Who eats horse meat in New Jersey? Maybe nobody does, but soon it could be illegal just in case somebody gets a craving for a pony burger or a Clydesdale sandwich. The General Assembly has approved bipartisan legislation that would ban the slaughter or sale of horses for human consumption.

Assemblyman Ron Dancer introduced the bill after a federal ban was lifted last fall that reverses a 2006 decision by Congress to withdraw funding to inspect plants that butchered horses – effectively banning horse consumption.

 

Dancer says, “New Jersey does not eat horse meat and our horses will not be taken from the stable to a table. The horse is New Jersey’s state animal and we appreciate these magnificent animals for their grace and beauty. We do not want them butchered or sold to slaughterhouses in our communities for human consumption.”

 

The measure would bar anyone from knowingly slaughtering or selling a horse for human consumption. Violators would be guilty of a disorderly persons offense with penalties up to $100 and 30 days imprisonment plus civil fines between $500 and $1,000 for each horse slaughtered or each carcass or meat product sold. The penalties and fines are consistent with the current state law in effect that bans the slaughter of man's best friend, the dog, for human consumption of dog meat.

 

“New Jersey is taking the lead on this issue to make sure horses aren’t taken from the pasture to the plate,” explains Dancer. “There are several organizations that provide adoption homes for horses, rather than sending them to slaughterhouses for their meat.”