States Ask to Retain Control of Equine Transport, Slaughter

Lawmakers in two Western states have sponsored resolutions urging Congress to let state legislators make up their own minds about horse slaughter issues within their lines. Wyoming's House Joint Resolution (HJR 8) and Utah's House Joint Resolution (HJR 7) both argue the federal Conyers-Burton Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (HR 503) interferes with states' rights to pursue private sector development of horse slaughter processing plants.

Introduced in January, 2009, by U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich) and Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), HR 503 prohibits the transport, sale, delivery, or export of American horses for slaughter for human consumption. It also criminalizes the purchase, sale, delivery, or export of horsemeat intended for human consumption. The bill remains in committee.

"We can handle (these issues) as a state better than the feds can," said Utah State Rep. Bradley Winn, a sponsor of the resolution. "With this resolution, we're just telling our representatives in Washington how to vote."

Wyoming and Utah are among four states considering legislation promoting horse processing plant development. North Dakota legislators are seeking state funding for a plant development feasibility study, and a Montana bill would change state law to accommodate prospective processing plant investors. (Read more.)  

In 2007 state actions brought about the closure of processing plants in Texas and Illinois that were the only facilities in the United States processing horsemeat for human consumption. Currently, horses are shipped to facilities in Mexico and Canada for processing for human consumption in Europe and Asia.

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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