It is a little-known fact even among Americans that horse meat is fully legal to eat in most US states. The sale of horse meat is illegal, and the last legal horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007. However, most states allow an owner to kill his or her own horse for the purpose of consumption.
As of 2023, there is no federal ban on the private slaughtering of horses for human consumption. It is also legal in all but a handful of individual states.
The states that have made horse slaughter illegal are California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. Additionally, in Arizona, a license is required to slaughter horses. In all other states, it is not illegal to slaughter horses.
There is a proposed bill in Colorado that would prevent horse slaughter for human consumption. Bills like this could be introduced in other states so it is important to look for the most up-to-date information if you are interested in slaughtering horses.
|Arizona||License Required||A license shall be obtained from the division before slaughtering a horse for human consumption.|
|Colorado||Not Illegal||Proposed bill in Colorado would prevent horse slaughter for human consumption|
|District of Columbia||Not Illegal|
|Florida||Illegal||Illegal to slaughter a horse, but not to consume its meat.|
|Georgia||Illegal||Georgia law states that it is illegal to slaughter a horse for the purpose of selling the meat for human consumption unless certain conditions are met.|
|New Hampshire||Not Illegal|
|New Mexico||Not Illegal|
|New York||Illegal||Illegal to slaughter a horse, but not to consume its meat.|
|North Carolina||Not Illegal|
|North Dakota||Not Illegal|
|Rhode Island||Not Illegal|
|South Carolina||Not Illegal|
|South Dakota||Not Illegal|
|West Virginia||Not Illegal|