Sunday, February 18, 2007

Texas: Court halts horse slaughter

Quoted from an article in The Land and Livestock Post
Article by Rasha Madkour, The Associated Press.

Houston -- A federal appeals court has ruled that horse slaughter is illegal in Texas, home to two of the nation's three processing plants.
The decision, issued Jan. 19 by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, overturns a lower federal district court's ruling last year on a 1949 Texas law that banned horse slaughter for the purpose of selling the meat for food.
The lower court had said the Texas law was invalid because it had already been repealed by another statute and pre-emptied by federal law.
But a panel of three judges on the 5th Circuit disagreed, saying the law stood on its own merits and was still enforceable.
"The lone cowboy riding his horse on a Texas trail is a cinematic icon," Judge Fortunato Benavides wrote in the ruling. "Not once in memory did the cowboy eat his horse."
Wayne Pacelle, president and chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States, said, "This is the most important court action ever on the issue of horse slaughter. When this ruling is enforced, a single plant in Illinois will stand alone in conducting this grisly business.

Proponents such as the American Veterinary Medical Association have said slaughter is a kind way to deal with old horses and a better alternative to abandonment, but opponents argued that many young horses are also killed. Horse meat is not marketed in the U.S., but hundreds of horses are processed each week and the meat is shipped overseas where it is considered a delicacy in some countries. The two Texas facilities and one facility in Illinois for horse slaughter are foreign-owned.

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