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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 Published: March 25, 2013
/articleid/3770996/1/pictures/1991956">Photo - Paula Bacon <strong></strong>
Paula Bacon

“You would be better served to have a lead-smeltering plant and sexually oriented businesses all up and down your main drag than to have a horse slaughter plant in your community,” Bacon said.

Horseman speaks

John Murrell, a thoroughbred horse owner and breeder and a former board member of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, talked of the inhumane treatment horses face being taken to processing plants and the cruel fate that awaits them when they arrive.

“Our horses deserve a much kinder end to their life … than to be sent to a horrific, terrible scary death at a slaughterhouse,” said Murrell, of Dallas.

“We as Americans do not raise horses for food. The slaughter process is cruel and inhumane. From the time the horses arrive at the livestock auction and during their transport to slaughter, which in many cases can be horrific and lengthy, the horses endure unspeakable atrocities, including multiple injuries.”

Offering an option

Mike Spradling, president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, said a processing plant is an alternative for horse owners who can't afford them and are now turning them out on roads, abandoning them on other people's pastures or simply allowing them to starve.

Contacted Sunday, Spradling said a processing plant is only an option for horse owners.

He said he expected about one third of Oklahoma horse owners would sell their unwanted horses to the plant.

“This is a private property rights issue,” said Spradling, of Tulsa. “Those are our animals.

“We are in the business of producing food and fiber,” Spradling said. “Is it better just to dispose of the animal, euthanize it and put it in a hole … or if there is an option for it ... to go to humans?

Poll finds voter opposition

to horse slaughter proposal

Bill Shapard, chief executive officer of, 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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