Horse slaughter opponents spur last-minute efforts to kill Oklahoma legislation


Passage of a bill that would allow the slaughter of horses in Oklahoma is expected to be taken up this week. Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, says the measure should pass, and if no changes are made the bill would be sent to Gov. Mary Fallin for her consideration. /Michael McNutt | Published: March 25, 2013

Paula Bacon, a former mayor of Kaufman, Texas, talks Sunday to Dafne, a retired show horse at Twin Creek Farms in northeastern Oklahoma City. Photos by MICHAEL MCNUTT, THE OKLAHOMAN

Paula Bacon, a former mayor of Kaufman, Texas, talks Sunday to Dafne, a retired show horse at Twin Creek Farms in northeastern Oklahoma City. Photos by MICHAEL MCNUTT, THE OKLAHOMAN

With legislation that would allow the slaughter of horses in Oklahoma heading down the stretch, opponents mounted up last-minute efforts Sunday to rein in the legislation’s momentum.

Speakers criticized the legislation during a news conference at a horse ranch in northeastern Oklahoma City and released poll results showing a majority of Oklahomans oppose the two measures that would overturn a 50-year ban on horse slaughter.

The Senate is expected to vote early this week on House Bill 1999, which would allow horse slaughter but would continue the existing ban on the sale of horse meat for consumption in the state.

A House of Representatives committee is scheduled Wednesday to hear Senate Bill 375, which would revoke the state’s 1963 law banning the sale of horse meat and would end the prohibition on horse slaughtering or the sale of horse meat.

No comment

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said he expects HB 1999 will win Senate approval.

“If you fully understand what they’re doing, it’s humane, it’s better off for the horses,” Bingman said last week.

If it passes without any amendments being added, it would go the governor for her consideration.

Gov. Mary Fallin has a policy of not commenting on whether she will support legislation until she has an opportunity to review the final version.

Paula Bacon, who served as mayor of Kaufman, Texas, when a horse processing plant was operating in her community, talked Sunday about the environmental dangers and the stigma that Oklahoma would face if a similar plant operated in the state.

She said the city filed legal action against the operators of the plant; still, she said the plant caused environmental and economic havoc in her community until it closed in 2007.

“It stigmatizes your community,” she said. “Good development does not want to come there.

“You would be better served to have a lead-smeltering plant and sexually oriented businesses all up and down your main drag than to have a horse slaughter plant in your community,” Bacon said.

Horseman speaks

John Murrell, a thoroughbred horse owner and breeder and a former board member of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, talked of the inhumane treatment horses face being taken to processing plants and

John Murrell, a former board member of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, talks about the inhumane treatment and cruel fate horses face being taken to processing plants

John Murrell, a former board member of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, talks about the inhumane treatment and cruel fate horses face being taken to processing plants

the cruel fate that awaits them when they arrive.

“Our horses deserve a much kinder end to their life … than to be sent to a horrific, terrible scary death at a slaughterhouse,” said Murrell, of Dallas.

“We as Americans do not raise horses for food. The slaughter process is cruel and inhumane. From the time the horses arrive at the livestock auction and during their transport to slaughter, which in many cases can be horrific and lengthy, the horses endure unspeakable atrocities, including multiple injuries.”

Offering an option

Mike Spradling, president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, said a processing plant is an alternative for horse owners who can’t afford them and are now turning them out on roads, abandoning them on other people’s pastures or simply allowing them to starve.

Contacted Sunday, Spradling said a processing plant is only an option for horse owners.

He said he expected about one third of Oklahoma horse owners would sell their unwanted horses to the plant.

“This is a private property rights issue,” said Spradling, of Tulsa. “Those are our animals.

“We are in the business of producing food and fiber,” Spradling said. “Is it better just to dispose of the animal, euthanize it and put it in a hole … or if there is an option for it … to go to humans?

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AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • judye michaels

    If “one third of Oklahoma’s horse owners would sell their horses to the plant”… WHY not have slaughter JUST for Oklahoma horses; why not let the majority of Okahoma horse owners make the vote whether/not to allow slaughter; and WHY do all horses have to go through a public livestock auction (which just contaminates them with more viruses and bacteria??? WHY CAN’T WE JUST END SLAUGHTER AND HAVE OUR TAX PAYING DOLLARS PAY FOR INSPECTIONS OF THE FOOD WE EAT??? Why do we middle class people have to PAY for the rich politicians to get richer??

    March 25, 2013
  • janwindsong

    Is he guaranteeing my horse will not be stolen and trucked to OK for slaughter?

    March 25, 2013
  • Debra Gordon

    There is no way Oklahoma will attract development with a horse slaughterhouse in state. Who wants to take their kids passed the place where they kill their pets? We love horses, and that said, there are alternatives to the over population of them, and that starts with the very groups that make money off of them, AQHA, AVMA, and many other horse registry associations. Stop registering your horses with these registrations, and they should stop promoting backyard breeders. There is an ethical way to love horses, and an ethical way to end their lives. They don’t deserve this.

    March 25, 2013
    • sherriey

      i have to argue with you about backyard breeders. backyard breeders breed a “FEW” horses…try those big AQHA breeders that breed HUNDREDS every yr! where they take a hundred mares and turn out each group of said hundred mares….sometimes over ten groups…with a stallion. in the late spring round up the bunches…cull out the mares that didn’t take, sell those mares to the slaughter buyers, cull out the weanlings that look good, sell the rest to the slaughter buyers, turn the mares back out with a stallion for next seasons “HARVEST”! if you don’t believe this….go read a AQHA Journal in the spring sometime!
      now….name me one backyard breeder that does that! hundreds opposed to a few.
      whats fair is fair. all breeders need to stop breeding indiscriminately!

      March 25, 2013
  • Jade

    Has anyone figured out WHY the FARM BUREAU is SO MUCH IN SUPPORT OF THIS?

    March 25, 2013
  • Kasia S

    OMG, we are literally going backwards instead of moving forward regarding evolution of human kind. All slaughter is wrong, not only horses… do humans have no boundaries? Please stop shaming human race!

    March 25, 2013
    • Cynthia Curtis

      Kasia, thank you for putting into words how I feel!! We Americans are no better than other countries that slaughter species even though they have a face with a soul that has feelings!! 🙁

      March 25, 2013
  • Ranching Cowgirl

    Have the politicians forgotten they serve
    “We the People”
    Run them out of office!

    Over 90% of the American population says NO to horse slaughter. SO why do these politicians know more about what is good for us then we do? We the people say no to some thing and they ram it down our throats telling us it is what the people want. WHAT PEOPLE?

    Money hungry PIGS!

    Speak out and VOTE them out of office….
    Protect the innocents!

    March 25, 2013
  • Ranching Cowgirl

    John Murell
    May God Bless you and yours!
    A man of honor and integrity.

    Rep Skye take a lesson you need it!

    March 25, 2013
  • Beth Schang

    Real estate values are going to plummet – are realtor aware of how much harder it will be to sell properties?

    March 25, 2013
  • Amy Miller

    Didn’t I read somewhere where it said that Europe doesn’t even want American horse meat, because of the meat being contaminated with the drugs we put in our horses? If this is the case where would horse meat go anyway?

    I would rather my taxes go to start places where unwanted horses can be saved and put up for adoption, rather than supporting a slaughter house. People talk so much about helping people with their unwanted horses and allowing a garbage pail for those unwanted animals. I think it is time the horses had a voice. Let’s put our tax dollars in horse rescues that help rehome these animals. Teach individuals not to breed but to adopt unwanted horses instead. That is my vote.

    March 25, 2013
  • Valerie Wehmueller

    Opposition will not work, or win, unless we become an opposing force to be reckoned with! It doesn’t take a “rocket scientist” (or, does it?), to know that no slaughter facility wants, or will take, old, skinny or sickly horses, they all want young, healthy horses with lots of “meat” on them. That’s where the big breeders come into play. Not all breeders are bad, some actually care about & respect the creatures entrusted to their care, others are in it for the money, just another cash “crop”, at any & all expense. They don’t care that these are living, feeling, thinking creatures, to them, they’re just personal property. And, to the idiot that thought it was better to slaughter horses & “to go to humans”, get a life! I so agree with Amy Miller, that we should put our tax dollars to work in horse rescues, sanctuaries, re-training & re-homing as many as possible, & to educate the public on the importance & value of keeping them alive & giving them another chance at new careers or peaceful retirement.

    March 25, 2013