Dear Governor Fallin,

I write to you today to share with you results of our most recent polling regarding legislation to repeal the ban on horse slaughter in Oklahoma.

Given the rather fast pace this legislation has made its way through the legislature, my intent is to make sure that the collective voice of the voting public is heard and taken into consideration on this issue.

As Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, it is NOT my mission, directly or indirectly, to advocate for or against any particular legislation or public policy. While this particular poll was commissioned by two organizations that have taken a position on the legislation, I wrote the survey instrument with the full intent to ask a probability sample of likely voters unbiased questions and present both sides fairly.

I would also like to note that has provided complete disclosure of the poll results, instrumentation, and a Call Disposition Report including rate calculations, some of which exceeds the minimum disclosure requirements of my profession. Our survey methods are also provided with complete transparency with the public on our website.

There has been mention in media reports of another poll conducted by an out-of-state firm with conflicting results. I would like to point out that this organization has not completely provided their results for review, or met even the minimum public disclose standards outlined by the polling industry. The results of this poll, therefore, should NOT be considered until complete disclosure is provided.

It is my hope that you will, in your capacity as governor of our fine state, carefully consider the public’s collective opinion on this legislation as you decide whether to sign this legislation or not.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

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Bill is the founder of and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004. Under Bill’s leadership, SoonerPoll has become the leading public opinion polling company in the state of Oklahoma conducting more public opinion polls for Oklahoma news media than all other pollsters combined since 2006. Bill’s commitment to go above and beyond the AAPOR ethical guidelines of minimum disclosure ensures that SoonerPoll produces quality results every time. Bill has lectured at Oklahoma State University on developing polling methodologies, data collection processes, and advanced likely voter sampling techniques. Bill also serves as an on-air political commentator for Oklahoma television stations.


  1. Well done, Mr. Shapard.
    I appreciate that rather than take a position on the bill, you express concern at the pace of the legislation, and a thoughtful reminder of the voting public.
    My first instinct was to explain my stand on this issue, then explain why, but I think it’s enough to simply express my thanks.
    Thank you, Mr. Shapard.

  2. “Thumbs up” for making the simple yet powerful statement of “listen to the people” because it is clearly obvious to all observers that the Oklahoma legislators were not listening to their constituency.

  3. I watched the senate as they debated the question and found that the senator who was presenting the bill was using the same distorted fabrications as Rep McNiel. False information about drug residues having a 21 day withdrawal period when no such study has ever been done on Bute (the most dangerous).

    In response to being questioned about why is it okay for us to send it overseas for others to eat and not eat it ourselves the answer was…they eat it already so what’s the difference. The difference is that most of the horse meat eaten overseas does not come from the U.S.. There are countries that raise horses as livestock…we raise them as companion animals making their meat unfit for human consumption.

    With that said I can see where the Governor could get confused especially if she’s never been around or owned horses. Your poll is spot on and necessary. If in fact Gov. Fallin signs the bill after reading your letter and seeing the results of your poll then she will be the one history points at with shame.

    Especially if in the future, God forbid, a child is born with or dies from a heinous birth defect and it’s cause gets traced back to meat sent from Oklahoma.

    Governor Fallin…ARE YOU LISTENING?

    • Actually there was a study done a few years ago at Texas A & M and their study showed residue of bute after one year. There belief after this study is that Bute never ever actually clears the system, that it remains in the muscle – meat – of the horse forever. I heard this while attending an equine seminar there and wish I could remember the man that made the statement.

  4. Thank You Mr. Shapard, It amazes me how our voted officials ignore the wishes of the people~My heart is so saddened by the outcome of this bill….and others to follow. It is about greed , money and political favors~And the future of our beautiful horses are at risk. I pray that the “safe act” will pass….but again…….left in the hands of politicians ,it is very scary. Thank You so much, for speaking out…..

  5. Thank you Mr. Shapard!. I can not believe our legislature blantantly ignored us. I have been a Rebublican all my life and voted for the these people and fill slapped in the face for not only their vote, but their lack of respect for our opinions. People have given them fact after fact and they still thumbed their noses at us. When I visit all the media comments there are very few that issue a pro comment. I am so very sad for our State. People all over the nation are watching us and all the wonderful work that has been done to promote our State’s image certainly has been for nothing now.

  6. Mr. Shapard, on behalf of my best friend from my youth, who ended up in a slaughter house before I could find her, and my two faithful companions that were humanely euthanized when their health problems became terminal, we thank you for what you’re doing. God bless you.

  7. Thank God for your voice of reason and We The People are united against horse slaughter plants anywhere..I think it is un-just and un-American! Please pray this does not happen in our country ever!

  8. Thank you for speaking up for those who cannot! Sad that Oklahoma may soon become the “horse slaughter state” and not the “horse show state”. If Governor Fallin does sign and makes it legal to slaughter horses in her state I hope that she will agree to visit the house of horrors once operational to see what she has done.

  9. Hopefully gov. Fallin will look at the practical issue’s and sign the bill into existance, the overwhelming majority of horse owners want the slaughter house. Horses are remarkable animals but they are not usually pets, whether they are euthanized or slaughtered they are still dead and as I know of absolutely no evidence a horse possesses a soul I applaud the practicality of the legislation.

    • Steve–
      Actually, that is not true, in our poll we asked the respondents if they owned a horse and roughly 16% of likely voters in the state own a horse. Of those, 46% supported the legislation and 44% opposed the legislation, so even horse owners are very divided on the issue.

    • That’s a blatant lie, every pole you look at says 85% of the American people hands down oppose any form of horse slaughter for any reason and that includes the 85% of WE-THE-PEOPLE who are Oklahoma citizens as well. As a horse trainer and owner I can tell you first hand that horses are NOT only companion animals but are sociable animals as well. If you knew anything about horses you’d known that they are nothing like cattle or wild game animals. Also, study some some history and you’ll find that horses were and still are a big part of building this country – is that the way you return the favor by sending them to a slaughter house. Have you ever been in a slaughter house and witnessed the torture that happens to our equines. Better read your bible also when it comes to slaughtering horses, especially since Jesus returns to this earth riding a white horse and NOT a cow! If Governor Fallin or any politician for that matter supports horse slaughter they can kiss their political career goodby come next election.

      • I concure Gov. Fallin, you’ve just shot your self in the foot politcally and with people of the state who hired you, perhaps a move to another state will help you with the fallout. Wish I could wish you the best, but I can’t.

  10. Where do they think the unfit horses will go. If not to slaughter. Oh yes let them starve. Or limp around in pain for years untill they die.They didn’t poll me.

    • There is such a thing as humanely putting a horse down. Sending a horse to the slaughtering plant is in no way humane.

  11. Thank you, Mr Shalpard! On behalf of the horses in our family including one much-loved senior mare who was saved from slaughter…we appreciate your effort to ensure the governor of our beautiful state knows how we truly feel! Our voices MUST be heard…let’s keep up the fight!

  12. If you knew anything about horse slaughter you’d know that horses are already slaughtered they just happen to get slaughtered in Mexico or Canada and that hasn’t changed anything. Horse slaughter has never been the answer. The fact is people need to start taking care of their own horses like most of us do. And on the contrary old, sick abandon horses are NOT running loose all over our country. Most horses when they have reached the end of their lives either die or are humanely put to sleep – Not BANG thru the skull and lying there suffering like slaughter plants allow.

  13. The truth is that the majority of Americans DO NOT want horses slaughtered in this country, nor do they want them transported to Canada or Mexico for slaughter! What most decent Americans want is for people who breed horses/animals to be responsible and accountable! How about we focus on that and get to the root of this problem?

  14. Meador and Steve are dead wrong – most people are against horse slaughter (80%). No one is suggesting to let the horses starve. Decent owners have their old and sick horses euthanized. Breeders should only breed for the real economic market (not for an imaginary market). If breeding is curtailed and people take RESPONSIBILITY for their pets, then there is NO need for horse slaughter.

    M. Meador, did you know the slaughterhouses will not take old, sick, and lame horses? The Mexicans let them loose in Texas instead. Then people say these are America’s unwanted horses that need to go to slaughter (they were just refused for slaughter).

    Lazy, ignorant, and greedy people send their horses to auction instead of calling the vet and doing the decent thing.

  15. Let’s talk about horse slaughter and the ludicrous possibility that millions in funding to the USDA would go to inspect a process in clear violation of the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958 for foreign-backed companies and a foreign market that is many times an illegal one:

    Bovines and equines (cattle and horses) are both supposed to be “rendered insensible with a single (1) shot” before vivisection, before they hang on the hook, according to Federal Law. A large percentage (at least 40%) of horses regain consciousness on slaughter lines after they are hanging. The captive-bolt is ineffective at rendering them senseless and they are routinely shot in the head multiple times before their vivisection for harvesting is completed. Animal advocates are outraged over this because of the extremity of this barbaric practice. This is evidenced in the following video, as well as many that can be found on YouTube: And here is the law:

    You cannot restrain the head of a horse to correctly apply the pneumatic captive-bolt gun apparatus to their forehead. The gun has a pressure-release trigger and use of it on horses requires multiple shots to render them senseless. Some skulls from slaughtered horses recovered at rendering plants have 4 or 5, and sometimes up to 20 or more, holes in them.

    The specific fact that equines commonly have to be struck multiple times with the captive-bolt, or shotgun, is what makes commercial horse slaughter in the U.S. a clear violation of the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958. The meat produced contains dangerous levels of adrenaline and cortisol, in addition to all the prohibited substances and medications given U.S. horses.

    It’s bad meat and baaad business.

  16. Kudos for a job well done Mr Shapard. This poll speaks volumes at to what the general public want. It’s funny that the same arguments on whether horse slaughter is humane and whether or not the meat is safe. The answer to both these questions is a resounding NO. Governor Fallin needs to seriously step up and do the right thing.


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