Senator Frist, as the outgoing Senate Majority Leader scheduled the bills to be voted on. Despite a major grass roots effort, Mr. Frist was unwilling to put it on the calendar.
This bill, designed to end the slaughter of America's horses for overseas consumption was passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representative on September the 7th, 2006. The Senate was too, uhhh, "busy" to discuss the bill.
Big Beef and The Cattlemen's Association feared this bill greatly. For some reason, they think we are coming for the cattle next. They also view horses as livestock and private property, with which they may do what they please.
For people who live with and truly love horses, they are companion animals. They form a bond with us, just like our cats and dogs.
To be very clear, I like a juicy steak about once a week. However, Fido, Miss Kitty and Barbaro are not dinner options at our house.
Horse slaughter is an ugly, vicious industry whereby "killer buyers" go to auctions and purchase the meatiest, healthiest looking horses because it's all about price per pound. Over 92% of the horses ending up at the 3 Belgium owned slaughter houses in TX and IL are young, healthy and full of life.
These lovely, noble creatures stand in line waiting to enter the "kill box" and all the while are smelling the blood and fear of the horses that have gone before them. Upon entrance to the kill box, slippery with blood, they see a captive bolt pistol coming at that heads. Being flight animals, and sensing the imminent danger, they struggle to avoid the hammer being swung at their heads. Because of their struggle, they often fall and injure themselves, or receive eye, ear and head injuries. It may take many tries for the bolt to connect properly with their heads and stun their brains. Many are not even unconscious when their throats are slit and they are hung by one back leg to "bleed out."
Humane euthanasia is not an option for animals for human consumption. The strong barbituate that brings a gentle but swift end to our beloved pets would taint the meat. In fact, horses are regularly wormed, vaccinated and given drugs that are clearly labeled "NOT FOR USE IN ANIMALS FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION." Yet, we as American's allow these Belgium owned companies to kill our horses and ship the meat off as a delicacy in France, Japan and Belgium. The bottom line - the meat is loaded with toxins.
The slaughterhouses pay no taxes here in the US. I have a copy of a income tax return that shows $12 Million is income, but they only paid $5 - that's $5, not $5 million, in income tax. Once they've got the meat across the pond, they mark it up some 400% and making a killing (no pun intended) there. From a purely economic point of view, these businesses have no business operating on our soil.
And why, you may ask, don't the Belgium companies slaughter their own horses...in Belgium? Why that would be because it's illegal to slaughter horses for human consumption in most European countries.
Damned ironic, isn't it?
Disappointed? Yes I am. But we live to fight another day. Look out 110th...we're coming to educate you...
This is a poem I wrote, expressing my sadness for the horses that will continue to die every week, until this bill is passed and our horses are safe.
The night was cold but calm
The night shift worked quietly
And the hospital moved thru the night
In the early dawn hours
The Sweet Prince awoke
It was clear in his minds eye
aro no longer slept…
He knew that many new angels
Would soon meet the pastures of Heaven
And the pain was nearly unbearable
I woke from my sleep in anguish
Read the email - regret to inform
The words of the people ignored
I reached out to him with my heart
I held him close
Believe, I coaxed
The battle over, but the war is not lost
He thought about the horses in the feedlots
And the pens
He thought about their fate
Sweet Bobby thought of the Mustangs
Soon the riders and copters to come
So much beauty lost to the fear
He thought about the burros,
The Nokota Horses
The Ponies on Assateague
The runners coming up lame
I held his heart so tight and I whispered
We are battle weary
But this war is far from over
Have hope, I urged
You most of all must be strong
For you are our inspiration
We will fight on, for you Sweet Prince
For we do BELIEVE
Happen every day
You must be strong, Bobby
Keep us focused
Teach by example
You taught us all to believe
I held his heart so tight
Blanketed with love
Hope for the future
And quietly I pulled away
I didn’t want him to feel
I wanted him to rest…
And then I wept…
Lorri Roush Shaver, 12/9/2006.