Nebraska Horse Processing Legislation Moving Forward

A Nebraska measure that could invite private-sector horse processing into that state drew closer to becoming law on March 30 when lawmakers voted it out of the first round of floor debates required to pass the legislation.

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

MPI programs operate in several states under cooperative agreement with the USDA 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.

LB 305 sponsor State Sen. Tyson Larson said the bill 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.

"It's economic development for rural Nebraska," Larson said.

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

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

Under rules of Nebraska's unicameral legislature, a bill must pass through two rounds of floor debate and a final reading before it is passed on to the governor to be signed into law.

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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