Nebraska Horse Processing Bill Advances

A measure intended to facilitate private sector horse processing plant development in Nebraska was approved by that state Senate's Agriculture Committee on Feb. 15.

The bill, LB 305, would establish a state inspection program for plants that process meat and poultry for human consumption. The program would operate under USDA State Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) Program requirements.

MPI programs operate in several states under a cooperative agreement with the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Under the agreement, participating states must enforce food safety requirements that meet or exceed those contained in the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act. Food products produced under the state inspections may not be distributed across state lines. Meat could be exported if plant operator can develop business ties with foreign markets, or if a foreign company is the developer.

The bill's sponsor State Sen. Tyson Larson said the measure would support existing plants that process grass-fed cattle, bison, elk, and ostrich. The measure would also invite horse processing plant developers to the state, he said.

The bill now moves on to the full Senate for consideration, said a spokesman for committee Chairman Tom Carlson.

Valerie Hinderlider, operator of the Break Heart Ranch horse rescue in Minden, Neb., opposes slaughter plant development in Nebraska.

"It would set a horrible precedent," Hinderlider said.

Elsewhere, HB 1072, a South Dakota measure that would have authorized a state-funded horse processing plant development feasibility study has died in that state's House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.

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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