No more horse slaughter in Texas

21 01 2007

This just in…

A federal appeals court has ruled that horse slaughter is illegal in Texas, home to two of the nation’s three processing plants.

The decision, issued late Friday by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, overturns a lower federal district court’s ruling last year on a 1949 Texas law that banned horse slaughter for the purpose of selling the meat for food.

The lower court had said the Texas law was invalid because it had already been repealed by another statute and pre-empted by federal law.

But a panel of three judges on the 5th Circuit disagreed and said the law stood on its own merits and was still enforceable.

“The lone cowboy riding his horse on a Texas trail is a cinematic icon,” Judge Fortunato Benavides wrote in Friday’s ruling. “Not once in memory did the cowboy eat his horse.”

The ruling involves two of the nation’s three horse slaughtering plants – the Dallas Crown Inc. slaughter mill in Kaufman, and Beltex Corp. in Forth Worth. A third plant run by Cavel International Inc. in DeKalb, Ill. is not affected by the ruling. All three facilities are foreign-owned.

Mark Calabria, a lawyer for Dallas Crown, could not be reached for comment Saturday. Telephone messages left at the offices of Dallas Crown and Beltex were not immediately returned.

About 88,000 horses, mules and other equines were slaughtered in 2005, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Horse meat is not marketed as table fare in the United States, but the slaughter plants process hundreds of horses each week and ship the meat overseas, where horse flesh is considered a delicacy in Europe, Japan and other places.

While proponents such as the American Veterinary Medical Association say slaughter is a kind way to deal with old horses and a better alternative to abandonment, opponents including Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens and country music star Willie Nelson have argued that the killing of equines is un-American – and many young horses are killed as well.

A bill pending before Congress would shutter all three operations.

The Humane Society of the United States, which filed an amicus brief in the case, lauded the fact that those involved in the horse slaughter business in Texas can now face criminal prosecution.

“This is the most important court action ever on the issue of horse slaughter,” Wayne Pacelle, the society’s president and chief executive, said in a statement. “When this ruling is enforced, a single plant in Illinois will stand alone in conducting this grisly business.”


Wow…I never thought I’d see the day. What are your thoughts?



7 responses

21 01 2007

That is wonderful news. It’s just un-American to slaughter wild horses to satisfy foreign appetites. And I say that as someone who was born in France!

26 01 2007

I am elated that this breakthrough has happened for the horses. It also renews my faith in our judicial system to uphold the law. I sincerely hope that our Congress follows through and bans horse slaughter once and for all. Please contact your congressman/woman and ask them to co-sponsor HR 503 and S 311 to ban horse slaughter!

As a horse owner and lover, I can say that once the ban is in effect federally, I will sleep sounder knowing that my own horse won’t be stolen for slaughter!

Thanks for the news!!

26 01 2007

Hi Terri,

I can’t remember the source, but I read somewhere that when horse slaughter was banned in California, the rate of horse theft went down 34%.

2 02 2007
Joni Solis

Thank you for posting this news release.

There is a new website about unwanted horses and I have just posted their news release on my blog:

New Web Site,, Advocates ‘New View’ About Horses

26 03 2007

yep no more horse slaughter! no more horse slaughter in nsw please!

27 07 2007
mattie goodwin

if there is a ban to slaughter; can’t these unwanted horses be given to riding stables; camps horse schools or given to people that can’t afford the price of a horse; also ranchers probably would take a herd for free.

3 05 2008
mustangs wild at heart

so glad that they closed the horse slaughter. It;s terrible what they do to horses at the slaughter place

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