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Oklahoma’s Horse Slaughter Ban Dropped for Export Business

Oklahoma is on track to become the first state to lift its own ban on horse slaughter since the U.S. government removed its prohibition in 2012.

Four states, California, Illinois, Texas, and Oklahoma, have state bans on slaughtering horses for commercial purposes. The Oklahoma Legislature appears to be embracing a pair of bills that will end the slaughter ban while continuing to prohibit the sale of horsemeat for human consumption in the state.

The bills were each adopted in their house of origin and sent over to the opposite chamber by wide margins.

Senate Bill (SB) 375 revokes a 1963 flat ban on the sale of horsemeat in Oklahoma by allowing horsemeat to be “exported internationally.” Horse sold for slaughter must be sold through livestock auctions and purchased by a livestock dealer.

House Bill (HB) 1999 would allow horses to be slaughtered in Oklahoma, but continue the existing domestic ban on sales of horsemeat for human consumption.

The exported product would have to be clearly labeled as “horsemeat.”

SB-375 passed out of the Oklahoma Senate 38-6 and HB-1999 cleared the House by a vote of 82-14. The chambers are now working on their opposites bills.

The first sign that Oklahoma might change its mind about horse slaughter came in 2010 when the Legislature sent a resolution to Congress, opposing federal bills prohibiting the transport or processing of horses for human consumption.

Abandonments of aging and starving horses have sharply increased in Oklahoma and other western states since last horse packinghouse closed more than seven years ago.

Congress not allowing USDA to do any equine inspections at slaughter was how the national ban was imposed. Now that the prohibition has been lifted, USDA inspection services can again be offered at equine slaughter operations.

An undetermined number of applications for equine inspection services are believed to be pending at USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The Oklahoma Legislature, which was called to attention Feb. 4, does not adjourn until late May.

© Food Safety News
  • “Abandonments of aging and starving horses have sharply increased in
    Oklahoma and other western states since last horse packinghouse closed
    more than seven years ago.”

    This is not true we all know that over breeding is the number one problem and of course the wild ones have to go to make room for big oil, welfare ranchers and to put more money into the pockets of our corrupt government! of our land.

    I am tired of being
    asked to pretend that Stupid is a virtue.

  • GrampyNate

    It’s about time.  “Humane” people often fall into the trap of thinking that because something is esthetically acceptable to them–being so humane and all–that it is therefore the best thing to do for the animal, hence the ban on horse slaughter.

    But then the old, feeble horses pile up on the pastures and get skinnier and skinnier, no one wanting to put them down (kill thim “nicely”) because disposal becomes so costly and the vet visit costs are out of sight for an animal that is then basically a total loss.

    This is what “city” people do to country people in their all-knowing ignorance.

    • susanrudnicki

      ” City People” is your pejorative to try to insult people who think, Mr Grampy..    I think, and I am a Nebraska native, from Loup County.   What this story and you are failing to recognize is, the slaughter plants DON’T WANT those old, skinny horses and according to USDA data from when slaughter was still operating in the US, 90% of the horses were young and in good flesh.   Second,  the vast majority of horses from the US are treated with drugs BANNED for use in food animals, with NO allowable withdrawal period, and that have been demonstrated to cause cancer and blood dyscrasias in humans.   Look up the issue of Phenylbutazone, Ms Nestle and Mr GrampyNate—it was experimentally used for humans going back to 1949 but caused aplastic anemia and other severe health effects, so was pulled from the market.   This drug is used widely for anti-inflammatory and pain control in equines, and remains in the body of the horse FOR LIFE.   Then, there are wormers, hormones, steroids and other drugs disallowed in human food sources.          Even if you care not a whit for the inhumane sickness of the reality of horse abattoirs (also documented through FOIA from the USDA)   the public health menace is real.   Get informed and educated, both of you.

    • hoofandpick

      I have a novel solution for your dilemma..Don’t own horses if you can’t afford to care for them, feed them or humanely euthanizing them by calling the vet.

      The entire reason why you see skinny horses (called abuse and neglect which is a crime in every state) is because those horse owners don’t send their horses to slaughter.

    •  Can you country people afford 50 cents for a bullet to the head .Im a country person and I could even afford that.  Don’t have to bury  them then  either as nothing in them toxic to the coyotes and other scavengers that dispense of the body in a month’s time. 

    • Excuse me, but do you own horses? Have you  EVER  owned horses? I doubt it. Well, I have – for 35 years. I’ve also lived in rural Indiana for over 20 years and I’ve yet to see even ONE instance of a field piled with old skinny horses. And to say that rural people would do this to keep from spending the money it takes for euthanasia and disposal is nothing short of outrageous! Besides, it does NOT cost that much, vet and all. Besides, this is the responsibility one takes on when they opt to acquire a horse or any other animal.

      Sure glad you don’t own horses. And, what city do you live in now? I know you aren’t really rural or you wouldn’t have posted such nonsense in the first place.

    • Those horses won’t qualify for USDA inspection and will still be shipped to Mexico. This isn’t about euthanizing horses. This is about building an industry for breeding horses for the purposes of butchering. Don’t be fooled. It also only costs $50 more to euthanize and dispose of a horse than a large dog. Check the facts.


  • BerksBound

    Interesting we have never, ever seen citations of official numbers of said “abandonments of horses”.

    Why is that?

    Because the actual numbers would prove it’s a minor problem and not enough to remotely justify a slaughterhouse. Animal People, an organization that tracks official horses abandoned or seized for neglect from each state, has seen those numbers vary from about 1,200 to 2,300 per year. Not even enough to keep a single slaughterhouse in business for more than a couple of weeks!! And those horses usually go to humane agencies and rescues who will not release them to slaughter.

    Additionally, the highest number of neglect cases in the U.S. was in 1996… when we were slaughtering record numbers of horses. Doh! And last year, there was a massive neglect case in Montana, – a state which houses one of the largest feedlots for slaughterbound horses headed over the border to an Alberta slaughterhouse. And Alberta has lots of neglect cases also.

    Media simply needs to check the validity of these completely baseless statements before they give ink to printing them.

  • Oklahoma legislators seem completely oblivious to the rising outrage in Europe and now, Asia, over unregulated and unapproved inclusion of horsemeat in processed food products.  Russia has already banned the import of ALL American meat, the EU is initiating much more stringent regs on all imported foods, including the “Passport” which will require complete documentation of all meat — including horse.Abandoned horses will not meet the import requirements, because they will have no documentation.Performance horses won’t meet the requirements, because they are KNOWN to be administered a plethora of pharmaceuticals not suitable for human – or animal – consumption.Wild horses are vaccinated upon roundup. They would not be eligible.

    Horse blood is banned from use in fertilizer, and has not been used in pet foods since the 1970’s because it was proven to be lethal in certain breeds of dogs (notably stock dogs like collies).If we aren’t willing to eat it ourselves, or feed it to our pets or our other food animals; if it is not fit to be poured on crops as fertilizer … where does the US get OFF, trying to pawn off our toxic waste on foreign consumers?

  • Abandonment has increased because wages have not kept pace with the cost of living, and because drought and high gasoline prices have driven up the price of hay and fodder.  Breeders have continued to produce many thousands of horses that there is no market for.

  • Dear Senate Members,

    The UK announced today they are overhauling the equine passport system.
    Since United States has nothing in place for a tracking system like this, how do
    you all propose getting this set up. It will involve the USDA which is facing
    big budget cuts for their inspection program as well as create an economical
    hardship on current horse owners. There is no local market for your horse meat
    without this system in place.

    Do you really think there would be enough horses out there that haven’t
    been tainted with Phenylbutazone (BUTE) to give you enough horses to make this
    feasible? You won’t be able to slaughter the race horses or the performance
    horses anymore. Well, you could but you will just have to pile them up or bury
    them somewhere since you can’t put them into the food chain as you

    A horse that is alive brings in much more economic value to our state then
    a dead horse. If you stop kill buyers, people like me would be more apt to
    bring in horses, train them, rehabilitate them and find them a home. At this
    time, the market for people like me to rehome horses is completely frozen. I am
    scared to death to put a horse out there after taking my time training it only
    to have it end up at slaughter. Most horse trainers build such a bond with
    their animal it is heartbreaking to have that happen. It’s too easy for a good
    horse to get into the slaughter pipeline now as it is much less if there was a
    slaughter plant in my state. I work for a living and can’t camp down at the
    slaughter plant looking for one of my horses…..

    Please think the entire plan through before you set Oklahoma up for a
    lawsuit which is currently happening against the USDA for not moving on the
    licensing permits for a horse slaughter plant. VOTE AGAINST SB375.

    Thank you
    Jennifer Schroeder
    Piedmont Oklahoma
    Registered VOTER

    SOURCE: http://www.horseandcountry.tv/news/2013/02/24/defra-overhaul-equine-passport-system

    Defra to overhaul equine passport system |
    Horse and Country TV http://www.horseandcountry.tv
    light of the ongoing horse meat scandal, the government has announced plans to
    overhaul the current equine passport system in order to safeguard the food chain
    and provide greater protection for horses.

  • OK residents- because of your elected officials you will no longer be the Horse Show State- but the Horse Slaughter State. You will have the brutal treatment and slaughter of thousands of young, healthy horses on your conscience. You will have the slaughterhose in your back yard- hope you like the smell of blood and the whinnies of fright as horses are brutally killed. Hope the next time you cheer your favorite horse to a win, cry at the next movie with a horse doing some heroic deed, or your child wanting a pony, that it doesnt hit you that the people you elected lied about what’s really going on to butcher Fury, Flicka, Wildfire, Mine That Bird, Silver, Scout, need I go on!!!! It’s not old crippled horses that are murdered, but young healthy ones, and babies! What a disgrace to your state!!!!!!

  • Oginikwe

    Once this starts, horse owners had better lock their animals in at night.  I lived in Wisconsin in the 1970s when thieves would sweep through the counties at night stealing horses our out of their pastures, transport the animals into northern Illinois, and the horses would be processed in a manner of hours.    Yes, there was supposed to be paperwork–that’s easily falsified.

  • I have a friend that does this….22 between eyes and ears….drag them to them to the pump derrick….buzzards and coyotes take care of the rest….this makes me sad too.