Oklahoma’s 50-year-old ban on horse slaughtering was lifted Friday when the governor signed a new law that will allow facilities to process and export horse meat, much to the chagrin of militant animal people.
Supporters pointed out that a horse slaughtering facility in Oklahoma will provide a humane alternative for aging or starving horses, many of which are abandoned in rural parts of the state by owners who can no longer afford to care for them. Gov. Mary Fallin also noted that horses are already being shipped out of the country, including to facilities in Mexico, where they are processed in potentially inhumane conditions.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 166,000 horses were sent to Canada and Mexico last year alone.
“In Oklahoma, as in other states, abuse is tragically common among horses that are reaching the end of their natural lives,” the governor said, citing the change in the law as a way to alleviate the problem.
She noted that law strictly prohibits the selling of horse meat for human consumption in the U.S.
Similar efforts are under way in other states.