Many compassionate legislators in 2006 worked hard to overturn the bill former Senator Conrad Burns of Montana had stealthily slipped into an appropriations bill allowing for the slaughter of horses in the U.S. The meat was not meant for our consumption since Americans basically don't look on horses as a food supply-but rather as an iconic symbol of our land. The horse meat was destined for the dinner tables of Europe, and many of us, including and especially some very compassionate legislators in Congress anguished over this. As one legislator noted- slaughtering horses is particularly inhumane. Sadly, a case can be made for all the animals we slaughter, but because of their size, their suffering is even greater.
Finally in 2006, Congressional supporters succeeded in a ban to cut off funding for horse inspections in the U.S. This meant that the foreign-owned slaughterhouses in the U.S. had to shut down their horse slaughterhouses. Sadly though, while most of us breathed a sigh of relief, it was only temporary because it did not solve the problem. Now, the "horse meat" men continued to buy horses at auction and had them sent to the slaughterhouses of Canada and Mexico.
Now these poor horses -tightly packed together for hours and hours in their conveyances, reached their destination weary and exhausted only to be slaughtered even more brutally then the way it was done in the US. Sadly, the compassionate legislators must have been devastated when learning about this. They had tried so hard but fruitlessly in previous years to pass outright bans on horse slaughter, but were always thwarted by the mostly western legislators who favored slaughtering horses for the meat markets of Europe.
Just recently -once again some members of Congress quietly (but despicably) lifted the 5 year-old-ban on funding horse meat inspections in a spending bill- clearing the way for horse slaughter in the U.S. again. This spending bill was signed into law by Pres. Obama on, November 18, to keep the government going until mid-December. I can just see the gleeful faces of these Congressional proponents of horse slaughter who are now boasting that slaughterhouses can be up and running in as little as a month. For me, anyone who is happy to kill these majestic creatures is unbelievably sad and bereft of compassion.
However money has not been allocated to pay for horse meat inspections. This would cost taxpayers $3-5 million a year. Hopefully, the US Dept. of Agriculture will not be able to find the money for this in its existing budget which may be trimmed down even more this year to help balance the budget.
Here's hoping they don't find that money even though the USDA seems willing enough to start inspecting new horse slaughterhouses. Personally, I think they should devote their time and energies to doing a better job of inspecting the Cafos from hell. It seems Mercy for Animals finds more inhumane violations than do they. One former USDA inspector, whom I alluded to in another post, found that basically they are not very willing to expose cruelty or infractions. Do we have any government entities at all worth their salt doing the jobs they were commissioned to do correctly and compassionately?
Sue Wallis, a hefty Wyoming state lawmaker, is just itching to see slaughterhouses up and running because she said this was part of her family's heritage. I wouldn't brag about it if it were mine. She said that the federal ban devastated "an entire sector of animal agriculture for purely sentimental and romantic notions." Wrong- the intent was compassion and caring, not the exploitive, profit-making cruelty meat slaughter proponents are agitating for.
Yes today, there may be a problem with people surrendering their horses in our recent economic downturn, but if there are no people to come forward willing to adopt, it would be more humane to euthanize them than to send them for slaughter and the meat markets of Europe.
I truly hope that U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, (D-Va) who is lobbying colleagues to permanently ban horse slaughter succeeds because he believes the process is inhumane. He said "I am committed to doing everything in my power to prevent the resumption of horse slaughter and will force Congress to debate this important policy in an open, democratic manner at every opportunity." As I believe in prayer, I will ask God to bless his efforts. Will you join me?
I also believe that Rep. Jim Moran et al need our backing, and I hope that all of us who care about this issue will urge our Representatives and Senators to do the same. If you believe that horses are an iconic symbol of America as is the eagle, then please don't sit back and do nothing. Write or e-mail your US Representative to support HR.2966 and your Senators to support S.1176. Called the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act- if passed, would stop the movement to build slaughterhouses in the U.S. and disallow sending our horses to Mexico and Canada or anywhere else for slaughtering.
At the internet site POPVOX Nation, I was happy to see listed 8 animal welfare orgs endorsing these compassionate bills. I was also able to show my support there and it mentioned that 80 percent of the US populace supports bill HR 2966. There is just so much on this topic on the internet that I hope all will go to it today to become educated on a topic which needs compassionate addressing. Our horses have suffered way too many years because of some members in Congress who keep on fighting the humane bills on their behalf. Most of us I believe don't want our horses slaughtered for meat here in the US or elsewhere. But don't leave it up to others. Each of us has to take action for what we believe. The HSUS internet site has a good article on this urgent need for action and helps connect us to the President and members of Congress. Please act today unless you don't care that our horses are being exploited by special interest groups who care not one iota about their welfare and well-being.