Nancie McCormish: Keep American horse meat off the table
It seems the Omnibus budget “sausage making” is well underway; today’s update indicates House Speaker Paul Ryan wants to pass it all ($1.3 trillion) on Thursday but many items are still being wrangled through. No information is available about the almost financially insignificant wild and domestic horse and related slaughter language, yet if passed these lethal legislative efforts could end the lives of hundreds of thousands with the stroke of a pen. Your elected officials need to hear from you now.
If this legislation passes as formerly written, it would permit almost indiscriminate slaughter of America’s last wild horses and burros, wild animals that belong to all citizens and were protected by law in 1971 by a unanimous act of Congress to prevent their then “looming” extinction.
Today’s numbers on the range are nearly the same as then, but private interest pressures and “management” policies all threaten their very survival. Their legal homeland areas have been reduced by nearly half, nearly every remaining herd over 10 western states is being managed at levels at or below genetic viability, and many of these are regularly contracepted, efforts that in aggregate lead to a de facto extinction within a decade or perhaps less.
The House version of the USDA appropriations would also enable funding for horse slaughter inspectors, thereby opening the door to horses of any and all origin being threatened by commercial slaughter.
While some may choose to eat horses, I remind readers that no law prohibits you killing and eating your own horses if done humanely, and there is no demand for commercial horse meat in this country, yet if this legislation passes horse meat contaminated with hundreds of commonly used drugs will enter our food supply largely undetected. It already has in some cases, though illegally, in mislabeled meat products.
Opening up slaughter plants across the nation benefits only a few and brings along dark money, black markets, social and public infrastructure disruption (look up Kauffman Zoning online for more) and the stark sadness of beloved domestic horses quickly slaughtered following theft.
I urge everyone interested in America’s horses to let their voices be heard before it is too late to matter. Whatever Congress passes this week, the fiscal year 2019 budget drafts are already taking lethal aim at all our horses. It is up to the American public to keep American horse meat off the table.
Congress intends to vote this week on the 2018 Spending Bill. The House version calls for killing 45,000 wild horses and burros in holding facilities and an additional 45,000 wild horses and burros still legally free on our public lands. The Senate version protects our wild horses and burros. Both must hear from us before the final vote at the end of this week. Please join us on Take Action Tuesday.
- Call the House and Senate leadership: “I’m calling to urge [Senator/Representative] to keep horse slaughter out of 2018 spending legislation by maintaining the Senate versions of Agriculture and Interior Appropriations bills. Please stand with the 80% of Americans who oppose horse slaughter and want our wild horses and burros protected and managed in viable numbers on our public lands, not killed, “euthanized,” sterilized or slaughtered.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: 202-224-2541
- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: 202-224-6542
- House Speaker Paul Ryan: 202-225-3031
- House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy: 202-225-2915
- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi: 202-225-4965
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