For seven years now, people have fought hard to protect America’s horses from the cruel and preventable practice of horse slaughter. Sadly, the few individuals profiting from this industry have spent vast sums of money to mislead some in the horse industry and US Congress. They have turned a serious animal cruelty issue into a political game. Despite all of this, support continues to grow for a ban because no false stories or fabricated tales of “unwanted horses” can derail the simple truth – horse slaughter is cruel.
As of today (July 24, 2008), House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN) have taken up the reins of this cause and committed themselves to ending horse slaughter by sponsoring H.R. 6598, the Conyers-Burton "Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act". This bill directly addresses the cruelty of horse slaughter – a consequence of the industry that even opponents of ending horse slaughter admit exists. This legislation is not new, as the original bill introduced in 2002 to end horse slaughter included enforcement language from Title 18 of the US Criminal Code for those found guilty of breaking the law. Chairman Conyers has simply removed the unnecessary language from the earlier versions to specifically target those causing the cruelty to horses.
Every five minutes, an American horse is brutally slaughtered for human consumption in plants in Mexico and Canada. Ironically, industry lobbyists admit to Congress that the foreign horse slaughter plants are cruel, yet the companies the lobbyists represent also own and operate these very plants across the border! Despite unsubstantiated claims of “unwanted” and “abandoned” horses, these foreign-owned plants and their killer-buyers continue to buy horses from all over America at an alarming rate to meet the demand for the animals’ flesh in fancy European restaurants.
Horse slaughter is a brutal process from beginning to end. Killer-buyers have no regard for the horses’ welfare, they just need to find as many of the animals as possible in order to fill a quota. Because the horses’ final destination is slaughter, no concern is paid to their treatment when they are collected, during transport, or in the slaughterhouse. A former equine investigator for the Pennsylvania state police summed this industry up perfectly when she said, “… horses were deprived of food and water because they were going to slaughter anyway. My conclusion is that the slaughter option encourages neglect…Money is the only objective of selling horses to slaughter. Those of us in the trenches have seen enough.”
Constituents concerned about the welfare of America’s horses must use this opportunity to speak up to their Members of Congress. The slaughterhouses, their lobbyists and the few pro-horse slaughter groups will be on Capitol Hill screaming loudly because they know support for ending horse slaughter is already strong. They know that if this issue is given a fair hearing and a fair vote, horse slaughter will end immediately.
Even though this fight has gone on for years, we must never forget that until Congress acts and passes a federal ban, horses are being hauled across the United States before being sent to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered under even worse conditions. The slaughterhouses and their supporters hope to wear down horse advocates by stalling the political process. We must send a message that we will not stop until ALL horses are protected from slaughter.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Please call, write or email your Representative today, urging him or her to support H.R. 6598, the Conyers-Burton "Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act". Chairman Conyers and Congressman Burton intend to do everything in their power to move this measure through Congress as soon as possible. Be sure to mention the facts above.
Many Members of Congress have already supported a similar measure, so this is not a new proposal; Find out if your Representative is on the Judiciary Committee, please urge him or her to attend any upcoming hearing and speak out on this important legislation as well.
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