To the Honorable Members of the U. S. Senate and the House of Representatives:
Please DO NOT SUPPORT any effort that will impact the welfare of horses or the horse industry without first studying a soon to be released GAO Report!
The GAO Study on the Horse Industry was requested by the Senate Ag Appropriations Committee more than a year and a half ago. GAO has thoroughly studied the effect of the horse processing plants closing in 2007. This study looked at the effect of the plants closing on the welfare of horses themselves, as well as the effect on farm economy.We respectfully ask that all members of Congress wait for its release before sponsoring, co-sponsoring, or voting on any measure dealing with horses so that your decisions can be made on solid verifiable information.
It is our understanding that the draft report was due to be delivered with the USDA response back to GAO on June 8th. This is the final step in the GAO process and should be delivered to Congress and the public very soon. Voting on any measure dealing with horses without reviewing the entire report is voting with blinders on.
You and your colleagues need to have all the available information to make any sort of informed decision. The devastated horse industry continues to be attacked by corporate fundraising animal rights groups led by the Humane Society of the United States and their many minions. They claim to care about horses...but truth be told, they care more about raising money. Selling misinformation, peddling outright lies, and jerking the emotional chains of good-hearted caring Americans is their lucrative stock in trade. When these so-called nonprofits spend less than ½ of 1% of their millions on helping a single dog or cat, let alone a horse, the motivation is pretty clear. They offer no solution to the soaring increase in starving, abandoned, and neglected horses whose owners can't keep them, can't sell them, and can't give them away, nor do they spend any of their dollars to ease the suffering of unwanted horses.
Congressional members who support these destructive bans and prohibitions on the horse industry are stripping a cog in the agricultural wheel in favor of an animal rights industry that does not generate any revenue or jobs. That approach supports only non-contributory, emotionally-charged groups and eliminates a multi-billion dollar, tax-paying and jobs-generating industry. The inevitable end result will be a nation where only the very wealthy and elite few can afford to have a horse in their lives, and the sad demise of our beloved horseback culture.
Because we are the horse industry which has been directly affected by the loss of market for unwanted, unusable, and excess horses, we know that the entire equine industry is liquidating and downsizing. Fewer horses means fewer jobs, fewer horse shows, fewer rodeos, fewer new trucks and horse trailers, fewer training dollars, fewer veterinary services, fewer saddles, bridles, less need for feed - all adding up to a devastating economic contraction.
Efforts like the recent Rep. Moran amendment to the House Ag Appropriations bill , or the apparently soon to be introduced Sen. Landrieu sponsored "American Prevention of Horse Slaughter Act of 2011" serve only to increase the inevitable suffering of the very animals they claim to protect by removing a moral and humane use of unwanted, unusable, and excess horses. These measures are a direct assault on the private property rights of individual horse owners, and interfere with state's rights to encourage responsible and regulated businesses to enhance and improve their agricultural economies.
Destroying the U.S. horse industry simply means any ability to provide wholesome products welcomed by a robust worldwide market is denied to our own people, and that any opportunity to profit is exported to other countries. With the ability to ethically produce horse meat under regulated humane conditions in the United States we would create more than 1,000 good paying direct jobs practically overnight, minimize the suffering of horses, and go a long ways towards restoring a devastated U.S. horse market. Without an economically viable secondary market the value of all horses at every level has plummeted, and the entire diverse equine world has been economically devastated. The GAO Report should tell us the true and accurate extent of that damage.
We stand ready with a broad coalition representing horse owners and the horse industry, state and local governments, tribes, animal agriculture, wildlife managers, land and resource management experts, pet animal organizations and sporting dog groups, animal welfare advocates, zoos, circuses, animal research, and literally thousands of individual concerned citizens to offer information and testimony.
We respectfully ask for your support of families who hope to raise their children and grandchildren in our beloved horseback culture. Do not be deceived by the misguided agendas of those who practice "compassion gone wrong."
Rep. Sue Wallis
United Organizations of the Horse
Wyoming State House of Representatives
Vice Chair - National Conference of State Legislatures Agriculture and Energy Committee