Rep. Earl Blumenhauer (D-OR) wrote the following in his April 26, 2017 newsletter entitled “Ending horse slaughter: A glimmer of hope on the Hill”, and taken those words right out of our mouths.
These are strange times in our nation’s capital, with looming discussions of government shutdowns and tax giveaways for the wealthy. In this era, Congressional victories may seem difficult to come by.
Yet I wanted to tell you about one glimmer of hope that I saw today on Capitol Hill. Just a few hours ago, the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, which I co-chair, held a briefing to highlight the issue of horse slaughter, the horrific killing and processing of horses for human consumption. The Caucus, a bipartisan group of over 120 lawmakers committed to passing legislation that promotes animal welfare, was formed to highlight important issues affecting animals and to educate members and their staff on the need for sensible animal protection legislation.
While it may sound foreign, horse slaughter is still prevalent in the United States. Each year, over 100,000 horses are purchased in the U.S. and shipped to slaughterhouses across our borders in crowded trucks, without food, water, or rest, only to be slaughtered using often gruesome methods. In order to educate my fellow Representatives on this issue, I invited experts from all over the country to testify on the need to end horse slaughter now. The panel that testified included animal welfare experts, as well as celebrities like “Pretty Little Liars” star Huw Collins and sportscaster Bonnie-Jill Laflin. The room was packed, and the presentation was powerful, personal, and highly effective in conveying the horrors of horse slaughter.
Today’s event showed that people are paying attention, and something can be done. On the very first day of this Congress, with my colleague Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL), I introduced legislation to bring an end to this abysmal practice of horse slaughter. H.R. 113, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, now has 97 bipartisan co-sponsors. The momentum from our briefing represents a critical step in helping to usher this common-sense and humane legislation through Congress. I am committed to putting the resources of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus behind the bill until it becomes law.
Whether it’s fighting to strengthen existing laws, or working to push forward new ones, we must continue to fight for policies that protect animals in the United States and abroad. Today’s briefing was a small, but significant step in this Congress, and I am proud to have worked to provide a glimmer of light amidst this strange and unusual time.
March Against Horse Slaughter was a big success and mobilized so many advocates. We knew we were having a big impact in support of these sorts of efforts.
We are so grateful for Rep. Blumenhauer’s encouraging words which verifies what we have been seeing and reporting from the halls of Congress.
Keep up the good work. Let’s do this. There is little reason for us to fear that the President will not sign it into law if the 2017 SAFE Act is passed. More on that in another post coming up very soon.
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY-3), my Representative, just co-sponsored H.R. 113. Hooray. Rep. Yarmuth co-sponsored the previous SAFE Act as well. I am so glad to see someone in Kentucky is standing up for horses. I am going to tweet Rep. Yarmuth a big thanks plus send him a thank you card. I invite you to do the same for your Representatives when they co-sponsor H.R. 113. It is very important to establish a relationship with your lawmakers. They receive so few thank you’s and yours will make an impression.
Follow us on Twitter @horsefund (https://horsefund.org/twitter). The hashtags to use on Twitter are #hr113 and #2017SAFEAct. Some are also using #horseslaughter, #horses and #horsemeat. But it’s best not to get carried away with hashtags!
If your Representative has yet to co-sponsor H.R. 113, take these steps to contact them. NOTE: Please do not use prefabricated point and click messages. They are a nuisance to legislative staff and often ignored or batched and counted as a single endorsement. Truly. We hear it all the time.