How a bill becomes law

Interior of the Capitol Hill dome, Washington D.C.

Who remembers Government class or Civics? Or do they even teach them any more?

It seems a large percentage of American citizens do not know how a bill becomes law. When we started, some of us at the Fund for Horses did, but most of us had very little clue.

We were in good shape though from the beginning because the founder of the Fund for Horses worked for 20 years in the legal profession. A lawyer she worked for was the author of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and she was active from the time the bill was drafted and introduced until it became law. It was great experience for her future work in horse protection which she had no idea she would be involved with at the time.

As constituent lobbyists working for (or against) laws that impact the health and safety of horses, the more knowledgeable you are, the better an advocate you will be. Now, this does not mean you need to become an expert by any means, but it will be helpful if you have a general idea.

Action Station

If you are working on the anti slaughter and anti soring bills, please check out the following resources which we feel certain will help you a great deal. There are also loads of helpful links. Here are handy resources from our Take Action page:

• Pending Legislation (https://fundforhorses.org/advocacy-tools/pending-legislation/)

• Calling Congress (https://fundforhorses.org/advocacy-tools/calling-congress/)

• How a Bill Becomes Law (https://fundforhorses.org/advocacy-tools/how-a-bill-becomes-law/)

PopVox

POPVOX is an online constituency tool for tracking bills and contacting your Representative and Senators guaranteeing your voice will be heard and counted. We have been with them since they launched in 2010.

Visit our Stakeholder’s page at https://www.popvox.com/stakeholders/horsefund. You will find all horse legislation pending right now before Congress (there’s more than just the anti slaughter and anti soring bills), whether we endorse the bills or oppose the bills and why including detailed talking points.

Create a POPVOX account with an email and password. Weigh in on any and all legislation you want — not just those having to do with horses — and POPVOX will deliver your message directly to your legislators, guaranteed. Oh, did we mention when you sign up POPVOX identifies your legislators for you and stores it right there on your account, so you never need to look them up again! Even if they get booted out and someone else gets elected in their place.

No. We are not getting paid to promote them. We just love them. They make everything so easy. And that’s the truth.

Thank you so much for helping our horses by taking action right away.

Oh. Remember it’s the Senate version of the horse soring bill only, but both House and Senate on the horse slaughter bill. Learn more here or at POPVOX.

Or

Forgot. You can also find and contact your U.S. Representative at https://www.house.gov/ and your two U.S. Senators at https://www.senate.gov/.


Fund for Horses Logo

Let’s get rid of “Big Lick” animal cruelty

Image from 2015 HSUS Horse Soring Investigation.

Back in June, Clant Seay, the champion of sored horses, wrote a special for the Columbia Daily Herald entitled “Walking Horse competition is not sport.”

We quote liberally below:

The “Big Lick” is animal cruelty.

Native Tennessean, MTSU Horse Science professor and equine veterinarian Dr. John Haffner said, “The “Big Lick” is a pain induced gait — it is a business built on the suffering and pain of horses. The fact is the big lick can only be accomplished by ‘soring.’ When one soring technique becomes detectable, another one is developed. The Big Lick is a learned response to pain, and if horses have not been sored, they do not learn it.”

Legendary Tennessee sportswriter David Climer said: “For years, many of those involved in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry have yearned for its competitions to be taken seriously as a legitimate sport. Blood sport, yes. Legitimate sport, no. Soring is still in common practice, and everybody knows it. Soring is a means to an end — a high-hooved prance produced via pain and abuse. An irritant is applied here, an abrasive chemical rubbed there. The sadistic trainers even develop ways to keep the tortured horse from reacting when the hoof is inspected.”

Previously Daily Herald Editor James Bennett referred to Tennessee Walking Horse shows as a “sport,” blaming the problems of the “Big Lick” on a “few greedy competitors.”

It’s not “a few bad apples; rather the entire barrel of apples is rotten”.

The “Big Lick” is no better than dog fighting and cock fighting, Seay continued. All who practice or support it are guilty because animal cruelty is absolutely necessary to create and maintain the “Big Lick” gait.

The Tennessee Walking Horse breed was hijacked about 50 years ago. It’s now time to end the “Big Lick” forever and allow the Tennessee Walking Horse breed to regain its destiny.

We couldn’t agree more.

Mr. Seay and his group, “Citizens Campaign Against Big Lick Animal Cruelty” (CCBLAC) were instrumental in the major success of H.R.693 (the U.S. Senator Joseph D. Tydings Memorial Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2019 or the PAST Act), passing the U.S. House with a vote of 333-96.

It’s companion bill, S.1007 currently has 49 cosponsors with bipartisan support just as the House bill did.

Achieving 51 would be a majority of the Senate but this may not be enough as the bill has powerful enemies, including Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and sinister Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn.

So you can see why the bill requires as many cosponsors in the Senate as we can possibly win. McConnell and Blackburn will be employing their full arsenal of tricks to defeat S.1007 and keep the “Big Lick” alive.

How You Can Help

Do you know who your two Senators are? See if they have cosponsored S.1007. If they have you are good right now, but we’ll need you again later.

For the rest of us, please make a phone call to your U.S. Senators’ offices who have not yet cosponsored S.1007. You can call them via the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Or you can contact their offices directly. Look up their office numbers here.

Ask to speak to the Aide working on S.1007. Identify yourself as a constituent. State the purpose of your call —  that you wish the Senator to cosponsor S.1007, the PAST Act. Give your reasons why. We like to write our reasons down before we pick up the phone so we don’t leave anything out. Be sure you have given the Aide your contact information before you hang up.

Alternatively, you can contact your Senators’ via the email form listed in the Senate’s online directory.

Need talking points? Get them from The Horse Fund’s stakeholder’s page at POPVOX.com. Sign up with POPVOX and starting interacting with your lawmakers immediately.

Remember that we may have powerful opponents on the Hill, but we have power too. We vote our elected officials in and out of office.

Friends of Animals urge calls to Senators for wild horses

Trio of Wild Horses

Friends of Animals is appalled to learn that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation that includes $35 million for the atrocious wild horse population control plan put forward by a coalition that betrayed wild horses back in April.

That means the horrific plan included in the bill, which promotes a robust rangeland fertility control program, sterilization and massive, targeted roundups of horses and burros, is on its way to the Senate floor and WE NEED YOU to contact your U.S. Senators and tell them not to support this legislation when it comes up for a vote. You can use this directory to contact them: www.senate.gov/senators/contact.

Other so-called wild horse advocacy groups have never been interested in keeping wild horses wild. And by wild we mean allowing them to flourish in their own way, not managing them by keeping them in small herd areas or limiting their population through forcibly drugging them with fertility control drugs. The BLM treats wild horses as pests because it caters to welfare cattle and sheep ranchers who resent wild horses because they want the forage for their doomed livestock.

PLEASE remind your U.S. Senators that horses have lost more than 20 million acres of habitat since the passage of the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971. If Congress really want to strengthen the Act, they should ignore the “unprecedented alliance’’ between so-called animal advocates and the meat industry and consider these options:

● Limit or restrict entirely cattle and sheep from grazing in wild horse Herd Management Areas (HMAs)
● Limit oil, gas and mining operations in HMAs
● Amend the Wild Horse and Burro Act to allow wild horses to be returned or relocated to Herd Areas in states where wild horses have been wiped out
● Protect natural predators such as mountain lions
● Adjust outdated appropriate management levels to accommodate more horses

In 2017, the U.S. Dept of Agriculture’s killing machine division, Wildlife Services, destroyed more than 1.3 million animals, including wolves, coyotes and bobcats, all of whom would be natural predators of wild horses, to “protect” livestock.

BLM is obligated to protect wild horses under the Act and has absolutely no authority whatsoever to experiment on wild horses with new and risky surgeries. In fact, Congress has expressly prohibited the use of funds for activities that would kill wild horses as sterilization experiments may do.

America’s wild horses have a target on their backs. We have more horse slaughter proponents in this administration than any other time in history. That’s why we need our members who care about horses to go to the wall for them.

The U.S. Capitol Switchboard is (202) 224-3121. An operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

See also How to Contact Your U.S. Senators Online.

Controversial ‘wild horse initiative’ headed to Senate floor

Wild horses of Utah. Unattributed image.

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Congress is closer to approving a contentious wild horse initiative backed by national animal welfare groups and the livestock industry but condemned by leaders of the largest and oldest coalition of mustang advocates in the West.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved $35 million last week for the program supported by an unprecedented alliance including the Humane Society of the United States, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and American Farm Bureau Federation.

They say it would eliminate the threat of slaughter for thousands of free-roaming horses and shrink the size of herds primarily through expanded fertility controls on the range.

Critics say it drops long-held opposition to the capture of mustangs across 10 western states and could allow for sterilization of mares — a hot-button issue with horse protection advocates historically.

“It’s a sweeping betrayal of America’s wild herds by the nation’s largest animal welfare groups,” Suzanne Roy, executive director of the American Wild Horse Campaign, said following Thursday’s vote.

Ginger Kathrens, director of The Cloud Foundation based in Colorado, said the new initiative dubbed the “Path Forward” should be called the “path to extinction.” She said it sets population targets to less than 27,000 — the total when federal protections first were enacted nearly a half-century ago.

The Senate committee included a $35 million increase for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro program as part of the $35.8 billion Interior Department appropriation bill it approved on Thursday.

It’s not clear when the full Senate will consider the measure.

Source: Associated Press.

TAKE ACTION

There’s still time to call your Senators. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate office you request.

Don’t know who your two U.S. Senators are? Find out at https://www.govtrack.us/ and make that call!

TALKING POINTS

This plan will wipe our wild horse population.

This is a huge waste of taxpayer money. Our federally protected wild mustangs and burros are already on the brink of destruction.

Nothing that has been promised concerning the safety of America’s wild horses and burros has kept them from slaughter. BLM employees themselves have been directly involved with selling them to slaughter.

There are solutions — humane solutions — that will help protect our wild horses and burros but they have never been seriously considered, and cost nothing like what the Senate Appropriations Committee just approved. Say no to this highly expensive and dangerous plan.

Please vote against this wild horse initiative!