Animal lovers gag on horse meat proposal

A proposed state law in Oklahoma is causing controversy all over the country.

The law would allow the slaughter of horses for human consumption and that's something many American animal lovers can't stomach.

If passed, the law would only allow horse meat to be sold for export to foreign markets.

Professional chef Thomas Mullally of Myrtle Beach has eaten and even cooked horse meat, when he was training to be a chef in Switzerland many years ago.

"I found the meat to be very similar," Mullally said. "It was really hard for me to tell whether I was eating horse meat or beef."

Horse meat is considered a delicacy in Europe, but Mullally says sensibilities are much different in this country, so he doesn't expect it to show up on any menus around here.

"I've never seen it here in America and I think it's going to be a long time before we do, if we do at all."

If horse meat is never allowed for human consumption in the U.S., that would be just fine with Christina Bellamy, who owns Tranquility Horse Farm near Conway.

She says for one thing, the process of horse slaughter is horrible. Sometimes the horses are shot in the head and don't die on the first attempt.

"They can have their throat slit and none of those means are humane in any way," Bellamy said.

Tranquility Farm rescues and rehabilitates horses that have been mistreated.

Bellamy says horses are not like cows or pigs that are raised for the purpose of human consumption. The animals that come to her farm are pets.

"We get attached to every horse here," she said.

Bellamy says her opposition to human consumption of horse meat goes beyond the cruelty to horses. She says it's also unsafe for humans.

"With the horses, some of the medications that we give them you can't consume them as humans, they're not approved."

Bellamy says it all comes down to what society says is OK and in this country, many people saying eating horse meat is not OK.

She doesn't expect that to change anytime soon.

"I think there are enough people like me out there, even a small farmer like us, that has a voice. When you put us all together, we're pretty loud."