Cross-posted from Forbes.com
WRITTEN BY VICKERY ECKHOFF
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin overturned a 50-year state ban on slaughtering horses Friday, ignoring two-thirds of Oklahoma citizens, who oppose slaughtering horses according to a state-wide poll. Nationwide polls show that 80% of Americans are strongly opposed to slaughtering horses.
Governor Fallin’s signature on HB1999, the slaughter bill, allows Oklahoma to join four other states now vying for USDA inspections that they need to operate slaughter plants. This will reignite an industry that was shut down in 2007 after a bitter, long and costly legal and legislative battle.
Oklahoma’s embrace of the horse meat trade comes at an odd time: during a still-widening international food contamination scandal as well as across-the-board cutting of many food and food-safety programs on which U.S. families depend.
Lawmakers in the state, a big beef producer, took less than 20 seconds to push through a committee vote on HB1999. From there, it was rushed through the House and Senate before reaching the Governor’s desk early last week. A companion Senate bill, SB375, was similarly handled. Public comments and debate on both bills were blocked.
Federal tax dollars are used to inspect meat produced in the U.S., whether it’s sold and consumed here or in other countries. Oklahoma’s new law stipulates that the horse meat produced there will be for export only, costing U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars.
In a press release, Governor Fallin stated that slaughter would improve horse welfare for thousands of horses that she suggests are being abused or are otherwise taking long, dangerous journeys to Mexico where they meet gruesome south-of-the-border deaths.