By Tulsa World
OKLAHOMA CITY — Both chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature have passed separate measures allowing horse slaughterhouses to operate in the state.
The House of Representatives passed House Bill 1999 on a 82-14 vote.
Without debate, the Senate passed Senate Bill 375 on a 38-6 vote.
The measures would strike the state’s previous legal ban on horse slaughter facilities but would only allow equine slaughter if the horse meat is to be exported internationally. The Senate bill would require that horses headed to slaughter be sold through a livestock auction and purchased by a livestock dealer.
Rep. Skye McNiel, R-Bristow, author of the house version, said it was a humane alternative to starving horses being abandoned on rural roads.
“Nobody wants horses to be abused. I don’t,” McNiel said.
But without a domestic horse slaughter plant, animals will either be abandoned when their useful lives pass or be sent to Mexico for inhumane slaughter, she said.
Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, debated against the proposal, saying it was bad for the state’s reputation.
“We’re talking about image,” Dank said. “I don’t want people thinking of Oklahoma as the state where you slaughter your horses.”
Although the measures are similar and both have passed, neither has been considered in both houses. The House bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. The Senate bill goes to the House for consideration.