Saturday, November 5, 2011

Guest Column:EWA President Charges Monkey Business With Petitions

Horseback Magazine

November 3, 2011
By John Holland, President, Equine Welfare Alliance
CHICAGO,  (EWA) – During his 2008 campaign, President Obama promised his unequivocal support for a ban on horse slaughter.“Now is the time for you to keep that promise, Mr. President,” says John Holland, president of Equine Welfare Alliance.
Calling it “paramount to public health”, the Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) and Animal Law Coalition (EWA) sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to support a ban on equine slaughter for human consumption. The groups also presented the president with more than 6,000 signatures on a White House petition calling for an end to equine slaughter for human consumption.
At the time the petition was created, the White House indicated the administration would consider any issue with at least 5,000 signatures. The equine slaughter ban petition easily gathered more signatures, more quickly than a petition created to reinstate equine slaughter for human consumption in the U.S. The opposition petition was lacking 2,750 signatures when the petition to ban horse slaughter reached 5,000.
Realizing they didn’t have the support, slaughter supporters solicited the help of the American Quarter Horse Association to attempt to reach the required number of signatures. As the deadline approached, the pro-slaughter petition was still well below the required 5,000 signatures. Almost 1,000 then appeared overnight to reach the required minimum, but many of the last minute entries consisted of nothing more than first and last initials. If that wasn’t suspicious enough, this came after a call from the opposition to obtain a list of friends and family that “didn’t have computers” to register and sign for them.
Sadly, the White House petition site lacks security precautions to prevent such apparent abuse and to assure one vote per individual. POPVOX, a site which has better security against fraud, has consistently registered support for anti-slaughter legislation at a rate of 3 to 1.
While the argument over horse slaughter is hot and contentious, the fact remains that American horses were not raised for human consumption. “The disregard for food safety of European consumers is unconscionable” stated EWA’s Vicki Tobin. “If they tried to sell the meat from our horses In the U.S., they would be in violation of government food safety regulations.”
Horse slaughter has not ended or slowed down since the US slaughter plants were closed in 2007. The same number of horses are being slaughtered as when the domestic plants were open. It should be obvious, that slaughter does not prevent neglect nor does it control the population. It is absurd to suggest that killing horses is going to restore an industry that makes its billions from live horses, especially when slaughter provides only 3 cents of every $100 of revenue.
On behalf of our members, the EWA and ALC call on the President to close this ugly chapter in American history.
The Equine Welfare Alliance is a dues-free 501c4, umbrella organization with over 200 member organizations and hundreds of individual members worldwide. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.

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