MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

March 14, 2013

Legislators line up behind horsemeat bill


Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Several legislators voiced their support Wednesday for a pair of measures that would allow the commercial slaughter of horses in Oklahoma for human consumption, despite recent recalls in Europe of products found to contain horse meat and a push in Washington to renew a federal ban on horse slaughter that expired in 2011.

Rep. Skye McNiel, a Bristow Republican who crafted the House’s horsemeat bill, joined Speaker T. W. Shannon and more than 100 members of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and other agriculture groups at a news conference in the state Capitol. Many said ranchers and farmers know best how to care for their own animals.

“This morning, we draw the line in the sand and say we are not going to be bullied,” said Shannon, who framed the issue in terms of property rights.

Oklahoma has banned horsemeat processing since 1963. McNiel’s proposal would allow horses to be slaughtered in Oklahoma but would require the meat to be sold elsewhere. Both her version and a similar Senate bill were overwhelmingly passed by their respective chambers and have crossed to the other for consideration.

Meanwhile, the national Capitol newsletter The Hill reported Wednesday that a bipartisan group of four members of Congress, with the Obama administration’s support, had introduced a bill to permanently establish a federal ban on horsemeat production.