PERSUASIVE SPEECH - JULY 2004
SUBJECT: TO PERSUADE AUDIENCE MEMBERS TO CONTACT THEIR CONGRESSMEN/SENATORS AND URGE SUPPORT OF HR 857 AND SR 2352,
'The American Horse Slaughter Prevention
1 - TITLE "JUST SAY NEIGH TO HORSE SLAUGHTER"
Hello - my name is Elaine Jenkins, and I'd
like you to meet Ferdinand.
2 - FERDINAND
In 1986, Ferdinand won the Kentucky Derby.
He won the Breeders Cup in 1987 and earned over $4 million at the track.
Don't you think he deserved a comfortable retirement like other star athletes?
Instead, in 2002, he was slaughtered, for his meat, in
Did you know that there are three active horse slaughterhouses in America? Approximately 40,000 horses lost their lives last year just to provide meat for gourmet restaurants in Europe and Japan.
I've researched this subject and I'd like to share my findings with you.
SLIDE 3 - HORSE SLAUGHTER
There are three reasons why we must take
action against horse slaughter in America:
(1) Cultural aversion to horse meat
(2) The limited positive financial impact of horse meat sales
(3) Food Safety
Americans don't eat horsemeat, so why do
Europeans and Asians? During the Napoleonic Wars, the French soldiers were so
starved they were forced to eat their horses. My Chinese friend says everything
is edible except for a wolf's heart and a dog's lungs - and they're not edible
because they don't taste good.
But the Japanese and Europeans are losing
their taste for horsemeat. Japanese
imports have dropped nearly 80% in the period from 1980-2000; European
consumption fell 23% between 1990 and 2001.
A corresponding decline has taken place in
America. It started with the 1966 Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, which said
that all consumer products had to be 'honestly and informatively labeled.'
When owners learned their pets were eating horsemeat, pet food
manufacturers were forced to change to more culturally acceptable alternatives.
The American market is nonexistent.
The foreign market is in decline. Our
cultural values dictate that horse slaughter has no place here.
So, why are we doing this? Next,
we'll examine the limited financial benefit of horse meat sales.
5 - FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS
There are about 7 million live horses in the
United States. That figure has
remained stable for about the last ten years.
Approximately 350,000 American horses were
slaughtered in 1990, but the numbers have consistently dropped down to about
40,000 horses in 2002. Therefore, less than .07% of American horses are now
being slaughtered annually.
Proponents of horse slaughter talk about job
loss. It is tough to get data on the
slaughterhouses because all three are European-owned and privately-owned.
The best estimate is that 200-250 workers total are employed at the
plants. All three are small parts of
huge corporations, and process meats other than horsemeat.
Therefore, the plants are not dependent on horsemeat for their survival.
In 2002, US horsemeat exports were only
.001% of the total national red meat, pork and poultry industry.
The jobs of 200-250 workers are only partially affected. This
tiny amount of money does not justify the slaughter of 40,000 horses.
It is clear that the US economy will survive
without slaughtering horses. It's
time to move on to the issue I find most troubling, food safety.
6 - FOOD SAFETY
Eating American horsemeat could be very bad
for your health.
One of the most common equine drugs is
phenylbutazone, an anti-inflammatory also known as 'Bute.' According to the
American Veterinary Medical Association, "For animals, phenylbutazone is
currently approved only for oral and injectable use in dogs and horses.
It is not approved for use in any food-producing animal, and its labeled
use in horses is limited to horses not intended for food."
The March/April 2003 issue of The FDA
Veterinarian says, "We want to ensure that the public is never exposed to
residues of this toxic drug."
Unfortunately, Bute isn't the only equine
drug of concern. Others include
anabolic steroids, wormers, antibiotics, and fly repellants.
Do you know where slaughtered horses come
from? Most are purchased by
'killer buyers' at horse auctions in what The Orlando Sentinel calls 'horse
racing's dirty little secret.' Killer
buyers have been known to answer classified ads - one admitted to the Dallas
Observer newspaper that he told a child he was buying her horse for a summer
camp riding program. In private
sales as well as auction sales, the sellers are not required to provide any
equine medical history.
Horse slaughter advocates claim there is no
difference in eating beef or horse. But,
a cattle farmer has to provide the last two years of the animal's health records
at time of slaughter. Compare that
to the totally unknown background of the horsemeat.
If you had to eat one of them, which would you choose?
7 - WHAT HAPPENS IF WE SAY 'NEIGH' TO HORSE SLAUGHTER?
We've determined that it is culturally unacceptable, financially
insignificant, and a potential health risk to continue slaughtering horses for
human consumption. What benefits
will we receive by correcting this situation?
We will stop the cultural hypocrisy of
slaughtering animals that we won't even feed to our pets, much less eat
ourselves, so that the meat can be shipped abroad - where it's not even used to
feed starving people, but sold in gourmet shops for $20 per pound.
We will help horses lead a longer life,
resulting in increased spending for board, care, tack, etc. - creating more
financial revenue and jobs than if the horses were slaughtered.
We will put an end to 'killer buyers' and 'horse racing's dirty little
On a food safety level, our international reputation as a producer of safe food will not be at risk.
Remember mad cow disease?
By stopping horse slaughter, we've ended
cultural hypocrisy, created more revenue, and safeguarded our national
reputation. What does this future
hold for us?
8 - A FUTURE WITHOUT HORSE SLAUGHTER
Now that we've reviewed the benefits of a
ban on American horse slaughter, let's visualize how this ban will help all of
I grew up on a farm in rural Virginia.
My grandfather had a stable of racehorses.
Our horses were never slaughtered; when their careers were over, they
lived on the farm. I didn't know
horses could be slaughtered and eaten.
Some of you are parents already.
Most of you will become parents. You'll
soon find out that almost every little girl in America goes through an intense
horse-loving phase. Do you really
want to explain horse slaughter to your 6 year old while she's clutching My
Let's protect the next generation, both
human and equine, from the evils of horse slaughter.
9 - CLOSING
We've established that because of cultural,
financial and food safety concerns, horse slaughter should be illegal in
There are two active bills in the US
Congress, S 2352 and HR 857, entitled The American Horse Slaughter Prevention
The bills are currently in committee.
Florida's Senators are both neutral. The House bill has wide bipartisan
support with over 200 co-sponsors, including central Florida Representatives Ric
Keller, Corinne Brown and Tom Feeney.
I've given you the names and addresses of
our Congressmen, along with sample letter suggestions, and I'm asking you to
take five minutes and send them a letter urging their support.
I know what you're thinking - why should I
bother? I'll tell you why you
should bother. Have you been to a
rodeo? Have you watched the Kentucky
Derby on TV? Have you owned a horse?
Did you pretend to own one when you were a little kid?
Have you been on a trail ride? Are
there mounted police in the city where you live?
Horses have given us a lot over the years,
and it's about time we gave them something back.
Thank you for your support, and let's say NEIGH to horse slaughter!