A legislative committee is considering a bill that would set up a state meat inspection agency, which would also pave the way for horse slaughter in Nebraska.
On Tuesday, several people spoke in favor of O'Neill Sen. Tyson Larson's bill (LB305), including horse owners, meat processing operators and ag groups like the Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation and Nebraska Farmers Union.
Proponents of the bill said that without slaughterhouses, old and marginalized horses are often neglected or abandoned.
Critics who testified against the bill Tuesday say slaughtering horses is inhumane.
The last three horse slaughterhouses in the U.S. closed in 2007. Horses are now exported to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. Much of that meat is exported to countries in Europe and Asia for human consumption.