This one's for our Mary.

I know she's keeping all of our lost horses-- MERRY CHRISTMAS MARY! THIS IS FOR YOU!!


Tri-State Neighbor

Letter to the editor: Californian says blame Texas group for no stolen horse enforcement

Wednesday, December 21, 2005 11:21 AM CST


To the Editor:

I fully agree with Thomas Trevino’s letter stating that all the facts must be laid out about horse slaughter. It’s time to bring into light the real reasons the horse slaughter issue has such support from many in the Agriculture Department, cattlemen’s associations and certain members of Congress. Mr. Trevino touched on many topics, but his mention of the TSCRA deserves a spotlight shed on their involvement in the horse slaughter industry.

The strongest promoters of horse slaughter in Congress, Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., and Henry Bonilla, R-Texas, have received healthy campaign contributions from the cattlemen’s associations in Texas, as well as contributions from their affiliate members. That explains how a congressman from Virginia has many of the same lawyers, lobbyists and other Texas associations, as the Texas congressman does. Persuasion by huge cattle corporations such as the Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association to support horse slaughter is the direct link that connects Goodlatte and Bonilla to the dollars paid from the murder of horses.

Texas is home to two of the foreign-owned horse slaughtering facilities in the United States. The Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association have put up a strong fight against the ban prohibiting horse slaughter. Since September 1997, under Ag Code ¤148.029, they have collected a $5 slaughter fee for every horse slaughtered in Texas, which is to be used to recover reported stolen horses in Texas at the slaughter facilities by TSCRA brand inspectors, who inspect the brands and markings of every horse slaughtered in Texas.

But since 1997, the only report of any stolen horses recovered from one of the Texas facilities was information from a worker at a Texas facility who witnessed a private citizen, accompanied by police, recover his three stolen horses as they were being unloaded from a double decker in front of the plant. There was no involvement of the TSCRA in the incident. TSCRA claims they recover a large amount of reported stolen horses each year, but not of stolen horses actually recovered at the horse slaughtering facilities.

Not all of the $5 fee is wasted on this program. They receive $2 of that slaughter fee to provide an education program to horse owners about horse theft prevention. And as no surprise, horse owners are told the best place to recover a stolen horse is at the horse slaughtering facilities.

The industry is an invitation for horse theft. TSCRA has it all covered and profits well, as long as horse slaughter and horse theft is allowed to continue. After paying them and their own brand inspectors from the horse slaughter fee, TSCRA has netted for themselves an average of $100,000 each year since the program began.

Now add even more profit for TSCRA, with their new stolen horse recovery program aimed at making money off their own members, with the Horse Identification Program. HIP members will pay a $30 enrollment fee annually and a $10 fee for each horse that is to be protected in this program. Never mind that they have never to this date recovered stolen horses from the slaughtering facility.

Under the same law that pays the $5 slaughter fee, without anyone paying them for a “membership” for a program, they have already been well paid and are required to provide this service to all citizens of Texas, and should provide it for all the stolen horses without a $10 fee or payment for membership enrollment to their “new program.”

What would be the difference in enforcing their attempt for the recovery of stolen horses? Members get priority? Maybe they will add a little effort to look for the brand on a stolen horse? If you’re not a member, will they still provide their “service” and enforce the law for all the citizens of Texas? And how many horses will be stolen from private cattle ranchers, with their loss gained in profit by the TSCRA?

Only through their success at convincing Americans of their biggest lie has this industry been allowed to remain in existence this long in the United States. That lie, supported by certain congressmen, corporate cattlemen’s associations, affiliate members which include AQHA, AVMA and others who also profit from the slaughter of horses, falsely claims that this foreign-owned industry is in the United States doing us a favor, serving America by “saving our horses,” so these magnificent creatures won’t suffer neglect or abuse.

Are we expected to remain forever stupid and continue to believe that? We know why they’re here, and it’s not as a kindly favor. These butchers are not here out of concern for the health, welfare or kind treatment to our horses. They make millions of dollars by brutally killing horses and that is the one and only reason they are here. As Mr. Trevino pointed out … it’s all about the money. Blood money, made from lies, theft, deceit and betrayal. What a pathetic disgrace!

- Valerie James-Patton

Shingletown, Calif.