Okla. governor ends ban on horse-meat processing, says humane alternative for abandoned horses


Washington Post / Associated Press, Published: March 29

unwantedhorsesign_406x250-300x184OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s 50-year-old ban on horse slaughtering was lifted Friday when the governor signed a new law that will allow facilities to process and export horse meat, despite bitter opposition by animal rights activists.

Supporters argue that a horse slaughtering facility in Oklahoma will provide a humane alternative for aging or starving horses, many of which are abandoned in rural parts of the state by owners who can no longer afford to care for them. Gov. Mary Fallin also noted that horses are already being shipped out of the country, including to facilities in Mexico, where they are processed in potentially inhumane conditions.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 166,000 horses were sent to Canada and Mexico last year alone.

“In Oklahoma, as in other states, abuse is tragically common among horses that are reaching the end of their natural lives,” the Republican governor said. “Those of us who care about the wellbeing of horses — and we all should — cannot be satisfied with a status quo that encourages abuse and neglect, or that rewards the potentially inhumane slaughter of animals in foreign countries.”

She noted that law strictly prohibits the selling of horse meat for human consumption in the U.S.

Similar efforts are under way in other states, but not without controversy. In New Mexico, a processing plant has been fighting the U.S. Department of Agriculture for more than a year for approval to convert its former cattle slaughter operation into a horse slaughterhouse. In Nevada, state agriculture officials have discussed ways to muster support for the slaughter of free-roaming horses, stirring protests.

The Oklahoma legislation received bipartisan support and was approved by wide margins in both the state House and Senate. It also was backed by several agriculture organizations including the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association and American Farmers.

But animal rights groups fought hard against the plan, including the Humane Society of the United States. Cynthia Armstrong, the organization’s Oklahoma state director, said she was disappointed.

“It’s a very sad day for Oklahoma and the welfare of the horses that will be exposed to a facility like this,” Armstrong said. “It’s very regrettable.”

In addition to animal welfare concerns, opponents have said slaughtering horses for human consumption could pose a threat to human health and safety. American horses are often treated with drugs and medications that are not approved for use in animals intended for food.

Horse slaughter opponents are pushing legislation in Congress to ban domestic slaughter, as well as the export of horses to other countries for slaughter. Many animal humane groups and public officials are outraged at the idea of resuming domestic slaughter. But others — including some horse rescuers, livestock associations and the American Quarter Horse Association — support the plans.


AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Suzanne Dunham


    March 30, 2013
  • shirley mix

    Never will I set foot in OK!!!!!!
    What are you going to do with the people when they get old.?

    March 30, 2013
  • Marcia

    Let’s send the governor dictionary so he can look up the definition of “humane.” What a disgraceful idea–putting horses who are old, sick, neglected, abused in a transport truck and sending them to a slaughter house. People who buy into that should be ashamed! Oh, I forgot, people who could go along with that idea have no shame.

    March 30, 2013
  • Amy Miller

    Shame on Oklahoma. All your doing is encouraging your people to betray their horses. The ones they taught to trust people. Horses do not deserve this. It is not the older sickly horses that are slaughtered but the younger ones. Besides where did peoples common cents go to want people to eat sick horses?

    Further more I was proud that our country didn’t slaughter horses now I am not so proud anymore. I believe that more people need to see these under cover videos of horse slaughter houses and how inhumane they really are.

    I being a tax payer has the right to say that I do not want my taxes supporting slaughter houses but I would rather support horse rescues and educate people to the fact that they do not need to have excess breeding of horses but rescue and adopt horses.

    March 30, 2013
  • Marcia

    Here is a crazy idea–how about seriously (legally) going after people who abandon/abuse horses so that those people will not have an easy way out. Now they can just neglect or abandon their horses knowing that the animals will be taken care of at the local slaughter house. We’re always talking about responsbility and accounability in this country. Let’s have some of it for a change.

    March 30, 2013
  • Janet Schultz

    Please contact your Washington representatives and demand they sponsor HR1094> Demand it. The bill is now in committee, it has to be reviewed and passed back to the floor and voted on before going to President Obama. Please be pest to your rep. This federal ban on transport and slaughter must be put into place. We have had enough!!

    March 30, 2013
  • Paula Denmon

    STUPID STUPID OKLAHOMA. So many reasons that this “sell-out” to Greedy Lobbyists will hurt Oklahoma citizens, tax base, and tourism.. Let alone the inhumane treatment of horses. Slaughter does not save old, lame, starving horses. It kills young healthy horses.. Healthy because they are given drugs for their benefit that are :NOT FOR HORSES INTENDED FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.

    March 30, 2013
  • Debbie Tracy

    MONEY AND GREED SUCH A SHAME!!! It will come back to bite them, it will!!!!

    I just still don’t get it, Canada has a Ban on American horse meat?? EU in all the meat scandle, Poland is trying to ban it, WHERE do they expect to sell it?? OR will again not been done legally with fake everything YUP, do they not see that if we have these plants the issue of unwanted horses will just be worse no responsiblity on the owners or BREEDERS we can now just throw them away !!!! Makes me so angry…….

    March 30, 2013
  • karen

    Remember Keith Olbermann’s Worst Person in the World? This would be Mary Fallin.

    March 30, 2013
  • Nancy b

    What a disgrace! Humane huh? Yeah sure. Have these pro horse slaughter people ever watched any of the numerous videos of the horse slaughter process?

    Only dollar signs in their eyes. Money makes people crazy, that’s what my Pop always said.

    So are dogs next? Why not? I mean there is a market for dog meat in a lot of other countries. Money to made! Not too much surprises me anymore.

    March 30, 2013
  • sherriey

    ….and the AQHA approves it….imagine that!

    i thought that this was going to take months to approve?????????????????

    and….where do they plan to sell it???
    and….how come we can ship poison meat to the foreign countries…but its banned here????
    and….how come our gov is not responsible for trying to poison foreigners???

    March 30, 2013
  • sherriey

    ps…forgot to add….
    the slaughter houses don’t want old, thin abandoned horses….there’s no MEAT on them….duh! someone should clue these idiots in!

    March 30, 2013
  • Ranching Cowgirl

    SHAME ON OKLAHOMA’S Governor Mary Fallin!
    Dirty nasty evil business with a very sad effect on the poor victims. Your an special kind of idiot if you think only the horses are the victims.
    Poor sick weak?????
    PURE BULL CRAP!!!!!!!!!
    And what is the worst you know it is BULL CRAP!

    SHAME ON YOU Mary Fallin you deserve to be voted out of office! You did not listen to the PEOPLE of Oklahoma you listened to the MONEY Trail.


    What is Soylent Green is next!

    March 30, 2013
  • Amy Roth

    Better not eat horses, and if anyone tells you they would, ask them what the Bible says. They are not of split hooves.

    April 4, 2013