New Jersey Bans Horse Processing Plant Development

New Jersey became the latest state to ban horse processing plant development on Sept. 21 when Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation prohibiting the processing and sale of horsemeat for human consumption in that state. Similar state bans are in place elsewhere including California, Texas, Oklahoma, and Illinois.

Horse processing has not taken place in the U.S. since 2007 when a court decision coupled with Congressional defunding of USDA inspections for horsemeat resulted in the closure of domestic horse processing plants. Domestic processing plant development became possible last year when a federal budget bill restored USDA horsemeat inspections funding. In response, New Jersey lawmakers passed legislation earlier this year amending New Jersey's animal cruelty code to forbid anyone from knowingly slaughtering a horse, transporting a horse to slaughter, or selling horsemeat for human consumption. Under the legislation, violators would be charged with a disorderly persons offense and could face fines of between $500 and $1,000 for each horse slaughtered or each carcass or meat product sold. On Sept. 21, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed the bill into law.

Christie said the law does more than prevent horse processing in that state.

"It also ensures that our highways will not be used to transport horses to slaughter in other states which have not enacted a similar ban on the practice," he said.

Horse processing proponent Sue Wallis was not available for comment on the New Jersey ban.

Jo Deibel, president and founder of Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue in Glenville, Penn., said legislation is key to preventing horse processing in the United States.

"We hope that more states will initiate and follow through on similar measures to help our equines remain safe from the horrors of slaughter," said Deibel.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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