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May 8, 2012
Horses on the Hill Conference
By Suzana Megles
If you really care about horses and missed the run down of the April 25th conference held on their behalf in Washington D.C., you wil find happenings at this meeting to gladden your heart. I hope there is more than a glimmer of hope that we can stop the building of horse slaughterhouses in the US as well as stop them being exported to Canada and Mexico.
I cried and smiled through my tears as I read about the HORSES
ON THE HILL EVENT. How did I miss it? Did you? If so, let me
give you some of the salient points of this wonderful event that
happened on April 25th of this year.
The conference was called to raise awareness and show support
for The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (HR 2966 and
S 1176) which for some reason has not been debated before
Congress. Why? Obviously, the debate has been thwarted by
horse slaughter legislators, and this is certainly contrary to the
spirit of a true democracy.
The attendees at this event included a diverse segment of society:
some members of Congress, Willie Nelson's daughter and
granddaughter, John Boyd, President of the National Black Farmer's
Assn., Prince Lorenzo Borghese of "The Bachelor," Sonja Meadows,
executive director of Animals' Angels, Christine Hajek, president
and founder of Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue, and actors John
Corbett and Bo Derek.
Ten-year-old Declan Gregg was also invited to speak. He truly is
an inspiration to many of us -that one so young can be so
compassionate and caring. There were also representatives from
the Seraphim12 Foundation, HSUS, ASPCA, and AWI. However,
I was disappointed not to read the names of other horse rescue
groups who I believe should have come to such an important
gathering as this. Only two questions for them - where were you?
Why didn't you come? However, little Declan noted that the room
was packed, and he was hapy to meet so many wonderful horse
advocates standing up for the horses.
Senator Mary Landrieu teamed up with celebrities Bo Derek and
John Corbett for this event and in her opening address remarked:
"There's no humane way to slaughter a horse. Most horses going
to slaughter are not old and they're not sick."
For years Landrieu has pushed for a ban on slaughtering horses
for meat which is destined mainly for the tables of Europe. The
majority of US citizens do not support the slaughtering of our
horses for this purpose.
Landrieu said the lobbying of the horse industry has prevented
Senate and House floor votes on her legislation thus far. How
frustrating for the legislators who are trying to save our horses,
and how dastardly a deed of those who are preventing it to be
discussed and voted upon in the Congress. It is so sad, that I
daily lose more and more respect for the workings of a self-
seeking Congress who are not concerned about what the people
want but only promoting their selfish agendas at all costs.
There has been a concerted effort by horse slaughter proponents
to open the first horse slaughterhouse in the US since 2007. This
was made easier because of a stealth amendment by a legislator
who represents horse slaughter interests. This amendment which
makes provisions for USDA inspection of horse slaughterhouses was
slipped into an appropriation bill in Nov.of 2011, and signed by
President Obama. Anybody who has any sense of right or wrong
should realize that such stealthy amendments have no place in
democratic government where the whole Congress should have a
voice in any new legislation.
Of course, our iconic horses are still being used in this cruel way
even today as the meat men gather them up - transport them in
terribly crowded and stressful conveyances for long miles to either
Canada or Mexico where they are cruelly slaughtered -especially
in Mexico. Landrieu's bill would put a stop to this cruelty as well -
if it is ever debated in Congress and approved. That's where we
come in. Have you asked your legislators to support the ban
on horse slaughter (HB 2966 and S1176)? I have, but I think it
might be a good thing to remind them again.
Among the bi-partisan legislators at this event were Reps. Jim Moran
(D.Va.), Ed Whitfield (R.-Ky.), and David Rivera (R-Ga.). Sen. Scott
Brown (R.Mass.) also stopped by and talked about his ties to the
cause because of his daughter Arianna's interest in horses. Thanx
All the guests were invited to speak, but first to Declan's surprise,
he was called up first. Nancy Perry of the ASPCA told him and the
gathering that the ASPCA wanted to give him an award. Valerie
Angeli presented him with the Equine Angel Award, and she told
him that he was the first kid to ever be awarded with this honor.
Declan opened the award which was a real ASPCA law enforcement
badge showing a fallen carriage horse, and the driver beating him.
But there was also an avenging angel on the badge with a sword
who laid a protecting hand on the horse! Needless to say that
Declan was so excited he almost cried!
Then Nancy Perry and each of the other speakers were called up
to relate their feelings and thoughts re this great cause. Declan
would also get his chance to express his. He was called up last
and he had no fear because he had this great feeling that he would
do a great job in explaining why even though he was just a kid -
his thoughts and opinions were important and that nobody should
I hope that every "kid" of every age will read what he had to say:
"Hi, my name is Declan Gregg and I am 9 years old. I have come
from New Hampshire today to help stop horse slaughter once and
for all, because it is inhumane, cruel, and unnecessay.
I'm also here to tell you that children can play an important role
in our political system. We are citizens of this country and decisions
made by adults affect us, too.
I have started my own organization, Children 4 Horses, and have
been doing everything I can think of to raise awareness and fight
to end horse slaughter for good. I have been interviewed by the
media, spoken to other children's groups, designed my own blog,
www.children4horses.blogspot.com and and have a Facebook page.
People from all over the world, in over 60 countries, have been
reading my blog to learn about the slaughter of American horses.
I have had over 8000 views on my blog, so I know my advocacy is
making a difference.
The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act is not about taking
away rights or adding more government. It's not a party issue. It's
about doing what is right and listening to the over 80% of Americans
who do not want our horses to be slaughtered. Let's work together
and pass this legislation. I will stay in this fight until we have won
for the horses!"
Bravo Declan! I couldn't have said it better, and I am 8 times older
than you. I bet all the people at this conference probably felt the
same way about your speech, but I thank God that they too also
voiced their concerns for the horses. God bless you and every
one who came to the conference to speak for our beautiful horses.
A last note of sadness from Save Our Mustangs (SAM). I didn't know
that football legend Junior Seau was a friend of animals. I have a
soft spot for anyone who is, and when I first read about his death, it
really didn't register all that much except, of course, I felt for his
family's loss and his pain. After reading a notification from SAM,
I then grieved anew for the loss of a special friend of the animals:
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of the NFL legend and SAM
Advisory Board Member and Friend, Junior Seau. He did amazing
things in the San Diego community and had a huge heart for animals.
This is a true loss for not only San Diegans, but his fans all over the
world. We wish his family peace during this difficult time. Our
thoughts and prayers are with them."
And now so are mine. Rest in peace Junior, and may you have
eternal rest. May your family know peace too and remember
gratefully the years they had with you.
I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the past 30 years and I thank God every day that I am. I am most disturbed at how little the Catholic Church and Christian churches generally give to concern re animal suffering in their ministry. I wrote to 350 bishops in 2001 and only 10-13 responded. I feel that the very least they can do is to instruct that the priests give one sermon a year on compassion to animals. I am still waiting for that sermon. I also belong to Catholic Concern for Animals - founded in England in 1929. (They are on the internet) I recently sent a sample copy of their bi-monthly publication called the ARK to the 8 Catholic bishops of Ohio. Only ONE kindly responded. Somehow we have to reach the Christian teaching magisterium. There is next to nothing re animal concerns and compassion for them. They basically believe that animals are the lesser of God's creation and that gives us the right to do anything we want to them. Way wrong. We need to change their mindsets. The animals are God's first and He expects us to treat them compassionately.