Posted: 4/25/2003 6:44:00 PM ET

Bill allowing continuation of horse slaughter passes Texas House
A bill that would allow two foreign-owned companies in Texas to continue slaughtering horses for human consumption outside the United States passed the Texas House of Representatives 81-55 Wednesday and will now be considered by the 31-member Texas Senate.

If passed by the Senate, the bill, sponsored by Representative Betty Brown (R-District 4), would go into effect September 1.

The last two remaining horse slaughtering plants in the United States are Dallas Crown in Brownís home of Kaufman and Bel-Tex in Fort Worth.

Those two slaughterhouses have continued operations even though a 1949 Texas State Law states that the sale, possession or transfer of horse meat for human consumption is an illegal, criminal act.

That statute was re-enforced in an opinion solicited from then Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, now a United States Senator, on August. 7 last year.

But the Belgium and French companies operating the two slaughterhouses sought and received an injunction, which was granted earlier this week.

In the interim, Brown introduced a bill allowing horse slaughter in Texas as long as the meat is consumed outside the United States.

"The Attorney General has ruled that horse slaughtering is illegal, and for the House to try to de-criminalize it is offensive," said Skip Trimble, a 63-year-old lawyer and Thoroughbred owner who is on the legislative committee of the Texas Human Legislation Network. "Iím not taking issue with anybody elseís culture. Iím taking issue with our culture. We donít eat horses. If we do this, how are we going to stop people from killing dogs and cats and selling them to Korea and China? They eat dog meat and cat meat.

"What really appalls me is that people say slaughter is a humane treatment. This is simply untrue. The vast majority of these horses slaughtered are young horses, healthy horses."

Brownís bill is expected to be assigned to the Senateís Natural Resources Committee before reaching the Senate floor for a vote.óBill Heller