In an effort to promote greater animal protection and welfare in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie signed A-2023, legislation banning the in-state slaughter of horses, the transport of horses to slaughter, and the sale of horsemeat, for human consumption.
"This bipartisan measure is a nod to our decency and respect for horses in our state, ensuring that no horse is slaughtered in New Jersey for human consumption. It also ensures that our highways will not be used to transport horses to slaughter in other states which have not enacted a similar ban on the practice," said Governor Christie. "I'd like to thank Assemblyman Dancer and animal welfare advocates for their leadership on this issue and ensuring that this bill made it to my desk."
Under the new law, anyone who slaughters or sells horsemeat for human consumption would be guilty of a disorderly persons offense, subject to a fine of at least $100 and imprisonment of at least 30 days. They also would face civil fines of $500 to $1,000 for each horse.
The measure creates a state level ban in response to recent changes at the federal level, which lifted a 5-year ban on federal funding for Department of Agriculture inspection of plants that process horsemeat for human consumption.
"New Jersey does not eat horsemeat and our horses will not be taken from the stable to a table," said Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer. "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."
Primary sponsors of A-2023 and S-1976 include Assemblymembers Ronald S. Dancer (R-Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean), Gilbert L. "Whip" Wilson (D-Camden, Gloucester), Nelson T. Albano (D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland), Paul D. Moriarty (D-Camden, Gloucester); and Senators Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union) and Fred H. Madden, Jr. (D-Camden, Gloucester).