When the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners meets Wednesday, they'll hear from one of their own on the subject of horse slaughter, and allegations that the county has a big problem with the illegal sale of horse meat.
It has been two weeks since FOX 13 News first reported on the year-long undercover investigation by Richard Couto, founder of Animal Recovery Mission, and the
man who helped lead the charge against illegal horse slaughter in the Miami area.
The man who calls himself "Kudo," says he started secretly shooting video at six farms in the Citrus Park area last June, documenting horrific scenes of horse and animal carcasses, piles of bones and burned horse skulls.
Kudo says he also made four horse meat buys during that period, two of them accompanied by an undercover USDA agent.
The sale of horse meat was banned two years ago by the Florida legislature, a bill introduced in the state senate by Victor Crist, now a Hillsborough County commissioner.
A Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokesman says the new law doesn't ban slaughtering a horse for your own personal consumption, but Crist says if that's a loophole being exploited, he wants to close it.
"I believe there's enough support out there to get this done, but it's going to take doing a Senate bill, a House bill, a companion bill to get the job done of no slaughtering of horse meat for human consumption in the state of Florida," Crist said.
Crist says he'll ask the chairman of the Board of Commissioners to send a letter to the local legislative delegation, asking for their help. He also says he was alarmed by what he considers inhumane slaughter on some of Kudo's video, and where it's happening: in a densely populated area of the county.
Crist says he'll introduce a motion to ask the county attorney to review local ordinances and zoning rules and regulations.
"If you have a legal slaughterhouse, we at the local level can determine where and when that would be appropriate. Frankly, in a suburban bedroom community where you've got people living in and around it, frankly, isn't an appropriate site," he said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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