Falls Church News-Press

July 27th-Aug 2, 2006


Congressman Moran's News Commentary

Poet and author Pam Brown once said, "A horse is the projection of
people's dreams about themselves - strong, powerful, and beautiful -
and it has the capability of giving us an escape from our mundane
existence." Ms. Brown's words, I believe, are an accurate assessment
of why so many Americans revere the Equus caballus.

The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for many other horses in the
U.S. , due to the lucrative overseas market for horse meat. Horses
are being sold at livestock auctions with no restrictions on how the
horses purchased can be used. Additionally, wild horses, a symbol of
our American west, are being rounded up and sold under the guise of
population control. Already the population of wild horses has
decreased by 25,000 in the last thirty-five yeas.

Each year in the three foreign-owned U.S. horse-slaughter houses,
90,000 horses are slaughtered and processed as food for use in
markets throughout Europe and Asia . Yet, Americans do not eat horse
meat. After all, the horse is more than just an animal to our
country. It is a beloved literary figure, a character in a movie and
a symbol of adventure. Why then, do we allow the slaughter of our
horses for overseas consumption?

The answer is that economic interests are trumping public attitudes.
But there are ways to change the current status quo. Legislation is
working its way through Congress with support and guidance from the
Humane Society of the U.S. that would prevent horses from being sold
for use as food. Known as the "American Horse Slaughter Protection
Act" (H.R. 503), this legislation would ban the sale or transfer of
horses for consumption and also prevent the round up of wild horses
for slaughter.

As an original cosponsor of this bill, I am a strong supporter of the
effort to protect horses throughout our country. Currently 194
Congress members have cosponsored the legislation, building
expectations that the House of Representatives may consider H.R. 503
this summer.

It will take significant public pressure to ensure that these
majestic creatures are not killed and sold for food. If you care
about horses, I urge you to tell your friends or relatives throughout
Virginia and the country to contact their representative to support
an end to horse slaughter.
Rep. James P. Moran represents Virginia's 8th Congressional District
in the U.S. House of Representatives.