Elephants escape Shrine Circus in St. Louis and Damage Cars

I have spent considerable time building a list of negative incidents associated with circus elephants in the United States since 1800. Thanks to Google's newspaper archive, I'm discovering several more to add to what is already a large list.

Of course, sometimes the incidents happen in real time.

Three circus elephants got loose and damaged two cars in the parking lot of the Family Arena on Saturday afternoon before being corralled by trainers, according to the circus’ sponsor.

Dennis Kelley, president of the Moolah Shriners of Eastern Missouri, which has been sponsoring the Moolah Shrine Circus for decades, said the incident happened during a performance about 5 p.m. He said no people were in the parking lot when the elephants somehow escaped from the back of the arena in St. Charles. The elephants roamed an area of the parking lot where only circus and Shriners employees’ cars were parked.

Missouri Challenges California Egg Laws

caged henUpdate: On March 20th, the plaintiffs in one of the cases (Rocky Mountain Farmers Union et al v Corey et al) referenced in this work, has petitioned the Supreme Court to hear its appeal.


The intent was to finish my book on the Ringling Brothers animal welfare court cases by year end. After all, the cases have settled down into an analysis of legal fees, and long, silent periods reflecting discovery, with a trial date a year or two (or three) into the future. Publish now, incorporate an epilogue into the e-book when all is said and done, and I'll have managed to write about an ongoing legal case and still keep readers updated.

Then I found out Tom Rider died, and everything has changed.

TRO for all horse meat plants set to same date

horsesUpdate on Front Range Equine Rescue et al v. Vilsack et al:

Responding to a filing yesterday, Judge Armijo agreed to set the expiration date for the TRO for Rains Natural Meats to the same date as the other two plants: October 31, 2013. By that time, Judge Armijo will have a decision in the case.

Rains Natural Meats has asked the court to include it in the bond set by Magistrate Judge Scott. In the meantime, the USDA has filed a Supplemental Administrative Record covering Rains. I have issued a FOIA for the associated documents. I am particularly interested in reading the communications related to not needing a wastewater permit from the Missouri DNR.

You can see all of these documents at Docs at Burningbird.

Judge Agrees to TRO for Rains in Confusing Order

horseGood news, and confusing news.

Judge Armijo enjoined the USDA from providing inspectors for horse meat processing to Rains Natural Meats, which is good news. However, she did so in a rather baffling order.

Unlike the earlier Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) associated with Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation, the TRO related to Rains is given a termination date of Oct. 4, with the Magistrate Judge then determining whether to extend it beyond this date. The Judge extended the TRO for the other two plants until October 31, 2013, when she expects to have her decision in the case.

Emergency Motion to Stop Horse Slaughter in Missouri

We have confirmation that Rains Natural Meats was attempting to start up horse slaughter operations on Monday.

Bruce Wagman just filed an emergency motion to ensure that Rains Natural Meats is included in the Temporary Restraining Order issued by Judge Armijo. It's unfortunate that the TRO isn't against the USDA rather than the USDA in context with all these companies. The action really is against the USDA.

If you look at the attachment for the motion, you can see that Rains was demanding inspectors by the 23rd, and planned to start operation as soon as possible. He actually wanted inspectors today.

Will first horse meat plant open in Missouri September 23?

Running horseupdate

Looking through the Decision Document, given as an attachment to the court filing mentioned earlier, I found that the wastewater treatment plant that the USDA based its environmental review on is located in Gallatin, Tennessee, not Gallatin, Missouri.



Last Friday, the USDA filed a motion in the Front Range Equine Rescue et al v. Vilsack et al federal lawsuit to add Rains Natural Meats from Gallatin, Missouri, to the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). The reason given is that Rains has now met the guidelines for being given a inspection permit, and is demanding the presence of inspectors at the plant by Monday, Sept. 23.

From the court document:

Hearing in Horse Case is Expedited


My bad. The Judge did modify the TRO to adjust the wording on August 21. In addition, there will be no oral arguments in the case. Each side will file its motions, and the Judge will rule by October 31st.


The Judge has agreed to the motion for an expedited hearing based on the merits of the case in Front Range Equine Rescue et al v. Vilsack et al.

The schedule is as follows:

Horses in the Oven: The USDA is not the Enemy

horsesToday, Judge Armijo will hold a status conference with all the lawyers in the Front Range Equine Rescue et al v. Vilsack et al court case.

The USDA and defendant interveners have asked for an expedited hearing on the merits of the case, rather than go through the preliminary injunction process. The plaintiffs have agreed, but have also asked the Judge to modify her Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) so that it's impacting on the USDA only, and not the two meat processing plants who have been given a horse slaughter inspection permit. The groups have also asked for a bond reduction, as the bond amount is excessive for a NEPA action.

Horses on the Range...and in the Oven


The Judge has issued a temporary restraining order, preventing the plants from starting, until the case is more fully argued in court. The parties will meet again in court next week.

I'll have a follow up writing next week, on both the case and the underlying issue, as well as an updated court docket with new filings.


The lone cowboy riding his horse on a Texas trail is a cinematic icon. Not once in memory did the cowboy eat his horse, but film is an imperfect mirror for reality.

5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in The Humane Society of the United States vs. Johanns, Judge Fortunata Benavides

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