Gues Opinion: Horse processing update
While the epic struggle to restore humane and regulated horse processing, and ensure the welfare of every horse regardless of circumstances, suffered a major blow with the passage of the 2014 Omnibus budget bill in Washington, D.C. – all is not lost.
The Agricultural Appropriations portion of the Omnibus bill once again attached annual riders that prohibit USDA from providing the necessary humane handling and food safety inspections that are required to produce cheval. The bill expires on September 30th. At least until then horses will continue to suffer, will continue to be transported outside of the U.S. where our USDA inspectors, who are trained to the highest standard of humane handling and food safety in the world, have zero jurisdiction, and we have no control whatsoever.
In the big picture we do have a number of options, strategies, tactics, and many alternatives for both the short, mid, and long term, which are being analyzed now. We will keep you posted as things develop. Gird your loins, join us, and continue your support. United Horsemen and our supporters will never give up on the horses. Stay with us.
We know, as you do, that horses deserve good treatment regardless of their ultimate fate. Some will die natural deaths, some will be mercifully put down when the time comes by owners who love and appreciate them, but for those horses who will never be anyone’s pet, or who are not wanted or usable for whatever reason, or for those owners who are comforted by the idea that their horse’s life is not wasted and in the sure knowledge that they will be handled right…they deserve more than being turned out to starve slowly, or even being shot and left to rot, which, while being a humane end, is nonetheless a total waste.
While it seems like far too many folks on Capitol Hill have been bamboozled by the radical animal rights activists…we do have good friends there. Remember that the political machine in Washington, D.C. is a complex and multi-faceted organism with lots of moving parts. Much of the meaningful action both for us, and against us, happens in a shadowy world behind the scenes that most Americans do not see, know, or understand how to maneuver in.
United Horsemen has worked very, very hard to not only understand how things do change in D.C., but to develop the allies, the mentors, the champions in elected office, and the leadership to drive that change, and we continue to do so. We don’t win every skirmish, the current situation is a perfect case in point, but on balance, we are ultimately winning the majority of the battles wherever the truth and facts can be brought to bear. A good example of those battles are the series of HSUS litigation where we have been forced to defend horse processing businesses against the ridiculous and overblown allegations of HSUS at the federal, state, and local levels. Whenever a judge is confronted by the facts, whether or not they are emotionally affected by drama dripping rhetoric, in this country we are governed by the rule of law, the law is very clear, and the courts have consistently and emphatically ruled against HSUS. Of course, that doesn’t stop them from just going up or down the judicial chain and filing yet another spurious claim, using the exact same blatantly false and misleading propaganda. This is expensive, time consuming, and frustrating, which is exactly the objective of HSUS.
What HSUS and their ilk always underestimate, however, is the passion and dedication of the horse industry, rural America, and animal agriculture, to do what is right regardless of the cost. We will make the necessary sacrifices, as we always have, to take care of our animals, our culture, and our livelihoods. We believe that with your support, we will win the war to build a better future for horses and horse people.
Don’t weaken people. “It ain’t over ‘til its over,” and it is far from over. In this roller coaster ride of a struggle, you have seen as well as we have that things can change in D.C. in the wink of an eye. We are setting our spurs, and getting a hold. Hope you are, too. This ride is not over.