The Norman Transcript

Opinion

March 31, 2013

Horse slaughter legislation not the answer

(Continued)

NORMAN —

My second concern with horse slaughter is that it fails to protect the horse as an important symbol of our country’s and state’s history. We spend an enormous amount of funds for the protection of other federal and state artifacts, species and historical symbols. Our country and state would not have developed as they did without the horse as a companion, as a means for transportation and farming, and as a thriving industry.

Horses have not historically been bred as a food source but rather have been groomed and bred to be human companions.

To assume that they can be processed for meat consumption in a similar manner as we process cattle is mistaken. When I watch videos of slaughterhouses, I am struck by how calm cattle are as they are processed through these facilities. On the other hand, horses that process through these facilities appear to be noticeably terrified and unsettled. I do not believe that good regulation of slaughterhouses in our state would negate the simple fact that horses are different animals and were meant for a different purpose than the cattle and other livestock historically raised to feed our population.

We should not make efforts to promote an industry overseas that conflicts with our country’s and our state’s emotional and historical attachment to these outstanding animals. To permit the slaughter of animals that represent such an important aspect of our history is denigrating.

Lastly, the negative stigma surrounding horse slaughter likely would lend itself to a noticeable decline in property values in areas containing such slaughterhouses.

I urge people to consider the above and question any legislation legalizing horse slaughter in our state. The fact that Oklahoma horses are currently being purchased for slaughter in Mexico should not encourage us to legalize it here in an effort to do a better job of processing an animal and an American symbol that was never intended to be a food source. Rather, it should encourage us to excel in creating a more humane solution to an overall productive and thriving horse business that, like many businesses, sometimes results in abuse and neglect by a few.

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