Shipping of Horse Meat Out Of State Is Prohibited By Law
The U.S. Department of Agriculture seem to be holding its ground in not allowing the export of processed horse meat for human consumption. This is despite the efforts of several states, which includes Nebraska, in seeking a legal route to reopen horse processing plants.
USDA spokesman Neil Gaffney said, “There is no possibility under the current law for a state-inspected meat plant to ship any meat, interstate or internationally, for human consumption.”
Sen. Tyson Larson of O’Neill, the sponsor of the Nebraska bill, LB305, and the state Legislature’s Agriculture Committee Chairman, Tom Carlson of Holdrege, are not buying it.
Larson said he would like to see the section of the federal law or the Farm Bill of 2008 that specifically prohibits state-inspected horse meat from leaving the state.
“From everything I’ve seen, I would have to disagree (with the USDA),” said Larson. He also mentioned that he will continue to explore the bill’s possibilities. “I’m not overly worried at this time,” he further said.
Two weeks ago, LB305 advanced from the Agriculture Committee following a 7-1 vote. Larson has stated that the 2008 Farm Bill gave more authority to states to inspect meat, as well as poultry, and allow the already inspected meat to enter interstate commerce.
The federal Food Safety and Inspection Service have stated that federal law bars the slaughter of horses by prohibiting inspection of the death process by federal agents.
The inspection service also observed that since the processing plants operating under the interstate shipment program created by the 2008 Farm Bill are governed by federal regulations, this prohibition will also apply.