Update April 15, 2011: L.B. 305 was amended to provide funds for the study of the feasibility and legality of a state meat inspection program. As such, the bill passed the unicameral legislature.
Original report: Nebraska state Sen. Tyson Larson was a speaker at the discredited "Summit of the Horse" held earlier in Jan., 2011 at a Las Vegas casino by Wy. state Rep. Sue Wallis, who is under investigation for possible ethics violations and fraud.
The ostensible purpose of the "summit" was to promote animal cruelty, specifically the return of commercial horse slaughter to the U.S. Larson has taken what he hopes is the next step: He has introduced a bill in the NE legislature, LB 305, which would create a state meat inspection program that theoretically would comply with the Federal Meat Inspection Act, 21 U.S.C. 601 et seq., and the Poultry Products Inspection Act, 21 U.S.C. 451 et seq.
The idea is that if the federal US Dept. of Agriculture – and the federal courts – accept the cooperative state inspection program in lieu of federal inspection, it would then be legal in Nebraska to slaughter horses commercially for human consumption. Currently, because federal ante-mortem inspections required by the FMIA have been de-funded for horses, commercial horse slaughter for human consumption is not legal in the U.S. But if state inspectors can legally perform the required inspections, then horses could be slaughtered for human consumption.
No word on the total cost to the state of assuming responsibility for meeting federal meat inspection requirements. But Larson has indicated in his bill that at least to start $100,000 should be appropriated for the inspections.
Pro-horse slaughter MO state Rep. Jim Viebrock tried a similar tactic last year, but the bill failed. Indeed, in 2009 and 2010 pro-horse slaughter proponents have introduced a number of bills and resolutions that were intended to promote the return of horse slaughter to the U.S. 2010, in particular, was not a good year for horse slaughter proponents. Larson touts horse slaughter facilities as important to the state’s economic development. He may want to read former Kaufman, Texas mayor Paula Bacon’s account of the economic and environmental devastation a horse slaughter house caused to her town.
Also, it is now well-established that American horses are simply unsafe for human consumption. Horses in the U.S. are not raised for human food and are typically given any number of drugs, steroids, de-wormers, and ointments, some of which have no or a very long withdrawal period, meaning humans would be in danger of consuming horsemeat filled with carcinogens and other such dangerous substances. Neither state nor federal ante-mortem inspectors can confirm any horse is safe to consume. American horses are generally not tracked, and there is no way to know the drugs, steroids or medication given to them. Horses in the U.S. may have several owners, and those that end up at slaughter are usually purchased at auctions or otherwise by kill buyers. These kill buyers probably know nothing about the horses’ veterinary or drug history.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
LB 305 has been assigned to the Agriculture Committee. Click on the names of committee members below for their contact information and politely urge them to vote NO on LB 305. You can also reach the committee:
Phone: (402) 471-2732
Address: Room 1022, State Capitol, Lincoln NE 68509
If you live in Nebraska, find your state senator here. Write (faxes or letters are best) or call and urge him or her to vote NO on LB 305.