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USDA, Nebraska lawmaker dispute legality of state horse processing plants

Some sort of showdown may be looming between USDA and Nebraska lawmakers seeking to establish horse meat processing operations in the state. According to USDA spokesman Neil Gaffney, “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. Ty Larson of O’Neill, a member of the Legislature’s Agriculture Committee, thinks Gaffney is wrong. He is chief sponsor of a bill (LB305) intended to allow the processing of horse meat. He believes states have authority to inspect such slaughterhouses. The bill is pending before the full Legislature but has not been scheduled for debate.

The dispute involves whether a horse slaughtering operation could function without federal inspection. Those inspections are no longer provided by USDA. In 2007 the nation’s last three horse processing plants in America were closed.



Meanwhile, Larson told the North Platte Telegraph that several communities have expressed interest in hosting a horse meat plant. And he said North Platte is well-located because it is on Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 30 and rail transportation.

“It is one of the logical choices because of its location,” Larson told the Telegraph. “But, it’s up to the community leaders and investors. I’m not going to say North Platte needs to have a plant. There are other places around the state that have expressed interest.”



Some sort of showdown may be looming between USDA and Nebraska lawmakers seeking to establish horse meat processing operations in the state. According to USDA spokesman Neil Gaffney, “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. Ty Larson of O’Neill, a member of the Legislature’s Agriculture Committee, thinks Gaffney is wrong. He is chief sponsor of a bill (LB305) intended to allow the processing of horse meat. He believes states have authority to inspect such slaughterhouses. The bill is pending before the full Legislature but has not been scheduled for debate.

The dispute involves whether a horse slaughtering operation could function without federal inspection. Those inspections are no longer provided by USDA. In 2007 the nation’s last three horse processing plants in America were closed.

Meanwhile, Larson told the North Platte Telegraph that several communities have expressed interest in hosting a horse meat plant. And he said North Platte is well-located because it is on Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 30 and rail transportation.

“It is one of the logical choices because of its location,” Larson told the Telegraph. “But, it’s up to the community leaders and investors. I’m not going to say North Platte needs to have a plant. There are other places around the state that have expressed interest.”


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