A federal judge is ruling in regard to the horse meat export businesses. The ruling means that "horse slaughter for human consumption could resume shortly under USDA inspection for the first time since 2006," reports Food Safety News.
Previously, the Humane Society of the U.S. and 15 other plaintiffs had filed a lawsuit that challenged the USDA's authority when it came to granting equine inspection services to businesses planning to pack horse meat for export. The judge ruled that the USDA is not required to conduct an Environmental impact Statement or Environmental Assessment in order to grant equine inspection services.
In layman's terms, this means that the USDA can't refuse inspection services just because an exporter wants to sell horse meat. Inspection is one of the major barriers for would-be horse meat slaughterhouses.
"Since the horse and animal welfare groups sued USDA four months ago, nationally known animal law attorney Bruce A. Wagman argued inspection decisions fell under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Policy Act (APA). But the federal court found these only apply to discretionary agency actions, not to those mandated by law."
Thanks to the judge's ruling, both Valley Meats and Rains Natural Meats, along with Iowa’s Responsible Transportation, have obtained grants of inspection from USDA, with the intention of processing horse meat.
Although horse meat is a source of protein for consumers in Asia and Europe, Americans remain strongly polarized on the issue of its human consumption.
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