The appalling discovery that horse meat has been passed off as beef in frozen food products distributed across Europe has consumed the media in recent weeks. If the shock of learning that Europeans have been unknowingly eating horses wasn't enough, the human health concerns associated with the consumption of toxic horse meat justifies the public outrage.
As this story unfolds in the national media, two bills making their way through the Legislature would overturn Oklahoma's long-standing ban on the sale of horse meat for human consumption and open the door for a horse slaughter plant to set up shop in the state.
Horse slaughter is inhumane, no matter how or where it's done. Legislators argue that horses are currently being transported to Mexico, where they are savagely put to death when their spinal cords are cut. Horse slaughter in Oklahoma would be just as savage and inherently cruel, as horses are biologically unsuited for commercial slaughter, making them difficult to stun prior to dismemberment. U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors have discovered rampant violations and cruelty in domestic horse slaughter plants.
The USDA also notes that more than 92 percent of American horses sent to slaughter are in good condition — healthy horses that could go on to lead productive lives in loving homes. It's a myth that only old, sick or injured horses are slaughtered. This effort is about making money while these horses suffer. A 2012 poll commissioned by the ASPCA revealed 80 percent of American voters are opposed to the slaughtering of American horses for human consumption.