The Norman Transcript

Opinion

March 31, 2013

Horse slaughter legislation not the answer

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

I wish to voice my opposition to legislation permitting horse slaughter in Oklahoma. I am an attorney, a local small business owner, and a horse owner. My main concern in the slaughter of these animals is the potential for contaminated meat to enter the market. Over the years, we have injected our own horses with medications and have administered oral and topical medications that, according to our veterinarians, makes the horses unsuitable for human consumption.

There has been no indication by these veterinarians that a waiting period of 21 days or longer before slaughter will “cure” this concern. When horses are purchased at auctions for slaughter, there is no reliable record of the medications they have consumed. There is likewise no regulation regarding their care or living conditions prior to being sold for slaughter. This represents the issues of sickly and unfit animals entering the human food chain.

If we have high confidence that a horse slaughterhouse in Oklahoma would consistently produce meat that is safe for human consumption, then I question why the sale of such meat would be banned in Oklahoma.

I realize that there is a great need for a solution to the abandoned, neglected, and/or unwanted horses in our state. However, I propose that we make other efforts to solve this growing problem rather than turning to horse slaughter for a solution. For example, we help fund our state’s animal shelters by requiring annual pet licenses. We do this out of a sense of duty and respect for animals that humans have bred over the years to serve as companions to increase our quality of life but that have regrettably found themselves without homes. I have read that there are over 300,000 registered horses in Oklahoma.

They, too, have been bred and raised as companions and increase our quality of life. If each horse owner were required to pay just $15 per year in the form of a license for ownership of a horse, that would generate $4,500,000 annually that could be earmarked for the care of abandoned, neglected and/or seized horses or for low-cost euthanasia options for owners who no longer can or wish to keep their equine animals.

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