Illinois Leader
July 23, 2004
letters to the editor

Chairman opposing horse slaughter ban needs to do his homework

I along with many other people have written to the Illinois Leader several times since you first published the story "Legislation proposed to end horse slaughter in Illinois" on January 19th. I'd like to thank the Illinois Leader for continuing to print these letters as well as the follow-up articles. You've done the issue of horse slaughter a great service by allowing both sides to have their say.

Due to certain IL Congressmen going back on their word, Rep. Molaro's horse slaughter ban was defeated in the Illinois House on May 28th. As a result the Belgian owned Cavel International horse slaughterhouse was given the green light to re-open in DeKalb. I know many Illinois residents who are very upset by this turn of events.

There is currently legislation before the US House of Representatives (bill #HR 857) and the US Senate (bill # S2352) which would ban horse slaughter in this country. HR 857 has the support of over half of the House (224 co-sponsors), enough to pass should it go to the floor for a vote. The more recently introduced S 2352 currently has nine co-sponsors.

Despite the strong bi-partisan support that HR 857 enjoys, one man stands in the way of this bill becoming law. That man is Representative Bob Goodlatte (VA, 6th district), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. Mr. Goodlatte is saying that he feels horse abuse would rise if horse slaughter was banned. He is even quoted as saying "horse slaughter is good for the horses." Mr. Goodlatte's constituents are understandably upset by his stance on this issue. Recent polls show that 75% of Virginians oppose horse slaughter.

What is truly astounding about Goodlatte is that when he was pressed on his stance against HR 857 at a gathering in Roanoke he admitted that he hadn't reviewed the statistics on the issue. That's right -- the main opponent to the US horse slaughter ban doesn't have the facts to back his ridiculous statements up. Of course, he doesn't need facts since the special interests he represents give him plenty of money.

The issue of horse slaughter for human consumption is cultural. Many people (myself included) have written of the stature horses have to Americans. Polls show that 91% of Americans are opposed to horse slaughter. We do not want these foreign owned horse slaughter businesses here.

What is ironic is a statement made by Goodlatte when his Internet gambling bill failed, "It cannot be allowed to stand that another nation can impose its values on the U.S. and make it a trade issue." Funny, last I looked, gambling is something that is for the most part accepted by American culture.

Mr. Goodlatte's support of the foreign owned horse slaughter industry proves what a hypocrite he is. By supporting this business, he is allowing European countries to impose their values on Americans. Goodlatte just went back on his own words; the man has double standards.

I urge people to contact their legislators in the US Congress and in the US Senate and ask for them to support these bills.

Duane L. Burright, Jr.
Malibu, CA