There is disappointing news in the mid-term election results for horse protection issues.
Sen. Harry Reid, the instigator of the notorious Burns Amendment legally exposing our wild horses and burros to slaughter (according to Sen. Burns), remains. As U.S. Senate Majority leader, Reid has to date ignored public pleas to move the bill barring the slaughter of American horse at home and abroad to the Senate floor for a vote. The Democrats maintained their majority in the U.S. Senate, so no imminent leadership change there.
The Republicans took back the U.S. House, which leads to the return of Rep. Bob Goodlatte as Chairman of the Agriculture Committee. Goodlatte is equally as notorious as Burns, perhaps more so. Goodlatte expended considerable time and energy derailing every bit of federal legislation that would ban horse slaughter and transport to slaughter when Republicans previously ruled the House. Expect more of the same from him.
There is a glimmer of encouraging news.
Rep. Raul Grijalva, who is a friend to wild horses and burros, retains his seat in the House after a very closely run contest against an opponent heavily backed by Sen. John McCain.
While the wild horse and burro issue has remained a federally fought battle in Washington and in the courts, many of the major showdowns on that other big welfare issue, horse slaughter, have taken place at the state legislative level for the past few years. A prime example and probably the most active of horse slaughter proponents at the state level is Rep. Sue Wallis of Wyoming.
Referred to as “Slaughterhouse Sue” because she appears to spend most of her time working to bring horse slaughter back to U.S. soil by opening a plant in her home state of Wyoming, remains after yesterday’s mid-term elections. However, what power Wallis has depends not so much on her State seat but from funding by major corporate backers of her horse slaughter plans.
Regardless of the outcome of the mid term elections, it is important to remember this.
Horse protection issues are historically bipartisan, meaning that there is more or less equal support from all parties, and not seen as strictly Democratic or Republican, conservative or liberal. Horse protection issues typically fare no better or no worse because of who controls Congress. However, horse protection legislation faces stiff opposition from highly placed politicians and some of the richest, most powerful lobbyists. They are the ones to watch.