The horse holocaust

Sports Views
Daniel Fernandez
Special to The Augusta Free Press

For the last month, in DeKalb, Ill., hundreds of horses have been cruelly murdered in Cavel International, one of the three Belgian- and French-owned horse slaughterhouses in the country.

They are hoisted by their rear legs, and their throats are slit while they are conscious, until their hearts pump the last drop of blood. This is all so that the well-to-do in Belgium and France can fill their bottomless bellies with a fancy dinner in a high-profile restaurant.

Every week, 1,400 sound, young American horses enter into the concrete hells of the three foreign-owned horse slaughterhouses (besides Cavel, there are two others in Texas). They will not see the sun again. They tremble violently, fighting for their lives as the smell of the blood and the images of their fellow horses being carved up alive pierce their nostrils and their eyes. There is no escape.

Americans have stood up and said "No more," but one man from Virginia is denying them their right to be heard. Yes, Congressman Bob Goodlatte is one the main reasons why this holocaust continues. He is blocking, in the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, a bill titled The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 857). This federal legislation would outlaw the slaughter of horses throughout the country, in order to appease this foreign-owned horse-slaughter industry and other special interests that seem to control his decisions.

The representative from Virginia is not allowing democracy to run its course. This legislation already counts 224 cosponsors - over half of Congress - and has the overwhelming support of Americans who are outraged by this barbaric business. Yet it looks like his opinion is the the only one that counts. Despite the fact that millions of letters have been received by Congress in support of H.R. 857 and its Senate counterpart, S. 2352, Rep. Goodlatte is forcing us to bow to his personal agenda and to the interests of overseas horse-meat businessmen.

Americans do not tolerate such totalitarian ways! The United States is a democracy elected by the people, for the people, not by and for foreign interests. It is Rep. Goodlatte's duty to heed the will of people, even if he personally doesn't agree with it. This is not the Soviet Union, nor is it Mr. Goodlatte's own kingdom. He cannot turn a deaf ear to our voices and use his power to nullify our will. How un-American his position is on this issue.

Rep. Goodlatte said, when his bill to ban Internet gambling was defeated, "It cannot be allowed to stand that another nation can impose its values on the U.S. and make it a trade issue." Yet he denies Americans their right to protect their horses, values and culture to satisfy his personal aspirations to be the king of agricultural-export trading.

Horses are part of the American culture. They represent freedom, nobility and strength (one had only to see Ronald Reagan's funeral, with the team of black horses carrying his casket and the riderless horse following behind, to understand the importance of horses to this nation), but the horse-slaughter industry represents tyranny, vileness and greed. Both Rep. Goodlatte's actions and the horse-slaughter trade he defends are insulting our ideals.

We are fed up with Rep. Goodlatte's misrepresentations, hypocritical arguments and false propaganda. If his statements about horse slaughter being necessary to prevent horse abuse are right, why after this practice was banned in California six years ago horse abuse cases decreased and horse theft dropped by 34 percent, according to studies made by the Veterinary Medical Extension at the University of California, Davis, and the California Livestock Identification Bureau? Why did horse-abuse complaints decrease in Illinois after former Cavel's plant burnt out two years ago?

If butchering horses is so much good as Rep. Goodlatte says, why does Texas, home of two of the three horse slaughterhouses, have abuse and theft rates that are the highest in the country?

There is no logical argument to support this barbaric trade, and it is obvious that Rep. Goodlatte has not even researched the facts, but he still maintains that he is right and is actively working to defeat the will of Americans.

What a shame! 

Daniel Fernandez resides in Sycamore, Ill.