More Editorials and Letters to the Editor...
"...when the Cowboy President signed into law the federal appropriations bill that included a last-minute amendment ending three decades of protection for wild horses. That's right: not salamanders, not acres and acres of featureless Alaskan tundra, but wild freakin' horses. And we're not talking the kind of protection-gutting that simply opens habitat to drilling or development, and passes for innocuous to those who prefer not to look too hard. No, siree. Instead, the amendment (initially authored by Montana Republican Sen. Conrad Burns) opens the possibility, forbidden since 1971, that America's wild horses will be eaten. And eaten, most likely, by the French.
Most of the United States' 37,000 wild horses roam Bureau of Land Management land, which is also leased out to ranchers. Because the horses compete with cattle for food and water, but do not vote or donate to political campaigns, every so often the BLM thins the horse herd. In previous years, that meant finding them adoptive homes, which had to meet certain criteria for the horses' care. But under the new language, anyone can buy the extra horses at auction, including meat producers who want to slaughter them for sale in European countries like Belgium and France, where folks think they taste good, and where their fat is considered an unparalleled medium in which to deep-fry potatoes.
Pass the Freedom Fries. In the meantime, horse advocates hope the publicity on the wild horses will help get some movement on a long-stalled bill like the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. The act would outlaw slaughter of both wild and domestic horses, the latter of which has been going on for years and, despite a legislative challenge last session and a pending federal court decision to shut down the slaughterhouses, occurs in exactly one state: Texas. Yee-haw."
"...As the owner of a burro, I'm taking this assault on these creatures personally. Burros are smart, loyal, comical and fearless critters. They're also loud, which makes burro ownership more self-defining than you might think. Having a burro in the backyard means neighbors as far as 2 miles away say, "Oh, you're the people with the burro."
We acquired our burro, Gus, 11 years ago. We wanted him to keep our mare company when we moved to our own place. Gus is an entertainer by nature and a reporter by avocation...According to the Humane Society, there are only 36,000 wild horses and burros roaming free on land owned by the American public, but the ranchers who graze 4.1 million cattle on those lands argue that's too much competition for grass.
The Humane Society has joined with 62 other organizations, representing 11 million animal lovers, to urge the passage of new legislation that will undo the Burns rider and once again protect wild horses and burros from the slaughterhouse..."
"...Here is where Rep. Goodlatte played his part. HR 857 (The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act) gained 228 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, and could have easily passed legislation on the House floor if it had been given the chance to be voted on. But due to Bob Goodlatte, it got held up in the House Agriculture Committee, of which he is chairman.
He decided to ignore public opinion, ignore the rest of Congress, and became the man responsible for making sure that this bill would die in his committee. Despite thousands of letters begging him to let the bill go forth for a vote, he refused and said 'the public is too ignorant of the issue.' He made sure that thousands of horses would continue to be slaughtered and their meat sent overseas for human consumption.
It did not matter to him that the horses are slaughtered in the most brutal, cruel and inhumane manner. It did not matter to him that he would become the man responsible for the murder of thousands of America's horses.
Today, in Hitchcock, Texas, at Habitat for Horses, there stands a tree. This year there were no decorations, no ornaments. Instead there were 2,500 tiny lights blazing on it, symbolizing the memories of the thousands of horses lives that were lost due to slaughter ... due to Bob Goodlatte.
The tree stands waiting for its final decoration: a star to be placed at the top, when the slaughter is over, and the horses are safe."
How did this happen against the wishes of the American people?