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Agricultural News


Horse Slaughter Bill Sails Through Committee, Draws Flak from HSUS

Thu, 14 Feb 2013 17:56:46 CST

Horse Slaughter Bill Sails Through Committee, Draws Flak from HSUS
A bill allowing horses to be processed for slaughter in Oklahoma is wending its way through the Oklahoma capitol, and it is drawing fierce opposition from powerful special interest groups. Radio Oklahoma Network’s Ron Hays spoke with the author of House Bill 1999, Rep. Skye McNiel, at the state capitol. (Click on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of this story to hear the full interview.)


“This bill repeals the ban on processing horses in Oklahoma,” McNiel said. It does not deal with the consumption laws. Basically, it says we can process horses in Oklahoma, but we will not eat them in Oklahoma; we will ship that meat overseas.”


Even though the bill is aimed at providing a humane and cost-effective way to dispose of unwanted horses who might otherwise be abused or neglected, McNiel said lawmakers are taking a lot of flak from animal rights groups.


“We’re getting a lot of heat from organizations such as HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) and they have really come out and attacked us on this bill saying that it’s not humane and that this is not the best way to deal with this population of horses.


“They do agree that we have a population, a large population of unwanted horses being abused and mistreated, but what we don’t agree on is how we deal with those horses. And, quite frankly, they’ve not come up with any solutions. They’re best solution is that you can take it and sell it-which there’s no market for it-or you can euthanize it, which is very expensive. They argue that it’s cost-efficient, but I would say spending $500, $800, or $1,000 to euthanize a horse is not really very feasible for a lot of people in Oklahoma. And I think that it’s time that we stand up and tell them that we in Oklahoma will make the policy-all of us citizens of Oklahoma, not outside forces, not people outside of Oklahoma making Oklahoma policy.”


McNiel says there are currently no processing facilities for horses in Oklahoma, but passage of the bill would lay the groundwork should investors be interested in locating one here.


She said the bill flew through committee on an 8-to-2 vote. She expects the full House will vote on the measure next week and send it to the Senate. She said lawmakers need to hear from their constituents on this bill.


“It is time now, if there’s ever been a time, to be active and to protect Oklahoma farmers and ranchers. Now is the time. Even if you don’t own a horse or aren’t interested in horses, if you deal in agriculture, this is an attack on the Oklahoma farmer and rancher. It’s time to stand up because, I can tell you, HSUS is getting their members to call their representatives. They’re getting active in social media. They are blasting Oklahoma lawmakers and we need people back home telling us this is the right thing to do. Giving some of those members who are getting all of this heat, all of these attacks, having people call from their district. We need just as many people, we need more people calling them and telling them ‘We support you. We believe in what you’re doing. Please, keep up the good work and protect Oklahoma agriculture.”


McNiel says there are a tremendous number of calls and social media posts from non-Oklahomans seeking the defeat of her bill. She said about 90-95 percent of the negative contacts are from outside of the state.


“Something else I think that’s interesting is that HSUS clearly spends their money lobbying against efforts like this rather than coming up with solutions. They spend less than one percent of their entire budget on actual animals. Over 99 percent of their money goes to lobbying efforts to defeat farmers and ranchers all across the United States. And this is just typical rhetoric from them.”


You can read the full text of HB 1999 by clicking here and then clicking on HB1999.


   
   

Rep. Skye McNiel says anti-farm groups are pressuring lawmakers over HB1999.
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