Bill on horse meat consumption takes the road less traveled

By Marianne Goodland, Colorado Politics »

A bill originally intended to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption passed narrowly out of a Colorado Senate panel after it was watered down to attempt to regulate the transportation of horses headed to slaughter.

Originally, Senate Bill 38 would prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption in Colorado. The last slaughterhouse for horses in the United States, in Texas, was shuttered in 2007. 

As introduced, the bill from Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis, D-Longmont, would establish the crime of equine slaughter. In addition, notice of the law would be posted at livestock auctions and with bills of sales.

Federal law already bans the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States.

It isn’t that equine slaughter for human consumption doesn’t happen anywhere. Horses are routinely exported to Mexico and Canada for slaughter and sale to Europe and Japan, where horsemeat is considered a delicacy. One estimate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture said 57,000 horses were transported from the United States to Mexico and Canada for consumption purposes in 2019. 

There have also been concerns that horses rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management in Colorado are being sold to those who send them off to slaughter in other countries.

An animal rights group identified a Colorado trader and “kill buyer who sells horses online,” saying when he doesn’t get the prices he wants, he ships them off to slaughter. Sixteen horses from a recent BLM roundup ended up at the person’s property last year, the group said.

Horse meat is not considered safe for human consumption states animal rights advocates, who point to disease and veterinary medicines that makes it dangerous and potentially carcinogenic.

The bill drew the support of animal rights activists and horse rescue organizations. 

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Tuesday’s Horse

Official Blog of The Fund for Horses

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