North Dakota bill calls for horse-slaughter feasibility study
North Dakota State Rep. Rod Froelich, a Democrat, and State Sen. Joe Miller, a Republican, are sponsoring a bill introduced in the state House that would authorize a $100,000 study by the state's Commerce Department to determine the feasibility of a privately owned horse slaughterhouse in the state.
The study would examine building costs, possible markets and any potential conflicts with federal regulations.
About 100,000 horses a year were slaughtered in the United States, with meat exported for human consumption in Europe and Asia, before the last three facilities - two in Texas and one in Illinois - were closed in 2007 through court action. Since then, many horses have been shipped to processing plants in Mexico and Canada.
National legislation to ban horse slaughter failed to pass both houses of Congress last year, but the new Congress is expected to take up the issue again this year, possibly including a ban on shipping horses across the borders for slaughter.
The two North Dakota legislators say their bill is aimed at finding a solution for the rising numbers of unwanted and neglected horses in their state and the costs associated with them, a problem reflected across the nation.