Judge Blocks Opening Of Sigourney Horse Slaughter Facility

By Mark Carlson, Reporter

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By Aaron Hepker

SIGOURNEY, Iowa - A federal judge temporarily blocked the opening of a Sigourney horse slaughter facility late Friday afternoon. Another hearing has been scheduled for next week. Various animal rights groups filed a lawsuit against the Department of Agriculture last month. The groups say the department failed to conduct proper environmental studies before issuing the business a permit.

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There is now a law enforcement presence at a Sigourney horse slaughter facility, which could begin operations as early as Monday. A Keokuk County Sheriff's Deputy car was parked near the entrance to the Responsible Transportation LLC. building Friday afternoon.

A representative of the company said they have not received threats, but are aware of issues at a similar business in New Mexico. According to reports the owner of a New Mexico horse slaughter facility said his business was the target of an arson earlier this week.

A ruling is expected this afternoon in New Mexico, which could allow for horse slaughter operations to begin at both plants. Last month the federal government awarded the Sigourney operation a permit, which led to a lawsuit from various animal rights groups.

Keaton Walker, owner of Responsible Transportation Inc., is in New Mexico for the ruling, according to a company representative.

The Sigourney plant could be the first to resume horse slaughter operations since Congresses banned the practice in 2006.

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