Horse slaughter opponents sue USDA


Animal protection groups are suing the Department of Agriculture in an effort to block the revival of commercial horse slaughter.

A lawsuit filed by the Humane Society, four other groups and five individuals seeks an emergency injunction to overturn the USDA's recent permit approval for a horse meat plant in Roswell, N.M. The USDA today approved a slaughter operation in Iowa, and expects to endorse another request later this week.

The Humane Society's lawsuit also names prospective processing plants in Gallatin and Rockville, Mo.; Woodbury, Tenn.; and Washington, Okla.

Horse slaughterhouses last operated in the U.S. in 2007 before Congress banned the practice by eliminating funding for plant inspections. Congress could still cut funding for horse slaughterhouse inspections, effectively reinstating the ban. Both the House and Senate agriculture committees have endorsed such proposals.

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