Oklahoma: Horse Slaughter Debated


tess1Norman Transcript, Mike Hinton, March 25, 2013

NORMAN — Whether Oklahomans support or oppose the slaughter of horses in the state depends upon which polling data you believe.

Results of two polls released over the weekend provide conflicting information.

The SoonerPoll conducted by Bill Shapard indicates that two-thirds, or 66 percent, of Oklahomans object to a horse slaughter facility operating in Oklahoma.

However, another poll conducted by a company named Protect the Harvest of Iowa concludes that only one out of three (36 percent) remains convinced that horses should not be slaughtered in Oklahoma.

The survey indicated that when those being polled were informed that major agricultural groups support a horse processing facility in Oklahoma, nearly two out of three respondents agreed.

Results of that survey are available at The McCarville Report website.

The survey by SoonerPoll.com released Sunday was commissioned by national animal rights groups, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Currently, no horse slaughter houses are operating in the United States.

Those opposed fear that horses from many other states could end up being sent to Oklahoma for slaughter.

Regardless of what the polls show, both houses of the state legislature have already approved measures to legalize horse slaughtering for the first time in the last 50 years. Legislation is being strongly supported by Republicans and rural Democrats.

Last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously supported legislation that would allow a horse slaughter facility. The Republicans are counting on support from Republican Gov. Mary Fallin.

In Texas, a horse slaughter facility operated in the small town of Kaufman for several years. The plant was opened in 1986. In August 2005, the Kaufman City Council voted unanimously to enforce violations and shut the plant down, due to environmental concerns such as improper handling of sewage.

Concern in the Cleveland and McClain county areas grew when it was discovered that an application for such a facility to be located in the small town of Washington had been filed with federal authorities. However, it appears that no action has been taken on the application filed in July with federal authorities, whose approval is necessary.

Rep. Skye McNiel, R-Bristow, is sponsoring House Bill 1999, which would allow horses to be slaughtered in Oklahoma for their meat. Pending legislation says that horse meat would not be processed for consumption in Oklahoma or the United States.

Several European countries process horse meat for human consumption.

McNiel, a Bristow Republican, said last week that urban voters do not understand the needs of rural Oklahoma. These horses are old and feeble or abandoned by their owners. Her legislation is supported by major farm groups including the Farm Bureau, the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association and the pork council.

Opponents say horses are intentionally being overbred in Oklahoma, producing excessive numbers of horses, while just a few ever are good enough to become racers.

They say many of these young horses are intended to be slaughtered.

Tracey Williamson, of Norman, who raises horses, said that more than 90 percent of those going to slaughter are young horses, while proponents insist these horses are intended to go to slaughter houses.

Williamson is afraid that if a law is passed, it will result in the theft of horses in Oklahoma so they can be slaughtered.

Currently, about 22,000 horses are shipped annually to slaughter houses operating chiefly in Mexico, with some in Canada. Both sides agree that slaughtering methods conducted in Mexico are inhumane, but there is no concensus about whether operation of a slaughter horse in Oklahoma is a viable option.

AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
  • Arlene

    It is hard to believe that with all the information readily available on The Subject of Horse Slaughter and its horrific consequences, that anyone would even consider this …. History tells to us these Horses are the Balance of all living things …. not to mention they should be Honored for all they have done for us , not mention their haunting Beauty !!!!!! As for Skye she has Political reasons for her Brainless efforts, she wants her Name out there????? There are certainly better ways to gain Political notoriety, Missy !!!!!!

    March 25, 2013
  • Ranching Cowgirl

    Skye your making a name for your self as ANTI Oklahoma, anti morels & anti values!
    Pro MONEY!


    March 25, 2013
  • Lana Marie

    From Canada here….First of all this Ms Skye person should get her FACTS straight. Making a most stupid comment that horse slaughter is for the SICK,OLD,LAME, is almost laughable. Those horse my dear are what the horse slaughter plants DON’T WANT (turned away & kill buyers abandon them). Maybe the EU should know what YOU would like to send them for the people there to consume. Those horses along with ALL horses, by a VET to perform be HUMANE euthanasia!!!! SLAUGHTER is NOT euthanasia! If someone is going to shout from the highest ‘hill’ then at least get the facts straight & RIGHT or keep quiet about something you either know nothing of or certainly didn’t do YOUR RESEARCH…that research will show you the THOUSANDS OF YOUNG, VIABLE, EXCELLENT CONDITION, of these ex race horse, athletes, companions. NOT ONE horse deserves to die in a slaughterhouse!!

    March 25, 2013
  • Lisa

    This person needs to see the video of Sappinton and Justice. old and infirm are NOT the majority, I was pro slaughter (NOT for my own horses, but did consider it viable) UNTIL I started researching, and any humane, caring person would HAVE to see the inherrent cruelty and viciousness of horse slaughter.

    March 25, 2013
  • Margaret

    All you pro slaughter folks need to watch Tim Sappington’s snuff film he made. That’s the kind of mentality coming to a town near you.

    By the way the horse he shot was a two year old.

    I do have a right to my say in this. You open a slaughter–it takes Federal Inspectors to inspect. MY tax dollars. And I don’t believe this is a humane way of dealing with culls, abuse, neglect, starving horses.

    Never do hear about your state laws abandoning horses. Could it be that some of those are the ones that have been refused at the border and the driver leaves them to fend for themselves?

    How is your state going to protect our wild horses held in long term private

    March 25, 2013
    • Margaret

      Sorry my statement got cut off…

      I was asking what steps you will take to ensure the safety of our wild horses and burros? What steps will you take to ensure that horses aren’t the victims of being stolen and sold for slaughter?

      What steps will you take to ensure ALL the meat is appropriately tested not only for Bute, but worming meds, frog juice and the whole myriad of banned substances horses receive that make them banned for human consumption?

      What about when businesses start to leave because of the quality of life? What happens when the cities sewer systems get flooded with toxic horse blood?

      What will you do about crime rate and domesticate abuse?

      In your rush for low paying jobs you haven’t been asking the real questions.

      I sincerely doubt Russia will be buying our horsemeat–when they already don’t buy our beef. The EU has found the US in total non compliance with their guidelines–which shouldn’t surprise anyone if you’ve been paying attention. China raises and slaughters their own.

      Please please go back and debate this. Ask the tough questions. Don’t whitewash things. You need to cite clear examples of exactly what you have in mind.

      Yoda once said something to the effect–that once you go down this path forever will it consume you. George Lukas was absolutely correct.

      March 25, 2013
  • Jade


    Everyone needs to listen to this recorded discussion about having a slaughterhouse in a small Texas town years back – the former mayor will tell you what it was like for the residents, as well as how untrue the crap is about “old, abandoned, sick horse” … including one comment made by an official that the medication issue wasn’t important as they would be shipping the meat to other countries!

    March 25, 2013
  • Daryl

    Okay over breeding is not good for the horses what so ever, but to say they were to go to slaughter, how HART LESS OF ANY ONE DOING THIS. This is what has to stop too…If a dog or cat breeder said this, oh we breed them and
    know we are going to put them to sleep, the dog world would be turned up side down. Some how things have gone wrong with a lot of people’s thinking with animal’s in he picture. A good night’s sleep is not going to do any thing for any body. This world has become a sad place to live.

    March 25, 2013