Oklahoma agricultural groups voice support of horse processing legislation
During a March 13 press conference at the state Capitol, a coalition of Oklahoma agriculture and wildlife groups announced their strong support for horse processing legislation now working its way through the Oklahoma legislature.
The coalition is organized and led by Oklahoma Farm Bureau, the state’s largest general farm organization.
“Oklahoma livestock and wildlife producers respect and care for animals,” said OFB President Mike Spradling. “This legislation provides a humane solution to the challenge of abandoned, abused and otherwise neglected horses.”
In a joint statement, the groups said they support HB 1999 by Rep. Skye McNiel and Sen. Eddie Fields and SB 375 by Sen. Mark Allen and Rep. John Enns. These bills will allow horse processing within the state of Oklahoma; however, horsemeat for human consumption may be sold only on the international market.
Horses are defined as livestock under Oklahoma law. Horse processing is already happening, but the U.S. horses are being shipped to Canada or Mexico. A General Accounting Office analysis showed U.S. horses intended for slaughter in Canada or Mexico travel significantly greater distances to reach their final destination, where they are not covered by humane slaughter protections.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners recognizes the processing of unwanted horses is currently a necessary aspect of the equine industry, as it provides a humane alternative to allowing the horse to continue a life of discomfort and pain and possibly inadequate care or abandonment.
In addition to Oklahoma Farm Bureau, the coalition includes American Farmers and Ranchers, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, Oklahoma Pork Council, Livestock Marketing Association, The Poultry Federation, Whitetails of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Wildlife Management Association and Oklahoma Cotton Council.
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