Local horse slaughterhouse says Iowa decision won't alter plans

Posted at: 08/13/2013 5:14 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The operators of an Iowa slaughterhouse are dropping plans to open a horse slaughterhouse.

They say it's because of a lawsuit filed against the plant and a plant in New Mexico.

The Iowa plant simply can't afford the legal bills and operating with no business, but the New Mexico plant is staying the course.

Two weeks ago, a federal judge ordered that the two plants could not open for at least another 30 days.

The animal activist groups opposing the horse slaughter plants were forced to pay $500,000 to the horsemeat packing plants for the delay, but in the end the money couldn't hold up the Iowa plant.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 spoke to management at the New Mexico plant by phone Tuesday.

"We've got to keep moving forward.  We have to," Rick de Los Santos said. "There's not enough cattle in this part of the country for us to switch over to cattle.  Our biggest hope was to be able to do this because of the availability of the livestock.  If we can't do that I don't know what we'll do if we can't slaughter horses."

The federal judge who ordered the delay said there are still unknown environmental effects on the communities the horse slaughtering plants would be in.

For the Iowa plant, they're planning on returning to beef for now.