State Slaughter Bills Pending

Legislators in several states are again considering bills that address the slaughter of horses for human consumption.

In Florida, lawmakers are reviewing a pair of bills that would make it felony to slaughter horses and sell their meat for human consumption in that state.

SB 1708 and HB 765 both prohibit the mutilation or killing of any horse and forbids the transport, distribution, sale, and purchase of horsemeat for human consumption. If enacted, violators could face mandatory minimum penalties of $3,500 in fines and one year in prison. Both bills are under committee review.

The proposed bills are in direct response to a series of horse poaching incidents in South Florida during the past year, said HB 765 sponsor Rep. Luis Garcia. The butchered remains of at least 21 horses have been found in Miami-Dade and Broward counties since last January (read more).

Meanwhile, Illinois Rep. Jim Sacia has introduced a measure designed to reestablish horse processing in that state.

HB 4812 amends the Illinois Horse Meat Act to repeal a provision that prohibits the slaughter of horses for human consumption. It also expands the state's Animals Intended for Food Act to include horses, and requires horse processors to collect a $25 fee per horse to fund equine rescue assistance grants to qualified equine rescue groups.

The measure is nearly identical to a failed bill Sacia sponsored last year.

In South Dakota, SB 151, a proposal to fund a horse processing plant feasibility study, died in committee. However, lawmakers there did approve HCR 1003, a resolution instructing the state's Congressional delegation to oppose proposed national legislation forbidding the transport of horses to slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico.

Similar resolutions also pending in Idaho and Oklahoma.

The bills represent legislators' latest attempts to address horse slaughter issues in their states.

Last year Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming lawmakers passed resolutions instructing their Congressional delegations to oppose federal horse transport legislation. In April, Montana legislators passed HB 418, facilitating privately-owned horse processing plant development in that state.

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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