WASHINGTON DC – (July 2010) Respect 4 Horses attempts to represent all injustices against horses equally. The two main legislative issues H.R. 503 (S727) and H.R. 1018 (S1579), but also H.R. 305 (horse transportation safety act) and the PMU industry problems and breeding industry problems. Our motto is to kill many flies with one swatter while we are at it. We would like to see all grassroots factions pull together in order to gain three times the power against the enemy. Click (HERE) for article: “One time, Two times, Three times the Power”. During lobbying trips however we mainly represent the two main issues.
The enemy is getting more blatant, the stakes are getting higher and the main battle is about to commence. What we are up against is something big. The corruption and the fraud reach all the way to the very highest of levels. The department of justice of the United States is defending the cruel actions of our government. “The department of Justice”,… the irony of that joke is on us and on the horses. We are the Davids, they are the Goliath. That doesn’t mean we give up, it simply means we fight harder, more efficient and especially smarter.
The key to a victory for horses lies in these five actions:
–Investigation (without that we cannot prove our points)
–Media attention (without that we have no power)
–Legal action (without that, we are letting them get away with it)
–Education (without that, there is no future)
–Legislation (without that, we cannot protect our horses)
Upon arriving in Washington D.C. Respect 4 horses and participants first represented the issues at the National Animal Rights Conference 2010. The conference was an awesome venue for networking with wonderful like-minded courageous people, who are as determined to make a difference as we are. Ironically the logo for the conference is a horse next to the capitol dome, yet Respect 4 horses was the only organization there, speaking about horses. Most animal rights people were shocked and appalled and had no idea. Any horse advocate group or individual who is interested in networking, and educating in any kind of a way, should be at this conference next year in L.A., so mark your calendars.
After the Animal Rights Conference, on Sunday July 18th all participants, most of whom were already very knowledgeable, got together to prepare for the preplanned presentations, so they would be comprehensive and concise and also short and sweet, polite and interactive. The concept for the presentations is two talkers and two nodders engaging the legislators for approximately 20 minutes. Sometimes we would have larger groups and sometimes we had to split in smaller groups in order to be able to make every appointment.
Lobbying is a resource that none of us has fully tapped into yet. Many of you might be under the impression that our legislators are already informed on the issues because of the many phone calls and emails they are receiving from horse advocates, and the large animal welfare organizations located in Washington D.C.
However after many lobbying trips and meetings with over 100 legislators and advisers, I found that quite the opposite is the case. Many legislators still simply have never heard our side of the story, and after hearing it, most are very open to forming a new opinion and many do co-sponsor as a result.
It is true that a certain few lawmakers have been bought and paid for by the agricultural trolls. These same trolls also have an expensive lobbyist who does a good job walking the halls every day. However, this lobbyist is only one man and there are many many legislators left who have never taken the time to really take a look at the issues, and there are many who want to do the right thing but have been mislead.
With help and cooperation from the Equine Welfare Alliance, the Cloud Foundation, Documentary maker James Kleinert, the Animal Welfare Institute and even the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition, Respect 4 horses put together comprehensive media packets with videos, fact sheets, documents and records, pictures etc., with the right side of the media kit representing the wild horse issues, and the left side representing the horse slaughter issues.
The goal was to visit members of the committees that are holding up H.R. 503, as well as members of the appropriations committee for the BLM budget, as well as visit some legislator allies and ask them to take more direct action. With a truly amazing group of 14 women and 1 man we were able to see over 50 legislators over the course of 4 days. The feedback of all legislators and legislative advisers, was open and inquisitive and the results very encouraging to say the least.
It is a powerful feeling when you get a senator to co sponsor within 10 minutes during her coffee hour (Jeanne Shaheen). Or when you have an engaging conversation with a senator for over 30 minutes who slurred all the pro slaughter BS and then said he would co sponsor by the end of the conversation, (Senator Adam Smith), Or when you get a congress man to want to come out to the roundups to see it for himself (Congressman Forbes). Or get a legislative aid on the agricultural committee to cry, or have three of Harry Reid‘s legislative advisers completely engaged in our evidence and solutions and ask us if perhaps a different agency should be handling the wild horses.
We found many legislators willing to sign onto a letter to the BLM if someone else wrote it. So we immediately started writing this letter to the BLM. However when we asked Congressman Raul Grijalva (AZ), he immediately sprung into action himself and wrote a letter to the BLM asking for an immediate halt of roundups. So we tossed our own letter and distributed Grijalva’s letter to the legislators which was then signed in a matter of five days, by 54 lawmakers, both democrats and republicans. If we would have had more time before the August Recess, it would have been signed by hundreds.
Click (HERE) to View Letter with Signatures
Respect 4 horses volunteers Beth Slagsvol and Tomina Meyers were the ones who spoke to Congress man Grijalva on July 22nd. Great job you powerful women! That’s how it’s done.
Rob Pliskin and myself had a strategic meeting with Liz in Senator Mary Landrieu’s office. As a result, senator Mary Landrieu once again came through for the horses by making an official statement about the BLM atrocities. She in fact openly stated that the Obama administration should be ashamed of them selves for letting this continue on their watch.
I have 43 other success stories of more awesome meetings which resulted in more cosponsors and more letters to the BLM and more inquiries about the congressional investigation into the BLM. For example we asked Congressman Kucinich (who is a vegan) who also happens to be on the committee of government oversight to take a real close look at the BLM.
However it is also my duty to report on four to five disappointing meetings, because of legislators who are already on the wrong side. In these meetings we made it very clear that we are but a small group of constituents, representing over 700 organizations and individuals, which is still only a small sample of the thousands of horse welfare advocates in the country outraged and concerned. We let them know in a subtle way that we are onto them.
If you or your organization would like to be represented to our legislators, as one of the many horse welfare advocates in the country who are outraged, please sign onto the Equine Welfare Alliance as a member, we use this list of members and horse welfare advocates to prove our numbers to legislators.
Respect 4 horses would like to applaud and recognize these wonderful hardcore horse advocates, who took time out of their busy lives and money out of their own pockets to tell our legislators that enough is enough:
Maria Kimble, Beth Slagsvol, Tomina Meyers, Leslie Peeples, Sandra Houghton, Isabella Carillo, Joanne Pfeiffer, Brogan Horton, Annie Mond, Shantal Bordeaux Rosales, Valorie Collante, Lauren Mayer, Carol Poole and Rob Pliskin. Respect4horses would also like to thank those who supported the effort through donations.
Every single one of us was so full of excitement that we didn’t care that we didn’t have time for lunch or that we had to run from one building to the next all day long in the heat, or that we were almost too exhausted to chew our food at dinner every night. Ask any of the participants, if they remember any of that, and they will tell you that they only remember the friendships and comradery between all of us, the laughter at dinner every evening, the changing of the shoes, and the exciting feedback and positive results.
So I am calling for participants for our next lobbying trip. I am calling for all organizations to help organize it. I am calling for a working together of every individual and organization who cares about either the wild horses, or horse slaughter, or both, to come together in Washington D.C. after the elections, either January or February. The now experienced participants of this lobbying trip will be the managers of the next lobbying trip and will educate new participants on the presentations. The goal is to get a well educated and organized group of 100 people together. It will not be a protest or a rally, it will not be everyone for himself, it will be an organized lobbying event.
We are not going to Washington in October because it is going to be election time. Election time is a very powerful time for us. The difference between one person or the next can be 100% opposite. There are 88 seats up for election this November, of which 12 are republicans and the rest democrats. It is of utmost crucial importance that we do our part to make sure the right legislators get elected. Respect 4 horses is currently working on compiling a list of legislators to support and vote for and also a list of legislators to sabotage. We need volunteers in each state to help determine the who is who of politics. If you would like to be part of this important task, please email me at Simone@respect4horses.com
Its about what’s possible. Its about believing you can make a difference. History is only made by those who care about the future.
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