Johanns Claims Legal Issue Pressed Decision
Ag chief explains horse slaughter stanceBY ALLEN PUSEY
The Dallas Morning News
WASHINGTON - Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns denied Tuesday that his department tried to derail efforts to curb the slaughter of horses for meat. He said his department has simply been trying to deal with a legal quandary Congress created...
The action affected all three U.S. horse meat plants: Dallas Crown in Kaufman, Texas, Beltex Corp. in Fort Worth, Texas, and Cavel International in DeKalb, Ill.
Industry critics had hoped the move would shut down the $41 million-a-year industry that exports horse meat to Europe, Japan and Mexico. Instead, the Agriculture Department agreed to let the industry pay to continue the inspections...
'On one hand, the legal mandate wasn't removed. On the other hand, the money was,'Johanns said.
...Even so, the department will have to defend its reasoning in court. The Humane Society and other animal-rights groups filed suit Tuesday in federal court in Washington to block the new fee-based system.
The suit charges that the department ignored Congress' intent, which it says was to end the slaughter of horses for human consumption and bypassed rule-making procedures to make an 'end-run' around last year's legislation..."