December 8, 2023

Horse Slaughter on Hold as Animals Rights Groups Raise Legal Challenge

Horse slaughter, which has been banned in this county since 2006, was set to begin again this summer in Iowa and New Mexico. But a federal court has issued a 30-day injunction as a lawsuit filed in July by Front Range Equine Rescue, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and other horse advocates works its way through the court system.When the 30 days is up, the court will decide whether or not to extend the order.

HorseHorse meat processed at the Iowa and New Mexico plants cannot be sold as human food in the U.S.  But it can be processed for export at facilities where no other animals are slaughtered and no other meat is processed.

“We’ve won a temporary but life-saving reprieve for horses, and it’s good news indeed that the kill boxes in New Mexico and Iowa will be empty of horses in the weeks ahead.  We’ll continue to make arguments when our case resumes in a month that these plants cannot legally operate because of inadequate environmental review,” said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO in a statement.

The lawsuit alleges that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) failed to conduct proper environmental reviews before issuing new permits to slaughterhouses in Iowa and Nebraska.  In late July, actor, director, and philanthropist Robert Redford and former New Mexico Governor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson formed a new foundation that filed a motion to join the lawsuit with the the goal blocking horse slaughter plants from resuming operations.


  1. Horses aren’t meat, they are our companions. Through out history they have fought beside us, worked for us sun up to sun down, thrill us in sports, delight us in the ring and spend hours with us in recreation. They are therapy animals and police mounts. They do not deserve this brutal, horrifying and savage end. The people who overbreed, use them for venal purposes and then sell them into slaughter, often right off a race track. We need to prosecute these people not kill the horses. Everyone needs to contact their state representatives and VOICE their horror. All of us have to speak up. I have and continue to speak up and even print my own flyers to hand out to people in my neighborhood – stick them under a mat or in their door – make them aware of the horror of the slaughter and the fact that almost all of these horses have received label only approved drugs that are toxic to humans. I applaud the NM judge, HSUS, Equine Rescue, SPCA and all the other groups and individuals who are donating their time, efforts an dollars to this cause, and a special thank you to Robert Redford as well. I don’t know about anyone else but I will stop buying any red meat if this is not stopped. I am sick of the greed and veniality that seems to rule this country. Let’s stop it now and forever.

  2. vickysecho says

    The horse dealers are allowed to fabricate drug history affidavits immediately after they acquire a horse because the form says ‘to the best of my knowledge or belief’. Since U.S. horses are not regulated food animals and rarely does any drug history transfer, it is absurd that the U.S. allows U.S. horses to be designated as food by allowing them into a slaughter system at all.
    The drug testing the slaughter facilities claim is a fraud. Horses were ‘visually’ inspected for adulteration – absurd. If a horse appeared visually suspect, it was tested with the ‘fast’ test, which does not even check for bute – commonly used horse aspirin never allowed in horses for food. Only if a horse failed the ‘fast test, was a sample submitted to a lab.
    The horse slaughter cartel is terrorizing a human food chain with adulterated horses/horsemeat.
    My two adulterated horses were stolen by deception and sold to a kill buyer. They were gone within days, before I could get any legal action. They were like my children.
    The majority of Americans don’t want it, and we certainly don’t need it. They do not perform a service and could stop buying any tomorrow.

  3. carrie david says

    This is great for a horse lover to hear.” I” feel that horses were NOT put on this earth for humans to eat! Period All slaughter houses for horses should be shut down. Once again, “I” feel BREEDING needs to be banned for a few years so we can get our horse population under control. Inhumane murder facilities is NOT the answer!!

  4. Terri Russell says

    Hats off to the groups who see getting this thing resolved and hopefully banned for real. Even during the time that house slaughter was supposedly banned in this country, horses were still being sent to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. This was to the tune of 160000. It is not illegal to slaughter your own horse and eat it. You can just not sell the meat commercially. There are and will never be any passports in this country so the EU won’t be accepting any US horse meat anyway. Even the zoos aren’t feeding horse meat because of three ill effects it has on the big cats. It’s not used in dog food. So where is the market? Nobody with any sense wants to eat American horse meat because a kill buyers word is not worth the paper it’s written on. Horse slaughter is riddled with the criminal element and these bottom feeders should be under the jail instead of out screwing people out of their pets. I’ve heard first hand stories and i know the lies that they use to get these horses. They are not a public service. They are predators who go after the innocents and the greedy. American horse meat is not safe to eat. I know. I own horses..

  5. morgansinkc says

    Thank you, everyone who is helping to ban horse slaughter in the U.S.!

    • rebecca A stone says

      I don’t get it….. horses are livestock…..just like cows, pigs, chickens, goats, sheep. Sincerely, what is the big deal? I remember eating horse meat in the ’70’s……

      • Linda Larsen says

        Horses are given many performance-enhancing drugs such as phenylbutazone that are not safe for human consumption. In addition, many people feel that eating horse meat is taboo, just as they would feel uncomfortable eating cats or dogs. Finally, one of the problems is mislabeling – in the EU, the scandal over horse meat is that it was labeled as beef. People don’t like being deceived.

  6. Thank You to the JUDGE for making the only logical, decision to be made…. We all have to STOP Horse Slaughter once and for it does nothing but endorse the very thing Pro Slaughter says it will help?? What a joke, it is a BIG DUMPING ground for irresponsible owners and over breeding, NO MORE we all are going to fight hard to END this EVIL once and for all…

    • roberta truman says

      Thankyou Judge, for at least taking the time to think this through! We as a nation, have got to stop animal abuse. Look at other slaughter houses, it isn’t being stopped there. So how can it be stopped by opening more slaughter houses? We are beginning to look and act like a nation of backwoods hunters who will kill anything and everything.

      Our beloved horses, our beloved wolves, our beloved buffalo…..where will it end? The time has come to ban this forever! It is not like we need any more meat….so this is a want, not a need!! Please. Help us to help them. After all they helped us build this country. Is this how we are to repay their kind? No! Please, no…………We need to be the wiser. The time is right. Most folks don’t want this, won’t eat it, and now the EU won’t want it either. They what? All those dead horses, and meat with no where to go……..throw it? Just so they can kill more? Does this even make any little bit of sense? None! Except one….someone wants to profit!!

      Well we say, they can find another endeavor!! Thankyou so much!! I truly love you……………

  7. Curtiss Lukens says

    Over 90% of US horses have been exposed to over 100 medications. Do we want to take a chance that horse meat will not slip into our food supply like it did in Europe. It was reported that organized crime was involved in getting the horse meat into Europes food. Well now in the US what could go wrong?

    The EU will begin enforcing requirements July 31,2013 that any horse for import has to have a passport listing all of the drugs administered to the horse in its lifetime and you cannot get a passport after the age of 6 months. That effectively eliminates the European market.

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