Dear Horse Advocate: An Open Letter from Former Mayor Paula Bacon

By Paula Bacon, former Mayor of Kaufman, TX

The Former Mayor of Kaufman, TX Gives Tips to Help the Horses

Dear Horse Advocate,

When I was mayor of a city with a horse slaughter plant, the support, information and backing of horse advocates encouraged me, strengthened my convictions— you were essential to me and frankly kept me going. I want to thank you for your advocacy for horses. It is because of you that elected officials feel compelled or wise to support a ban on horse slaughter.

You are receiving this email because of your advocacy and because one or more members of the House of Representatives from your state is a good candidate to support and/or co-sponsor H.R. 2966 banning horse slaughter.  (Click HERE to find the Members that represent YOU)

This week congressional members are in their home districts.  This is an important opportunity for us to speak to members directly rather than trying to work through young staffers in D.C. 

Can you attend a public meeting or make an appointment to meet with the member this week? Also, do you know of other advocates in your state (constituents, friends, relatives of constituents, etc., in the member’s district) who could meet with the member?

It is very important.  We need as many people as possible advocating a ban on horse slaughter to their legislators.  We have strength in numbers.

Please call one of the Congressional member’s local district offices and find out when public meetings are scheduled for the representative. Or call and make an appointment to speak with the member personally this week. At a minimum, would you call, have others call, and speak directly with the member?

May I suggest that you choose and be ready with 3 major points, keeping your message simple and straightforward. You may want to thank the member for past support, and then to mention that…

  • Recent polls show 80% of Americans support a federal ban on horse slaughter.  Results crossed gender, political affiliation, urban and rural areas and geographic location. In our current political climate of divisiveness, a horse slaughter ban has broad political consensus.
  • The cost to taxpayers is millions annually, yet the market is foreign as are plant interests/ownership.  In these difficult economic times taxpayers would be forced to subsidize an un-American market with foreign interests and ownership that pays almost nothing literally in taxes and that represents a very small number of dangerous, minimal pay jobs, and which Americans do not support. This makes no sense.
  •  99% of horse owners choose to euthanize rather than having their horse butchered; horse slaughter is not a service offered to mom & pop horse owners.
  •  Horse slaughter is not a service or euthanasia. According to the USDA, only 4% of horses at slaughter are 10 years old or older;
  • The slaughter market encourages abandonment. Recent events in the news show horses rejected at the border are being dumped by kill buyers.
  •   Bring a copy of Trent Lott’s recent article on horse slaughter.  Lott is a highly respected former Congressman. Your lawmaker is the perfect audience for Lott’s message.  http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/210585-preventing-horse-slaughter-a-personal-evolution
  •  If you have children’s letters, please share copies with the legislator; they are often very effective.

Practice your message aloud, anticipate concerns from your particular congressional representative.  A concise, effective rebuttal may be simply, ‘That makes no sense when you consider that…’ Stay COOL. Emotional doesn’t help us.

Remember to thank the legislator for past support and that you and thousands of voters look forward to him/her co-sponsoring H.R. 2966.

Thank you for your invaluable help. I apologize for not being more timely. All the same, Good luck! Please email me back with updates or if I can help you with any information.
Best regards,

Paula Bacon

“Write me, personally, for Paula’s email address at rt@rtfitch.com”~ R.T.

Preventing Horse Slaughter – a Personal Evolution

By Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) posted to the Hill’s Congress Blog

“Live, active horses support an important infrastructure of jobs and economies in the United States”

A few years ago, when I was still serving in the Senate, I was asked to support legislation that would ban the practice of slaughtering horses for human consumption. My initial reaction was cool to the notion that the federal government should be mandating or telling owners of these horses what they can or cannot do with their animals. However, my initial instincts on such a policy were outweighed by the personal and practical experience that horse owners brought to my attention, including my son, Chet.

An avid horseman, Chet is active in the horse industry and had rescued several horses from a “killer buyer” — one who buys horses from sometimes unsuspecting owners and then sells them to slaughterhouses. My son retrained and sold those horses to become champion polo ponies. His experience showed me that:

live, active horses support an important infrastructure of jobs and economies in the United States. A live horse needs to be fed, groomed and trained, as well as receive vet care, among other things. This in turn creates and maintains a viable and enduring way of life in rural America. The sale of horses to killer-buyers in fact generates very little profit for the seller while simultaneously choking off the demand for the goods and services that other buyers would create.

I was proud to become a co-sponsor of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act and strongly support its enactment into law. Notwithstanding my personal evolution in seeking a ban to the practice of slaughtering horses for human consumption and the interstate transportation thereof, which the legislation would do, I support this legislation for three compelling reasons: Banning horse slaughter would save taxpayers millions of dollars every year, as it would eliminate a wasteful federal program that only serves to benefit a handful of foreign-owned companies; it would help foster and promote sustainable jobs in rural America; and it would end the needless suffering of more than 100,000 American horses each year, which are hauled across the United States to slaughter houses in Mexico and Canada to supply so‐called “high‐end” restaurants in France and Belgium.

Recently the proponents of the horse slaughter industry, who have been vigorously opposing the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, seized on a report by the Government Accountability Office that made flawed claims, based on flawed evidence, about there now being “too many horses,” which are starving to death and subsequently depressing horse prices. None of this is true. Unfortunately, in the ensuing confusion Congress enacted H.R. 2112, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012, which removed a long‐standing prohibition on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ability to inspect horses bound for slaughter, thus allowing for the resumption of horse slaughter in the United States — and the expenditure of federal tax dollars on a program that will benefit only foreign interests, not rural America.

Horse slaughter proponents further claim that slaughter exists because there are too many unwanted horses, but fail to point out that even when horse slaughter was allowed in the United States, a large number of horses from Canada were imported annually to a horse slaughter facility in Illinois. If we had too many horses, why did that facility need to import them?

I spent my entire political career working to reduce federal spending, shrink the size of the government, and promote American jobs. Supporting the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act fits all of those key goals while also helping reduce unnecessary animal suffering. For myself, the horse industry, and the majority of Americans who support a ban on horse slaughter, passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act is a win‐win issue for America.

Lott is senior counsel at the law firm Patton Boggs LLP and former Senate majority leader.

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