Thursday, August 15, 2013
Iowa plant drops horse-slaughter plan; Roswell plant 'prepared to stay the course'
An Iowa company is dropping plans to slaughter horses in the wake of a federal judge's ruling that temporarily banned the practice as part of a lawsuit filed by animal welfare groups, a company executive said Tuesday. Responsible Transportation, which owns a slaughterhouse in Sigourney, Iowa, was among two companies that had secured federal permits for horse slaughter. But the Iowa company's president, Keaton Walker, told The Associated Press that his firm cannot afford to wait for more court deliberations and was turning its focus to cattle. "We just can't sit with our heads down," Walker said. "We have to get back to work. Our main focus now is going to be beef." The other company with a federal permit, Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, was "still prepared to stay the course," company attorney Blain Dunn said. Valley Meat has been at the fore of the fight, pushing for more than a year for permission to convert its cattle plant into a horse slaughterhouse. Supporters of the domestic horse slaughter note that the practice is already occurring. They argue that horse slaughter in federally regulated facilities is better than having the animals starve or shipped to inhumane facilities in Mexico. Horse abuse and abandonment cases have increased since the slaughtering of horses was banned in 2006, and many owners in the West and Great Plains were left with fewer options to care for or euthanize their animals, according to a 2011 report from the federal Government Accountability Office. Valley Meat Co. owner Rick De Los Santos said he could understand why the Iowa company made the decision. But, he added: "We are going to see this deal all the way through."...more