August 8, 2008

A leading African-American farming advocate has joined the movement to ban the slaughter of Americas horses for human consumption abroad, and has testified at Capitol Hill.

Dr John W Boyd, Jr, president and founder of the National Black Farmers Association, last week to testified before the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security of the House Judiciary Committee.

"As a working farmer and horse owner I felt it important to speak out for these magnificent animals who have played such an important role in the lives of African-American farmers," said Dr Boyd.

Dr Boyd is already well known for his commitment and dedication to advocating on behalf of African-American and family farmers. Joining the ever-growing cause end horse slaughter which has been spearheaded by the Animal Welfare Institute since 2001, Dr Boyd testified on behalf of the Conyers-Burton "Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008" (HR 6598). The legislation is sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and cosponsored by Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA).

"When learning about the issue, people advocating horse slaughter kept saying horse slaughter is an important industry to famers and horse owners. I had to take a stand and tell Congress this was just not true," Dr Boyd said.

" The industry exists out of greed and those advocating horse slaughter could care less about horse welfare."

During the recent hearing, former slaughterhouse lobbyist and US Congressman Charlie Stenholm claimed to be speaking on behalf of all agriculture and livestock interests, but Dr Boyd discounted that. As an active farmer and head of a 94,000 member organization made up of working farmers, Dr Boyd told the Committee that until recently he didn't even know that horse slaughter even existed, but that neither he nor his organization support the practice. He also refuted claims of horses being abandoned en masse as a result of the closure of the remaining US-based horse slaughter plants in 2007.

"Even if horses were being abandoned, that has nothing to do with slaughter and we certainly shouldn't be collecting info on it to defend horse slaughter. We should go after those abusing animals, not reward them," said Dr Boyd.

Time is short for the remainder of this Congress, but the NBFA and others are calling on legislators to move on the Conyers-Burton "Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008" as soon as possible.