Nebraska state senators advanced a bill that would allow for a state meat inspection program and possibly a horse slaughter and processing facility, and the chair of the state's Agriculture Committee slammed the Humane Society of the United States in the process. Sen. Tom Carlson called the group deceptive, unethical, overreaching, shameless and ruthless, reports the Lincoln Journal Star.

Sen. Tyson Larson of O'Neill, who introduced the bill (LB305), said a state meat and poultry inspection program is needed to provide better access to inspection for rural and small meat producers. It's an economic development issue, he said, adding that state inspectors are easier to work with than federal inspectors. State inspectors would be able to inspect all types of meat, including ostrich, bison, elk, goats, sheep, horses. They would mirror federal standards and be at least equal to federal inspection processes.

The horse-processing proposal is also important to state ranchers, he said, though a USDA spokesman said that under the current law, federal regulations would not allow for horse meat to be shipped across state lines.

"Horse processing would put money back in the ranchers' pockets by offering them another option" to dispose of horses that are no longer useful to owners, he said.

Sen. Carson, in his attack on the HSUS, made a distinction between that organization and state or local agencies with the term “humane society” in their name.

He said the majority of the money donated to the HSUS goes to political propaganda, which he labeled "dangerous political poison," and to executive salaries.

Carlson went on to say HSUS is largely responsible for USDA inspectors no longer inspecting horse processing facilities and for the subsequent closing of plants in Texas and Illinois. He estimated 100,000 horses are now abandoned each year in this country because of that, and horse refuges are "woefully inadequate" to meet the needs.

Horses must now be hauled to Mexico and Canada for slaughter and processing, he said.

"The result of this irresponsible behavior is the waste of a wonderful natural resource that could feed a lot of people in countries around the world," he said.

Source: Lincoln Journal Star