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March 25, 2013

Horse slaughter debated

NORMAN — Whether Oklahomans support or oppose the slaughter of horses in the state depends upon which polling data you believe.

Results of two polls released over the weekend provide conflicting information.

The SoonerPoll conducted by Bill Shapard indicates that two-thirds, or 66 percent, of Oklahomans object to a horse slaughter facility operating in Oklahoma.

However, another poll conducted by a company named Protect the Harvest of Iowa concludes that only one out of three (36 percent) remains convinced that horses should not be slaughtered in Oklahoma.

The survey indicated that when those being polled were informed that major agricultural groups support a horse processing facility in Oklahoma, nearly two out of three respondents agreed.

Results of that survey are available at The McCarville Report website.

The survey by SoonerPoll.com released Sunday was commissioned by national animal rights groups, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Currently, no horse slaughter houses are operating in the United States.

Those opposed fear that horses from many other states could end up being sent to Oklahoma for slaughter.

Regardless of what the polls show, both houses of the state legislature have already approved measures to legalize horse slaughtering for the first time in the last 50 years. Legislation is being strongly supported by Republicans and rural Democrats.

Last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously supported legislation that would allow a horse slaughter facility. The Republicans are counting on support from Republican Gov. Mary Fallin.

In Texas, a horse slaughter facility operated in the small town of Kaufman for several years. The plant was opened in 1986. In August 2005, the Kaufman City Council voted unanimously to enforce violations and shut the plant down, due to environmental concerns such as improper handling of sewage.

Concern in the Cleveland and McClain county areas grew when it was discovered that an application for such a facility to be located in the small town of Washington had been filed with federal authorities. However, it appears that no action has been taken on the application filed in July with federal authorities, whose approval is necessary.

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