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Open Letter to Legislators    


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To All Concerned Parties

The horse is part of American heritage, having played a major role in our historical growth and development. Post industrial revolution, the number of horses has surprisingly increased contributing significantly to the enjoyment of generations of recreation enthusiasts in America.

Generations ago, our forefathers designated the horse a "favored" animal which means they are not bred or raised for food, not eaten in our culture, commonly given a name and accordingly are taxed differently than traditional food animals.

However over 3 million American recreational horses have been secretly purchased and slaughtered for the foreign markets in the last two decades. And because of the lack of disclosure on the part of the agents for the foreign owned horsemeat industry, people's horses can and have been stolen and their pets purchased under false pretenses. This practice has contributed to crime and consumer fraud.

In the United States there are currently only two horse slaughter plants left in operation, both foreign-owned, both in Texas. Accordingly, horses bound for these slaughter plants have been hauled several thousand miles over several days, contrary to existing national and international conventional standards for water, food and rest for commercial equine transportation. Horses are also transported in trailers designed for cattle and hogs rather than horses and do not meet existing commercial equine industry standards resulting in pain, suffering, injury and deaths.

The horse slaughter plants use methods of slaughter that are not rated "Preferred" for horses in the Report of the American Veterinary Medical Association's Panel on Euthanasia (2000). Humane euthanasia by lethal injection administered by a veterinarian is preferred to slaughter.

Because horses in America are not raised for food or fiber, veterinarians commonly prescribe and treat horses with antibiotics, performance enhancing drugs, hormones, neutraceuticals and other over-the-counter equine products which the Food and Drug Administration has not tested or approved for use in animals raised for food and accordingly are labeled, "NOT TO BE USED ON HORSES INTENDED FOR USE AS FOOD." The lack of FDA approval creates a potential food safety problem.

Would America exist today if it were not for "Brown Beauty", the valiant and noble mare who made history when she tirelessly carried Paul Revere on her back for his famous midnight ride? The entire culture of this country would be profoundly different were it not for the horse.

As Americans we cannot passively sit back and allow our noble horse to become a casualty of free trade. Any commerce is not good commerce and there should be cultural restraints. Horse slaughter is an affront to our heritage and culture.

Extensive independent polling shows that voters think it is illegal to slaughter a horse for human consumption; however when informed that it is not, 88%-93% think that it should be.

In l972, Congress enacted the Wild Horse and Burro Act which designated the wild horse as part of American heritage deserving protection against those who would cruelly slaughter them for food. It is inconceivable that the American people and their elected representatives would have wanted any less protection for our domesticated recreational horses?

In l985, Congress enacted the Export Administration Amendments Act which prohibited the export of horses by sea from the United States for purposes of slaughter.

In l998, the State of California enacted the Prohibition on Slaughter of Horses and Sale of Horsemeat for Human Consumption Initiative Statute which prohibited the slaughter of California horses for human consumption and the possession or sale of horse meat for human consumption.

In l999, Congress enacted HR4868 which prohibited the import, export or sale of dog and cat fur. The ban was incorporated into a miscellaneous trade package.

In 2002, Texas Attorney General, John Cornyn (now US Senator), issued a legal opinion stating that Chapter 149 of the Texas Agriculture Code prohibiting the possession or commercial sale of horse meat does apply to the two remaining horse slaughter plants in operation, is not federally pre-empted and is prosecutable through the Texas District Attorney's Offices. A similar law is on the books in the State of Illinois.

Prohibiting the slaughter of horses and sale of horseflesh for human consumption is consistent with the international obligations of the United States because it applies equally to domestic and foreign producers and is consistent with agreements that expressly allow to protect the health and welfare of human beings and of animals and to forbid deceptive trade practices in international or domestic commerce.

Horse slaughter creates a potential economic incentive and conduit for irresponsible and indiscriminate over breeding, factory farming of horses, consumer fraud, unlawful killing of federally protected wild horses and public health and safety issues.

Horses in America deserve the same protection against slaughter as our other nonfood, pleasure and recreational animals.

The slaughtering of American horses for gourmet export could be banned tomorrow with no chilling impact on either agriculture or commerce.

As voters, we want to inform our representatives regarding this issue and to respectfully urge those seeking reelection to "just say neigh" to horse killers.

Keep America's horses in the stable and off the table.

Respectfully,

HOOFPAC






"Keep America's horses in the stable and off the table!"

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