Groups seek restraining order against horse slaughter
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. Federal officials failed to consider environmental hazards when it issued permits to two companies set to begin the first legal horse slaughters in the U.S. since 2006, attorneys for groups opposing slaughter said Friday. The Department of Agriculture issued the permits in June, and a New Mexico company and an Iowa company plan to open their slaughterhouses on Monday. Animal welfare groups have sought a restraining order. Bruce Wagman, a lawyer for Colorado-based Front Range Equine Rescue, told a federal judge in Albuquerque on Friday that no environmental impact study has ever been done to examine the effects of horse slaughter. Horses are given more than 100 drugs not approved for other feed animals, he said. But lawyers for the federal government said there is no proof that any hazardous material would harm the environment if horse slaughter resumed. Congress effectively banned horse slaughter in 2006. But the ban was lifted in 2011, renewing an emotional and divisive national debate over whether horses are livestock or domestic companions, and how best to deal with untold thousands of unwanted, abandoned and often starving horses. Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, N.M., has been at the forefront of the fight, pushing for more than a year for permission to convert its cattle plant into a horse slaughterhouse. Meat from the slaughterhouses would be exported for human consumption and for use as zoo and other animal food. After more than a year of delays and a lawsuit by Valley Meat, the Department of Agriculture gave the company the go-ahead in June. USDA officials said they were legally obligated to issue the permits, even though the Obama administration opposes horse slaughter and is seeking to reinstate the congressional ban.
Stocks finish up after early loss
NEW YORK The stock market closed slightly higher after erasing an early loss Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 30 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 15,658 Friday. It had been down as much as 69. The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose three points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,709. The Nasdaq rose 13, or 0.4 percent, to 3,689. The Dow closed out its sixth straight weekly gain. A government report that hiring slowed last month stalled the market in early trading Friday, but indexes recovered throughout the day.
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Bill lets wounded, disabled military through airport security faster
WASHINGTON Congress is sending President Barack Obama a bill that would make it easier for wounded or disabled members of the military and veterans to get through airport security screening. The House approved the measure by voice vote Friday, a day after the Senate. It would require the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs to work with the Transportation Security Administration on a new protocol. Democratic congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a veteran of the Iraq war, sponsored the bill. Proponents in the Senate were Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. Gabbard says that she pushed for the bill after hearing stories from service members who had to remove clothes or prosthetics in front of other passengers, and then struggled through screening machines.
The Associated Press contributed.