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Horse bill gallops to Crist's desk

A bill stiffening penalties for those who slaughter horsemeat, or butcher or sell the animal cleared the Senate chambers on Thursday.

Sponsored by Rep. Luis Garcia, a Miami Democrat, the bill aims to curtail the rash of horse slaughters in South Florida that started late last year. Animal advocates have stated the incidents extended to areas in Central Florida, such as Ocala, the horse capital of the country. After slaughter, the horse meat is sold - sometimes marketed as beef.

Early this session, some thought animal protection bills would be looked upon favorably during a tight budget year. Garcia's bill is the first to pass both chambers. The horse bill did so unanimously, that is (here comes the compulsory animal-billl pun) without a single "nay."