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Slaughterhouse advocates rally support in Oklahoma City

Farmers and ranchers met with legislators to say rural Oklahomans are in the best position to know how to manage their livestock.
by William Crum Modified: March 13, 2013 at 10:12 pm •  Published: March 14, 2013

The rights of Oklahomans to manage their property as they see fit would be protected by the Oklahoma bills, House Speaker T.W. Shannon told advocates at the Capitol.

Out-of-state groups led an anti-slaughter rally earlier this month in Oklahoma City, said Shannon, R-Lawton.

“We are drawing a line in the sand and we are doing that this morning,” he said.

Mike Spradling, the Farm Bureau president, said slaughter would be an “option, not a mandate.”

Horse owners are best equipped to manage their animals, he said.

“We know what's best for their well-being from conception to termination,” he said.

Cynthia Armstrong, state director of the Humane Society of the United States, asserted horse owners have options — from selling their horses or donating them to organizations such as horse rescue groups to having them put down by a veterinarian.

She argued out-of-state interests are “trying to dupe the people of Oklahoma into thinking this is a homegrown idea.”

“In fact what they're really up to is they want to start raising horses for meat and ship them elsewhere,” Armstrong said.

Deciding themselves

Snider said he has a 24-year-old Belgian draft horse that he will care for at home the rest of her life “and she will die and be buried there.”

But he favors letting horse owners decide whether slaughter is right for their animals.

“We don't believe that leaving them in the highway right of way and national park rights of way is a viable solution,” he said.

Bill advocates released letters expressing support for slaughter from the American Quarter Horse Association and the Pinto Horse Association of America. Both sponsor horse shows in Oklahoma.

by William Crum
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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