A federal judge ruled Friday that an Iowa company can't just start slaughtering horses like it's 2011 and "Luck" is back in production, because that dead horse joke hasn't been beaten enough, amirite?

Responsible Transportation was gearing up to begin the slaughter on Monday but has been temporarily restrained from "processing" the horses until more hearings on whether an "adequate environmental review" (read: stalling process) have been held. The Humane Society and other groups filed suit to prevent the operation of slaughterhouses in Iowa and New Mexico, claiming the plants' permits were invalid.

Locals are opposed to the company's plans too, ostensibly hoping that Iowa will be remembered as the place where only Howard Dean's career went to die. According to an ASPCA poll, 71 percent of Iowans oppose slaughter, and three in four Iowans oppose an Iowan slaughterhouse.

Horse slaughter was banned in 2006, but Congress lifted the ban in 2011. According to USA Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture opposes horse slaughter, the agency said it was obligated to issue permits after being sued by Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, N.M.

"The administration has requested Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter," according to a USDA statement. "Until Congress acts, the department must continue to comply with current law."

Proponents of horse slaughtering say that it is a more humane solution for horse overpopulation in the US.

Responsible Transportation would process the dead horses for zoo animals and human consumption abroad. USA Today reports that the company plans to slaughter about 40 "low-value horses" bought at auction or unwanted horses donated by owners per day.

[USA Today, image via Shutterstock]