Updated 11:26 am
What does the it mean for America’s horses that Donald Trump was elected President?
What will change? What will not change?
In order to get anything done in Washington DC, Americans first of all need to take their country back from corporate control or at least establish some sort of footing wherein they can at least dialog with it.
Until that happens Washington DC for the most part is not where horse advocates can look for much help or improvement in the lives of America’s horses.
Horse advocates are in a stronger position to do some good at the State level.
That does not mean we vacate Washington DC. Far from it. Horse advocates must remain vigilant at the federal level.
President-Elect Trump appointed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to chair his presidential transition team.
However the Washington Post reports that, “Trump ‘has assembled a team advisors and financial supporters tied in with trophy hunting, puppy mills, factory farming, horse slaughter, and other abusive industries.’ Source.
What about the Department of Agriculture’s top job?
A Republican President means a Republican administration that will no doubt appoint a new Agriculture Secretary.
The Secretary of Agriculture is a very important appointment concerning the safety of America’s horses.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has become a somewhat unexpected champion for horses particularly on the issue of horse soring. Vilsack has served as the Agriculture Secretary the entire eight years of Obama’s presidency and I for one will be very sorry to see him go.
What sort of man will President-Elect Trump put in that spot? Hold your breath.
The Washington Post also reports that, “The president . . . has influence over several agencies that create policies that affect animals, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Bureau of Land Management. Donald Trump Jr., who is seen holding up a severed elephant tail in the Humane Society ad, has expressed interest in joining the Department of the Interior.” Source.
Notwithstanding Trump’s trophy hunting son, guess what old arch enemy of the horses still lurks in the halls of Congress?
Republican stalwart Rep. Bob “the Butcher” Goodlatte of Virginia. Remember him?
Goodlatte was one of the most ardent horse slaughter supporters on the Hill and derailed every attempt to outlaw it that he could.
As it stands today, the only federal provision standing between our horses and their return to slaughter on home soil is the annual Agriculture Appropriation’s bill that typically defunds USDA inspections necessary to export horse meat.
This does not bar the export of our horses for slaughter.
American horses are routinely sent across US borders to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. See http://horsefund.org/horse-slaughter-resources.php.
There are no longer EU-regulated horse slaughter plants in Mexico. The EU shut them down because of blatant and egregious health and safety violations. However, the slaughter of horses continues under that country’s own regulatory system.
The EU handed down a mandate a few months ago that horses shipped across US borders into Canada for the purposes of slaughter must live there for 6 months prior to slaughter, a quarantine of sorts.
Some have observed that this EU mandate means that more slaughter horses will be shipped to Mexico.
We called the Secretaria de Agricultura in Mexico. The officer we spoke with stated that Mexico will not be increasing the number of US horses allowed to cross their borders for slaughter, adding they do not have enough plants in operation to take any more with no plans to convert or build more facilities. We hope this is true.
Not surprisingly, subsequent to that conversation we learned that a movement is afoot in Congress to use the Canadian “quarantine” situation as an argument to return horse slaughter to US soil.
Instead of supporting the argument to reinstate horse slaughter in the US because it is no longer economically feasible to ship them to Canada, so where will we dump all of our “unwanted horses” (not our words, a Congressman’s), the new EU mandate actually supports the opposite argument.
The 6 months residency requirement for US horses in Canada intended for slaughter was initiated by the EU — in their minds — to allow time for whatever toxins may exist that bars them from entering the human food chain to “clear out”. These toxins exist due to the numerous and types of drugs given to American horses in their lifetimes.
Yes, we know it has long been the law that horses given Bute are forever barred from slaughter for human consumption, but for decades this has been conveniently overlooked. Bute to horses is like aspirin to humans. What human do you know who has never had an aspirin? It’s the same with horses. This virtually rules out all American horses concerning slaughter. Yet is hasn’t.
The point is this. American horse meat is toxic no matter where they are killed.
For those of you who are disappointed that Hillary Clinton was not elected President, let’s take a look to see if America’s horses would have been better off with her in the Oval Office.
Based on Mrs. Clinton’s track record, domestic horses would likely have had a much higher chance of receiving stronger protections against slaughter. Campaign staff told us that Clinton had expressed interest in giving attention to other horse cruelty issues such as horse racing and horse soring on which they were well versed.
What about America’s wild horses and burros? I say no.
As pointed out in an earlier post Clinton had already decided to give the plum role of chairing her transition team should she be elected President to former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. It was even mentioned that she considered Salazar albeit fleetingly as a Vice Presidential candidate.
We know what having Salazar in any position of power on the Hill would have implicated for America’s wild horse and burro population.
The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) regime under Salazar — whom President Obama eventually sacked — continues.
This means Mustangs are rounded up and removed from public lands, their herd management areas devastated, horded in cruel and hostile environments, with untold numbers ending up in the hands of the meat man.
A portion of these Mustangs continue to be part of the BLM’s “rewards program” where it awards million dollar contracts to a select group of ranchers to maintain wild horses on private lands.
The BLM are responsible for other horrendous practices.
One example is giving wild stallions to prison farms to teach inmates castration procedures (some of which were botched causing horrific suffering and death).
Another is the BLM’s plan to allow a University to perform experimental spaying procedures on wild mares some of which were pregnant.
Then there is its ritual announcement that it intends to “euthanize” thousands and thousands of wild horses stockpiled in holding facilities because they are running out of room and money.
What about Mr. Trump and wild horses? How is Trump likely to view this issue if he takes any view at all?
We cannot tell you. No one from Trump’s presidential campaign ever got back to us.
No matter who is in the White House. No matter what party controls the US House or Senate. Or who the Speaker is.
No matter who is appointed to head the US Department of Agriculture or the Department of the Interior and any other department impacting the lives of our horses in any way.
America’s horses both domestic and in the wild need us to keep a sharp eye on the powers that be in Washington DC and take a stand whenever and however we can to protect them. They have many enemies there.
We hope you will join us, and stay with us, and take action on behalf of our horses.