Horse processing for human consumption would again be legal in Oklahoma if a pair of bills currently pending in that state’s legislature become law. Current Oklahoma law forbids horse processing and the sale of horsemeat for human consumption in that state.
Horse processing has not taken place in the United States since 2007 when a combination of legislation and court decisions shuttered the last remaining horse processing plants in Illinois and Texas. Following the closure of domestic processing plants, U.S. horses have been shipped to Mexico or Canada for processing. Commercial horse slaughter in the United States became possible again in 2012 when Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed legislation that did not specifically deny the USDA the funding to carry out inspections at domestic horses processing plants. Since the ban was lifted, plant developments have been proposed in several states, however no horse processing plants are operating anywhere in the United States.
Some Oklahoma lawmakers have advocated for the resumption of horse processing in that state even before the federal funding ban was lifted. In 2010, Oklahoma legislators passed HCR 1045, a no-binding resolution asking the state’s delegation in Washington, D.C. to oppose any federal legislation aimed at prohibiting the transport or processing of horses for human consumption.
Earlier this year, a pair of Oklahoma legislators introduced bills that would facilitate horse processing development in that state. HB 1999, introduced by Rep. Skye McNiel, would allow horse slaughter in Oklahoma, but prohibits the sale of horsemeat for human consumption in the state. SB