Arguments against supporting a bill that regulates and legitimizes slaughter and doubles for horses
propose to legalize every inhumane practice identified in the transport of horses to slaughter & put the very people identified as the a abusers, the "killer buyers" in charge of the horses!
Proposed regs will legalize every inhumane practice identified in the transport of horses to slaughter!
Commercial Transportation of Horses to Slaughter Act of 1996 Legislative History
As early as 1995 these organizations were calling for the addition of Intermediate Handlers and other amendments. Not to mention that the CA Equine Council, Cathleen Doyle, correctly predicted the outcome for the horses. Here we are in 2008 and what has changed for the horses?
Here we are eight years into federal legislation aimed at ending horse slaughter and the same groups are supporting bad legislation or failing miserably to pass good legislation. History is repeating itself. If we are going to Save America's Horses we need to pay attention to history so that it does not continue to repeat itself.
As early as 1993 the American Horse Protection Association and other animal welfare groups urged passage of legislation to ban double deck trailers for horses transported to slaughter.
Passing legislation regulating the transport of horses to slaughter legitimizes horse slaughter and provides the pro slaughter forces with a ready made argument against the anti-slaughter argument that the transport to slaughter is inhumane. Cathleen Doyle of the CA Equine Council argued this during the campaign to pass the federal legislation to regulate the transport of horses to slaughter. Doyle was proven correct when the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act was introduced for the first time in 2000 and the pro slaughter forces pointed out that the humane organizations supported the passage of the Commercial Transportation of Horses to Slaughter Act of 1996 and signed off on the proposed regulations.
In 1994 Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky introduced legislation to ban double deck trailers to transport horses to slaughter. It died in committee. Supported by:American Horse Council, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Horse Protection Association, the Society for Animal Protective Legislation, the American Humane Association.
Legislation was introduced by Congressman William Goodling, (R) PA on September 29, 1995. Supported by:American Horse Council, the American Horse Protection Association, and the Humane Society of the United States.
McConnell again introduced legislation in the Senate, S-1283 supported by:American Horse Council, and the American Horse Protection Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Humane Association, the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Humane Society of the United States.
It was known as the "Safe Commercial Transportation of Horses for Slaughter Act of 1995" The bill was killed by groups opposing the legislation and then at the last minute a stripped down version was attached to the Farm Bill of 1996.
The Humane Society of the United States supported this legislation and conducted an investigation to expose the inhumane transport that included an expose on ESPN involving a case known as the "Syracuse 36" which involved Nickerson Livestock.
The NY State Police stopped a double deck truck owned by Nickerson Livestock and driven by a hired driver in Syracuse, NY.
The 36 horses were seized by the NY State Police and held at various racetracks and fair grounds while Nickerson Livestock went to court to have his animals/property returned. The Court ordered the horses returned at which time the local spca, not HSUS, raised the funds to purchase the horses from Nickerson Livestock at a price higher than what he would have received at the slaughterhouse.
The driver, not Nickerson Livestock, was charged. Failure to charge Nickerson Livestock under the NY Horse Transport Law, NY Ag & Markets Sec. 359.a resulted in Nickerson Livestock continuing to utilize a double deck trailer to transport horses until arrested in January 1998 by the NY State Police due to information provided by the EPN to the NY State Police, NYSP.
At that time the driver, Kevin Nickerson, was charged as an agent of Nickerson Livestock.
Once convicted, the subsequent convictions would result in a mandatory higher fine per horse. Nickerson Livestock could no longer just fire the driver and continue to utilize a double deck trailer due to the company, Nickerson Livestock, never paying any fines.
HSUS fund raised off the Syracuse 36 case, yet they failed to accomplish the goal of convicting Nickerson Livestock for transporting horses in a double deck trailer and as far as Nickerson Livestock was concerned it was business as usual until January 1998. HSUS did not pay to buy the horses. HSUS was unwilling to provide even a hotel room for Dr. Lopez, the NY vet who had more experience than anyone on this issue due to the fact that he was the vet that had been called out since the 1970's by the NYSP for incidents involving double deck trailers and horses on the Northway, known as the "Torture Trail"
The goal of the legislation was to make the transport of horses to slaughter safe and humane. The result instead was the legalization of every inhumane practice identified in the transport of horses to slaughter and put the very people identified as the abusers in charge of the horses' welfare! Gone was the proposed "veterinary fit to travel certificate". In its place was a statement* by the very people identified as the abusers ( the "killer buyers") and who stand to profit from the horses' being fit to travel - the fox guarding the hen house.
Horses were forced to undergo water deprivation studies to determine how long the horses could go without water and Your tax dollars paid for it. Thanks to the animal welfare organizations who believed "something was better than nothing" and "don't worry we will get it all worked out in the regs". Those who stood up for the horses and opposed the regulations were criticized by the animal welfare groups who put legislation on the books that legitimized horse slaughter and who deemed the transport of horses 28 hours with "no food, no water, and no rest" humane.
There are animal welfare groups who hailed this as a victory.
The CA Equine Council and 200 others opposed the regulations along with the Equine Protection Network, and Equine Advocates
"It is incumbent for advocacy groups all over the nation to be vigilant regarding any piece
of equine legislation which could weaken other existing laws even if in another state".
Cathleen Doyle -HoofPAC, Save The Horses, CA Equine Council
The slaughter of America's Horses has continued for 40 years because it was hidden and the media kept silent. The advent of the Internet gave the people opposed to slaughter a voice. The California Initiative Process gave the People a voice and in 1998 62% of California voters "Just Said Neigh" to horse slaughter.
When Americans as a whole are given a voice, the Slaughter of America's Horses will end as Americans overwhelmingly vote to outlaw the slaughter.
Since 2000 the issue has been handled by animal welfare organizations unwilling to hire the best professional lobbyist in Washington D.C. so the slaughter and the fundraising at the expense of the horses continues.
Anytime one remains silent it allows the practice in question to continue and as history shows, anytime attempts are made to silence people's voices no good comes from it. People need to find their voices and Speak Up For the Horses.
Silence = Complacency
"People deserve to be informed and certainly the horses deserve better. No matter what the situation...be informed."
Cathleen Doyle -HoofPAC, Save The Horses, CA Equine Council
I first became involved in trying to Save America's Horses when I received a phone call asking for my support of the federal bill that would ban doubles, provide food, water, and rest, and prohibit pregnant mares and stop the overcrowding. I made the calls in support because the organization was the Humane Society of the United States, HSUS. I even made more calls asking others to support. I was told though, "not to contact the California groups because the were opposed to horse slaughter and they opposed this bill because they wanted to end slaughter" Being naive, I believed HSUS and did not call those "radical groups in California"
Mistake. Big mistake.
In 1997 when I started work on the PA Horse Transport Bill, which I was told by HSUS we "did not need" because the Federal law would take care of everything I was urged to contact Cathleen Doyle because she wanted to end slaughter and she was really good.
Well, that was the start of my education. Doyle explained why the Federal law was bad, and why the language of the proposed PA Horse Transport Law (drafted by an HSUS attorney),was just as bad. She articulated it and it made sense. Doyle became my mentor. Because of Doyle, I knew we had to fight for the correct language in the PA bill. The history of the PA is in the works and will be added to our website.
Bottom line- I trusted HSUS to ban the doubles and stop the inhumane transport. HSUS lied to me and millions of other Americans just like me. I regret making those phone calls in support of the federal bill. My support along with the support from others is contributed to horses being forced to endure water deprivation studies.
Lesson learned- READ a proposed bill or statute for yourself, do not take someone else's word. The EPN website contains the actual state statutes, proposed bills, and debates in legislatures because we want you to read the facts for yourself. An educated person can articulate the position much better than one who has just taken the word of another.
They are still today, mis-leading Americans about the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act and the status of this bill in Congress. They are giving people hope so they will continue to donate to them.
Here it is 2008 and horses are still being transported inhumanely to slaughter. Even when violators are caught, they are not punished. With all the hundreds of millions of dollars HSUS brings in every year and they cannot stop the slaughter of America's Horses? An issue that has the support of 94% of Americans?
The EPN was able to pass the strongest law of its kind in the U.S., the PA Horse Transport Law with no attorneys, no paid staff, no slick media kits, no offices, and no paid investigators. We passed it on a budget of a few thousand dollars, if that. At the same time and on the same budget, we were working to see that the NY Horse Transport Law was enforced and that the laws at the New Holland Horse Auction were enforced.
If the EPN could pass the strongest law of its kind in the U.S., they why with all their millions and paid professionals, can't the HSUS and these other wealthy animal welfare groups ban doubles for all horses no matter what their final destination and ban the slaughter of America's Horses?....
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