03/16/2006 1:00AM

Anti-slaughter injunction denied


The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., denied an injunction this week sought by animal-rights groups to stop the federal government from allowing horse slaughterhouses to pay for inspections of horse meat.

The decision is a setback for the anti-slaughter movement, which last year supported a measure passed by federal legislators that suspended all funding to the Department of Agriculture for horse meat inspectors. Earlier this year, the agriculture department announced a program allowing slaughterhouses to pay for the inspections.

In addition to denying the request for injunction, the court also threw out two of the three claims filed in an earlier lawsuit by a coalition of anti-slaughter groups, contending that the groups lacked standing to sue the federal government.

The groups had contended in the suit that the agriculture department had ignored the will of Congress and had failed to allow for public comment before it implemented the pay-for-service plan.