The Texas plants, which kill horses and ship their meat overseas, now will likely face efforts to shut them down after the appeals court's recent decision, the Dallas Morning News reported.
The plants' attorney, David Broiles, vowed he would fight any such action by petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court or asking the full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to hear the case. Unlike the appeals court panel, neither court is required to hear the case under federal law.
But Friday's decision against the two Texas plants, Beltex Corp. of Fort Worth and Dallas Crown of Kaufman, offered hope to those fighting for a national ban on horse meat, the Morning News said.
"I think this is a dead end for them," Humane Society of the United States President Wayne Pacelle said. "They should accept the decision and shut down the plants, which have been on borrowed time because of the federal legislative effort on the subject."
The newspaper said the proposed legislation for such a nationwide ban has previously been tied up in the U.S. Congress.