November, 1998

Proposition 6
Criminal Law. 
Prohibition on Slaughter of Horses and Sale of Horsemeat for Human Consumption.


State law permits the slaughter of horses for human consumption and for use in pet food. The slaughtering of horses for human consumption must be done in state or federally inspected facilities and must be done separately from other livestock. Currently, there are no facilities in California licensed to slaughter horses for human consumption. Nationwide, there are fewer than ten facilities that slaughter horses to provide horsemeat for human consumption.

Anyone sending a horse out of state for slaughter is required to document that the horse is being sent for that purpose. According to the state Department of Food and Agriculture, last year over 3,000 horses were sent from California for slaughter in another state.

Currently, businesses are allowed to sell horsemeat for human consumption in California. Data are not available on whether or not this occurs.


This measure prohibits both the slaughter of horses for human consumption and the sale of horsemeat for human consumption in California. In addition, horses could not be sent out of California for slaughter in other states or countries for human consumption. Under the measure horses include any horse, pony, burro, or mule.

The measure establishes felony and misdemeanor criminal penalties for violations of these provisions.

Fiscal Effect

Since this measure creates new crimes, it could result in some increased law enforcement and incarceration costs at both the state and local level. These costs probably would be minor, if any.

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