October 16, 2021

Iowa Company Drops Horse Slaughter Plans

Responsible Transportation has dropped its plan to slaughter horses at its facility in Sigourney, Iowa following a a federal judge’s injunction of the practice while a legal challenge raised by animal rights groups plays out in court.  The company, one of two nationwide that were granted federal permits for horse slaughter, couldn’t afford another delay and now plans to focus on beef, the company’s president, Keaton Walker, told the Associated Press. Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, N.M., the other company that was granted a permit, has not announced a change of plans. Although selling horse meat in the U.S. is not legal, these companies could export the meat for sale in other countries.

HorseHorse slaughter, which has been banned in the U.S. since 2006, was set to begin again this summer in Iowa and New Mexico.  But in July, animal welfare groups, including Front Range Equine Rescue, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and others, sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for failure to conduct necessary environmental reviews before granting the permits. In early August, a federal judge issued a 30-day injunction, delaying the start of operations at both plants.

In the seven years that horse slaughter has been banned, horse exports for slaughter in Canada and Mexico have increased and so have the number of abandoned horses, according to a  June 2011 report from the Government Accountability Office. According to the company website, Responsible Transportation’s mission was “to improve the quality of life of the unwanted horse population through the development and application of innovative livestock handling practices, utilization of professionally supervised and government regulated euthanasia processes, and removal of the agonizing voyages to processing facilities outside the United States.”

But not everyone agrees that horse slaughter is the best way to manage the horse population.  “Responsible Transportation made a smart move by throwing in the towel on horse slaughter. Horse meat is a product of cruelty that Americans don’t want to buy, and horse slaughter pollutes the air and water wherever it occurs. It has no place in Iowa or any other state,” said Carol Griglione, Iowa state director of The Humane Society of the United States.




  1. Debra Schroer says

    The GAO report that you mentioned in your article was created for lobbyist Charlie Stenholm, a former Texas Congressman and perpetuates not only fraudulent information, but is riddle with many inaccuracies, in order to prop up support for horse slaughter to resume in this Country.

    From Habitat for Horses: “A 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report came under fire last week for misrepresenting data that was used to push Congress to end a five-year ban on funding horse meat inspections.

    In a new study, “How the GAO Deceived Congress About Horse Slaughter,” the Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) ties fraudulent GAO data on horse abuse and neglect to a campaign by three Congressmen to reinstate the low-margin, poorly regulated horse-slaughter industry, which lost funding for required USDA inspections and shut down in 2007 after a long and costly legal battle at the local, state and federal level.”

    There are no unwanted, old, sickly horses going to slaughter, that is a myth. Most horses and donkeys that go to slaughter are healthy individuals. Horses have never been consider “food” in this Country. They are listed with the FDA as “companion animals”. and should be always considered accordingly.

  2. morgansinkc says

    I’m glad that Keaton Walker is walking away from horse slaughter. Thank goodness.

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