The Flower Mound Leader
September 17, 2003
Town supports effort to stop horse slaughtering
By Stacy Wright
Just say "Whoa!"
The town of Flower Mound proclaimed Monday as American Horse
Slaughter Prevention Act Day for the first time.
"We Texans love our horses, and it just seems despicable that foreign-owned companies have plants in Texas that slaughter horses for food for foreigners," said Mayor Lori Deluca.
Flower Mound resident Sherillyn Flick brought the issue of horse slaughtering to the attention of council members and other residents last month at a council meeting.
Flick, a horse owner, ran across a Web site operated by Mary Nash of Kaufman, who owned land near Dallas Crown, a French-owned slaughterhouse.
"I was shocked to find out, reading her Web site, that there were two slaughterhouses right in the DFW area," Flick said. "I had no idea slaughter houses were still in existence."
Dallas Crown and Belgian-owned Beltex Corp. in Fort Worth are the only two horse slaughterhouses in the country. The companies sell the meat overseas to countries, such as Japan, France, Italy and Belgium, where horsemeat is considered a delicacy. There is not tariff on the meat.
The sale of horsemeat is illegal in Texas, but the slaughtering of horses is not. Last year, then-Attorney General John Cornyn ruled it was illegal for Dallas Crown and Beltex to continue to produce horse meat for human consumption. But the two companies went to federal court to overturn Cornyn's ruling.
Now, supporters protecting the horses have been lobbying for U.S. congressmen to co-sponsor House Resolution 857, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, which would protect American horses purchased at auctions for slaughter.
The bill is currently in the Agriculture, International Relations and Ways and Means committees. If the committees pass the bill, it will go to the full U.S. House of Representatives.
The Society for Animal Protective Legislation has been lobbying to get the bill passed.
Jerry Finch, president of Habitat for Horses, Inc. in Hitchcock, Texas, said 46,312 horses were slaughtered last year, and he expects the number to be higher this year.
"It's very important for people to start speaking out," Finch said. "It's been quiet for too long."
Flick started an organization called Just Say Whoa to Horse Slaughter. The organization's focus is to raise awareness about the horse slaughter industry.
"I've just had a tremendous response from people, who were just in shock and disbelief that this was going on in the U.S.," Flick said.
Nash can see the horses at Dallas Crown from her property. "They are some of the most beautiful horses I have seen," Nash said.
Phone calls were not returned by Dallas Crown.
"There's been a lot of wheeling and dealing on this," Finch said. "It's time for people to start standing up and doing something."
He said the best way for horse owners to prevent the horses they sell from being slaughtered is to not take it to an auction. He said if the horse is in good shape, police departments can use the horse or rescue facilities like Habitat for Horses will find a home for the horse.
Backers of HR 857 are urging people to write to their congressperson supporting the bill.
Meanwhile, Kaufman Mayor Paula Bacon, who has been fighting to get Dallas Crown shut down, hopes Flower Mound's proclamation will set a precedent for other towns.
"I'd like to see this all over the U.S.," Bacon said.
For more information on Just Say Whoa to Horse Slaughtering, visit http://www.justsaywhoa.org
Contact staff writer Stacy Wright at 972-538-2118 or firstname.lastname@example.org