Gathering takes aims at “damage done by Congress”

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Former US Congressman John Sweeney, who was the primary sponsor for the successful passage of H.R. 503.
Former US Congressman John Sweeney, who was the primary sponsor for the successful passage of H.R. 503.

Horse experts from across the United States have gathered in Chatham, New York, this weekend to look at ways to end the slaughter of American horses.

The Equine Welfare Alliance, an umbrella group focused on equine welfare and preserving wild horses, said the meeting aimed to “reverse the damage done by Congress” when lawmakers approved an agriculture spending bill with altered wording that re-opened the path to horse slaughter on American soil.

Equine Advocates president Susan Wagner said: “It’s just plain wrong when lobbies for the agriculture and quarter horse industries can influence members of Congress to supersede the will of the more than 80 per cent  of Americans who want a federal ban on horse slaughter.

“The ‘eighty per-centers’ deserve to be heard,” she said.

Instead, special interests prevailed and got “exactly what they wanted”.

“It’s not only egregious, it’s downright un-American.”

The two-day gathering is at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary in Chatham, New York.

The Equine Welfare Alliance said the meeting was aimed at mobilizing an effective grassroots movement to end the slaughter of America’s horses in the US and abroad.

Attendees include the press, lawmakers and those involved with equine welfare and the horse industry.

The summit was opened by legendary concert promoter and horse lover Ron Delsener.

Speakers include Dr Caroline Betts, who will discuss the discrepancies in the 2011 Government Accountability Office report on the closings of horse slaughterhouses in the US; and former US Congressman John Sweeney (R-NY), who was the primary sponsor for the successful passage of H.R. 503, the House version of the 2006 American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.

Other speakers include Cathleen Doyle, former head of the California Equine Council and Save the Horses; alliance president John Holland; veterinarian Kraig Kulikowski; and Katia Louise, director of the film, “Saving America’s Horses”.

The gathering will also hear from Victoria McCullough, who helped pass Florida’s Equine Protection Act;  Jo Anne Normile, of Saving Baby Equine Charity and founder of CANTER; and Paula Bacon, a former Mayor of Kaufman, Texas, who led the fight to close  a horse slaughterhouse operating in Kaufman.

Said Bacon: “I believe a horse slaughter plant is among the very least desirable things a community would want. It ranks with a lead smelter plant and strip clubs – the dead opposite of economic development. A horse slaughter plant creates big, expensive environmental problems for taxpayers and stigmatizes the community as ‘that place where they slaughter horses’ – and good development goes elsewhere.”

States currently trying to reopen horse slaughter plants include Oregon, Missouri and Tennessee.

 

Interested parties can “like” Equine Advocates on Facebook, follow it on Twitter @EquineAdvocates. For live updates during the summit, use the hash tag: #AES2012.

 

 

 

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