Horse lovers confront U.S. Rep. Goodlatte on bill to prevent slaughter
by Denise Eck
WSLS NewsChannel 10
Monday, June 28, 2004

In the heart of Virginia horse country, animal lovers are at odds with U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte, (R) 6th District. Goodlatte is opposed to H.R. 857, also known as The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. Goodlatte tells Newschannel 10 that he will not allow the bill out of committee.

The bill would prevent the slaughter of horses for human consumption and shut down America’s three foreign-owned slaughterhouses. At those slaughterhouses, tens of thousands of horses are rendered unconscious by a bolt shot into their heads. Their throats are slit to kill them before their meat is sent to Europe, where it is a delicacy. 

“It's a horrible, horrible death for an animal that has been so much a part of our culture and our history,” said Debbie Burke, of Amethyst Acres horse farm in Buchanan. 

Burke owns a horse farm and rescued a horse named Elmer from the slaughterhouse almost two years ago. Since then, he’s gained 800 pounds and become a member of her family. Burke and others believe slaughter is a cruel end to the life of a magnificent animal. 

Congressman Goodlatte disagrees. 

“This bill does not solve the problem that people who support the bill think it does,” he said. 

“If nobody wants to adopt these horses, something has to be done.” 

Goodlatte says there isn't enough money and there are not enough people like Burke to care for the estimated half a million unwanted horses expected to be born in the next ten years. Goodlatte says slaughter keeps the numbers in check. 

One reason why so many horses are being born is the drug industry. The active ingredient in a menopause drug is pregnant horse urine. To maintain a supply of the active ingredient, horses are constantly made pregnant, and, as a result, constantly giving birth. 

The best way to protect the horse population has Goodlatte defending himself against a vocal group of voters in his district. 

Said Goodlatte, “Of the 51 members of the House Agriculture Committee, only a handful have co-sponsored this bill. Even if I changed my mind, which I won't, this will not pass out of my committee.” 

“This is America,” said Burke. “A democracy. For one man to take that kind of stand… he is not listening to his constituents.” 

     one reason why so many horses are being born.. is the drug industry.
     the active ingredient in a menopause drug is pregnant horse urine.
     to get it.. horses are constantly made pregnant, so they're constantly giving birth.

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