A study released this week shows that Oklahoma's horse industry had an economic impact totaling $3.6 billion in 2012.
The survey was commissioned by the Oklahoma Equine Alliance and was completed this year. It also estimated the industry supported roughly 35,000 jobs and generated more than $100 million in state and local taxes.
Members of the alliance include the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission and the OklahomaDepartment of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry, among other groups.
The Obama administration has included a proposal in its 2014 budget that would effectively ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Technically, the proposal would prevent money from being spent on inspection of horse slaughtering facilities. Without inspections, facilities could not legally operate. The proposal was greeted enthusiastically by horse lovers and animal advocacy groups.
While eliminating a ban on horse processing plants in Oklahoma wasn’t on the top of the policy agenda for Gov. Mary Fallin, late Friday she signed a bill that overturns a five decade long ban on the practice.
How you view the horse and its role in American life, likely also determines where you are in the debate over allowing the processing of horsemeat in Oklahoma.
If “companion animal,” or “pet,” comes first to mind, you’re probably against the slaughter of horses. And according to a recent SoonerPoll.com public opinion survey, you also agree with the majority of Oklahomans.
But if you think of horses as “work animals,” or “tools” to help on the ranch or farm, you are probably in favor of House Bill 1999. The Senate approved the bill 32-14 this week.
A state Senate committee has unanimously approved a bill that opens the way for a horse slaughtering facility in Oklahoma.
The Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee on Monday voted 9-0 in favor of the bill by Bristow Republican Representative Skye McNiel. It would end Oklahoma's 50-year ban on the slaughter of horses for human consumption.
Under the bill, the sale of horse meat still would be illegal in Oklahoma, but the export for sale in other countries would be allowed.
Some agriculture and horse groups are announcing their support of plans to open a horse slaughtering facility in Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma Farm Bureau announced Friday it would host an event at the state Capitol this week to show "strong support" for bills that would pave the way for a horse slaughtering facility in the state.
Members of the Oklahoma House overwhelmingly voted for a bill that would allow horse slaughter to return to the state.
Impassioned opposition to the legislation came from across the country. Rep. Skye McNeil said she had been attacked over her bill she says could help solve the problem of abandoned horses in the state.
Some grass roots opponents say McNeil has a conflict of interest due to her involvement with a livestock company that would see increased profits from the sale of horses for slaughter.