Texas Humane Legislation Network News Advisory
For immediate release:  June 2, 2003
For more information contact: Susan Hendrix (512) 413-1602 or (512) 476-3377
Horse Slaughter for Human Consumption
Still Illegal in Texas
Senate Votes to Kill Amendment, Not Horses
Austin, TX -- Facing intense pressure from pro-horse slaughter forces, Senator Robert Deuell (R-Greenville) stood his ground to keep his Senate bill free of an unwelcome House amendment to legalize horse slaughter for human consumption.  The controversial amendment was hurriedly tacked on in the House as a final attempt to decriminalize the activities of two foreign-owned horse slaughter plants operating in Texas. 
Legislation to protect these plants, the only two remaining in the United States, was originally introduced in the House and sponsored by Rep. Betty Brown (R-Terrell) as House Bill 1324.  The bill was approved by the House, but efforts to get the bill to the Senate floor for a vote failed when Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) used a procedural move to hold the bill in committee. 
In response to Senator Ellis' efforts to stop the bill in the Senate, the pro-slaughter forces in the House pulled a last-minute maneuver last week to resurrect horse slaughter legislation by adding an amendment to Senator Deuell's omnibus agriculture bill, Senate Bill 1413, an otherwise popular piece of legislation that faced little opposition in either the House or the Senate. 
Senator Deuell stripped the amendment from his bill in a conference committee and was supported by three of four other senators on the committee including Senators Barrientos, Jackson and Madla. 
A statewide voter survey concerning horse slaughter was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research from May 4 through May 6, 2003.  The survey revealed that 77 percent of  Texans are opposed to changing state law to legalize the slaughter of horses for human consumption.
If the amendment had passed into law, not only would the two foreign-owned slaughter plants be able to slaughter American horses and sell their meat to foreign countries, but they could also sell horse meat in Texas and the rest of the United States.  This amendment would have overturned a 2002 Texas Attorney General's ruling that the two horse slaughter plants, French-owned Dallas Crown in Kaufman and Belgian-owned Beltex in Fort Worth, are operating illegally and must shut down or face prosecution. 
With a strong message of opposition to horse slaughter coming from Texas, the focus now turns to passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (HR 857), currently before the U.S. Congress.  This Act will prohibit the slaughter of horses in the U.S. and ensure that American horses are not shipped even greater distances to Canada, Mexico or Japan to be slaughtered for human consumption.