September 28, 2022

Is Oklahoma Yea or Neigh On Horse Meat?

Three arrests have been made in the food fraud scandal that has gripped Europe since horse meat was detected in burgers and frozen lasagne. The men who work at Farmbox Meats near Aberystywth and Peter Boddy Slaughterhouse in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, will be interviewed by investigators from the Food Standards Agency. Operations at those plants have been suspended while the investigation proceeds.

HorseMeanwhile, in the United States, two bills have been introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature, one authored by Rep. (R) Skye McNeil (HB1999) that would make processing but not eating horse meat legal in the state, the other authored by Sen. Mark Allen (SB375) that would make eating horse meat legal.

This week, Sen. Allen’s bill unanimously passed the Senate Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and will now get a vote before the full Senate.  And Rep. McNiel’s  bill, which was was passed in a 8-2 vote by the  House of Representatives Public Health Committee, will go to the full house for a vote.

Why the sudden interest in horse meat? From 2006 to 2011, Congress witheld funds for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to inspect horse meat creating a de facto ban. The last slaughterhouse to process horse meat in the U.S. closed in 2007.  After that, two things happened, according to a June 2011 report from the Government Accountability Office.  The first was that U.S. horses were transported across our northern and southern borders for slaughter. “From 2006 through 2010, U.S. horse exports for slaughter increased by 148 and 660 percent to Canada and Mexico, respectively,” the report states, with US officials having no way to observe these processes.  The second, is that horse owners who didn’t want to pay to ship their elderly animals over the border just abandoned them. “Comprehensive, national data are lacking, but state, local government, and animal welfare organizations report a rise in investigations for horse neglect and more abandoned horses since 2007. For example, Colorado data showed that investigations for horse neglect and abuse increased more than 60 percent from 975 in 2005 to 1,588 in 2009. Also, California, Texas, and Florida reported more horses abandoned on private or state land since 2007. These changes have strained resources, according to state data and officials that GAO interviewed,” the report states.

To address these problem, the GAO lists three matters for consideration at the end of the report.  One, make an outright ban on horse slaughter and the export of horses for slaughter. Two, reinstate funding for horse slaughter inspections. And three, to reinstate funding for inspections of exported horses intended for slaughter. In the absence of federal action on any of these points, Oklahoma and other states are moving forward with their own proposed solutions.




  1. Why are we even talking about processing horse meat? Horses are not raised as food animals and are treated routinely with drugs banned from the food chain. Plus Americans don’t want to eat former service animals and companions.

    And possibly most importantly, with all the budget cuts, why on earth would we allocate taxpayer money to inspecting food for foreign countries?? Makes entirely no sense, no matter how you look at it.

    • Linda Larsen says

      Because horse meat has been processed for human consumption in other countries without the knowledge of the people who ate it. Legislators in Oklahoma are considering allowing horse meat in human food. Finally, we must inspect food that comes from foreign countries and is imported into the United States.

  2. If slaughter facilities open in the US. FDA again would investigate USDA findings of illegal residues in the meat. This would lead to horse owners, who may not of realized their beloved but ill horse, when sent to auction, ended up being slaughtered. A lot of time spent in developing cases for unintentional residue in horsemeat. In this era where everyone complains about excessive government, what gets hit with budget cuts are many of the agencies, whose sole function is to protect the American people. We need to create a single food safety and economic agency. Remove APHIS and FSIS from USDA so we avoid conflicts of interest created by inspecting businesses USDA’s purpose is to promote. Remove Food & Feed inspection from FDA, where it is overshadowed by the budget requirements for Drugs, Devices and Biologics. Incorporate EPA regulation and Animal Welfare laws, where it affects foods and feeds. Simplifying objectives will bring about stronger enforcement, increase food safety and lessen economic fraud.

    • Yes JP I agree a separate agency however horses should be removed from slaughter the FDA considers them companion animals not food. We don’t raise horses for food in this country.

      • You’re right, but horses will be slaughtered anyway with much of the meat (for human consumption) being shipped overseas. Several countries had banned our beef due to food safety concerns, horse slaughter would not be a profitable business if perhaps countries importing our horsemeat deemed it to be unsafe and banned it.

  3. Chrystal Hays says

    This industry drives horse theft and scams on Craigslist offering to “rescue” free horses. But it endangers lives, too. Imagine if the beef we eat was from pet cows who had been fed and treated with products labeled “not for use in animals intended for human consumption” for years, sometimes as many as 25 years?

    You can walk into any tack or feed room and it is everywhere…and that is what is going to be exposed as the EU scandal unfolds. It’s common sense: as long as pets and companion animals can get into the food chain, it is foolish to think it is ethical to feed them to other people.

  4. Meredith Taylor says

    I do not understand this interest in opening slaughter plants inside the US. The majority of the people polled have already said they would not eat horse meat. Most find the thought repulsive. It is toxic meat as the horses are not monitored before slaughtering. Read Paula Bacon’s statements on what a slaughter plant will do to a town. It isn’t pretty. We do not eat horses in the US, most of us would refuse eating it, so why drag it back into the arena. It is no surprise that Rep Skye McNeil is pushing for horse slaughter. She stands to gain from horse slaughter, as apparently, from material I have read, her family owns the largest livestock auction/pens in OK. FDA says horses are companion animals and USDA says they are livestock. For most horse owners they are companion animals and we do not eat our companion animals period. There are plenty of food sources already available to fill our needs without putting horse meat on the table. OK will be setting a poor example for animal welfare if they pass these bills. I do not think they want to be known as the state that slaughters and eats horses.

  5. Wake up folks!If our meat was truly tested I would not be suprised if horsemeat was found in our “beef”,etc.Horses are hauled from auctions with fake paperwork all over this country-animals full of bute,wormers labeled not to be given to animals used for consumtion,and antibiotics and the list goes on.Our USDA SYSTEM is rife with corruption,bribery and understaffed.Our food system is not safe.Look at the public available footage of the horse slaughter plants and their horrorific abuse of the horses and the pollution problems associated with them.Say No to horseslaughter plants in your state

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