Gov. Mary Fallin is likely to sign a bill that would allow horse slaughter in Oklahoma if the Senate passes it in its present form, a spokesman said Monday.
The Senate is expected to act on House Bill 1999 on Tuesday.
If the measure passes without any changes, it would go to the governor's office. The House of Representatives last month passed it 82-14.
“The horse slaughter bill is still a moving target and can be amended,” said Alex Weintz, Fallin's communications director. “If it comes to Governor Fallin's desk in the form that we expect it to, she would be inclined to sign it. She would of course only do so after reviewing it carefully with her legal and policy staff.”
Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said he expects HB 1999 to pass the Senate. The bill would allow horse slaughter but would continue the existing ban on the sale of horse meat for consumption in the state.
Sens. Al McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City, and Randy Bass, D-Lawton, have filed amendments to the bill. Getting them approved may be difficult in the Senate, where Republicans have a 36-12 advantage.
The governor's office has thousands of calls and letters on the issue, Weintz said.
“While it is true a majority of those calls are against horse slaughter, the vast majority are coming from out of state and being driven by organized interest groups that do not originate in Oklahoma,” he said.
The governor's office received 2,121 calls Feb. 18 to 19 on horse slaughter; of those, 1872, or 84 percent, were from out of state, Weintz said.
“Oklahoma horses are already being slaughtered,” he said.
“They are simply being shipped out of the country to Mexico and killed, in conditions that may be inhumane. Permitting horse slaughter in Oklahoma would allow those same horses to be processed in an environment that is regulated and that we can guarantee is humane.”
John Murrell, of Dallas, a thoroughbred horse owner and breeder and a former board member of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, delivered a letter Monday to the governor that he had written last month to Fallin.
“The horse slaughter industry is a cruel and inhumane industry,” wrote Murrell, who worked to get the two horse slaughter plants in Texas closed several years ago.
“These two horse slaughter plants had a negative economic and environmental impact on the surrounding areas.”