08/14/2013 2:27PM

Iowa company drops plans to open horse slaughter plant


One of two companies that applied to slaughter horses and earlier this year was granted a permit to open has now dropped the plan, saying it will focus on beef instead.

Keaton Walker, representing Iowa slaughterhouse owner Responsible Transportation, told the Associated Press that the company could not afford to wait for the outcome of legal wrangling over the horse slaughter issue. Earlier this month, a federal judge issued a restraining order against the Iowa plant and another proposed horse-slaughter facility, Valley Meat’s plant in Roswell, N. M., as part of a lawsuit that humane groups, equine welfare organizations, and others filed against the United States Department of Agriculture after it cleared the way for equine slaughter in both states. After receiving USDA inspectors’ approval, both the Iowa and New Mexico plants had planned to begin slaughtering horses early this month.

“We just can’t sit with our heads down,” Walker told the AP. “We have to get back to work.”

He said the Sigourney, Iowa, plant, which employs 18 people, would apply to operate as a cattle processing plant.

Carol Griglione, Iowa state director for the The Humane Society of the United States –one of the plaintiffs in the suit against the USDA – said in an HSUS release that “Responsible Transportation made a smart move by throwing in the towel on horse slaughter. Horse meat is a product of cruelty that Americans don’t want to buy, and horse slaughter pollutes the air and water wherever it occurs. It has no place in Iowa or any other state.”

Sergio Cat More than 1 year ago
This is a prime example of decision making based on feelings not facts. I am a long time breeder and trainer and the facts show the industry needs a way to cull the lesser quality horses. Feelgood policy makers are responsible for the abundant wildfires we are dealing with now. They are responsible for the abandonment of so many horses, the creation of rescue farms that beg for other peoples money more than NPR, and the decline in the average value of our product. Opponents should put their money where there mouth is and start paying the feed bill of cull animals rather than disallowing another person from selling an asset.
Lori Hackman More than 1 year ago
Thank you to Keaton Walker for his decision. This is about making money after-all, not horse welfare.