On Jan. 19, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled that slaughtering horses for human consumption is illegal in Texas, where two of the country's three horse processing facilities are located.
A three-judge panel overturned a lower court's ruling that a 1949 Texas law banning horse slaughter for human consumption was invalid because it had been repealed by a later statute and pre-empted by federal law. The law stood on its own merits and was still enforceable, the panel determined.
Commenting on the judges' ruling, David Broiles, the attorney representing the two Texas horse processing facilities—Dallas Crown Inc. and Beltex Corp.—said, "It's a very erroneous decision. They've made a serious error."
At press time in early January, Broiles was preparing an appeal asking that all 16 judges on the court review the decision. In the meantime, the facilities continue to process horses for pet food and meat for U.S. zoos but not to export for human consumption.