The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Illinois Horse Protection Coordinator Thanks Legislators; Makes Plea to Support HR 503

Blog editor's note: Illinois is home to one of the three horse slaughterhouses left in the U.S.

Thanks pols for first step in ending horse slaughter--Gail Vacca

Editor: An open letter to the Illinois congressional delegation:

I am so very proud of our Illinois delegation for many reasons, but I am particularly proud of them for their vote June 8 on the Sweeney Amendment to the
fiscal year 2006 Agricultural Appropri-ations bill that will prohibit federal funds from being used to slaughter horses.

Essentially, the Sweeney Amendment will stop our tax dollars from being used in any way toward the slaughter of horses, a practice that Illinoisans overwhelmingly oppose. Currently, our tax dollars are inexplicably being used to federally inspect horse meat that is not consumed in the United States and is in fact illegal to sell or consume in most states, including Illinois. Certainly our tax dollars can be put to far greater use overseeing and inspecting meat and goods that Americans consume.

Illinois' congressional delegates voted 14-3 in bipartisan favor of the amendment, with two members not voting. This was truly an outstanding show of support by these members on behalf of their respective constituencies, proving that our delegates are listening to the people of Illinois, and that we do indeed have a voice in Washington.

The horse slaughter issue is a very complex one, and the opponents of this much-needed protection for America's horses have deftly woven a complex web of lies and propaganda designed to confuse those who are not well versed on the facts and truths that surround this despicable trade.

It is for this reason that I am so very proud of our delegates. I commend the Illinois delegation for taking the time to understand the facts and truth of the issue, cutting through the propaganda, misinformation and outright lies, and for coming to the conclusion, as have most Americans, that the inhumane trade of horses for slaughter has no place in our country.

As a lifelong professional horse-owner, breeder and trainer of thoroughbred racehorses, and in my capacity as the Illinois coordinator for the National Horse Protection Coalition, on behalf of myself and the NHPC's more than 8 million members - who include the vast majority of Illinois' professional horse racing community, pleasure horse owners, humane organizations and just plain horse lovers - we sincerely thank our Illinois delegates for looking out for the best interest of the horse industry and for working to put an end to the inhumane treatment of our country's horses.

Finally, as I'm sure our delegates already understand, the Sweeney Amendment is only a short-term solution to ending horse slaughter. It is my hope that the Illinois delegation will continue to work toward enacting legislation that will permanently protect our horses from this needless suffering, by signing on as a co-sponsor to the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (HR 503).

Together we can stop this cruelty, once and for all.

Again, my deepest thanks to the Illinois congressional delegates who voted in favor of the Sweeney Amendment: Jesse Jackson Jr., Dan Lipinski, Luis Gutierrez, Rahm Emanuel, Henry Hyde, Danny Davis, Melissa Bean, Janice Schakowsky, Mark Kirk, Jerry Weller, Jerry Costello, Judy Biggert, Timothy Johnson and Lane Evans.

A list of national equine industry supporters (including those in Illinois) of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act can be found on the Web at

Gail Vacca
Illinois coordinator
National Horse Protection Coalition


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