Senate ag committee supports horse slaughter bill

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Mick Hinton / The Norman Transcript / March 19, 2013

images-9NORMAN — A bill to legalize the slaughter of horses in Oklahoma is approaching the finish line, after members of the Senate agriculture committee voted unanimously Monday in support of the measure.

The proposed legislation has riled the Oklahoma Humane Society and some horse owners who fear that what would become the only horse slaughtering facility in the United States could locate near the McClain County town of Washington.

But other horsesmen including several lawmakers who live in rural farming communities, strongly endorse passage of House Bill 1999. Supporters include the Farm Bureau, Cattlemen’s Association and the Oklahoma Pork Council.

There was no discussion before the voice vote Monday in Senate committee, although several of those opposed to the horse slaughter gathered outside the Senate meeting room right after the vote to voice their concerns.

A tearful 15-year-old Abbey Rutherford of Owasso said, “Not one senator had it in their heart to say no.”

Rutherford, who has three horses of her own, said, “I can’t imagine how anyone could hurt a horse.”

Rep. Skye McNiel, author of the House bill, said purpose of the legislation is to provide a place where the old and feeble horses can be slaughtered, rather than going to Mexico, which is where they go now.

Cynthia Armstrong, Oklahoma director of the Humane Society of the United States, said she doesn’t believe that all of these horses are old or lame, but they are being raised and marketed just like cattle, hogs and sheep.

Sen. Eddie Fields, R-Wynona, said he has never found this to be the case with the quarter horse or Arabian horse owners.

McNiel, R-Bristow, estimates that in a year’s time, about 21,000 Oklahoma horses  were disposed of out of a state horse population of about 350,000.

The lawmaker, whose grandparents ran an animal auction barn for decades, has said that she thinks those who do not live in rural areas can’t understand what the needs of rural Oklahoma are.

McNiel and other supporting legislators dismiss any allegation that this will be a method to market horse meat for human consumption.

State Rep. Don Armes, R-Faxon, said, opponents of the bill are misinformed.

“We don’t even want to eat horse meat; that’s what the opposition  wants you to believe.”

The pending legislation provides that horse meat would not be eligible for consumption in Oklahoma or anywhere else in the United States.

Armes noted that several European countries already partake of horse meat, and this would be a viable market for Oklahomans needing to dispose of their  horses here, rather than in a foreign country.

Opponents of the bill said they fear that Senator Fields will try to rush the bill through, even later this week, on the floor of the Senate.

Fields said that will not be the case. The bill will get the usual consideration, including addition of any amendments. He said the measure won’t be rushed through the Senate, although thus far it appears likely that it will win final passage in both houses of the Legislature.

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AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
13 Comments
  • Marcia

    Hardly surprising. The big agricultural groups are banding together to stop pro-animal legislation, from horse slaughter to abuse on factory farms. Note the proposals and passage of ag-gag rules in several states.

    March 19, 2013
  • Dana

    Horse slaughterhouses are not for euthanizing “old feeble” horses! They are for horse meat… Typically old feeble horses are underweight so they serve little purpose for a meat supplier! Oklahoma you are just opening the door to more of
    These kill factory’s across the country! I’m disappointed in
    Oklahomans… A sad day for an Animal we made companions!

    March 19, 2013
  • NO HORSE SHOWS IN SLAUGHTER STATES

    March 19, 2013
  • LNorman

    Of course they don’t want to eat horsemeat in Oklahoma, it’s so toxic it was banned in pet products over 30 years ago. European countries will be soon no longer accepting horse flesh imported from N.America because our horses are routinely given drugs banned in ALL food animals. The OK legislature is just peachy w/ poisoning foreign consumers and jeopardizing legit US meat exports.

    March 19, 2013
  • Debbie

    YUP, SOme people just don’t have a clue and that would be most of Washington D.C.!! I am furious but not surprised at all!!!!!! SO many folks who want this just don’ understand that you will still have unwanted horses and they WILL NOT take a thin sick horse!! WATCH A HORSE BEING TORTURED WATCH, they have feelings folks they get scared, happy, play, and yes show love, oh my god I am just SO SO MAD AND SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOD be with the people have to TORTURE these icons of our history SHAME SHAME SHAME!!!!!!!! You know the saying what goes around comes around well I hope it comes around soon for all that support this inhumane killing of horses!!

    March 19, 2013
  • karen

    Every single citizen of Oklahoma should be embarrassed they elected these bafoons. I’m so disgusted I will never even visit that state – for any reason.

    March 19, 2013
  • Jade

    Before we sound the bell on all this, keep in mind this is the “Senate Ag Committee”…NOT the STATE HOUSE or SENATE voters. We still have time to stop it before it becomes official. NOW is when the REAL fight begins, and will be a grassroots movement supporting the citizens of Oklahoma who have already expressed their opinion of NOT doing it. Roll up your sleeves and let’s get with it – it’s not the first battle we’ve faced, and may not be the last, but at least we all are better prepared than we were last year – and note that Sue Wallis and Dave Douquette have been REALLY QUIET about their support till now. WE CAN DO THIS (as many times in as many states that propose this crap)!

    March 19, 2013
  • This is a large-scale deception, from the sponsors’ trying to hide their conflicts of interest, to the falsehoods they’re telling the public to gain its support, starting with millions of dollars they’re going to make taxpayers put up to pay for plant inspections, upgrading/replacing expensive infrastructure in municipalities where plants are built, pollution and environmental clean up, ground-water testing, and legal costs.

    Taxpayers beware: this is an expensive proposition, and you’re not going to get anything in return. You will pay for it. You will get nothing back. And you will not be able to get rid of it, if you decide you don’t like it.

    This is a handful of legislators looking to the public to fund their little enterprise, which they’re falsely marketing as a “humane answer to equine neglect, abandonment, and suffering.”

    Slaughter plants are for food production; using them as a disposal service is how Europe got itself into a food contamination scandal that has sent consumer confidence plummeting.

    Let me repeat that: if you want to dispose of your horse, have a vet put it down and call a renderer. Close to 900,000 horse owners do that every year year. Sure, it costs them a little bit, the same way that if your car breaks down on the highway, it costs to have it towed. You don’t leave it sitting in traffic and stick the tax payer with the bill for towing it away. You don’t leave it sitting in the street, either. You take care of it; because that’s what responsible citizens do.

    McNiel and Company are saying, basically, that she and her colleagues own a lot of old jalopies and if they can’t be paid to remove them, they’re just going to leave them there, for the public to deal with.

    You pay; they profit. And the product is all for export.

    This isn’t good for anyone: Oklahomans or US taxpayers.

    March 19, 2013
  • Laurel

    Well stated, Vickery! I pray that we can find someone..just ANYONE among the OK Legislators with a modicum of common sense.
    It seems that both ignorance and greed have “gone to seed”.

    March 19, 2013
  • Glad to see the posts, but you’re preaching to the choir. Post your comments on the original articles when they are available. On this one, the link is right under the title:

    Mick Hinton / The Norman Transcript / March 19, 2013

    It also get more attention from the media as to the number of hits to the page.

    March 19, 2013
    • Laurel

      Beverly, I read it from the original online page, but could find no format soliciting or allowing a comment.

      March 19, 2013
  • Ricky Rogers

    Horse slaughter is one issue that the politicians are turning a def ear to. Proof is the vast majority of Americans are opposed to any form of horse slaughter and the politicians know it as well and yet the slaughter continues even with all the public outcry to stop it NOW! Just more evidence that the gov only listens to BIG BUSINESS who line their pockets and in this case at the expense of innocent lives. Anything short of removing these greedy rogue politicians from office is futile to helping save our equines. Our founding fathers warned us about letting government get bigger than WE-THE-PEOPLE.

    March 19, 2013
  • Ranching Cowgirl

    I pray these people will stand in Judgement for this!
    This is a crime and for Rep. Skye to say old feeble horses she is a pure auction raised bull sh!ter. She knows it is about money, heck she was raised in an auction barn she knows what they do to horses. She has no morals…. it’s all about money and greed! SHAME ON YOU!

    Oklahoma may your lands be cursed!

    Hey Oklahoma that ranch for sale I just looked at on Sunday. Well you know where you can shove your state!

    I am with Deanna NO shows in Oklahoma….
    No horse events in a slaughter state!

    Be careful it is a proven fact they will steal your pets out of your pastures and back yards when the slaughter house opens up.

    SHAME ON OKLAHOMA!

    March 19, 2013