Horse Slaughter

Since 1949, Texas law has prohibited the sale, possession and transportation of horse meat for human consumption, yet for decades this law was ignored as two foreign-owned plants slaughtered thousands of Texas horses annually for horse meat consumption overseas.  The plants operated in Fort Worth (Beltex) and Kaufman (Dallas Crown). 

A THLN attorney investigating ways to get horse slaughter banned in the state discovered that it was already illegal via the previously mentioned law.  At THLN's request, Representative Tony Goolsby (R-Dallas) asked Texas Attorney General John Cornyn to issue an opinion as to the enforceability of the 1949 statute.  Cornyn's opinion (August 2002) confirmed that the 1949 law which bans live horse slaughter for human consumption is applicable and enforceable.

Following Cornyn's opinion, Beltex and Dallas Crown sued in federal court to block prosecutors from closing down their plants.  A 2007 federal appellate court eventually upheld the original 1949 statute, and the plants were forced to close.

HB 2476 to legalize horse slaughter was introduced the same year (2007), but died in committee. An amendment that would have effectively done the same was tacked on to a Senate bill without clarification, but was removed by House members. 

THLN continues to monitor legislation throughout each session to guard against any new attempts to legalize horse slaughter for human consumption.