Horse slaughter opponents spur last-minute efforts to kill Oklahoma legislation

Passage of a bill that would allow the slaughter of horses in Oklahoma is expected to be taken up this week. Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, says the measure should pass, and if no changes are made the bill would be sent to Gov. Mary Fallin for her consideration
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: March 25, 2013
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With legislation that would allow the slaughter of horses in Oklahoma heading down the stretch, opponents mounted up last-minute efforts Sunday to rein in the legislation's momentum.

Speakers criticized the legislation during a news conference at a horse ranch in northeastern Oklahoma City and released poll results showing a majority of Oklahomans oppose the two measures that would overturn a 50-year ban on horse slaughter.

The Senate is expected to vote early this week on House Bill 1999, which would allow horse slaughter but would continue the existing ban on the sale of horse meat for consumption in the state.

A House of Representatives committee is scheduled Wednesday to hear Senate Bill 375, which would revoke the state's 1963 law banning the sale of horse meat and would end the prohibition on horse slaughtering or the sale of horse meat.

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Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said he expects HB 1999 will win Senate approval.

“If you fully understand what they're doing, it's humane, it's better off for the horses,” Bingman said last week.

If it passes without any amendments being added, it would go the governor for her consideration.

Gov. Mary Fallin has a policy of not commenting on whether she will support legislation until she has an opportunity to review the final version.

Paula Bacon, who served as mayor of Kaufman, Texas, when a horse processing plant was operating in her community, talked Sunday about the environmental dangers and the stigma that Oklahoma would face if a similar plant operated in the state.

She said the city filed legal action against the operators of the plant; still, she said the plant caused environmental and economic havoc in her community until it closed in 2007.

“It stigmatizes your community,” she said. “Good development does not want to come there.

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Poll finds voter opposition

to horse slaughter proposal

Bill Shapard, chief executive officer of SoonerPoll.com, said his poll showed 66 percent of Oklahoma likely voters oppose passage of legislation allowing the slaughter of horses. When asked about having a horse slaughter operation in their community, 72.3 percent opposed the idea. The poll was commissioned by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States. It was conducted March 16-21 with 452 likely voters in Oklahoma selected to participate at random, Shapard said. The margin error is 4.6 percent.

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