The desire to end horse slaughter crosses the political spectrum, the head of the Humane Society of the United States says.
“It is time to put an end to the needless, wasteful slaughter of this American icon,” its president and chief executive, Wayne Pacelle, said.
“That is something that every red-blooded American – Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, or Democratic Socialist – can and should agree upon.”
Pacelle, writing in his blog, A Humane Nation, was commenting after he co-wrote an article with former Republican Congressman Bob Barr, published last week in the conservative monthly, The American Spectator.
The pair wrote: “Support for ending the cruel and wasteful slaughter of America’s horses spans the political spectrum; it’s not a partisan issue — this is a quintessentially American issue. It’s about our values, our heritage, and what we tolerate as a society. Truly, this is a common sense issue we can all support, and now it is time for Congress to act.”
Pacelle said some people might have been surprised to hear about a conservative like Bob Barr supporting animal protection.
“But that would be a misreading of the core tenets of animal protection.
“For so many people, animal protection is not so much about animal rights or welfare, but human responsibility. It is precisely because we are smart, intelligent, and creative that we should treat our fellow creatures with respect and compassion.
“We should view our power not as a license, but as a call for restraint and common decency.
“When it comes to the humane treatment of horses, how is it a conservative notion to own a horse and then to dump or sell that horse when you are done with him or her? That’s not a conservative value – that’s just selfish and reckless.
“If you have a horse, it’s your duty to provide lifetime care. If you cannot provide that care, you have a responsibility to find a good home for the animal. Or, if that isn’t possible, see that the animal is humanely euthanized.
“Sending that creature on a long passage to slaughter dooms that animal to misery and suffering, and it’s no way to treat these creatures.”
Pacelle said Conservatives also valued the heritage and history of the US, with all its triumphs as well as its pockmarks and troublesome times.
“There can be no question that horses played a major role in the settlement and expansion of our nation, providing essential means of companionship, transport, and sport over more than two centuries. They were never a food source for us.
“Why should we allow our country to become a hub for horse slaughter, for the purpose of exporting these creatures for foreign consumers to eat?
“The current debate in Congress over horse slaughter should be viewed in that light.”
He said the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 1942/S. 1214) would ensure that places where horses were slaughtered for human consumption could never reopen in the United States, and it would stop the current export of horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.