U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo in Albuquerque, N.M., threw out a lawsuit filed by the Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue and several other animal protection groups on Nov. 1. The lawsuit, filed in July, was seeking to block horse slaughter on the basis that the environmental impact hadn’t been properly considered.
“In a 33-page ruling, Chief United States District Judge Christina Armijo concluded ‘that the grants of inspection were properly issued,’ ” reported Reuters. “She dismissed the lawsuit, and denied a request for permanent injunction sought by the plaintiffs.”
A. Blair Dunn, attorney for Valley Meat Co. and Rain Natural Meats, told the Los Angeles Times that both companies plan to resume operations as soon as next week.
“We are pleased," Dunn told the Los Angeles Times. “We think the right legal conclusion was reached.”
HSUS announced their decision to appeal the ruling in a written statement.
“Our legislative and legal activities have prevented horse slaughtering on American soil since 2007,” said HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle. “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. 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.”
Due to the appeal, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver issued an emergency temporary injuction Nov. 4 barring the U.S. Department of Agriculture from inspecting plants in New Mexico and Missouri.
“We know the 10th Circuit will follow the law and allow my clients to proceed as soon as our side is considered,” Dunn told USA Today. “The plaintiffs have misstated the law, the facts and the science. We look forward to a quick decision when the facts are considered and the District Court's careful decision is reviewed.”