March 17, 2004
Bo Derek Protests Slaughter of Horses

Actress Bo Derek speaks on Capitol Hill Tuesday, March 16, 2004, in support of legislation banning the slaughter horses for human consumption. The bill also bans import or export and the sale of horses or horsemeat for human consumption. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Bo Derek loved horses long before she galloped onto American movie screens in the hit movie "10." The movie star now hopes to ride to the rescue of thousands of American horses killed every year to feed European and Asian diners.

Derek, best known for her roles in "10" and a 1981 remake of "Tarzan," came to Congress Tuesday to support legislation that would ban the killing of horses for gourmet dining overseas.

The 47-year-old, who wrote a book about her horse hobby, was unfazed when she was briefly introduced as "Bo Dietrich," an apparent mixing of her name with the early era screen star Marlene Dietrich.

She has been called much worse, she said.

"I've been referred to as everything," she said. "Usually, it's Bob Derek."

Very few people in Congress would have mistaken her for a "Bob," wearing a sleek black pantsuit, cream top, and patient smile as photographers floated around her.

Derek lent her support to legislation written by Reps. John Sweeney, R-N.Y., whose district includes the historic Saratoga racetrack, and Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., a thoroughbred owner. They expressed disgust with the idea of equine cuisine in countries like France and Japan, where it is often considered gourmet fare.

While the practice of slaughtering American horses for food has declined in recent years, nearly 50,000 horses were killed last year in this country for foreign consumption.

"As a horseowner, I was shocked," Derek said. "We don't use horses any longer for pet food so why are we sending them over to other countries?"
Associated Press