Horse slaughter approved in N.M.
A federal judge on Friday cleared the way for horse slaughterhouses to resume operating in the United States as early as next week. U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo in Albuquerque, N.M., threw out a lawsuit by the Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection groups that alleged the Department of Agriculture failed to conduct proper environmental studies when it issued permits to Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, N.M., and an Iowa company to slaughter horses for human consumption. The decision ends, for now, a two-year battle by Valley Meat to open its slaughterhouse. The Iowa company has abandoned its plan to process horses. The Humane Society, joined by the state of New Mexico, appealed Friday's decision. In 2006, slaughter opponents won congressional approval of a measure cutting off funding for horse meat inspections, effectively banning horse slaughter. In 2011, the money was restored.
Deadly bat fungus 'isn't going away'
University of Illinois researchers say that an infectious and lethal fungus that has killed an estimated 6 million bats in North America can persist indefinitely in caves whether there are bats in them or not. The fungus responsible for white-nose syndrome thrives on all the carbon and nitrogen sources found in caves — twigs, dead spiders and fish, guano, other fungi — making it a permanent menace, according to a study by mycologist Andrew Miller and graduate student Daniel Raudabaugh published in October in the online journal PLOS ONE. "A hibernating bat is a sort of prime rib for this fungi — but the rest of the cave is its salad bar," Miller told the Los Angeles Times. "The only hope is that bats will develop some sort of immunity, because the fungus isn't going away." Since it was detected in New York state in 2006, the fungus has swept across 22 states as far west as Oklahoma. Times wires