Thoroughbred Times

Posted: 6/5/2003 9:09:00 PM ET
Texas slaughter amendment to meet demise
Two Belgian-owned slaughterhouses in Dallas and Fort Worth might be on their last legs after a state senator indicated he would remove an amendment attached to an unrelated bill that would allow human consumption of horse meat.

Senator Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) said he would pull the amendment tacked on his Senate Bill 1413 on the House floor by Representative Rick Hardcastle (R-Vernon), effectively killing the legislation.

Supporters of the amendment say they need the companies to remain in operation because they provide a humane manner or disposing unwanted horses. Opponents and animals rights groups say the bill would open the door to human consumption of horse meat.

"I donít want to consume horse meat. I just want my bill to go through," Deuell told the Houston Chronicle.

House Bill 1324, sponsored by Representative Betty Brown (R-Terrell), clarified current state law to allow the two companies that have produced horse meat for human consumption to stay in business, and passed the Texas House, then died in the Senate, but resurfaced as an amendment to an agricultural bill.

For 53 years, Texas law has prohibited slaughtering horse for human consumption but was not enforced until last year. When the stateís former attorney general ordered local district attorneys to press charges against the slaughterhouse companies, Dallas Crown Packaging of Kaufman, Texas, and Beltex Corp. of Fort Worth, and filed suit, the companies obtained a temporary injunction to continue operating.

When the legislation is dead, the plants could close if the courts do not rule in their favor.

In a statewide poll on horse slaughter conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc., 89% of Texans said they were unaware that horses were slaughtered in the state, and 77% said they are against changing the law to allow slaughter for human consumption, KTSM-TV of El Paso reports.