Oklahoma’s governor signs horse slaughter bill

Mary Fallin
Mary Fallin

Oklahoma’s govenor has signed a bill permitting horse slaughter in the state, saying those who care about horses cannot be happy with a status quo that encourages abuse and neglect.

Governor Mary Fallin put her signature to House Bill 1999 on Friday, which ends the prohibition on horse-meat processing for export in Oklahoma.

Forty-six states, not including Oklahoma, currently allow horse-meat processing.

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.

The European Union has been embroiled in recent months in a scandal around horse-meat contamination of processed beef products. Investigations have resulted in tens of millions of ready-to-eat meals being pulled from supermarket shelves and a multinational probe into food traceability.

Serious questions remain over the adequacy of traceability systems in the US, where horses are not raised as food animals. The Equine Welfare Alliance says it has information from the European Union suggesting American horse meat will not be accepted.

Governor Fallin released a statement after signing the bill, saying that in Oklahoma – as in other states – abuse was tragically common among horses reaching the end of their natural lives.

“Many horses are abandoned or left to starve to death. Others are shipped out of the country, many to Mexico, where they are processed in potentially inhumane conditions that are not regulated by the US government.

“Unfortunately, the 2006 federal ban on horse processing plants has made this situation worse. After the implementation of that ban, the Government Accountability Office reported a 60 per cent increase in abused, neglected and starved horses.

“The US Department of Agriculture has also noted that over 166,000 horses were sent to Canada and Mexico for processing just in 2012.

“These animals traveled long distances, in potentially inhumane circumstances, only to meet their end in foreign processing plants that do not face the same level of regulation or scrutiny that American plants would.

“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.

“For that reason, I have today signed HB 1999, which would allow the humane, regulated processing of horses. This bill strictly prohibits selling horse meat for human consumption in Oklahoma.”

She continued: “My office diligently worked to ensure input from all sides of the issue was carefully considered during the consideration of this bill. I appreciate and support the efforts of those who have expressed a desire to donate land, money and resources to provide for abandoned horses.

“I believe the direction pursued by the Oklahoma Legislature, in a bill supported by both Democrats and Republicans and passed by large margins, is both practical and humane.”

“There are currently no processing facilities in the state. Should there ever be a processing facility planned, my administration will work with the Department of Agriculture to ensure it is run appropriately, follows all state and local laws, and is not a burden or hazard to the community.”

Fallin said it was mportant to note that cities, counties and municipalities still had the ability to express their opposition to processing facilities by blocking their construction and operation at the local level.

The bill takes effect on November 1, 2013.

It was sponsored by Representative Skye McNeil in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senator Eddie Fields in the Senate. The bill passed 82-14 in the House and 32-14 in the Senate.



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4 thoughts on “Oklahoma’s governor signs horse slaughter bill

  • April 1, 2013 at 4:31 am

    The Governor obviously has a skewed concept of humane. If horses are neglected or abandoned then arrest their owners and suffer them to pay the consequences…NOT the innocent animal. After all the horse is the victim not the perpetrator.

    Ms Fallin has shown her true colors by siding with the Farm Bureau who’s ultimate goal is an Ag Gag bill in every state. They don’t want to have to face cruelty charges so they want to make the accuser the bad guy.

    Ghandi said “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.”

    We can’t blame it on the people as the majority were opposed. Gov. Fallin states it passed by a majority of both Republicans and Democrats…of course these are the elected official who have defied their constituency’s wishes.

    Are these really the people Oklahoma wants making decisions for them?

  • April 1, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Governor Fallin is either really stupid or doesn’t care if she wastes tax payer money while she poisons the world food supply. Unless anyone first hearing about this has lived in a tube for the last several years, you know that ALL horses from the United States are full if drugs not for human consumption. But Fallin doesn’t want the meat sold here, it’s going to other countries, whom she could care less about. And all you “tube” dwellers, she claims that they will only slaughter sick, unwanted horse. Since when do humans eat flesh of sick, malnourished animals-would/should be a FDA problem. To ad insult to injury, our nations WILD HORSES that have been rounded up because out elustrious President has betrayed the HORSE, removed them forever from the land Congress set aside for them to live free of harassment and slaughter, are kept in holding areas in OKLAHOMA. There are a lot of people who don’t know or care, but the majority have been ignored for the last time. We will not give up on our AMERICAN HORSES!

  • April 4, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Debbie ~ Removing illegally our wild horses from their designated lands has been going on for 40 years. Obama wasn’t even a senator, let alone president! It started getting really out of hand during the BUSH administration. Check your timeline.

  • June 22, 2013 at 3:39 am

    If you stop sending horses to other countries to be processed you’re going to have a problem with horses abandoned here in the United States
    They’ll be abandoned in people’s pastures they’ll be abandoned in state parks they’ll be abandoned on the roadway how are you going to feel when young mother in her two children die because they had a horse on the roadway


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