N.J. Assembly Passes Bill Banning Horse Processing

A bill that would ban horse processing plant development in New Jersey cleared another hurdle last week when the full New Jersey State Assembly passed it.

Horse processing has not taken place in the U.S. since 2007 when a combination of legislation and court rulings forced the closure of remaining horse slaughter plants. Domestic horse processing again became possible in November when Congress passed a federal funding bill that did not contain language specifically denying the USDA funds for horse processing plant inspections.

Since then processing plants have been proposed, but not yet established, in Missouri, Oregon, and New Mexico. Meanwhile, horse processing development is prohibited by state law in Texas, California, Illinois, and Texas.

Co-sponsored by New Jersey Assemblymen Ron Dancer (R) and Connie Wagner (D), A 2023 would amend that state's current animal cruelty statues to prohibit anyone from knowingly slaughtering a horse or selling horsemeat for human consumption. Under the proposed bipartisan bill, violators would be charged with a disorderly persons offense, and could face fines of between $500 and $1,000 for each horse slaughtered, or each carcass or meat product sold.

On May 14, members of the Assembly's Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee passed A 2023 by a unanimous vote.

On May 24, the full Assembly approved the measure.

A twin bill, S 1976 sponsored by Sen. Raymond Lesniak, now moves to the New Jersey State Senate for consideration.

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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