Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Take a Stand Against Horse Slaughter at Town Hall Meetings in Your Community

Animal Welfare Institute

Wednesday, January 11, 2012
S. 1176/H.R. 2966 - American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011
Dear Humanitarian:
It is time to put a face to the message that horse slaughter must end immediately! The most direct way for you to help educate your elected officials on the importance of banning horse slaughter is to talk with them face-to-face. The easiest way to do this is to attend local town hall meetings hosted by your U.S. Senators and Representative and urge them to cosponsor and support the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, if they haven't already done so. If your Senators and/or Representative are already cosponsors, a public thank you can help motivate them to action when back in Washington, D.C., as well as educate others at the town hall meeting. Your voice can make a difference!
In light of November’s passage of the FY2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill - which for the first time since 2005 did not include language blocking the use of federal funds for USDA horse meat inspections - the door has once again been opened for horse slaughter in the U.S. We must respond to this failure by redoubling our efforts to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, which would once and for all ban horse slaughter in the U.S. and prevent the export of horses for the same purpose.
In past years, you faithfully emailed and called your legislators’ offices to let them know where you stand. This potent new threat calls for renewed action that puts a face to the message: speaking on behalf of horses at town hall meetings held by your legislators in your local communities. These town hall meetings are likely to take place in convenient settings in your community, and their formats make it easy for you to voice your opposition to horse slaughter directly to legislators and urge their support of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.
Horse slaughter proponents are spreading a great deal of misinformation through the media in an attempt to cloak the grim realities of horse slaughter. It is important for legislators to get the facts and know that their constituents do NOT support horse slaughter and want a complete ban on the practice.
What You Can Do
Your legislators’ district offices can tell you when and where town hall meetings are scheduled in your community. Call their offices, or visit their websites to see if information on the meetings is posted online. You can visit AWI’s online Compassion Index to obtain contact information for the local offices of your U.S. Representative and Senators. Once you determine the time and place of such meetings, invite friends to attend with you so they can speak up for the horses as well. We have provided some talking points below for you to consider. If you discover a legislator has no town hall meetings planned, inquire why not - you should then request a meeting with your legislator (not staff) when they are next in town!
After you have attended a town hall meeting or met with your legislator please take a minute to visit AWI’s Compassion Index again and fill out the follow up survey. It will allow you to easily provide valuable feedback to AWI that will help in our efforts to educate Congressional staff in Washington, D.C. Be sure to fill this form out after each event you attend.
Please share this Dear Humanitarian eAlert with friends, family and coworkers, and encourage them to take action today!
Chris Heyde
Deputy Director
Government and Legal Affairs

Public speaking is not easy for many people - but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Brief, clear, and polite comments receive the most regard from lawmakers. To help guide you, we have drafted talking points around which you can frame your presentation. You should also review our more detailed fact sheet on the subject before you go.
1. I am here today to express my opposition to the slaughter of American horses and to request you cosponsor the American Horse Slaughter Protection Act (H.R. 2966/S. 1176) which would end this gruesome practice.
a. If you have a horse and/or have rescued a horse be sure to include this in your opening presentation.
b. If your Member of Congress is already a cosponsor, please thank him/her for their support and encourage their assistance in getting the bill adopted. Members are rarely thanked by their constituents, so this gesture is much appreciated.
2. American tax dollars should not be paying for horse slaughter.
a. We don’t eat horse meat in the U.S.
b. Horse slaughter is not a job creator and is a burden on local communities.
c. The government shouldn’t be spending tax dollars to inspect plants that will support foreign industries.
d. Horses give their hearts to us. They helped us settle this country, carried us into battle, and continue to work hard for us every day. It is a betrayal to sell them to foreign butchers.
3. Slaughter is not humane euthanasia.  It is animal cruelty.
a. Horses’ instinctual flight response makes them ill-suited for stunning, so they often endure repeated blows and sometimes remain conscious during their dismemberment.
b. U.S. government documents graphically indicate cruelty was widespread at the former U.S. plants, even with USDA oversight. Instead of regulating abuse poorly, we should ban the practice entirely.
c. Part of responsible horse ownership is providing a humane end for a horse through euthanasia, not slaughter. That is what the majority of horse owners do already.

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