Nebraska has joined the list of states making legislature changes on the issue of horse slaughter. A proposed bill introduced by Nebraska state senator Tyson Larson would require the state’s Department of Agriculture put a meat inspection program into effect by 2013.
Larson, whose family owns a ranch and raises roping horses in O’Neill, Nev., argued that the state’s 2007 closing of meat processing plants caused the equine surplus problem, which he links to abandonment and abuse.
The bill, named LB305, also aims to nurture economic growth in rural Nebraska areas. “A state meat inspection program will stimulate economic development opportunities for many rural areas and encourage smaller processors to expand their operations, create jobs and grow our rural and agricultural economy. Additionally, state inspection will allow these processors to meet the demand for horse processing, responding to the federal government’s disallowing funding for federal inspection of horse processing,” Larson stated on his website.
As a companion to LB305, Larson also introduced LB306, or the Livestock Animal Welfare Act. This proposed piece of legislation prohibits humane societies, welfare groups or rescue operations to deny any horses delivered to their organizations, upon penalty of a Class IV misdemeanor.
The senator spoke directly to the Humane Society of the United States and animal activists group, expecting resistance. “Since HSUS and PETA and these organizations are so much against horse processing, I’m offering them an alternative,” said Larson. “If they don’t want us to process the horses or these animals, I think they should be the first ones lining up to take these animals.”