The head of the Humane Society of the United States has condemned the decision by Oklahoma’s governor to sign a bill allowing horse slaughter in the state.
Governor Mary Fallin put her signature to House Bill 1999 last Friday, which ends the prohibition on horse-meat processing for export in Oklahoma.
Slaughter plants, however, still face hurdles in starting operation on US soil, with big questions still hanging over whether meat from such plants could be exported to the lucrative European Union market.
Fallin 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.”
The humane society’s chief executive and president, Wayne Pacelle, described the horse slaughter industry as a predatory, inhumane enterprise.
“It doesn’t ‘euthanize’ old horses – but precisely the opposite: young and healthy horses are purchased at auction, often by people misrepresenting their intentions, and sold to slaughter plants where they are killed to sell the meat to Europe and Japan.
“We should reject this industry, just as we would reject a slaughter industry for dogs or cats gathered up under false pretenses and killed for export.”
Pacelle said the society condemnd the “inherently inhumane practice of horse slaughter”.
“Whether in US or foreign plants, slaughtering horses for human consumption was never and can never be humane due to the nature of this grisly industry and the unique biology of horses.
“The US Department of Agriculture, which oversaw inspections at horse slaughter facilities that operated in the U.S. prior to 2007, documented frequent cruelty violations and severe injuries to horses.”
Pacelle said US Department of Agriculture statistics showed that 92.3 per cent of all horses sent to slaughter were in “good” condition, meaning they were sound and in good health.
He said the results of a recent state-wide poll conducted by SoonerPoll reveal a majority – 66 per cent – of Oklahoma likely voters opposed passage of the legislation.
“Results of the SoonerPoll survey demonstrate that an overwhelming majority, 72.3 per cent, of likely voters in Oklahoma is opposed to having a horse slaughter operation in their community.
“Additionally, a majority of likely voters, 54.1 percent, would be unlikely to vote to re-elect their senator or representative if he or she voted in favor of this horse slaughter legislation.”
Horse slaughter, he said, encouraged overbreeding, neglect, and irresponsibility.