Horse News

Future Uncertain for Horse Slaughter in Oklahoma

Source: By BARBARA HOBEROCK of Tulsa World

“…the record of environmental damage from previously existing horse-slaughter facilities is horrific…”

OKLAHOMA CITY – A controversial law allowing for the slaughtering of horses takes effect Nov. 1, but whether or not the state will be home to such a facility remains to be seen.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 1999, by Rep. Skye McNiel, R-Bristow, and Sen. Eddie Fields, R-Wynona, despite concerns that the slaughtering of horses was not humane.

The commercial consumption of horse meat is banned nationwide, Fields said. Some foreign countries allow horse meat consumption.

Supporters say the measure was needed because horses are being shipped out of the country and slaughtered in an inhumane manner. Supporters also say it is a private property rights issue.

Fields said he is not aware of any efforts to build a facility in Oklahoma.

Skye McNiel’s family owns a livestock/horse auction in Bristow, OK

“My goal is not necessarily to bring one,” McNiel said. “I am not out promoting it. Once I passed the bill, I was done.”

Prior to the measure’s passage, Ahsan Amil of Oklahoma Meat Company based in Washington, Okla., applied for a federal inspection with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Amil said he did so because at the time, he was considering leasing or selling his plant and interested parties wanted him to seek approval. He is no longer pursuing the issue, he said.

Meanwhile, horse-slaughter plants are planned in New Mexico, Iowa, Missouri and Tennessee. The plants in New Mexico and Iowa have been approved.

But a suit brought by the Humane Society of the United States and animal protection organizations put horse slaughter on hold.

A federal judge approved an injunction Friday to temporarily halt efforts.

The suit alleges that the U.S. Department of Agriculture failed to conduct the necessary environmental review before authorizing horse slaughterhouses to operate.

“We’ve won a temporary but life-saving reprieve for horses, and it’s good news indeed that the kill boxes in New Mexico and Iowa will be empty of horses in the weeks ahead,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society, in a statement issued Friday. “We’ll continue to make arguments when our case resumes in a month that these plants cannot legally operate because of inadequate environmental review.”

A senior attorney for the Humane Society, Kimberly Ockene, said that “the record of environmental damage from previously existing horse-slaughter facilities is horrific, including residents of the community surrounding the facilities finding blood and horse tissue in their tap water.”

“This alone should be enough to require the agency to conduct a careful environmental review prior to authorizing inspections at new facilities. In addition, horses are flight animals who are not raised in confinement and thus the slaughter process is extremely inhumane,” Ockene said.

A. Blair Dunn is an Albuquerque, N.M., attorney representing Valley Meat Co., near Roswell, N.M., and Rains Natural Meats in Gallatin, Mo.

“We have severe problems in this country with abandoned and neglected horses,” he said.

He said he understands the emotional side of the issue and the bonds humans make with horses.

“They don’t agree with the underlying issue of processing of horses,” he said. “They are using this as an excuse to slow things down in order to get Congress to do something because they are unsatisfied with the current law.”

The Federal Meat Inspection Act requires facilities seeking to slaughter animals for human food and prepared for commerce to be inspected, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

From 2007 until 2011, Congress banned the use of federal dollars for the inspections of horse-slaughter facilities, effectively prohibiting the inspections.

The ban was recently lifted.

“Since Congress has not yet acted to ban horse-slaughter inspection, FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service) was legally required to issue a grant of inspection to Valley Meats in Roswell, N.M., and Responsible Transportation of Sigourney, Iowa, for equine slaughter,” said an USDA representative.

Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the agency must issue a grant of inspection once an establishment has satisfied all federal requirements, the representative said.

“The administration has requested Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter,” the agency representative said.

“Until Congress acts, the department must continue to comply with current law.”

The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture has no responsibility over horse-slaughter facilities, said Kirby Smith, public information manager.

“That responsibility lies with the USDA,” she said.

Laws governing the slaughter of horses and horse meat consumption vary from state to state, said Holly Gann, the Humane Society’s horse slaughter campaign manager.

Click (HERE) to comment directly at Tulsa World

12 replies »

  1. A Perfect World. We should open the Soy-lent Green factories to feed all the “abused and unwanted horses” with the morbid, sick, greedy, killers. Then let all the mustangs breed and multiply so they may displace the rest of us.


  2. The killing of our horses has more to do with the stealing of land and resourses than with needing more meat-as some have stated horses are the canary in the mine, for the enviroment.
    Though I do not agree with another GMO food product this is the way the world is going-so cattlemen beware it appears you may be extinct in the future also.


  3. So, may I ask, what is the point here!? It is so obvious that horse slaughter will never be an accepted practice in this country, period! I don’t care what someone’s reasoning is behind it. The opposition is just too great. And for that, I am thankful and most certainly consider myself one of the strong majority opposing it! The fact that Skye McNeil says it was all about passing it and then she’s done is absurd. I know that the Oklahoma legislature was easily bought and paid for here but, there is certainly more going on than just passing the bill. If you’re not planning on pushing it within you state, why risk the alienation of your position with your constituents in getting it passed in the first place!? It just goes to show you just how corrupt and under-handed this business of slaughtering horses really is and the kind of people who are involved!! I, for one, will fight for the horses with all my might and would gladly wish to see the demise of the evil-doers who wish to monetarily benefit from their horrible death!!


  4. The distinct sound of back peddling is the air
    … we knew they would

    Apparently an overwhelming ” NO WAY” is what it takes


  5. Well we cant get politicians in general to care about and stop horse slaughter but we can get it stopped because those in power dont like environmntal damage.!! Its called strategy and we need one big time.

    This seems to be the magic phrase when it comes to getting media ro respond and government to step in and stop the brutal butchering of our beloved horses…..” environmental damage”. As if knowing that horses are full of drugs isn’t enough

    . However if there is the remotest chance that the potentiol for environmental damge will stop horses being slaughtered for good… lets get on that wagon big time and it throw it in the faces of all those who want to murder our horses and those that want to give them permission to do it.

    How are we going to get rid of this old cry from the horse butchers’ “Well your honour it is the best way to end an old or sick horse’s life. ” What a load of crap. Its about time we educated the courts somehow and set these Judges and the media STRAIGHT !!!!!!!!


  6. Skye Mc Niel’s family owns a livestock/horse auction company in Bristow, OK….Gee NO PERSONAL AGENDA in the passage of that bill, HUH? “Pass it and I am done”…Oh, PLEASE! No conflict of interest here. Was it worth the loss of respect and support from your constituents as well as getting your name and reputation on THAT list? Time will tell.


    • She’s got to be kidding, if she doesn’t think she looks like a real fool…”Pass it and I am done”! Looks like no respect shown here, for her constituents or the welfare of her communities, let alone the innocent horses who go through a living hell in the process! Her disregard for the truth and facts are obvious ….”Pass it and I am done” , says it all!


  7. The USDA already has more than it can handle inspecting meat processing plants that provide traditional meat for human consumption: Wasn’t there just a recall of 50,000 POUNDS of tainted beef?
    From a pragmatic standpoint, horse slaughter shouldn’t even be an issue. We don’t have the natural or federal resources to support an industry as draining as horse slaughter when traditional food industries can’t guarantee the safety of THEIR products.


  8. McNeil might be thinking it over after she managed to get the slaughter bill passed. I have a good idea that plenty of her constituents let her know they are going to vote her out. If the Ok voters are smart they will get rid of all or most of the greedy politicians that helped pass this disaster of a bill.


  9. Sad to see such a pretty lady push so a decrepid bill with bullish pride then say shes done as if it washes her hands of her grimy crime. Go to prove beauties need to use their brains cause a nice smile undo this mess. Why such an inexpirienced person would willingly do this is beyond me. Yet she obviously believes it somehow goes away by saying shes out of it NOW. That indicates that she had influences ushering this. I hope her children grow up learning to think farther ahead than she does.


  10. Skye has an auction house and feedlot…..Sueys’ family has Belgian /Haflinger crosses, which she has as wallpaper on her FB page. Concern for the poor starving horses my ass.


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