Friday, April 27, 2007

John Shimkus is No Animal Lover

On April 26, 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (277-137) for H. R. 249. to restore a 34-year-old prohibition on the commercial sale and slaughter of America's wild free-roaming horses and burros. This is good legislation on several levels.

Contrary to a common belief, horses slaughtered for their meat are not typically old and frail. There is no evidence to show that there has been an increase in the number of abandoned and unwanted horses in the United States, nor that a slaughter ban will lead to an increase in horse abuse and starvation or neglect cases — common arguments advanced by slaughter industry supporters.

A permanent slaughter ban would not only protect domestic horses from ending up on foreign dinner plates. It would protect a dwindling population of 30,000 horses left in the country, down from more than 2 million in the 1800s and 60,000 in 1971.

Survival of wild horses in the United States is already threatened by the loss of 13 million acres of the land originally granted to manage the species through reductions made by the Bureau of Land Management.
On the same day of the vote, a mare that survived the September 27, 2006, crash on Interstate 44 in Missouri gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Although federal law prohibits the slaughter of pregnant horses for meat, Mama was one of three pregnant mares in a livestock truck filled with horses en route to the Cavel slaughter house in DeKalb, Illinois (Representative Denny Hastert in IL-14), when the driver lost control and crashed into the median (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 04/26/2007).

The evidence is overwhelming. Every reason imaginable exists to vote for this legislation and only one to vote against it — money. Yet, four Illinois Republicans did just that. Dennis Hastert (IL-14), Ray LaHood (IL-18), Donald Manzullo (IL-16), and John Shimkus (IL-19) voted against the sale and slaughter of highly intelligent animals that adapt to human environments, work out solutions to problems, and possess human qualities (i.e., mischief, playfulness, loyalty, jealousy, stress). A NAY vote on this bill is nothing less than pure evil. Yet, the nice guy representing the residents of Central and So. Illinois voted NAY on this wonderful piece of legislation. Unfortunately, it was a foregone conclusion. Like always, John Shimkus never votes for legislation that protects animals — unless he is the animal he wants to protect.

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