Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Truth about Inhumane Animal Legislation

Update 1: H. R. 503, The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA) is on the schedule for today in the U. S. House of Representatives. Lexidiem provided a comment that reminds everyone what could happen if this legislation fails. No excuse is good enough to let this legislation fail.

Update 2: This is a step in the right direction:

The House brushed aside objections from horse doctors and the White House and voted Thursday to outlaw slaughtering horses for people to eat.

Critics of the practice made an emotional appeal, showing photographs of horses with bloodied and lacerated faces, the result of being crammed into trailers destined for slaughterhouses.

Celebrities also turned up the pressure: Actress Bo Derek was on hand for Thursday's vote, and country singer Willie Nelson and oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens have been campaigning against horse slaughter.
With a House vote of 263 - 146, most everyone can guess with 100 percent accuracy who the 146 are. The number certainly includes every Republican in the Illinois Congressional Delegation. There is nothing new there. Yet, there are other Republicans that understand why Congress needs to outlaw horse slaughtering:
It is one of the most inhumane, brutal, shady practices going on in the U.S. today, said Rep. John Sweeney, R-N.Y., a sponsor of the ban.

Sweeney argued that the slaughter of horses is different from the slaughter of cattle and chickens because horses, such as Mr. Ed, Secretariat and Silver, are American icons.

They are as close to human as any animal you can get, said Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C.

Added Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.: The way a society treats its animals, particularly horses, speaks to the core values and morals of its citizens.
Now citizens need to convince their senators since many defenders of horse slaughter contend that the process is humane: These facilities provide a humane alternative to additional suffering or possible dangerous situations, said GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

The congressman's constituents should pity the man. He remains clueless -- especially about Exceller and Ferdinand.
The administration had the backing of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the biggest horse doctors' group. The American Quarter Horse Association also supports the practice.

Opponents had the backing of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association as well as the Humane Society of the United States.
Euthanasia -- Horse slaughtering is the exact opposite. Defenders of this abomination should read the dictionary a little more.

A reader provided the following sworn statement regarding the practice of horse slaughtering at Cavel International in DeKalb, IL. It is in Speaker Dennis Hastert's IL-14.

*** WARNING ***
The following contains graphic descriptions
In July 1991, they were unloading one of the double-decker trucks. A horse got his leg caught in the side of the truck so the driver pulled the rig up and the horse's leg popped off. The horse was still living, and it was shaking. [Another employee] popped it on the head and we hung it up and split it open.

[. . .] Sometimes we would kill near 390, 370 a day. Each double-decker might have up to 100 on it. We would pull off the dead ones with chains. Ones that were down on the truck, we would drag them off with chains and maybe put them in a pen or we might drag them with an automatic chain to the knockbox. Sometimes we would use an electric shocker to try to make them stand. To get them into the knockbox, you have to shock them . . . sometimes run them up the [anus] with the shocker. . . When we killed a pregnant mare, we would take the guts out and I would take the bag out and open it and cut the cord and put it in the trash and sometimes the baby would still be living, and its heart would be beating, but we would put it in the trashcan
Disgusted yet? There is more.
When Horse Slaughter Hits Home -- Liz's Story -- Her horse was stolen. Now she had to go to the slaughter and identify Lady's hide. This would be a nightmare to all of us horse owners.

I bought Lady out of a warm up ring at a show that I was showing at. Silly me thought they were beating her to death, did not know that is how they trained halter horses when no one was looking. I walked her down the road (22 miles) to the barn I was boarding at, could not get her in a trailer she was so spooked. I spent the rest of the year working with her, loving her, telling her my whole life story so she would know who I was, and I never laid a hand on her. After about 7 months I took her back into the show ring, she took 5th out 27 in halter. She did absolute beautifully, and I never had to use a crop. I still have that ribbon and will to the day I die, to me it was gold.

Lady kept getting fatter and fatter and the work outs did not seem to help, we changed her grain rations fed her less hay but nothing seemed to work. I finally called the vet. Lady was in foal and would deliver in less then a month. Nice people did not let me know that they had bred her just before I purchased her. Lady had a beautiful filly which I kept until she was trained then I had to sell her do to financial reasons.

Lady gave me many years of companionship, she was there when I was pregnant with my son, she was there as I slowly lost friends to drugs, she was my rock, my one true friend who I could always count on, she was my therapist, she was my world.

After many years of service, I decided it was time for her to have time to be a horse, to frolic carefree in the pastures, to have horse friends of her own. I thought that moving her to a boarding facility that had trainers and vets on the premises would keep her happy and healthy for the rest of her life.

I called once a week to check on her, I visited once a month. Then as I was planning my wedding (second) I let time slip between visits something I will regret to the day I die. After returning from my honeymoon I called to check on her, they told me everything was fine. I decided to go for a visit the next week that is when I found out she had been gone for two months. I panicked called everyone I knew. I filed a police report and was assigned an investigator, a lot of help they were. I started combing the countryside, knocking on every door that had a barn, walking thru barns when I could not find anyone around, I talked to anyone I could. I sent the police to places I could not get in. I finally found traces of her, people started telling me of how they had her there for a week or two but then she was moved. I was only one day behind her when they panicked and took her to Dekalb.

This I found out after. When a horse arrives in good flesh and coat they are moved to the head of the line. They do not check for brands or tattoos, they will check for the chips but only to remove them before slaughter so they do not taint the meat. They also know that these horses are probably stolen. This was testimony under oath in the Dupage County Court House for those who do not believe that this is true, by three employees of the Dekalb slaughterhouse.

The police finally went into the slaughter plant after many phone calls to them, my worst fear was true. I would be allowed to pick her hide out of all the hides they had, seems they save for cases of stolen horses.

[. . .] These slaughter buyers are at auctions, outbidding the people trying to buy ponies for their kids
It only gets better. Rep. Don Sherwood (PA-10) provided testimony to the House Agriculture Committe on July 27, 2006, on H.R. 503. It would amend the Horse Protection Act to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption. According to him, the testimony above is false:
[. . .] for the last 30 years, I have spent reeling, raising and showing Belgian Draft Horses.

No one is a bigger horse lover than I.

At most times my partner and I have had between 10 - 20 Belgians on our farm and more than most, understand the emotional attachment that we all have for horses.

But horse owners need a way to deal with horses that are no longer needed or no longer healthy and sound or that can't be trained or handled.

The market has developed a way that is economically viable to dispose of horses that are unwanted or unusable.

That slaughter market is important for the Equine Industry for the same reason that it is for the Dairy Industry.

A Dairy Cow ruined by mastitis or simply a poor producer quickly becomes a financial drain to her owner.

Fortunately for the Dairy Farmer the meat animal industry market is there to claim that cow, relieving the owner of a financial burden and providing useful and nutritious food.

Not the choice thick porterhouse steaks for the BBQ Grill but none the less good beef have huge negative economic consequences for rural America.

There is no reason Congress should destroy the similar market for unwanted, unusable or surplus horses. Even though we don't consume horses in our own culture, there is an active export market.

[. . .] It appears that there are about 90, 000 horses a year that for some reason become unusable or unwanted.

With the average cost to properly maintain a horse in most parts of the county at approx. $1,900 annually and with the exponential growth of these animals the economic costs would become huge.

With out sufficient facilities or funding many of these unwanted horses would be neglected and face poor care and in some cases even starvation.

The truly compassionate action for these horses is to continue to have an orderly market for their disposition.

Some proponents of HR 503 argue that the answer is euthanasia, even though this means that it would end the horse slaughter market and kill the horses.

This is economically unsustainable and it ends up with the same fate for the unwanted horses.

The Agriculture Market economy has worked well for over 200 years.

I do not see any rational reason that we in Washington should start down this slippery slope that would hurt our economy in a significant way, and probably end up with in-humane treatment of these surplus horses which we all feel so fondly about.
Conclusion: The man is one of MANY legislators suffering from delusions of a humane-legislation-induced economic catastrophe.

On the whole, Illinois legislators score poorly on humane legislation. It is a rather low priority for them. The Humane Society Legislative Fund publishes a Humane Scorecard illustrating legislator track records for the numerous amendments and bills the organization supports to protect animals. EXAMPLES:
  • Rep. Donald Manzullo (IL-16) voted NO on the Agriculture Appropriations Amendment to stop horse slaughter. In the other bills and the enforcement letter noted here, he did not show any support for animal protection on any of the issues. His score: 0.
  • Sen. Barack Obama voted for the Agriculture Appropriations Amendment to stop horse slaughter for food exports. However, he did not support any of the other legislation. His score: 20.
  • Sen. Dick Durbin supported ALL the applicable legislation and earned a rating as a leader in promoting animal welfare legislation. His score: 100+.
In Illinois, Biggert (R-13th), Luiz Gutierrez (R-4th), Jan Schakowsky (D-9th), and Sen. Richard Durbin are the only legislators with a perfect score of 100. John Shimkus (R-19th), Social Darwinist Extraordinaire, has a score of 34. For H.R. 503, there are 190 Cosponsors (125 Democrats and 65 Republicans). Very few of them are from Illinois:
  • Rep Davis, Danny K. [IL-07] - 6/22/2006
  • Rep Evans, Lane [IL-17] - 4/28/2005
  • Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-04] - 7/26/2005
  • Rep Rush, Bobby L. [IL-01] - 3/2/2005
  • Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-09] - 2/17/2005
  • Rep Weller, Jerry [IL-11] - 7/24/2006
Everyone deserves better from their elected officials. Reminder: Congressional careers are FINITE. VOTERS have the power to REMOVE incumbents.


At 06 September, 2006 15:55, Blogger JargonTalk said...

We can do this if we try. If we spread the word, we can prevent Barbaro Burgers from ever hitting the marketplace! Sounds like a harsh reality, and it is!

At 07 September, 2006 19:37, Blogger Kankakee Voice said...

I could not read through this. It was making me sick.

Weller's staff must be reading our blogs again, said here's one you can co-sponsor Jer, maybe they will tone down their attacks on you. NO CHANCE, Jer. But good for him for co-sponsoring this. Apparently he has more feelings for animals than humans. (Though in certain cases it's kind of easy to understand those feelings.)

At 30 September, 2006 17:44, Blogger HorsesAreFriends said...

Hi, everyone.

If we all work together then maybe we can help get this bill passed. Me and some friends are asking people to send an email to their senators asking them to push this bill through and vote to end horse slaughtering.

Go to and type in your zip code. Send an email to both of your US senators and tell them to stop horse slaughtering. The vote is coming before the Senate in early October so please do it NOW! :-) Thanks!!!

And here is a blog that we set up so you can read more information about it:


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