The U.S. Agriculture Department would regulate horses being slaughtered in a processing plant operating in the U.S., said Fields, R-Wynona.
“We have the safest food supply in the world, and we have the model there of how to do it, and I think the horse processing can be modeled after that,” Fields said after the vote.
“If we ever do get a facility in Oklahoma, we've got to make sure that they are doing it the best possible way that that process can be done.”
Plant is years away
Fields said a proposed horse slaughter plant in New Mexico likely is the closest to actually begin operations, but inspectors still are being trained. He said he had heard that a permit application to build a slaughterhouse in Oklahoma in rural McClain County has been denied.
If a horse slaughter plant would come to Oklahoma, horse owners would not be forced to take them there, Fields said.
The plant would give horse owners another option of what to do with their animals, which are personal property, he said.
“If the governor does sign the bill, my guess is it would be two or three years down the road before we ever actually had a facility up and operating in the state of Oklahoma,” he said.
Killing the bill won't end horse slaughter, Fields said. Oklahoma horses already are being slaughtered; they are shipped to Mexico and killed in possibly inhumane conditions.
“It's better to do it here in the U.S. than to try to ship them to Mexico, where the videos I've seen, it's just unreal how they do it down there,” he said.
HB 1999 would revoke the state's 1963 law banning the sale of horse meat and would end the prohibition on horse slaughtering.
McAffrey said after the vote he was disappointed.
“We as senators made a mistake,” he said. “It's a bad deal for the state of Oklahoma.”