Florida Anti-Slaughter Bill Advances

A Florida bill to that would make it a felony to slaughter horses and sell their meat for human consumption drew closer to passage on April 21 when that state's House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the measure.

HB 765 prohibits the mutilation or killing of any horse and forbids the transport, distribution, sale, and purchase of horsemeat for human consumption. If the bill is enacted, violators could face felony mandatory minimum penalties of $3,500 in fines and one year in prison, and maximum penalties of five years in prison and $5,000 in fines for each offense.

The bill now moves to the senate, where a twin bill, SB 1708, remains pending. Both bills were introduced in direct response to a series of horse poaching incidents in South Florida during the past year, said HB 765 sponsor Rep. Luis Garcia.

Since January 2009, the butchered remains of at least 22 horses have been found in Miami-Dade County. Two horses were also discovered dead and mutilated in a field in nearby Miramar, Fla., in May.

In October, Miami-Dade police arrested two Miami men for allegedly selling horsemeat to an undercover police officer. Two others were arrested in connection with some of the killings in September. Investigations into the incidents continue.

A $20,000 reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the horse poaching incidents still under investigation. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 305/471-8477 or 866/471-8477.

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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