to a memo from FSIS that granted federal meat inspection services to Roswell, N.M.-based Valley Meat Company, LLC.

FSIS’s action “is purely ministerial” since it must grant federal inspection if a facility has met statutory and regulatory requirements, the agency concluded in the June 27 memo.

“A grant of federal inspection likewise does not and will not allow FSIS to exercise sufficient control over the commercial horse slaughter activities at Valley Meat such that the grant will constitute a major federal action that triggers NEPA requirements,” the memo declared.

The agency explained it only has authority to regulate a facility to the extent necessary to verify that meat produced for human consumption is properly labeled, packaged and wholesome as well as free of adulterants.

Drug Residues  

Plaintiffs have expressed fears that the horse slaughter plants are potentially dangerous in part because drugs that are administered to horses are not safe for human consumption and have the potential to contaminate “local ecosystems and water and soil supplies.”

Between 1996 and 2006, when FSIS tested horses for drugs before funding for horse inspections was withdrawn, few equines tested positive, according to the agency. But plaintiffs contend FSIS failed to test the animals for many drugs that are commonly administered to horses.

Documents submitted to the federal government have listed 115 drugs and categories of drugs that have been approved for use in horses and have been known to cause problems for humans, according to Bruce Wagman, an attorney representing a number of plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The Attorney General of New Mexico has expressed similar fears, pointing out in a letter to Valley Meat that horse meat containing such dangerous substances as the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone (PBZ) would be considered “adulterated” in violation of state law.

FSIS has defended the drug testing program, citing a number of safeguards—including random tests of horses after they are slaughtered—that are intended to protect the public from exposure to harmful chemicals and pesticide residues.

State agencies and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigate companies whose meat has tested positive for unpermitted drug residues, and FDA has authority to prosecute a business and take other enforcement action, FSIS pointed out.

Although FSIS has acknowledged it will conduct fewer samples under its new program, the agency said it will analyze them for a larger number of chemical compounds. But plaintiffs gripe the new program “ignores several dozen other substances commonly given to horses that may be harmful to humans.”

Click (HERE) to comment directly at Food Product Design

Breaking News: Federal Court Extends Equine Advocate’s Injunction to Third Wanna-Be Horse Slaughter Plant

Source: Front Range Equine Rescue

FRER’s case has now kept horse slaughter from starting in America for roughly three months

Good News by Terry FitchThe New Mexico federal court, yesterday, extended the injunction barring USDA for inspecting horse slaughter at Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, Missouri (and thus preventing any slaughter) until the court rules on the case, which will happen by the end of October. This increases the length of the injunction previously issued against Rains Natural Meats by almost four weeks. FRER’s case has now kept horse slaughter from starting in America for roughly three months, after keeping USDA from even considering the process for all of 2012 and the first half of this year.

Front Range Equine Rescue and Others Block Missouri Horse Slaughter Plant in Federal Court

“A reprieve for the horses!”

The United States District Court should block federal inspections at a Missouri horse slaughter plant, per a motion filed by Front Range Equine Rescue and The Humane Society of the United States along with other horse protection organizations and several individuals. Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture announced imminent plans to provide inspections at the Missouri plant Rains Natural Meats, which would allow the facility to begin slaughtering horses for human consumption.

The United States District Court for the District of New Mexico granted a motion filed in July by Front Range and The HSUS to temporarily block similar inspections that USDA had authorized at horse slaughter facilities in New Mexico and Iowa. That temporary injunction remains in place pending the court’s consideration of a lawsuit filed by Front Range and The HSUS alleging that USDA violated the National Environmental Policy Act by authorizing inspections without conducting the necessary environmental review. This latest motion asks the court to extend the temporary restraining order to cover inspections at Rains Natural Meats, as well.

“Judge Armijo ruled on our emergency motion to stop the MO plant from opening on Monday. ” says a post on Front Range’s Facebook page.

“The USDA is enjoined from providing horse slaughter inspections until October 4. She has assigned another judge to an evidentiary hearing. He will rule on whether they can start on October 4 or continue being unable to provide inspection of horse meat at Rains Natural Meats in MO. The slaughter plant through its attorney has filed attempting to get bond money. However, the plant itself is not enjoined so one would think they are not entitled, but in my opinion the law is about as reliable as politicians. We are very happy and relieved for the horses though.”

Third Horse-Slaughter Wanna-be Qualifies for USDA Inspections

Source: By Dan Flynn of Food Safety News

“Rains Natural Meats is now eligible and requesting a grant of inspection…”

Butchering Companion Animals is top priority for Slaughterhouse.

A third business has met all the statutory and regulatory requirements to require USDA to provide inspection services when it begins processing horsemeat for human consumption.

Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys representing USDA have informed the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico that it may want to expand its temporary restraining order against horse slaughter to include Rains Natural Meats in Gallatin, MO.

That restraining order currently only prevents USDA from providing inspection services to Valley Meat in New Mexico and Responsible Transportation in Iowa, the first two businesses to qualify since a five-year ban on spending federal money on horse slaughter inspections ended in 2012.

“When this court entered its temporary restraining order, Rains Natural Meats had not yet met the requirements for a grant of inspection, and thus the temporary restraining order expressly applies only to FSIS’s (Food Safety and Inspection Service’s) inspection of the Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation facilities,” the DOJ attorneys wrote, adding, “But circumstances have changed, and Rains Natural Meats is now eligible and requesting a grant of inspection.”

The government attorneys said that, while they were not waiving any of their earlier objections to federal Judge M. Christina Armijo’s order, they understood that she may want to amend it in light of the new reality.

Rains Natural Meats is a small meat and poultry slaughter and processing facility with about 5,300 square feet. Built in 1998, it has been a USDA-inspected facility for various meat and poultry processing since it was built, but the business has had difficulties due to the slow economic recovery.

Owner David Rains opted to file for an equine grant of inspection on Jan. 13. While waiting for the application to be approved, he told local media outlets that he’s been driving a school bus to pay his bills.

In its “Decision Memo,” USDA said the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) requires government inspectors to conduct ante-mortem inspection of all amenable species, including cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules and other equines, including a post-mortem inspection of “carcasses and parts of all amenable species.”

“Horses, mules, and other equines have been among the livestock species that are amenable to the FMIA since it was amended by the Wholesome Meat Act in 1967,” wrote Philip S. Derfler, FSIS deputy administrator.

FSIS is required to conduct an examination and inspection of the methods of slaughter to ensure they are in compliance with the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which calls for prevention of needless livestock suffering.

In the USDA memo, Derfler says the decision to provide inspection services under the FMIA “is purely ministerial because if a commercial horse slaughter plant meets all of the statutory and regulatory requirement for receiving a grant of federal inspection, FSIS has no discretion or authority under the FMIA to deny the grant on other grounds or to consider and choose among alternative ways to achieve the agency’s statutory objectives.”

“Therefore, a grant of federal inspection services under the FMIA is not a major federal action that is subject to NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) requirements,” he added.

Horse rescue and animal-welfare groups have sued in federal court in New Mexico, charging that NEPA requires USDA to conduct environmental reviews before granting inspection services for horse slaughter. Judge Armijo granted a temporary restraining order just ahead of the start dates for Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation.

In a separate proceeding, a federal magistrate has ruled that a plaintiff’s bond of almost $500,000 per month might be required to cover potential losses by the defendants while the case is argued. The bond is intended to compensate the defendants if the plaintiffs lose.

Government attorneys then suggested the case be accelerated and the plaintiffs agreed. Both sides are now preparing briefs that should frame the issues for the judge to decide by about Oct. 10. After she rules, the losing side will likely appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

About 175,000 horses from the United States are exported for slaughter each year to Canada and Mexico. New USDA-inspected horse-slaughter facilities in the U.S. would export horsemeat for human consumption to areas of the world where there is a dwindling demand, mainly Europe and Asia.