Story and Photo by Steven Long
HOUSTON, (Horseback) – An anonymous author has posted a petition aimed at stopping publicity about a children’s letter writing campaign to Congress in support of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. Children’s petitions and letters have been particularly effective in moving Washington politicians when citizen action couldn’t. In fact, it was a similar movement that resulted in unanimous passage of the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Horses and Burro Act.
The Equine Welfare Alliance’s Jo-Claire Corcoran, is running the campaign commented, “How sad certain ‘adults’ would attempt to discredit the accomplishments of the children participating in the Letter Writing Campaign. A project which was started by a child’s simple desire to save our horses. “
The petition opposing children’s activism is an indication of how fearful supporters of renewed U.S. based slaughter of horses have become. A recent poll by the ASPCA indicates that Americans in all demographic segments are adamantly opposed to horse slaughter to the tune of 80 percent, up 10 percent from previous polls. It was conducted by the blue chip Washington D.C. political polling firm, Lake and Associates.
The petition opposing the children’s letter writing campaign states, “I have been around horses my entire 36 yrs of life. The New children writing letters to congress so they can plead the anti slaughter crowds status about horse slaughter is not only sick, but it also prays on those who do not understand what horses are. horses are livestock NOT pets. There is a problem in this country with unwanted horses, and when the ban was passed, the anti slaughter side was upset. So they brought up having kids write letters to congress. This is NOT only sick, but it prays on their minds. Our youth SHOULD not have to fight a battle that does not involve them at all. This needs to stop and these letters should NOT be allowed to be presented to congress.”
The petition mentions a “ban” being passed. No such thing happened. Slaughter came to an abrupt halt when a Texas law banning it, as well as an Illinois statute doing the same forced shutdown of plants in those states. Both laws were upheld by the United States Supreme Court. Congress also prohibited funding for federal meat inspectors in horse slaughter facilities. Again, the courts upheld prohibition of industry funding. There has never been a national ban on horse slaughter. In November, Congress removed the prohibition against funding of the inspectors; however, no appropriations have been made. Moreover, in the face of the likelihood of scores of lawsuits once a plant is open, it is unlikely investors can be found to build a plant.
Moreover, there are few horses in the United States that would pass inspection for dangerous drugs such as phenylbutazone and scores of other substances. The FDA bans the use of bute in all food animals, and almost all American horses have had the drug at some point in their lifetime.
The petition, fraught with grammatical errors, was started shortly after the Children’s campaign started. A recent post on a facebook page that mocks author RT Fitch’s book, Straight from the Horse’s Heart, appeared on Facebook under the anonymous name “Ranch Barbie”, is suggesting readers report the Children’s facebook page in an attempt to shut it down.
“What does it say about those who promote the slaughter of our horses when they fear the pleas of children?” said John Holland, president of the Chicago based Equine Welfare Alliance, the group that launched the campaign.
EWA Vice President Vicki Tobin echoed Holland.
“It is appalling that this misguided group is trying to thwart children’s rights to voice their opinions and thoughts especially since this campaign was started by a child who owns a horse. These children are our future and it is refreshing to see the compassion they have for animals. Children are much more perceptive than this group would lead you to believe and know exactly what they are saying and why.”