The state Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow horse slaughter in Oklahoma, but would continue the existing ban on the sale of horse meat for consumption in the state.
The Senate voted 32-14 to pass House Bill 1999. Two senators didn’t vote.
The measure now goes to Gov. Mary Fallin, who has indicated she would sign the bill, which would overturn a 50-year-old ban on horse slaughter.
Senators discussed and debated the bill for about 45 minutes.
Sens. Al McCaffrey, D-Oklahoma City, and Constance Johnson, D-Forest Park, were among those who spoke against the measure, questioning the safety of horse meat that would be slaughtered in Oklahoma and sold for consumption in other countries.
“Why is it OK for us to approve meat that has been contaminated with injections?” she asked.
Sen. Eddie Fields, R-Wynona, the Senate sponsor of HB 1999, said horses are not to be slaughtered until 21 days after receiving their last injection so that the meat is not contaminated.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration would regulate horses being slaughtered in a horse processing plant, he said.
If a horse processing plant would come to Oklahoma, horse owners would not be forced to take them to slaughter, Fields said. The plant would give horse owners another option of what to do with their animals, which are personal property, he said.
Defeating the bill won’t end horse slaughter, Fields said. Oklahoma horses are already being slaughtered; they are being shipped to Mexico and killed in conditions that may be inhumane.
HB 1999 would revoke the state’s 1963 law banning the sale of horse meat and would end the prohibition on horse slaughtering.
McAffrey said after the vote he was disappointed.
“We as senators made a mistake,” he said.
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