Day At The Track

Beef: It's still what's for dinner

06:57 AM 17 Apr 2009 NZST
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Equine Welfare Alliance
Equine Welfare Alliance

Horse slaughter advocates have recently thrown their misinformation campaign into high gear. In an attempt to solicit support by any means necessary, they are now feeding Congress outright lies on what the passage of the Federal Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009, HR 503 and S 727, will mean.

The legislation could not be more clear in its intent: an end to horse slaughter. It is not, as recently asserted, an act to criminalize horse meat.

More importantly, the legislation is absolutely, unequivocally, indisputably, not the beginning of a vegetarian led effort to end animal agriculture in this country. Such claims are, in the jargon of animal agriculture, just plain hogwash.

Wyoming State Representative, Sue Wallis has teamed up with a special interest group and has become the go to lobbyist for the pro-slaughter campaign. In an "Informational" paper, that rivals the length of the recent stimulus package, Wallis missed her calling as a fiction writer.

And why is this special interest group, a 501(C)3, currently fundraising to "assemble a political war chest" to fund Wallis' travels in what would appear to be a violation of Article 3 of Wyoming's constitution? We urge the Wyoming legislature to convene an ethics investigation of Wallis' highly suspect activities on behalf of the horsemeat industry.

What is readily apparent is that slaughter advocates are glaringly lacking in factual information. Their arguments, when exposed to critical examination, fall apart like the succulent beef of a well cooked roast. They have escalated efforts to scare the livestock industry into believing that ending horse slaughter is the first step to banning the slaughter of livestock. The shallow thinking exposed by this argument totally ignores the millions of beef, pork and chicken eaters who are revolted by the prospect of killing a non-food animal such as a horse or dog for profit.

Supporters of ending slaughter are portrayed as tree hugging vegans and PETA crazies that are on a mission to take away everyone's hamburgers. The entire premise of Representative Wallis' dissertation on horses as a food source is negated by the fact that horses are not classified as food animals by the USDA and are in fact classified by the FDA as companion animals.

Sue Wallace and the meat business she hawks like a carnival barker want to create a market for horse meat in this country. Wallis, and the group she lobbies with, has even created a survey that is being sent only to carefully selected individuals that have registered on a pro slaughter web site. Undoubtedly, the results will be published as the voice of Americans and sent to our Congress even though only one side of the issue has been polled.

Ms. Wallis goes on to use the same property rights arguments that slave owners used unsuccessfully to stop the government from freeing their "property". She argues that owners have the right to dispose of their "property" in any manner they choose, oblivious to disposal laws on appliances, cars, computer equipment, toxic waste materials and in some areas, horses. Wallis cannot change history any more than she can change the grim reality of horse slaughter.

In survey after survey, more than 70 percent of the American public has gone on record saying they don't want horse slaughter. Congressman Conyers and Senator Landrieu, who introduced the federal legislation, are respected legislators that have been elected to multiple terms. Neither could be remotely considered tree hugging, vegans out to ban livestock slaughter. Conyers comes from a state where Midwestern beef is revered. Landrieu hails from Louisiana, and anybody knows that if something moves in that state it will likely end up in a pot to make a spicy Creole dish. Radical vegans? Hardly!

With rare exception, equine welfare advocates are meat eaters. Ending horse slaughter is not going to take away our hamburgers, sausage, chops and steaks. If anything, it would be a great opportunity for the livestock industry to start promoting our beef overseas.

We urge Congress for the swift passage of the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act and not be swayed by desperate attempts to link it to an imaginary vegan agenda.

And American Beef? It's still what's for dinner.

Vicki TOBIN

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