A federal magistrate on Thursday ordered animal rights groups that won a temporary ban on domestic horse slaughter to post bail of nearly $500,000 as they continue their legal fight.

U.S. Magistrate Robert Scott settled on the amount after hearing from attorneys who represent two companies that had planned to begin operations this week at slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Iowa.

The Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue and others won a temporary restraining order last week that blocked Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa, and Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, N.M., from opening their plants.

The bond covers the companies' costs and lost profits for the next 30 days should the animal rights groups lose the case. Within that time, another hearing is planned in federal court to determine the fate of the temporary ban.

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