A federal appeals court on Dec. 14 removed the temporary ban preventing horse slaughter plants from opening.
The Federal Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver lifted the emergency ban barring the U.S. Department of Agriculture from conducting inspections on slaughter plants in three states—Iowa, Missouri and New Mexico—because the animal rights groups “failed to meet their burden for an injunction.”
According to the Associated Press, the slaughterhouses could open within a few weeks, though a final decision on the plants might take months.
“They are getting ready to go as quickly as they can,” Blair Dunn, an attorney for Valley Meat and Rains Natural Meats, told the AP. “It shouldn’t take too long.”
The original lawsuit, filed in July by the Humane Society of the United States and several other animal rights groups, was seeking to block horse slaughter on the basis that the environmental impact hadn’t been properly considered. The court issued the temporary injunction Nov. 4.