Oklahoma OKs horse slaughter law

March 31, 2013 at 12:30 AM
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OKLAHOMA CITY, March 31 (UPI) -- Oklahoma is opening its doors to the horse slaughtering industry, with Gov. Mary Fallin signing a bill authorizing it in the state.

The governor, who signed the measure Friday, said local governments can still act to ban horse slaughtering operations in their jurisdictions, The Oklahoman reported. The law goes into effect Nov. 1.

"It's important to note cities, counties and municipalities still have the ability to express their opposition to processing facilities by blocking their construction and operation at the local level," Fallin said. "Should there ever be a processing facility planned, my administration will work with the Department of Agriculture to ensure it is run appropriately, follows all state and local laws, and is not a burden or hazard to the community."

Under Oklahoma's law, it will be illegal to sell horse meat for human consumption in the state, The Oklahoman said.

Fallin said she signed the measure because it provides for "the humane, regulated processing of horses." The intention is to curtail the abuse of horses reaching the end of their natural lives.

"Many horses are abandoned or left to starve to death," she said.

"Others are shipped out of the country, many to Mexico, where they are processed in potentially inhumane conditions that are not regulated by the U.S. government."

The U.S. Agriculture Department is likely to soon approve a horse slaughtering plant in New Mexico that would allow equine meat suitable for human consumption to be produced in the United States for the first time since 2007, The New York Times reported recently.

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