A FEDERAL court has issued a temporary restraining order to halt U.S. Department of Agriculture inspections of horse slaughter plants, which effectively prevents any plant from opening on U.S. soil.
Earlier this summer, USDA had given the green light to slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Iowa.
Front Range Equine Rescue, The Humane Society of the United States and other animal rights groups filed suit against USDA last month, challenging the agency's failure to conduct the required environmental review prior to placing inspectors in horse slaughter plants.
The injunction will remain in place for 30 days, at which time the court will decide whether to extend the order.
U.S. Magistrate Robert Scott ordered animal rights groups to post a bond of nearly $500,000 as they continue their legal fight. Attorneys for the plants argued that the delay could cost them more than $1.5 million in lost revenues in just one month.
The magistrate determined that the bond would cover the companies' costs and lost profits for the next 30 days should the animal rights groups lose the case. Within that time, another hearing is planned in federal court to determine the fate of the temporary ban.