Horse Slaughter Heats Discussion
By Melissa Martin
WSLS NewsChannel 10
Monday, June 28, 2004

The bills is HR 857 but ask anyone in Virginia's horse country and they can quickly tell you this bill would make it illegal to kill horses for food. It's the reason about 100 people have packed into the Rockbridge County Administrative building to speak to their Congressman, who holds the future of the bill in his hands.

"They don't deserve to be slaughtered, they are precious animals," said Carolyn Beverly, a local horse lover.

They came into Lexington riding Braveheart and Stroker--horses saved from the slaughter house-- and holding horses in their hearts inside the town hall meeting. But that wasn't enough to convince Congressman Bob Goodlatte to support the anti-horse slaughter bill.

"I think a lot of you are here for one issue, and that is horse slaughter. How many of you are here for that issue?" asked Goodlatte.

As crowds filled the room and the hallways so did the emotion.

"If this bill were to pass and become law, horses would still go to slaughter," said Goodlatte.

Audience, "No, no."

Goodlatte says this bill wouldn't protect horses, it would only leave more horses abandoned, and there's not enough support for the bill.

"Many organizations related to agriculture, horses and animal welfare do not support this bill," said Goodlatte.

Melissa asks: "Is there anything these people can ever do to convince you of this bill?"

Goodlatte, "They need to keep working with the organizations that share our concerns about welfare of horses and rights of horse owners and always possibility of consensus can come about."

But these horse lovers say listen to them, not big organizations.

"You are our local representative. You are sitting here and listening to your people who put you in office and voted for you and say to them like children, you don't know what you're talking about." says Gammon Nuckols, a local horse lover. 

Though Goodlatte admits it is not an easy choice, he says his job is to listen to everyone, and vote in what he believes is the best interest of the district, the nation, and even, horses.

If the bill is not voted on by the time Congress' session ends later this year, the bill will die.

If you'd like to send your comments to Congressman Bob Goodlatte, you can email him at:

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