The first step in stopping the slaughter of horses for human
consumption seems to have been taken this past Friday when
the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled
that two Texas companies, Dallas Crown, Inc., and Beltex
Corporation can be prosecuted under a 48-year-old Texas law
against slaughtering horses and selling the meat abroad.
The Texas Legislature, in 1949, made it illegal to sell,
possess and transport horsemeat for human
Because the law has been amended several times, Dallas Crown
and Beltex filed an injunction in Federal Court arguing that
it had been repealed and supplanted by Federal law, so that
they could not be prosecuted under it. The U.S. District
Court for the Northern District of Texas upheld their
argument and enjoined Tim Curry, the District Attorney of
Tarrant County where the facilities are located, from
pursuing legal action against them.
The Society for Animal Protective Legislation, which had,in
2001, asked District Attorney Curry to institute legal
proceedings against the slaughterhouses, appealed the
ruling, and on Friday the ruling was overturned.
The Court of Appeals said, in its decision, that ending
horse slaughter will not only protect horses; it will stop
hoses in American from being stolen and sold for slaughter.
The Court also strongly disagreed with the district court’s
reasoning that Texas has sufficient alternative measures to
oversee the welfare of horses.
The Texas ruling comes directly on the heels of the
re-introduction, in both houses of the U.S. Congress, of H.
H.R. 503, and S.311, federal legislation which would not only
put an end to horse slaughter for human consumption within
The U.S., but would make illegal the transportation of horses
to other countries for slaughter. There seems to be widespread
support for the bills.
But on the other side of the issue is the reality that, this
past weekend, twelve of the slaughter-bound horses which
survived when the trailer they were being shipped in
overturned on a U.S. Interstate last November were put up
for adoption this past weekend. Thirteen more are still
recovering at Longmeadow Farm in Union, Missouri.
The plight of these horses has been broadcast
internationally, but the fact remains that Longmeadow Farm,
before it took them in, had another one hundred rescued
horses for which it is still caring and trying to find
homes. Horse slaughter is unconscionable. But the most effective
way to put all horse slaughter facilities out of business is
to take away their profit incentive.
And as long as breeders, especially breeders of sport and
pleasure animals, insist on overproducing, we will see a
ready supply of unwanted animals being sold at low prices for slaughter.
Until that supply dries up, there will be both money,
and people willing to make it, in the horse slaughter business.