Why do Kentucky lawmakers appear to despise horses?

LOUISVILLE, KY — Why do Kentucky lawmakers appear to despise horses? It’s not simply having little to no regard for horses. These people seem to out and out despise them and want nothing to do with helping them in any way. How can this be?

Kentucky Lawmakers in Washington D.C.

The first politician’s name that springs to mind when it comes to horse hating lawmakers from Kentucky is of course U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who is also Senate Majority Leader and a huge power broker in the nation’s capital.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images via Politico.com.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images via Politico.com.

From where we stand McConnell is top of the list in terms of intensity of destructiveness concerning our nation’s horses and their wellbeing.

Whether it’s interfering with legislation and other federal measures that would virtually eliminate horse soring and Big Lick animal cruelty, or his reported holds on bills session after session that would protect horses from slaughter at home and abroad, McConnell has proven to be a vicious enemy to horses.

Cruelty, horse soring and horse slaughter are intrinsically linked. The scale of the pain and torment meted out to horses by  sorers and slaughterers is extensive and horrific. It is truly unconscionable. McConnell not only supports but also uses his power to maintain both the soring and slaughter of horses.

Why? It may be as simple as this — McConnell loves the money he gets for working on behalf of those who spitefully use and perpetrate cruelty against horses, and peddle their flesh for profit. McConnell probably doesn’t give a thought to the horses at all.

What about the rest of the legislators representing Kentuckians in Washington?

Since legislation addressing horse soring and horse slaughter are pending in the U.S. House alone at the moment, so we will focus on the Kentucky lawmakers there.

Plus, we do not think it any mystery how Kentucky Senators McConnell and Paul will act when the companion bills are introduced in the U.S. Senate.

U.S. House Members for Kentucky

• Rep. James Comer (R-KY-1) https://comer.house.gov/, 202-225-3115
Committees: Agriculture; Oversight and Government; Small Business

• Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY-2) https://guthrie.house.gov/, 202-225-3501
Committees: Education and the Workforce; Energy and Commerce

• Rep. John A. Yarmuth (D-KY-3) https://yarmuth.house.gov/, 202-225-5401
Committees: The Budget

• Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY-4) https://massie.house.gov/, 202-225-3465
Committees: Oversight and Government; Science, Space, and Technology; Transportation

• Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY-5) https://halrogers.house.gov/, 202-225-4601
Committees: Appropriations

• Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY-6) https://barr.house.gov/ , 202-225-4706
Committees: Financial Services

(Source: http://www.house.gov/representatives/)

Let’s do a little exercise. Let’s see if any House members representing the good folks of Kentucky have co-sponsored either H.R. 113 (the SAFE Act) introduced on January 3, 2017 or H.R. 1847 (the PAST Act) introduced on March 30, 2017.

H.R. 113 — H.R. 113 (the SAFE Act) currently has 86 co-sponsors. Not a single co-sponsor from Kentucky as of yet banning horse slaughter.

H.R. 1847 — H.R. 1847 (the PAST Act) currently has 220 co-sponsors. We see a glimmer of hope. Rep. John Yarmuth is an originating co-sponsor of the anti soring bill called the PAST Act. Other than Yarmuth, no one from Kentucky has co-sponsored H.R. 1847.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) representing the 3rd District home to Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. Image: KET.
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) representing the 3rd District, home to Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. Image: KET.

Rep. Yarmuth and Rep. Ed Whitfield were the only two Kentucky members in the U.S. House who co-sponsored the SAFE Act’s previous incarnation, H.R. 1942, in the previous or 114th Congress. So we expect Rep. Yarmuth will do the same for H.R. 113 this time around in the 115th.

What can we say about Rep. Hal Rogers?

In July 2015, Rep. Hal Rogers, did not use his powerful position to protect horses from slaughter.

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee failed to adopt an amendment to prevent the slaughter of horses for human consumption on U.S. soil. The amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill, offered by Rep. Sam Farr, D – Calif., resulted in a tie vote, with the Chair of the Committee, Hal Rogers, ultimately failing to adopt the provision.

(Source: HSUS)

At the end of the day Rogers’ betrayal did not matter.

In December 2015, H.R. 2029, the U.S. Omnibus Bill for FYE 2016 budget, became Public Law No. 114-113 effectively preventing the return of horse slaughter on U.S. soil until September 30, 2016.

Note: A subsequent spending bill for FYE 2017 became Public Law No. 114-259 continuing the defunding of horse meat inspections necessary to slaughter horses in the U.S. until September 30, 2017.

H.R. 1338

In the meantime, the following four U.S. House members of Kentucky, together with Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and five others (four also from Tennessee; the other from Mississippi), are originating co-sponsors of H.R. 1338, filed March 2, 2017:

Rep. Andy Barr
Rep. James Comer
Rep. Brett Guthrie
Rep. Harold Rogers

H.R. 1338 is another horse soring bill, however this one intends to help horse sorers, not eradicate them.

H.R. 1338 seeks a new inspection system set up by the USDA by establishing a single horse industry organization (HIO). “The Commissioners of Agriculture for Tennessee and Kentucky must appoint individuals to the HIO. Those individuals must appoint individuals” representing the Tennessee Walking Horse industry”.

This is a horrible piece of horse related legislation for Kentucky lawmakers to be involved with.

We oppose H.R. 1338. This is nothing more than a renewed legislative attempt at getting a “fox guarding the hen house” inspection system into place where anything goes for the continued horrific abuse of these gentle horses.

No horsing around for Rep. Massie

This leaves Rep. Thomas Massie who Politico named “Mr. No”.  Massie voted “no” at least 324 times in the 113th Congress – opposing one of every three measures that came to the House floor. This year he co-sponsored a bill to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. He doesn’t seem to be for or against bills good or bad for horses. That’s something I guess.

Kentucky Lawmakers at Home

What about politicians at the State level in Kentucky? In our view, they have taken total lack of care concerning Kentucky’s horses to a baser level.

In March, a Kentucky State bill (SB 139) reclassifying horses as livestock instead of as a domestic animal was introduced and pushed through by a lawmaker with a documented history of horse cruelty.

Sen. Robin Webb. Source: The Paulick Report.
Sen. Robin Webb. Source: The Paulick Report.

This lawmaker whom the USDA slapped horse soring violations on is none other that Robin Webb (above), a member of the Kentucky State Senate.

Webb’s horse trainer Donald Stamper was also ticketed for multiple violations.

If that’s not enough here’s more.

The gaited horse industry came under scrutiny after undercover video of Jackie McConnell hit the national airwaves showing him soring, beating, and shocking horses with a cattle prod. McConnell pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of conspiring to violate the HPA. His first violation was in 1979.

Webb told the Herald-Leader that the Tennessee walking horse industry has been “demonized,” in light of that video. “You don’t know what happened five minutes before or five minutes after. … These are animals that are very dangerous,” Webb said.

In other words Ms. Webb views horses trying to evade or protect themselves from abuse as dangerous and deserving of being cornered and mercilessly beaten into submission.

This individual’s bill no doubt calculatingly conceived, reduced their status to livestock, putting Kentucky horses further in harm’s way by removing what few protections they had, and they weren’t much to start with.

At the same time Webb’s bill opens the door to horse slaughter in Kentucky whether intentional or not.

Sadly, despite protests from Kentuckians not a single Kentucky legislator cast a vote against Webb’s bill. SB 139 had unanimous support throughout the entire process.

Governor Matt Bevin then signed it into law.

What does this say about Kentucky lawmakers?

Sen. Robin Webb’s horse soring violations made big headlines. How could any Kentucky State lawmaker fail to be suspicious of a bill concerning horses pushed through the way it was by someone like Webb?

See also http://www.chattanoogan.com/2013/1/23/242756/Roy-Exum-Senator-Just-Like-Lance.aspx

Kentucky Livestock Derby

It won’t be long now until the eyes of millions will be on Louisville, Kentucky and millions of dollars will be wagered on what is called the “Two Most Exciting Minutes in Sports”, a sport by the way where they think it’s funny to name racehorses Gourmet Dinner and Prime Cut.

Here’s a joke for those folks.

Perhaps they should name it the Kentucky Livestock Derby. After all, they are not racing anything special — just a bunch of livestock, usable, replaceable, dispensable. And anyway, what’s in a name?

Gourmet Dinner earned more than $1 million before retiring to New Vocations Racehorse Adoption this week. The gelding will be given a big rest before training for a second career. Image: Off Track Thoroughbreds.
Gourmet Dinner earned more than $1 million before retiring to New Vocations Racehorse Adoption this week. The gelding will be given a big rest before training for a second career. Image: Off Track Thoroughbreds.

As of 2014 Prime Cut seems to have been taken care of following his retirement too. We hope so. See OTTB Spotlight: Prime Cut. We are trying to get an update on both.

TAKE ACTION EVERYBODY

Support federal bills H.R. 113 and H.R. 1847. Guarantee your voice is counted at PopVox.com »

See also Take action against horse slaughter in the Nation’s Capital with HR 113 »

Tip: Don’t bother with pre-prepared, automated messages. They have very little if any impact at all and often not counted.

RELATED READING

• Supporters of Kentucky SB 139 respond to their critics in Blood-Horse article »

So happy together — Supporters of Kentucky State bill SB139 reducing horses to livestock status »

• Off the Menu: Gourmet Dinner and Prime Cut survive Thoroughbred racing »

• Despite a Triple Crown all that glitters is not gold in American horse racing (Part 3) »

FEATURED IMAGE
Horse in silhouette. Unattributed Google search result.

 

 

5 thoughts on “Why do Kentucky lawmakers appear to despise horses?”

  1. Reading this article (which I am well aware of) made me sick to my stomach. This folks is how the foot will get in the door to across the board horse slaughter in the US. Kentucky should be boycotted! Period! Don’t spend any more of your hard earned dollars on a state that promotes this! Next, bring awareness to this action in Kentucky. Many folks out there have no idea. The more education and awareness the better. Only way we can bring the works of Satan out of the dark. Then, share this article on FB, twitter, your e mail friends, etc. We must get this word out. Sitting back and moaning and complaining what is happening to our equines……domestic, wild, burros, donkeys…..will not stop this. We MUST become a force to recon with! Where do we start…..every state. If you have not joined your state’s Horse Defense Coalition….time is now. The national organization is “The American Canadian Horse Defense Coalition”. Every state has an organized group working within that state. Go to the FB page and become a member/join. Doesn’t matter whether you have horses or not. Become a voice for the voiceless……those who will take their last ride to Canada or Mexico for greed. Then please share these articles far and wide. We CAN stop slaughter and cruelty to equines, but it will take each and every one of us to become an advocate for those who have no voice. In the meantime, every single day, 24 hours a day…..over 3,000 equines will take their last ride. 150,000 every year.

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  2. Mitch McConnell HAS to go!! As well as the others who $$ is in the way of the horses. Pass HR 113 and HR 1847!

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  3. This is Kentucky where horses are supposed to be loved. Makes me ashamed to be a Kentuckian. Are the Farm Bureau, Big Ag , the Horse Council , etc. behind the lack of laws to protect our horses?

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    1. We cannot say for sure Barbara but groups like the ones you mention typically are. Like so many States Kentucky lawmakers take payoffs like anywhere else. McConnell of course is so powerful he doesn’t even hide it. I have a funny image of McConnell. Well, funny — unless he represents you.

      Roy Exum who has covered horse soring and political corruption over the years for The Chattanoogan writes this:

      Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander have taken so much in “campaign contributions” from the seedy “Big Lick” that it is alleged President Donald Trump slashed the national effort before he even danced at the Inaugural Ball.

      According to one source, McConnell has pocketed over $750,000 that the despicable Shelbyville crowd has spurred his way and Alexander, whose state campaign chairman and the Dirty Lick’s top villain are one in the same – Steven B. Smith – has led every elected Republican from Tennessee in Washington to share in the dirty money.

      Read more at http://www.chattanoogan.com/2017/1/25/340410/Roy-Exum-Horse-Reform-Threatened.aspx
       

      Mitch McConnell photoshopped to show who owns him. Artist not specified.

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