Thank you for welcoming me to the board. Quite a way to start, getting sideways with a Moderator.
Thank you Cherie for helping me 'get my facts straight'. When I read the bills, they had both been voted on and I did not see anything in them about the differences that had to be hammered out. Another fact I got wrong was the 1970's ban on horsemeat by the Federal Government was only against its use in pet food. Not human consumption.
You asked me some questions which I have to consider before asking my own:
1) Why do you prefer that horses have to stand on a truck for 18 hours or more to be hauled to Mexico where there is no control over the actual slaughter process than to have processing plants here in the US? - I don't want them to be transported for up to 24 hours without food, rest or water (which the law allows) to get them to Oklahoma in the same condition. And honestly, there isn't much control over the slaughter process here either. The plants have high fences for a reason.
2) What would you do with the 20,000 to 30,000 horses that are sent to Mexico every year from Oklahoma alone if slaughter was not an option? - That number seems a little high. About 1 in 10 in Oklahoma, but you work in the horse industry and know it better than I do, so ok. I understand about supply and demand. Also about the rising cost of feed and a slumping economy. Abuse and abandonment are still covered by existing laws. Many of the people who think they have no way out can find someone or an organization to help them if they try. My evidence is the number of people who offer to take in or find feed for abandoned horses when the story hits the news.
You actually asked me another question with the third being: What are you going to propose to do to compensate horse owners when they lose ALL value and property rights by not being able to sell an animal that is legally theirs? - I wouldn't propose anything. They took the risk of breeding horses or having horses longer than they are monetarily useful. I took the risk of having horses and paying for them to be put down or doing it myself if I couldn't get a vet to come out when they were too old to ride or got injured. I also got a great deal from a breeder who wanted to retire an older brood mare. He got her with foal and I bought her for more than she would have been worth for slaughter. He won and I won by getting two horses with pretty good value.
Which brings me to the part where I get to ask questions. I have some answers too:
1. Where will this plant be built? Maybe along I35 south of Oklahoma City would be a good place. Convenient for all of the horses from other states coming in. Expect a fight from whoever will be its neighbors.
2. Who will work in the plant? This work has usually been done by experienced people coming from a country just to the south of us whether they have work papers or not. They should fit right in with the local population in Oklahoma.
3. Who will end up paying for all of the inspections and litigation the plant causes? Me. USDA and State Health officials are going to be constantly called there to inspect it and State lawyers will be called on to sue them for environmental problems.
5. Who will benefit from the meat? Only European companies will make a tidy profit from the meat and spend next to nothing in Oklahoma except lawyer fees.
6. Are the horses we send to slaughter free of the drugs, medication and other chemicals that we routinely use in our horses? Probably not, which means they should not be slaughtered for human consumption. Horses raised specifically for slaughter cost more to raise than beef. I guess that's not our problem.
7. Who is going to compensate me when my horse is stolen and the thief drives straight to the gates of the slaughterhouse with phony ownership papers to sell it? No one. At least now, I may be able to catch the horse at an auction or find out where it went for it's 18 hour drive and stop it and hope it's not injured too badly. The slaughterhouse doesn't have time to back check the history of all of the horses it receives and won't care about brands, tattoos or chips if it has a bill of sale.
Maybe I'm against it in Oklahoma because I don't want it here. These plants have terrible safety and environmental records and have been closed in this country for many reasons besides the ones I asked about.
Thank you, Cherie, for your invitation to visit an auction. I have been to them. They are a great way for someone who needs or wants to get a horse at a bargain price. I am always disappointed when good stock ends up going for next to nothing and I know where they will end up. On the other hand, I can't buy all of the ones no one else wants and put them out to pasture.