Horses should not be killed in our country to become food
The Saratogian , The Saratogian 08/03/2004
The federal government should ban the slaughtering of horses for human consumption.

The good news is that our representative in Congress, U.S. Rep. John Sweeney, is a co-sponsor of legislation to do just that.

The bad news is that there are three slaughterhouses in the U.S. that are killing about 50,000 horses a year to be eaten by people in Europe.

Differences in culture and taste should be respected. But eating horses is not part of our culture, and this country should not be supplying horses for human consumption anywhere.

A full-page ad in the Daily Racing Form from The National Horse Protection Coalition lays out the situation in stomach-churning black and white. The ad is a plea for people to urge their representatives to support the American Horse Slaughter Protection Act.

The heart of the ad is an open letter to a congressman from John R. Gaines, founder of the Breeder's Cup World Thoroughbred Championship, a major event in the industry that will be held this year on Oct. 30 at Lone Star Park in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. 'I am appalled,' the letter reads in part, 'that a Belgian company will be slaughtering horses a few miles from this world-class event.'

In addition, a Belgian company is slaughtering horses in another Texan city and a slaughterhouse has reopened in Illinois, according to the ad.

'As you know,' Gaines wrote, 'horses have never been a part of the food chain of our country.'

This country should not supply thoroughbreds to the food chain of any country. Americans were understandably aghast when they discovered that 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand ended up as food in Japan.

This is not how thoroughbreds -- or other horses -- in the U.S. ought to end up.

Sweeney, this district's representative, is already on board. But it can't hurt to hear more from citizens. And many readers this time of year are from other parts of the country. We urge you to follow Gaines' lead and let your local congressional representatives know that the U.S. should not allow horses to be killed for human consumption.

The American Horse Slaughter Protection Act is bill No. 857 in the House and No. 2352 in the Senate. Here's how to reach our members of Congress:

- U.S. Rep. John Sweeney, R-Clifton Park, 22nd District, 437 Cannon House Building, Washington, DC 20515. Local: 939 Route 146, Suite 430, Clifton Park, NY 12065, 371-8839.

- Sen. Charles Schumer, Democrat, 420 Leo O'Brien Building, Albany, NY 12207, 431-4070; 313 Hart Building, Washington, DC 20510, (202) 224-6542.

- Sen. Hillary Clinton, Democrat, Room 464 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510, (202) 224-4451.


ŠThe Saratogian 2004