“The killing of the horses is so brutal, I don't care whether it's in Oklahoma or it's in Mexico where they take them...There's other uses for the horses, other than just taking them to the slaughterhouse." ~ Senator Randy Bass
State Senator, Randy Bass, has filed legislation giving Oklahomans control over whether to allow horse slaughter plants in their communities. Senate Joint Resolution 66 (SJR66) would require proposed equine slaughter facilities to be approved by a majority of qualified voters in the county where the facility is to be located.
“When Governor Fallin signed legislation into law last year legalizing horse slaughter, she issued a statement saying it was important for towns to be able to block horse slaughter plants if that was their will,” said Bass, D-Lawton. “This legislation would simply give counties the option to decide for themselves whether they want these facilities in their jurisdictions or not.”
Opponents of horse slaughter facilities point to statistics from around the country showing the plants have a negative economic impact on nearby communities, including lower real estate values. Other problems associated with horse slaughter plants include increased crime, such as horse theft. Critics also warn the plants have been tied to air and groundwater contamination which poses a public health risk.
A survey conducted by Sooner Poll last year revealed that the majority of Oklahomans did not want a horse slaughter facility in their community.
“What’s interesting is the fact that it didn’t really matter if you were talking about people living in a rural area or a large city, and it didn’t matter if they were a Democrat or a Republican, conservative or liberal—the overwhelming majority did not want a horse slaughter plant in their community,” Bass said. “This legislation reaffirms our citizens’ right to block such a facility if that’s what the majority of qualified voters decide.”
Source: Press Release, Oklahoma State Senate
For more information contact:
Sen. Bass: (405) 521-5567
Source: Huffington Post, by Tim Talley
OKLAHOMA 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."