IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED TO STOP HORSE SLAUGHTER IN TEXAS
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IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED TO STOP HORSE SLAUGHTER IN TEXAS
In light of the recent U.S. Fifth Circuit Court decision upholding current Texas law banning the slaughtering of horses for human consumption, the horse slaughter plants and their supporters have introduced companion bills in the Texas Legislature to legalize horse slaughter in Texas. (Yes, they've been operating illegally for 50-plus years!)
The bill number in the Texas House of Representatives is HB 2674 and the Texas Senate bill is SB 1742.
These bills are the horse slaughter plants absolute last chance to keep operating in Texas and they will do everything possible to pass these bills.
We horse-lovers throughout the country must be prepared for an all-out fight to kill these bills and make sure that horse slaughter stays banned in Texas.
The horse slaughter plants have lots of money to spend on highly paid and very influential lobbyists. Although we don’t have a lot of money, we do have a great grassroots network and if we all work together, we can and will defeat these bills.
(1) The first thing you can do is to immediately contact your state representative and state senator and tell them you are opposed to these bills. Also, notify your friends, neighbors, and members of horse organizations to do the same. Our game plan is to inundate the legislators with calls, letters, faxes and e-mails and let them know how we feel. You can get the name and contact information for your state representative and senator online at www.capitol.state.tx.us or by contacting your county clerk (the phone number will be listed in your phone book under county government). [PS: For those of you out of Texas, I'll send you list of members of committees where this bill ends up -- and their phone numbers -- as soon as I know where the bill's headed. Last time this bill was presented, the Texas legislators had thousands of calls come from OUT OF STATE, and that helped make a difference in getting their attention big-time.]
(2) The second thing you can do is to be ready on short notice to go to Austin when these bills are open for public comment before the committees considering them. Our goal is to have at least 250 people to pack the hearing room and sign in against these bills. In addition, if you would like to speak against the bill, you are invited to do so. It is your right to voice your opinion at these hearings.
We must have a large turnout to let the legislators know we are serious. We will generally only be able to give you 4 or 5 days notice of these hearings, so try and be flexible and do everything possible to get to Austin so our voices can be heard. Also, if you go to Austin, be sure and make a personal visit to your representative and senator and again tell them that you oppose these bills.
Nine great talking points for you to use when you contact your (or any) representative and senator:
1. There are three slaughter plants in the United States. Two are in Texas; one in Fort Worth (Beltex) and the other in Kaufman (Dallas Crown). Both are foreign owned and all profits go to the foreign owners. Because of accounting loopholes, these plants pay little or no federal income tax.
2. Texas has banned the slaughter of horses for human consumption since 1949. However, due to lack of enforcement, the two Texas horse slaughter plants have operated for many years with impunity. Finally, in 2002, the Texas Attorney General ruled that these horse slaughter plants were violating a criminal law and could be prosecuted. Through various court actions, the horse slaughter plants were able to hold off prosecution for over four years, but finally in January of this year, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of the prosecutors and denied the horse slaughter plants any court protection.
3. Now, as a last ditch stand, the slaughter plants are attempting to repeal the nearly 60 year old ban on horse slaughter. HB 2476 and its Senate companion, SB 1742 will legalize horse slaughter in Texas and allow these plants to continue to slaughter our horses and ship their meat to satisfy the palates of foreign diners in France, Belgium and Japan.
4. In 2003, these horse slaughter plants tried to legalize horse slaughter in Texas and failed. At that time, a survey of Texans was conducted and the findings were as follows:
- 89% were unaware that horses were being slaughtered in this state for human consumption.
- 72% were opposed to the slaughter of horses for human consumption.
- 77% were opposed to changing the state law to permit the slaughter of horses for human consumption.
- 77% said they would be less likely to vote for a legislative candidate who supported a change in the law to permit the slaughter of horses for human consumption.
- By an 8 to 1 margin, Texans associate the value of horses with Texas state culture, heritage and economy rather than the horse’s value as a simple livestock commodity like cattle.
Bottom line, Texans do not want their horses slaughtered for human consumption.
5. Last year, over 100,000 horses were slaughtered in the United States and their meat exported to France, Belgium and Japan. Contrary to the claims of the horse slaughter plants that the slaughtered horses were old, sick, injured or had behavioral problems, the USDA, who inspects the slaughtering of these horses, found that over 92% were fit and healthy and had no behavioral problems.
6. Horse slaughter also promotes horse theft. The slaughter plants are a perfect outlet for horse thieves to dispose of their stolen horses. This is quick and all evidence is destroyed. The slaughter plants brag that a horse “goes from the stable to the table in 48 hours.” After California banned horse slaughter in 1998, reported horse thefts fell by over 34%.
7. The slaughtering process is extremely cruel and inhumane, beginning with cruel transport where horses unfamiliar with each other are crammed together in over crowded transfer vehicles normally used to haul cattle. Stallions are mixed with other stallions, mares, pregnant mares, and mares with foals are also included in the mix. Many horses are injured or dead at the time they arrive at the slaughter plant. The slaughter process itself is done using a “captive bolt gun.” This is applied to the head and triggered to render the horse unconscious before it is hoisted to the killing line to have its throat slashed. Often times the procedure is imprecise and the horse is hit numerous times with the bolt gun and often the horse regains consciousness while its throat is slit.
8. Banning of horse slaughter will not, as some contend, cause horses to be abandoned or left in the field to starve. First of all, such conduct is a criminal offense in Texas and most other states. Also, there are various options such as horse retirement sanctuaries and other adoption facilities and if all else fails, the humane euthanasia of the animal by a qualified veterinarian.
9. Banning horse slaughter does not deprive a horse owner of any of his “property rights”. Instead, it protects those rights from horse thieves and from a fraudulent market place in which “killer buyers” posing as horse brokers buy horses from unsuspecting sellers thinking their horses are going to a good home, when in fact they will be slaughtered.
from the Texas Humane Legislation Network www.thln.org
The calf photo on these pages is from Farm Sanctuary with our thanks.
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