The Tennessee General Assembly will not ask Congress to permit the slaughter horses for meat. A resolution urging the federal government to allow the practice has been reluctantly abandoned by its sponsor.
State Senator Mike Faulk of Kingsport says the idea of killing horses is upsetting, but it addresses a problem with unwanted animals.
“Without there being horse processing plants, there has been a wholesale problem created with unwanted horses. They are being turned loose.”
Faulk says he won’t pursue a resolution to tell the U.S. Congress that Tennessee is in favor of such slaughterhouses. And he’ll stop work on a Senate bill to allow such facilities in the state. He credits – quote – “animal lovers” with bringing enough pressure to bear to stop his bills.
Leigh Ann McCollum, state director of the Humane Society of the United States, says the issue isn’t unwanted horses. Slaughterhouses are sending the meat to Europe as a high-end delicacy.
“The slaughterhouses don’t want old, skinny, trashy, sick horses. They want good, healthy, fat horses, because they get more money for the meat.”
McCollum says 162,000 Tennessee members of the Humane Society mobilized to fight the bills.
McCollum says the issue is emotional.
“This is a hot button issue for a lot of our advocates. Horses are not raised in the United States for human consumption. And this is a real issue, with taking animals that are part of our heritage and our history, who are not meant for human consumption, there’s no market in the United States, and shipping them overseas to become a delicacy for the French and the Dutch.”
But Senator Faulk says that same emotion doesn’t solve the problem.
“There aren’t sufficient animal welfare organizations to take care of unwanted horses. Fortunately we have some, but we don’t have nearly as many.”
Faulk says the animal right activists are still in the “gut-reaction’ phase.
Faulk took off notice a House Joint Resolution, 245 by Representative Frank Niceley, http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/default.aspx?BillNumber=HJR0245
The resolution had passed the House 65-15-7 earlier in May.
The bill to allow slaughterhouses is
HB 1428 Niceley/ SB 1898 Faulk
The bill is off notice in Senate Commerce Committee, and still theoretically alive in House Finance Committee. See House amendment 2
for the sponsor’s intentions for the bill.