Dallas Morning News
Opponents to horse slaughtering bill rally outside Capitol


The Associated Press

AUSTIN A North Texas landowner who lives near a horse slaughtering plant was part of a group gathered outside the Texas Capitol on Friday to oppose legislation that would make it legal to slaughter horses in Texas for human consumption outside the United States.

Kaufman resident Mary Nash, who said she can smell the stench of dead horses from her backyard, urged the group of protesters to contact state senators in opposition to the measure.

"We don't need to be the only state that allows live horse slaughter," Nash said. "No Texan should tolerate the smell of 150 dying horses."

The group shouted in protest of the measure. One protester carried a sign that read, "Just say neigh to horse slaughter."

Currently, no law prohibits horse slaughtering, but it is illegal to sell horsemeat for human consumption.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Betty Brown, R-Terrell, was approved last month by the Texas House of Representatives by a vote of 83-53. The bill, which would make it legal for Texas' two horse slaughterhouses to export horse meat overseas for human consumption, is scheduled for consideration by a Senate committee before going to the Senate for a full vote.

Supporters of the measure say it would prevent horse owners from taking horses out of the country for less-humane, unregulated slaughtering.

Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Houston, who breeds horses, called the bill repugnant, but voted in favor of the measure in an effort to prevent inhumane horse slaughtering.

The bill also requires the operator of a livestock market to post a sign in a prominent place acknowledging that the animal may go to slaughter.

The two slaughterhouses in Texas are operated in Tarrant and Kaufman counties.

A 2002 opinion by then-Attorney General John Cornyn prohibits the processing, possession, sale, or transportation of horsemeat for sale for human consumption, even if the human consumption occurs in foreign countries.

(ap.state.online.tx 0930 05/09/2003 15:14:35 )