Story by JoAnne Young of the Lincoln Journal Star

Politicians Prove Deceptive in Promoting Horse Slaughter

Senators advanced a bill in Nebraska on Wednesday to allow for a state meat inspection program and possibly a horse slaughter and processing facility, but one senator took the opportunity to discredit the Humane Society of the United States.
Sen. Tom Carlson of Holdrege, the chairman of the Agriculture Committee used strong language, calling the national group deceptive, unethical, overreaching, shameless, ruthless.
He made the distinction between HSUS and local humane societies, saying it is not the same as such groups as the Capital Humane Society and the Nebraska Humane Society.
He said the majority of the money donated to the HSUS goes to political propaganda, which he labeled “dangerous political poison,” and to executive salaries.
Carlson went on to say HSUS is largely responsible for USDA inspectors no longer inspecting horse processing facilities and for the subsequent closing of plants in Texas and Illinois. He estimated 100,000 horses are now abandoned each year in this country because of that, and horse refuges are “woefully inadequate” to meet the needs.
Horses must now be hauled to Mexico and Canada for slaughter and processing, he said.
“The result of this irresponsible behavior is the waste of a wonderful natural resource that could feed a lot of people in countries around the world,” he said.
Sen. Tyson Larson of O’Neill, who introduced the bill (LB305), said a state meat and poultry inspection program is needed to provide better access to inspection for rural and small meat producers. It’s an economic development issue, he said.
Sen. Russ Karpisek of Wilber, the lone no vote in bringing the bill out of the Agriculture Committee, said this was not the right time for establishing a state meat inspection program.
“Let’s not get the cart before the proverbial horse,” he said.
A former owner of a meat market himself, Karpisek said processors have told him the state does not need state inspectors and that it would be a waste of state dollars. The federal inspection program is sufficient to meet the needs of the state, he said.
Any U.S. inspected plant can inspect any of the meats processed in the state, he said. And any processor in the state is able to get a federal inspector.
Why would processors pay extra, if user fees are charged, for what federal inspectors do now for free, he asked.
“Folks, we’re spinning this baby,” Karpisek said. “I said I’m not going to get upset and I don’t want to kill this bill, but stop the spin.”
Senators advanced the bill to a second round of debate on a 35-1 vote. They also adopted an amendment to the bill that would allow a study on the feasibility of establishing a state meat inspection program and a report on what resources would be needed to develop and maintain such a program. It also would recommend a fee schedule to fund such a program.
Jocelyn Nickerson, Nebraska director of USHS, later responded to Carlson’s comments about the organization, saying that an unfounded fear and misleading information has gotten to Nebraska farmers and ranchers.
Much of the information Carlson relayed about USHS was untrue, she said. It is not trying to destroy Nebraska agriculture or the state’s way of life, as he said. And it is not trying to make everyone vegetarians, she said.
She encouraged anyone with questions about USHS to email her at

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