web counter Media Lies: They shoot horses, don't they?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

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They shoot horses, don't they?

A big legal battle is brewing in Kaufman, TX over a horse rendering plant. The mayor thinks it's "a stigma" on the town.
The stable-to-table transaction leaves little room for middle ground in the town of 6,600 southeast of Dallas, where the plant has generated controversy since it began processing horses in the 1980s. Many residents accept the plant, which began as a cattle slaughter operation in the 1950s and employs about 50 people, a significant number in such a small town. Others want it closed.

Kaufman Mayor Paula Bacon falls into the second category, calling Dallas Crown "a stigma in our little town."

Responds Kaufman attorney Mark Calabria, who represents the plant: "Dallas Crown has been in business here for a long time. It's a good corporate citizen. We feel the mayor has unfairly singled us out."
This is a classic battle between activists who push idealism and pratical people who see the benefits of a 50 employee business in a town of about 6,000 people.

Now the Federal courts are involved, state's rights are at stake and powerful forces are lining up against the plant.
A little-known Texas statute dating to 1949 prohibits the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The law gained new prominence in August 2002 when its legality was affirmed by John Cornyn, the attorney general at the time. Opponents of the slaughterhouses hoped to use the law to shut down the two plants.

Soon after, Dallas Crown and Beltex received a temporary injunction in U.S. District Court to stay in business.

Mr. Linebarger argues that Texas doesn't have jurisdiction over interstate and international commerce, which are federal issues. Besides, he says, the state taxes and regulates the horse slaughter industry.
Seems a bit hypocritical for Texas to say that you can't slaughter horses, but if you do, you owe us taxes. Politicians, I'm sure, don't see the irony — only the revenue source. Sort of like cigarette taxes.