For today’s blog, I am taking a quick break from the Michael Vick case because there are major animal welfare actions on tap tomorrow in the U.S. House of Representatives and I need your help—principally by contacting your U.S. Representative in Washington, D.C. today on these urgent issues and spreading the word to your friends and other allies of animal protection. You can reach any House member’s office by calling the Congressional switchboard at 202-225-3121. If you do not know who represents you, you can go to www.Congress.org and plug in your zip code.
Tomorrow, in the House, Democratic leaders have scheduled consideration of the Farm Bill—a massive set of policy items dealing with agriculture policy in America. Typically, the Congress writes a new Farm Bill every five years, and the last one was in 2002.
A few weeks back, I mentioned that there were a couple of terrible provisions in a committee version of the Farm Bill—a $12 million subsidy for the veal industry and a sweeping and overreaching provision to nullify state and local animal protection laws—that were stricken from the measure. The HSUS worked hard to nix those provisions. We are pleased they were removed, and we hope they don’t come up again.
© The HSUS
This horse was among 30 that were
rescued from slaughter by The HSUS.
But now is our opportunity to get something positive done for animals by adding some animal-friendly amendments to the Farm Bill, and that can happen on the floor of the U.S. House through an amendments process.
The hottest issue will be an amendment to establish a federal ban on horse slaughter (the Schakowsky-Whitfield-Rahall-Cohen-Jones amendment). If you have been an HSUS backer for a while, you have undoubtedly heard from us many times urging your action to help us halt the cruel slaughter of horses for export to Belgium, France and Japan. The House and Senate have sided with us on the issue time after time in previous sessions of Congress, but for one reason or another, the horse slaughter ban did not clear every hurdle and go to the President for signing. This must be our year, and that’s why we must deluge the House with constituent calls today and tomorrow.
Please contact your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to support the Schakowsky-Whitfield amendment to ban horse slaughter. Again, you can call 202-225-3121, ask for your Representative, and convey a message that you are an HSUS member and you support the Schakowsky-Whitfield amendment to ban horse slaughter. It’s that easy. Please take action now, if you would.
The House approved a horse slaughter ban by a commanding vote of 263-146 last year, but a few lawmakers blocked a vote from occurring in the Senate. We need another resounding win in the House this year, and we cannot take anything for granted since the Farm Bureau and other agriculture interests are misrepresenting the issue, saying that somehow slaughtering horses is good for horses. If they succeed, it would not be the first time this Orwellian logic prevailed. But we cannot allow that to happen, and that’s why your action is crucial.
Since the House’s vote 10 months ago, the state of Illinois banned horse slaughter. That state had the last remaining slaughter plant in the country. But now, thousands of live horses are being transported hundreds, and often more than a thousand, miles to slaughter plants where they are killed and butchered for export. We are appalled by the mistreatment of these creatures, who have such a special place in the American consciousness and culture. Horses have served this nation in battle, transport, agriculture and recreation, and it is a terrible payback to treat them like a cheap commodity, kill them and ship them to foreign markets for a few dollars.
There are other amendments expected to be offered on the floor, including a measure to halt the trade in dogs and cats who are stolen or obtained through newspaper ads and collected by Class B dealers to be channeled into research (the Doyle amendment). There will also be an effort to amend the Animal Welfare Act to prohibit the marketing of medical devices through the use of live animals in sales demonstrations (the Israel amendment), after a neurosurgeon at the Cleveland Clinic performed surgery on a live dog for a marketing demonstration of a new device. The Cleveland Clinic rebuked the doctor, but there is nothing in federal law to halt this frivolous use of animals for sales demonstration purposes.
Please call your U.S. Representative and urge him or her to support all animal welfare amendments. Then stay tuned to humanesociety.org for updates, and watch your inbox for email updates from me. Thanks again for your support.