Federal Court Ends Horse Slaughter for Human Consumption in U.S.

baby horseWith her March 28, 2007 opinion, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly for the D.C. District Court helped end horse slaughter for human consumption in the United States.

The judge has invalidated a USDA regulation that allowed horse slaughter for human consumption.

By way of background, in 2005 with overwhelming support in both houses, Congress passed a provision, Section 794, in the FY 2006 Agricultural Appropriations Act that would have stopped the USDA from paying for the inspections of horses sold for slaughter. Section 794, an amendment to the FY Agricultural Appropriations Act provides:

Effective 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, none of the funds made available in this Act may be used to pay the salaries or expenses of personnel to inspect horses under section 3 of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. Sec. 603)…. See Pub. L. 109-97, § 794, 119 Stat. 2120, 2164.

The provision of the Federal Meat Inspection Act ("FMIA"), 21 U.S.C. § 603, pertaining to the inspection of horses provides: "For the purpose of preventing the use in commerce of meat and meat food products which are adulterated, the Secretary shall cause to be made, by inspectors appointed for that purpose, an examination and inspection of all amenable species [including cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, and other equines] before they shall be allowed to enter into any slaughtering, packing, meat-canning, rendering, or similar establishment, in which they are to be slaughtered and the meat and meat food products thereof are to be used in commerce . . . ." 21 U.S.C. § 603(a). See also 21 U.S.C. § 601(w)(1).

Without these inspections, there could be no sale of horses for consumption and thus no reason to slaughter these animals. But this amendment never became effective. Instead, the effective date was delayed, and, in the meantime, the USDA issued a regulation, 9 C.F.R. 352.19, that provides "an official establishment that wishes to slaughter horses" can apply for and obtain inspections if they pay for them.

The regulation was issued as a result of an emergency petition filed by the owners of the three U.S. Horse slaughterhouses, Cavel International, Inc.; Beltex Corporation and Dallas Crown, Inc. (Beltex owns a controlling interest in a third slaughterhouse, Empacadora de Carnes de Fresnillo, that operates in Mexico. The Mexican slaughterhouse sold and transferred its horsemeat to Beltex’ Texas operation, which then sells it abroad.)

In other words, the USDA circumvented the amendment to the FY 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Act by allowing slaughterhouses to continue with inspections if they paid for them. In this way, horse slaughter for human consumption had been allowed to continue. 

Judge Kollar-Kotelly has permanently enjoined or stopped the Food Safety & Inspection Service of the USDA from further implementing this regulation. The judge found the regulation violated the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 706 and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 42 U.S.C. § 4321, et seq., by failing to consider adequately, or, really, at all, the environmental impact of its action in issuing the regulation.

With the regulation invalidated, the horse slaughterhouses in the United States can no longer operate. The horse slaughter houses are pursuing an appeal in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. 

One thought on “Federal Court Ends Horse Slaughter for Human Consumption in U.S.”

  1. Banning horse slaughter in USA is a great step in making our horses safer. But there is more to be done. BLM, who is supposed to protect and preserve our wild mustangs allows thousands to be shipped to slaughter. Major horse breeders send more horses to slaughter than any other group. There is a way to stop this.

    Letter from Horses as National Treasure concerning reintroduction of S.727/503,
    S.1018 and taxes.
    Dear Honorable ___________________________________________________,
    It is a disgrace that in 2007, America closed the last horse slaughterhouse, yet
    we ship over 100,000 to other countries for horrific deaths. Reintroduce and
    support S.727/H.R.503, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, along with S. 1018,
    Restoring Our American Mustangs Act. Also, consider treating America’s horses,
    respectively, as National Treasure with new tax laws. Small animals have county
    support systems. Horses do not. Fair taxing would fund Committees in horse
    industry while creating registry of horses.
    Major horse breeders ‘play the sports of Kings’ and send more horses to
    slaughter than any other group. The Kings of horse breeding make fortunes while
    sending low performance, injured and confirmation defective horses for horrific
    deaths in slaughterhouses, then write off their loses. Don’t enable the Kings.
    The Kings are financially able to buy more insurance. (1) Omit tax write-offs
    on dead horses and breeding incentives for breeders. (2) Apply a luxury tax of
    4% for all horse owners and (3) equal or larger foal impact fee. Exclude taxing
    horses while under care of 501(c)3. Over-population will cease as horses
    increase in value. With 9.2 million horses, revenue will be vast. This is a
    logical solution to slaughter.
    Adhere strict allocation of horse taxes to: Create committees to (1) oversee
    BLM’s wild equine program. (1a.) Remove cattle from Mustangs’ lands. Cattle
    owners can afford rent on OUR land, so, they can afford to buy their own land.
    (2) Train armed county officials by Licensed Veterinarians to humanely euthanize
    horses when horse owners cannot place horses and do not have funds for humane
    euthanization by a licensed veterinarian. (3) Create committees for each county
    to oversee America’s horses and fund county sanctuaries. Committees create
    Phenylbutazone, routinely used in horses, is banned for use in all animals
    intended for human consumption because it causes serious and lethal
    idiosyncratic adverse effects in humans, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. In
    this lies the merit for a serious lawsuit against our government.
    Visit the kill floor of one of the horse slaughter plants in Mexico, since that
    is where most horses go. If you cannot support the above bills afterwards, and
    take steps to make major horse breeders responsible, please, send me a letter
    explaining ‘your’ logic. Reconsider your position as a supporter of the King’s
    Most Sincerely,
    _________________________________________________________________signature and

Comments are closed.