Statement by John Holland, President of The Equine Welfare Alliance
Progress Being Made Against the “Horse Eaters”
The question was asked about how we at EWA feel about our progress against horse slaughter this year.
Please understand that we regard this whole process as an analogy to war. It is not fought on a single front or with a single strategy and there are many operations that we cannot talk about without giving away our advantage. Sometimes we can divulge things later, and sometimes not at all. For example, you probably now know that we worked hard to get the town of Harding access to the pollution and sewer records from Cavel, Dallas Crown and NVF. We did not go to them and say “please don’t build a plant that kills our beautiful horses.” We showed them that a plant would be bad for the community and we also showed them that there was no pot of gold.
So federal legislation is only one battlefield. The bad guys have high paid strategists and last year they unveiled their strategy. It was to use the heavily agricultural state legislatures to push for horse slaughter legislation. They knew these state laws could not in themselves allow them to bring back slaughter, but the idea was to make it look like a backlash was growing in the country’s ag belt. In politics, momentum is everything. Since they too kept their plans secret until the last moment, they had early successes. Almost all military attacks that are kept secret have early success, and this was no difference. We had no defenses or plans to stop them.
But the bad guys squandered their advantage with truly stooopid laws like Ed Butcher‘s in Montana. And in every state where laws were introduced last year, horse friendly people quickly began coming together to fight them. This year was a total and complete zero for the pro-slaughter legislation. More over, Sue Wallis has begun to wear thin on her own state residents.
There are many aspects, as I have said. We continue to push the federal legislation, but please recognize that it does not even need to pass to be important. As long as a federal ban is a real possibility, no businessman in his right mind is going to build a horse slaughter plant in the US. All this talk out of Wyoming and Montana is just that, and the press is beginning to realize it.
After Butcher got his bill passed in Montana, he began bragging to the press that he was going to bring a wonderful horse slaughter plant to the town of Hardin and that he was talking to investors with Chinese business contacts. He had originally said last year that he was talking to the “Belgians”. So his change of nation told us that Velda has decided this is not a good place to put a plant.
Anyhow, it was devastating for Butcher to go to all that trouble only to be told by the community he was “trying to help” that they wanted no part of it. This is all his own doing since he never really looked at the history of these plants and what they do to communities. He just blew it all off as “two bit hippies”. Moreover, his bill protecting horse slaughter plants from law suites was based on his misunderstanding of what had closed the US plants. None was closed by law suites over environmental concerns (although they should have been). The reporter that covered Butcher’s bragging was shocked to get our release saying the town had blocked the plant over a month earlier.
We did the same kind of work when some Canadian politicians tried to get the First Nation tribe of Carry the Kettle to take over and restart the slaughter plant at Natural Valley. We got them the finances of the previous plant showing them it was a disaster and we showed them the environmental mess that they would be responsible for. The old Chief who wanted the plant lost his vote and then the next election. The man opposing him on the issue is now Chief.
We have taken the same approach with the Europeans. We don’t tell them that they shouldn’t eat our horses because we love horses, instead we worked on exposing the health risks involved in .
Do I feel good about this year? Darn right I do, but do I feel comfortable? No. We must watch and be ready for new moves and ploys and we must all have our noses in the wind. We are all wondering what will happen after July when the new EU regulations kick in.
Still, the work of all the groups from AC4H to AAHA, CHDC and many others has been absolutely marvelous.