Horse Slaughter Bill Introduced in Oklahoma
Oklahoma State Representative Skye McNiel has served up a horse slaughter for human consumption bill for Oklahoma, HB1999, despite ethics issues she perhaps should have considered, as well as the many unintended consequences of horse slaughter.
Representative McNiel's family has a financial interest in a livestock auction house in Oklahoma that features bi-weekly horse sales. However, according to OK's “CONSTITUTIONAL ETHICS RULES governing the ETHICAL CONDUCT of STATE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES and CAMPAIGNS for STATE OFFICE OR STATE ISSUES EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2011" Ms. McNiel may be in violation of her state’s ethics rules.
Representative McNiel has at the very least, “…a reasonably foreseeable benefit…” from the legislation that she’s introduced.
257:20-1-7. Votes, deliberations, and discussions
by legislators or statewide elective officers
(a) A legislator or statewide elective officer shall not
introduce or cause to have introduced, request the
introduction of, promote, or vote on any legislation if
the statewide elective officer or legislator or a child,
adopted child, step-child or spouse of the officer or
legislator or a business or entity with which the
legislator or officer or a member of the immediate
family of the legislator or officer is associated has:
(1) a pecuniary interest in; or
(2) a reasonably foreseeable benefit from;
the legislation. A reasonably foreseeable benefit
includes detriment to a business competitor to the
legislator or statewide elective officer, to a business
competitor of a member of the immediate family of the
legislator or officer, or to a business competitor of a
business or entity with which the legislator or officer or
child, adopted child, step-child or spouse of the
legislator or officer is associated. . .
The Horse Abandonment Problem
In this economy, corporate special interests have consistently beat the drum of rhetoric, that poor, poor horses are being abandoned and starved to death. Wouldn't they be better served, on a plate! However, in fact, a European Union Report (pg. 7) shows that of 62,560 horses taken to slaughter in Mexico in 2010, 5363 horses were rejected for slaughter for human consumption due to being sick pregnant etc.
Where did these horses go? They are being dumped, abandoned.
Sure there are isolated cases of horse owners abandoning and starving their horses, but when there is a slaughter facility, abandonment is systematic, required, even planned. Hence, Horse Slaughter is THE CAUSE of horse abandonment.
Slaughter vs Euthanization
In the US there are 9 Million Horses of which 900,000 die naturally or are put down each year. These 900,000 horses are not in the slaughter pipeline. They are buried, composted, cremated, rendered, or left for wildlife to consume if not euthanized.
There are only 110,000 horses in the slaughter for human consumption pipeline. This amount of horses could easily go the same way the other 900,000 went or be re-absorbed into the economy providing jobs.
The Irony of Humane Slaughter
Oh you say, it would be much better to slaughter the US horses in the U.S. where we can make sure it's humane, have a shorter trip....
1. Even before Americans closed the foreign owned slaughter plants down (in 2006), horses were going to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. For example from USDA FAS data.
Year 1967 1990 2004 2012
Canada 1,315 27,856 24,428 40,865
Mexico 178 2,949 17,636 69,298
2. Additionally, Cattle Slaughter in the US has not been accomplished in accordance to the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958, much less horse slaughter. Horses have a thicker skull and their brains are more anterior than cattle, making it even more difficult to put them out by one blow to the head with a pneumatic hand held bolt gun. Horses are also flight animals with long necks and if their head is contained, they will break their necks. They have 1.8% more blood to bleed out. For all these reasons and more, horses cannot be slaughtered humanely.
3. Even with slaughter plants here in the U.S., the trip was long because the volume of horses is so low and therefore the plants where few and far in between.
The Unintended Consequences of Horse Slaugher
Other reasons why Horses should not be slaughtered for human consumption include:
- Crime Rate Increases
- Property Value decreases
- Unstable Market due to drug tainted meat (Market likely to end July 2013)
- NEPA requirements not met
- Non-Compliance with the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958 per GAO
- Increase in Horse Abandonment
- Cost of Inspections which take away from beef inspections
- Environmental Concerns
- Worker Safety per GAO
Read the whole report by the Wild Horse Observers Association: UNITED STATES Equine Slaughter Feasibility
“Four in five (80%) voters disapprove of allowing American horses to be slaughtered for human consumption. In fact, two-thirds (67%) of all registered voters disapprove strongly , while just 13% say they approve of slaughtering American horses for human consumption.
Furthermore the opposition to horse slaughter for human consumption has grown by over 10 percentage points over the past five years.”