Declan Gregg’s Equine Advocacy Goes Global
GREENLAND NH — The story about a local boy fighting against the slaughter of horses has produced support from across the country and around the globe.
Following a report in the Portsmouth Herald‘s sister publication, Seacoast Sunday, on Feb. 12 about 9-year-old Declan Gregg’s advocacy for the humane treatment of horses, Gregg said he received heartwarming letters of support from horse lovers from all walks of life. That Seacoast Sunday article has been shared on horse advocacy Web sites and blogs, spreading Gregg’s reach far beyond the Seacoast.
“It’s been really awesome and it’s been great to know that I’m making a difference,” he said.
Gregg first learned that horses are slaughtered for human consumption from his mother, Stacie Gregg, a volunteer at the N.H. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Stratham. She was reading about the controversy, and when Declan heard about it, he wanted to help.
He said the response to his story has been “shocking.” Thousands of people have visited his blog at children4horses.blogspot.com, and children and adults alike have sent him letters urging him to continue raising awareness of the issue.
Gregg said he has heard from people in the United States, Australia, Ukraine, Bahamas, South Africa, Japan and other places around the world. “I can’t remember them all,” he said.
He said the response has showed him that even though he is young he can still speak up and make a difference. “I feel really happy and excited because I know that I’m letting people know what is happening to our horses. I’ve been getting lots of great letters, and that’s also making me really happy,” he said. “Lots of great pictures, too.”
There is a bill in Congress, HR 2966, known as the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011, that would prohibit horse slaughter in this country and make it illegal to ship horses to other countries for slaughter.
Though horse meat is not typically eaten in the United States, it is considered a delicacy in other parts of the world. Opponents of horse slaughter argue that it is inhumane and that horses raised in this country are unfit for human consumption due to the veterinary drugs given to them.
Stacie Gregg said she is stunned that when she types her son’s name into the Google search bar, pages upon pages of results pop up. She said his blog has been visited by Internet users in 24 countries.
She said the overwhelming rush of support has brought her to tears on several occasions.
Some letters, such as one from an Illinois woman who wrote “the recent actions of a young, idealistic boy” shook her from apathy, leave the Greggs on the verge of disbelief.
“My son moved her to do something. A 9-year-old kid reached her. It was amazing,” Stacie Gregg said.
The exposure has opened Declan up to more opportunities as well. He has published an 11-minute-long video on YouTube, been invited to meet a woman dedicated to lobbying for the horse slaughter prevention act, and will be taken onto the House floor by U.S. Rep Frank Guinta, R-N.H., during a vote, Stacie Gregg said.
Declan is looking for more letters of support to bring with him when he goes to Washington, D.C., later this month to present letters to Congress. The SPCA in Stratham is hosting a letter-writing party on March 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to help gather more letters.
Send letters opposing horse slaughter to PO Box 614, Greenland, NH 03840
Letter-writing party at the N.H. SPCA
What: SPCA is hosting a party to help Declan Gregg acquire letters written by children opposed to horse slaughter, which he will bring to Washington, D.C., to present to lawmakers
When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, March 18
Where: N.H. SPCA, 104 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham
If they succeed in protecting horses, Stacie Gregg said, the family will likely continue to advocate for humane treatment of all animals. She said their long-term goal is to set up a nonprofit to raise funds for various animal protection organizations.
Through his advocacy, Declan has “blossomed as a person,” and has already expressed an interest in running for Congress or even the presidency some day, Stacie Gregg said.
“It will be really, really interesting to see long-term what this does for him and where it takes him,” she said.
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