Horse slaughter bill advances over singer's objections

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at 2:24pm

Over the objections of Willie Nelson, a proposal is advancing in the state legislature to legalize the slaughter of horses for meat in Tennessee.

The singer’s daughter Amy and granddaughter Raelyn, both of whom live in Tennessee, testified Wednesday before a House subcommittee hearing the legislation. The subcommittee voted 7-6 to send the bill to the full House Finance Committee. 

Nelson is backing federal legislation called the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act to outlaw horse slaughter in this country. While that bill is pending in Congress, horse slaughterhouses haven’t been allowed to
operate in the United States.

Raelyn Nelson read a statement from her grandfather on the state legislation. He said he opposes slaughterhouses because of their cruel treatment of horses.

“We ride horses in America. We don’t eat them. My friends and I have supported efforts to shut down foreign-owned horse slaughterhouses in the United States and we continue to … Showing compassion? Trying to end equine abuse? Yes, that’s the right thing to do, and I will continue to keep fighting for America’s horses.”

But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, insisted slaughterhouses would prevent overpopulation of horses and their starvation from lack of feed.

“In case the federal government releases its restrictions on the processing of horses, this would maintain that the Department of Agriculture could set humane standards to handle these horses,” Niceley said. “Horses are being treated more inhumanely now than at any time in the history of the world. This is an effort to stop the inhumane treatment and further the humane treatment of our horses.” 

10 Comments on this post:

By: nashvillecortes on 4/7/10 at 1:05

Good for you Willie !! I wish all stars would take a stance on meaningful things like this and shut up about politics..

By: blahblahblah on 4/7/10 at 1:09

No, this is not the answer! Killing the horses is so sick! What we need to do is get these yahoos to enforce tougher laws to punish people who are abusive and abandon the animals.
Go Willie!

By: gruntz on 4/7/10 at 1:11

"We ride horses in America, we don't eat them". We ride horses, we milk cows, we raise pigs as pets, we raise (fill in the blank) as pets. I guess we should stop eating all animals if go by that logic. LOL.

By: gruntz on 4/7/10 at 1:13

Please explain why it is OK to kill cows to eat them but it isn't OK to kill horses to eat them. Really? How are horses better than cows? I really want to know.

By: miscueiam@hotma... on 4/8/10 at 6:10


Horses, cows and humans are all mammals. I think it must be that
horses are more companions, as are humans, than cows. It is a
very personal connection with humans and horses that protects
them from this sort of activity. Horses are icons and friends. IT
has to do with culture also. In our culture we don't eat horses, cats
dogs or humans. I think it must have something to do with beauty,
loyalty and appreciation.

If you don't get it you just don't get it. Go eat a snake.

By: Alphadog7 on 4/8/10 at 7:26

Tennessee is still backwards in so many ways. Smoking pre-emption laws, pass the bottle law, and this. Who elects this guys?!

By: BarbaraH. on 4/8/10 at 9:52

Mr. Nicely sure is not nice. He lacks compassion as well as facts concerning horse slaughter. Slaughter is not euthanasia --look the words up. Slaughter is in no way humane and results in horses suffering horribaly. 92% according to USDA stats that go to slaughter are young and healthy. The economy and over-breeding are the reasons for the drop in horse prices. Instead of greedy owners sending them to slaughter for the last penny horses can be donated to 4-H groups, police, rescues or humanely euthanized by a vet. References for good homes must be checked out since kill buyers will sometimes obtain horses under false pretences.
Horses are stolen and sent to slaughter also.
Horse meat is contamined with many drugs and dewormers that are not supposed to be used for animals that are to be consumed. Only wealthy people can afford horse meat at $20 per pound or more.
USDA classifies horses as companion animals . They are not raised to be eaten.
This revolting business has no place in civilized society .

By: BarbaraH. on 4/8/10 at 9:55

By the way horses are not the only farm animals being starved and abused. Here in KY as a member of the Marion Co. Humane Society I have investigated as many cases of cattle being starved as horses. Stricter and stronger cruety laws need to be passed and enforced in all states.

By: shef2 on 4/8/10 at 11:08

This is an OMG moment. How can ANYONE think this legislation is O.K.-? It is NOT O.K.
It is Brutal, and it is WRONG. Councilwoman J. Sontany has been trying (for a long time, now) to make these crimes "more punishable" (i.e. Felony) and stronger fines for Animal ABUSE...
And Representative Frank Niceley (Republican from Strawberry Plains) thinks "Slaughter Houses" are the "most viable" solutions-? AND is actually putting THIS through Legislation-??? (Obviously NOT from "Strawberry Fields"...)
What the hell is WRONG w/ these people-???

By: Teney on 4/9/10 at 11:28

Rep. Nicely is definately not a friend to farm animals. Last week a bill was defeated that whould charge anyone with a felony for the abuse of farm animals (horses included).The state agricultural comittee decided that withholding food and/or water from a farm animal resulting in starvation, neglect or death should not be a felony. It is only a misdemeanor now. Both the Farm Bureau and the Agricultural comittee wanted this bill defeated. You all know about the 84 horses, goats and chickens that were rescued from a farm in Cannon Co. by the Humane Society and volunteers. There were some horses that were found dead from lack of food and water. Foals were so weak they couldn.t walk and some of the horses so weak they couldn't stand. The two men responsible for this were charged with a misdemeanor and their bond was set at $1500.00 each. There was the husband in Sweetwater who tied his wifes horse behind his truck and dragged him until the horse was close to death and then prodeeded to take a pitch fork and kill the horse. Apparently the wife went to the D.A. and asked him to file charges but was told that it would only be a misdemeanor and would be a waste of time. The powerful Farm Bureau and it's Lobbyists and the State Ag. Comittee have ridiculous reasons for not wanting this bill passed. One being that we, the public do not understand general farm practices and might misunderstand it as inhumane treatment. If the farm bureau wants to keep the good name of decent farmers then let them speak for them and not those inhumane abusers. If Nicely is so concerned about the abuse of horses then why didn't he vote to pass the bill. There are so many other humane alternatives to horse slaughter houses if a horse is aged, sick or crippled . Call your Vet and have him put down humanely and if you can't afford to do it, reputable horse rescues here in Tn. will take care of it for you. Every time I have heard Nicely speak he comes up with a different idea as to why we should have horse slaughter in Tn. He mentioned bringing in China to build a plant ugh!!! They can't even make childrens toys or sheetrock that is safe. I have raised horses most of my life and to me Horses are god's gift to mankind. There has always been a close bond between man and horse. Please read the following interview that I am enclosing and then you make up your mind. This is just one of his many reasons for horse slaughter in Tn. How do we get politicians like him and some of the others representing us!