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.”