On November 1, 2013, the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Humane Society of the United States seeking to prevent horse slaughter inspections. HSUS alleged that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) failed to conduct proper environmental studies when it issued grants of inspection for federal meat inspection services to Valley Meat Co., Rains Natural Meat, and Responsible Transportation. The court stated that the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) Directive 6130.1 and drug residue program did not require the agency to prepare an environmental impact statement, an environmental assessment, or a categorical exclusion under NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act). The court further concluded that the issuing of a grant of inspection is a mandatory act not subject to NEPA review.
HSUS filed an immediate appeal with the Tenth Circuit. The Tenth Circuit issued an emergency injunction to prevent the USDA from performing inspections and halted the slaughter facilities from operating once more.
For more information, please see the full opinion issued by Judge Christina Armijo in the District Court of New Mexico.
Written by Sarah L. Doyle - Research Assistant
The Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center
November 11, 2013