Please continue calling the U.S. House to end horse slaughter

Girl talking on mobile phone. Free. Pexels.com.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (by Vivian Farrell) — The atmosphere was highly charged in the U.S. House Appropriations Committee meeting when it came time to vote on whether or not to continue defunding horse meat inspections. The House Committee voted the measure out of the Appropriations Bill 27-25 potentially opening the door for horse slaughter to return to U.S. soil.

Keep Calling

You knew I was going to say that, right? The title and picture gave it away. But here’s why.

It looks like we have the U.S. Senate. Let’s see what we can do to swing the U.S. House in favor of the horses.

Please check to see if your U.S. Representative has co-sponsored H.R. 113, the SAFE Act. If they have not, please call and ask them to do so at their earliest opportunity.

Whether or not the SAFE Act ever gets out of Committee and is successful, we at least have their public commitment against horse slaughter on record. This is important in predicting support and gauging votes. Lawmakers do check these numbers.

If your Representative has co-sponsored H.R. 113 (check here) and/or voted to keep the horse meat inspection defunding language in the budget bill (check here), please thank them.

My Representative co-sponsored H.R. 113 and I had yet to thank him. Calling him kept getting pushed to the bottom of my to do list. I didn’t feel too badly because it is frantic in D.C. for everyone. Then I came across a beautiful postcard of a mare and foal, so I sent him a quick message of thanks that way. Believe me, things like this do get noticed.

How about our faithful lobbyists? Please support them. They work 10-12 hour days. As we have already mentioned, nothing sucks the air out of the room faster than to hear lawmakers or their staff say they haven’t heard anything from their constituency on the bill our lobbyists are there to discuss. Nothing.

Here’s our handy list of tips and contact information. Thank you everyone! Keep up the good work. —Vivian

Contact Your Members of Congress

Know who they are? 

U.S. Capitol Switchboard (202) 224-3121

Don’t know they are?

Locate your Member on-line:

U.S. House of Representatives: www.house.gov
U.S. Senate: www.senate.gov

To find out who your Representative is, enter your zip code (including +4) in the search function at: http://www.house.gov/writerep/

Contact the President

White House Switchboard: 202-456-1414 (yes, it’s working)
White House Online: http://www.whitehouse.gov/

Tips for Calling Congress

  1. Don’t call “off the cuff”. Write something up and rehearse it a bit until you feel confident. Be sure to make the purpose of your call very clear, and what you want them to do. Relax and make the call.
  2. Give them your name and address (so they can identify you as a constituent or your call won’t count), your phone number and email address (especially if you want a response).
  3. To make sure they took your information down correctly, politely say, “Would you please read it back to me? This is such an important call for me.”
  4. Speak from the heart. Tell them why this is issue is so important and what you want your lawmaker to do.
  5. If you want a reply to your call, you must ask them for one. Otherwise they are not obligated. You might say something like, “Please have [insert name of lawmaker] reply by email telling me what action [he/she] will be taking on this issue”.

Wild Horse Slaughter

The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to take up the Interior Department’s appropriations bill in the next two weeks which includes the budget for the Bureau of Land Management.

In federal budget bill the BLM seek to allow wild horses to be used as work animals with little to no oversight and restrictions.  They also seek to destroy 92,000 (their number) wild horses needlessly removed from the range and stockpiled across the country.

Call your two Senators and ask them to get this language removed.

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Sign up to make a donation of $30, $5.00 a month over the next 6 months (cancels automatically).

Image Source: Pexel.com

Updated: 7/21/2017; 3:47 pm.

Senate Appropriations Cmte votes to continue defunding of horse meat inspections

Fund Horse, US Flag and Capitol Dome. Vivian Grant Farrell.
Fund Horse, US Flag and Capitol Dome. Vivian Grant Farrell.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 20, 2017) — The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted in favor of an amendment to bar any horse slaughter plants from opening again on U.S. soil.

Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., led the bipartisan effort, with fellow committee members Sens. Christopher Coons, D-Del., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., cosponsoring the amendment in a strong display of strength against horse slaughter.

The vote comes just a week after a closely divided U.S. House committee voted in favor of horse slaughter by two votes.

As the House and Senate committees are now in disagreement, it will be up to key lawmakers to resolve the dispute.

The intense bipartisan opposition to horse slaughter among so many Senators means advantage horses in a fight to the finish.

As U.S. Senator Tom Udall asserted, “Most Americans find the idea of slaughtering horses for human consumption repulsive, and there is no reason the federal government should contribute to it in any way. This amendment is a strong step forward, and I will keep fighting to prohibit horse slaughter in the United States.”

Help us get 2/3rds of the House to co-sponsor the PAST Act

WASHINGTON, DC — Help us get 2/3rds of the U.S. House of Representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 1847, the PAST Act (Prevent All Soring Tactics).  We only need 80 more co-sponsors to do it.

The PAST Act is written to help close the loopholes in the Horse Protection Act outlawing horse soring.

Horse Soring

Horse soring is the use of chemicals, pressure or devices to cause pain to the front feet and legs of horses when they touch the ground. This results in the horses picking up their front feet higher and faster than they would do naturally.

Horse soring is an abusive and prohibited practice, illegal in the U.S.  It is closely associated with a unique high-stepping action of the front legs called “big lick” movement in show ring Tennessee Walking Horses.

Practitioners of soring do so because they believe that the pain associated with this practice exaggerates the “big lick” to a greater degree and gives them a competitive edge over horses that are not treated in this manner.

Other breeds that have a history of horse soring abuses include the Racking Horse and the Spotted Saddle Horse.

Reintroduction of the PAST Act

The PAST Act  — H.R. 1847 — was introduced by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL-3) with 208 originating co-sponsors. At the time of this writing, H.R. 1847 has 220 co-sponsors. [1] Let’s take it to 300. Together we can do this.

The reintroduction of the PAST Act became necessary when an equal provision awaiting publication in the Federal Register was axed in its early days by the Trump Administration at the behest it has been suggested of Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. [2]

The Federal Registry entry contained new rules to close enforcement loopholes in the Horse Protection Act.

The new rules, which call for the removal of action devices and the ungainly pads on the front hooves, were approved on the last day of Barack Obama’s administration but had the support of 224 Senators and members of Congress, as well as over 100,000 public comments. [3]

Take Action

Please do one of the following.

First, find out if your Representative in Washington D.C. has co-sponsored H.R. 1847, then take one of the following actions:

POPVOX

• If they have, please endorse the bill and in the endorsement comments section thank your Representatives for co-sponsoring H.R. 1847 and ask them to use their influence to take it all the way to becoming law.

• If they have yet to co-sponsor H.R. 1847, endorse the bill and tell them in the comments section why it is important to you, but most of all for the horses.

House.gov

If you are not a POPVOX member find your U.S. Representative with your 4+ zip code and use their contact form to ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 1847.

Telephone

If you know who your U.S. Representative and prefer to telephone, the Clerk of the House maintains addresses and phone numbers of all House members and Committees. Call (202) 225-3121 for the U.S. House switchboard operator.

Be sure to give them your name and address so they can identify you as a constituent. They may not ask! If you want a reply from your Representative you must ask for it. It is not automatic.

No form letters

Do not use automated systems with formulated messages. Your message is unlikely to be seen or counted. Batches of these things are often counted as one.

Sign Up with POPVOX

If you have yet to sign up with POPVOX we urge you to do so. We want your voice heard and our years of experience lobbying show us this the easiest and most effective way, and the most informative.

Your legislators and their staff use this tool to track constituent support and opposition and the reasons why. POPVOX also offers other important constituent services.

All you need is a working email and password to sign up.

POPVOX now offers its services at the State level so you can follow legislation that is important to you there too!

The Horse Fund have been with POPVOX since their launch. This is a promise fufilled: “POPVOX keeps you updated on issues at the state and federal level. Find out about bills under consideration, add your voice, and share with your networks for real policy impact.”

Check out our page to see which horse related bills we endorse and oppose. Thank you!

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Image from 2015 HSUS Horse Soring Investigation.

Mystery of Trump’s nomination of Sonny Perdue as Secretary of Agriculture

MARCH AGAINST HORSE SLAUGHTER — For horses a lot hangs on who is eventually appointed as Secretary of Agriculture. Former George Governor Sonny Perdue was reportedly nominated but confirmation hearings still have not been set. So Perdue remains unconfirmed.

Although not a food animal in the US, the person appointed to head up the Agricultural Department will be in a powerful decision making position that could dangerously impact the lives of horses because of the slaughter issue.

Except for Bravo Packing in New Jersey where horses are reportedly killed for zoo meat etc (they do not return our calls), horses are not slaughtered on US soil. However, some 130,000 to 150,000 horses are sent across US borders a year for the purposes of slaughter. The resulting horse meat is freeze packed and shipped overseas for human consumption.

Horse lovers were concerned from the moment it was reported that Sonny Perdue was nominated to head up the US Department of Agriculture. Perdue is pro horse slaughter.

However, according to a Vox report Perdue has not actually been officially nominated.

Sonny Perdue, [ ] Trump’s nominee to serve as agriculture secretary, has not yet been confirmed, and nobody knows why.

It’s not that Democrats are obstructing his confirmation — since changes to the Senate’s filibuster rule, they can’t block a Trump nominee unless they recruit three Republican “no” votes. And in the case of Perdue — unlike, say, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — they aren’t trying to do this. Nor are they resorting to extraordinary measures like the all-night debate that stalled Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s confirmation, or the committee walkouts that dramatized ethical issues hanging over the heads of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin or Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

The reason the Senate hasn’t yet approved his nomination is that he hasn’t actually been officially nominated yet. Paperwork hasn’t yet traveled down from the executive branch to the Senate, so no hearings have been scheduled, even though Perdue does not appear to be a controversial nominee.

There’s little to no reason to be hopeful Perdue will not eventually be nominated, or is there? Vox also reports:

Perdue’s nomination appears to be in limbo due to either the FBI background check or to financial conflicts of interest considered by the Office of Government Ethics. But it seems nobody is entirely sure whether there’s an actual problem, how serious the problem is, or whether the vetters are simply overwhelmed with other work.

In the meantime the USDA and others are in limbo until someone is nominated and confirmed.

In the meantime, US horses as ever are still at risk of slaughter and there seems no end in sight.

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Sonny Perdue. Photo by Jason Getz / Getty Images.

RELATED READING

Tuesday’s Horse
Trump picks former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to head up Agriculture; January 19, 2017.

Other Media
5 Reasons Why Food Experts Are Worried About Trump’s New Agriculture Secretary; GrubStreet.com; by Clint Rainey; January 2017.