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Oklahoma Rancher Says Horse Slaughter Is Lesser Of Two Evils

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Rodney Payne runs the monthly horse auctions at the Tulsa Stockyards. Rodney Payne runs the monthly horse auctions at the Tulsa Stockyards.
Opponents say there is nothing humane about a slaughterhouse and the push to bring them to Oklahoma is money-driven. Opponents say there is nothing humane about a slaughterhouse and the push to bring them to Oklahoma is money-driven.
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma -

A Claremore rancher says allowing horse slaughter in Oklahoma is the lesser of two evils.

While the state waits to see if Governor Mary Fallin will sign a horse slaughter bill into law, we look at the impact it could have on the horse industry.

Rodney Payne runs the monthly horse auctions at the Tulsa Stockyards. He said he believes ending the state's 50-year ban on horse slaughter would make the horse market more profitable in Oklahoma, with better prices for wanted and unwanted horses.

"I want horse slaughter back in Oklahoma, not that I like it, because I love horses," Payne said. "But there has got to be a place for these unwanted horses."

3/26/2013 Related Story: Aide: Governor 'Inclined' To Sign Horse Slaughter Bill

Payne said he's not pro-horse slaughter, rather anti-suffering. He said he feels bringing slaughterhouses back is more humane than the current options. Even though more than 40 states allow horse slaughter, the nearest operations are in Canada and Mexico. The majority of horses are trucked south.

"When we had plants in Texas, everything was inspected. There were people standing, watching at every corner, making sure the horses were treated right. Now, the horses go to old Mexico. I have no control over the way those horses are treated," Payne said.

But opponents say there is nothing humane about a slaughterhouse and the push to bring them to Oklahoma is money-driven.

Payne agrees that money plays a big role.

He said the horses at auctions that no one bids on get bought by slaughterhouses. He actually bought a horse back from a slaughterhouse at auction and nursed him back to health.

"We try to send them to a really good home, but I can't do it all by myself, and there's not enough people out there who can do this," Payne said.

Payne said 95 percent of the horses that go to slaughter are first offered to the public at auction, but not enough people are stepping forward to buy them.

Governor Fallin hasn't taken action on the horse slaughter bill yet. Her office received the bill this afternoon, and the governor now has five business days to sign or veto it.

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3/27/2013 Related Story: OSBI Investigates Threats Against Sponsor Of Oklahoma Horse Slaughter Bill

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