The Illinois Leader letters to the editor
Horse advocates on Rep. Bob Pritchard: "Vote the bum out!"
Monday, October 11, 2004
(See related columns/letters below)

As a lifelong professional horse trainer and owner, I never really found myself heavily involved in politics until this past year when I and countless other Illinois horsemen worked to pass legislation that would protect our horses (our life's work) from the danger of being butchered by foreigners who own the Cavel International horse slaughter plant in DeKalb.

To say the very least, this has been an eye opening experience. I must say that I am appalled and disgusted by the actions and the lack of integrity of some of our Illinois legislators, most notably State Representative Robert Pritchard (R. 70th district).

This past spring Bob Pritchard had the opportunity to represent the views and wishes of horse owners as well as the overwhelming majority of non-horse owning Illinoisans who believe that horses are not food by voting to pass legislation that would have banned the re-opening of Cavel International.

Instead, Pritchard chose to ignore the horse owners of Illinois who contribute four billion dollars annually to our state economy, and he sold us and our horses out to the power and money of the Illinois meat industry lobby, i.e., Cavel, Illinois Cattle Growers Association, Illinois Pork Producers, and Illinois Farm Bureau, etc. What these groups have to do with horses, I have no idea.

What I do know, is that Bob Pritchard was doggedly determined to keep this cruelty viable at any and all costs. No holds barred, no mistruth's left untold. He clearly could not have cared less what we, the professionals of the Illinois horse industry, had to say on this issue.

The horse slaughter ban was supported by all five Illinois racetracks, the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association, the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association, and nearly every other professional industry group in the state, and yet Pritchard seemed to feel that he knew what was "best" for our horses, more than those of us who put our blood, sweat, and tears into these noble animals, seven days a week, 365 a year.

Bob Pritchard lobbied hard and strong for the Van Damme family of Brussels, Belgium (owners of Cavel) who are not American citizens, not American voters, and not American taxpayers, so they could continue to cruelly exploit and line their pockets with the blood of our American horses and our life's work.

Please ask yourself how you would feel if your life's work, your life's passion was sold out for the greed of others who do not even reside in our country let alone our community. Then ask yourself if Bob Pritchard is the kind of person we want representing us in Springfield.

I think that Arthur Shimkus said it best in closing his letter on this same topic to the Daily Chronicle several weeks ago, "Vote the bum out"!

Gail Vacca
DeKalb, Illinois

Related columns/letters:
"Too many fishy details re: horse accident -- three letters," September 27, 2004
"Horses killed in accident may have been on their way to slaughter - four letters," September 22, 2004
"VA Congressman Goodlatte responsible for continuing US horse holocaust - two letters," September 14, 2004
"What part of "we don't want our horses butchered" don't you understand? - Six letters," August 19, 2004
"Why won't Hastert order the release of anti-horse slaughter bill?," August 12, 2004
"From prey to trusted steed -- let's keep it that way," June 28, 2004
"Three letters in defense of horses," June 15, 2004
"The riderless horse - two letters," June 11, 2004
"Horse slaughter bill not done yet, senate sponsor says," June 2, 2004
"Three letters against horse slaughter," May 25, 2004
"'Pierre' meet Mr. Heimlich," May 20, 2004
"GUEST OPINION: Out to greener pastures," May 18, 2004
"Two letters in support of horse slaughter ban," April 22, 2004
"Constituent urges Rep. Lindner et al to reverse horse slaughter vote," April 15, 2004
"11 letters skewering horse slaughter company," January 27, 2004
"Protect companion animals," January 23, 2004
"Legislation proposed to end horse slaughter in Illinois," January 19, 2004


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