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Judge Orders Horse Plant Opponents to Post Bond

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A federal magistrate has ordered the animal rights groups that won a temporary ban on domestic horse slaughter to post a bond of nearly $500,000 as their legal challenge continues.

U.S. Magistrate Robert Scott settled on the amount after hearing Thursday from attorneys who represent two companies that had planned to begin operations this week at horse slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Sigourney, Iowa.

The Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue and others won a temporary restraining order last week that blocked Valley Meat Co. and Responsible Transport from opening their plants.

The bond will cover the companies' losses for the next 30 days should the animal rights groups lose the case. The groups are challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision to allow the plants to open.