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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Write The Governor

The New Jersey Farm Bureau and by extension, horsemen groups in the State of New Jersey are asking their members to contact Governor Christie asking him to veto A-2023 and S-1976 which bans the slaughter of horses or horse meat for human consumption in the State of New Jersey in addition to banning the transport of horses out of state for the purpose of slaughter.  The bill in question has passed the legislature overwhelmingly that a veto by the Governor should easily be overridden, unless the Governor demands loyalty from the Republican Caucus.  Being the Governor has done this before, there is no reason to assume automatically that a veto will not be sustained.

Opponents of horse slaughter should not assume the horse industry will be unable to convince the Governor not to veto the legislation.  So it's important for those who wish to see the bill signed contact the Governor accordingly by email or phone (609-292-6000).

The usual arguments are being forwarded that eliminating slaughter in the United States has caused animals to be abused or turned loose in public lands which has been proven to be greatly exaggerated.  In addition, the argument that slaughtering horses in the United States would be much more humane than in Canada or Mexico is a myth.  There were plenty of violations of slaughter regulations in the United States before the ban, so there is no reason we should think there would be no violations this time around, especially since the Department of Agriculture is always stretched resource-wise, assuming they have the desire to enforce the rules which to be perfectly honest, are often overlooked since the animal is going to be dead anyway.  

Of course, that assumes you believe a horse can be humanely slaughtered, something many people don't believe is the case.  If you want to humanely kill a horse, there is only one way, by euthanasia.  Of course, horses that are euthanized can't be used for human consumption and euthanizing a horse involves expense whereas you can earn blood money by paying someone to dispose of your problem. 

The Farm Bureau makes the case that such a legislation impedes interstate and international commerce.  The legislation talks about horses being sent from New Jersey to slaughter, not those from other states so a rig driving through the state without a stop would not be subject to the laws provisions and I am not aware of any international law which says we must supply horse meat to those overseas.    Another complaint is how will inspectors be able to determine whether or not a horse is being transported for slaughter purposes or not?  This is another false argument.  Horses destined for slaughter have a USDA tag on their hind quarters, a horse racing doesn't.  Horses being shipped to Canada or Mexico are not sent on trailers used by horsemen. 

The Farm Bureau also argues that the legislation dictates horses are to be treated as pets; something I didn't read in the legislation myself, so they fear the NJ SPCA getting involved in enforcement.  Let's assume they are true about this.  If horses are being transported as they are supposed to be shipped, there is nothing to fear if the SPCA were to inspect their trailers.  But even if that doesn't satisfy them, they could always ask the Governor to conditionally veto the bill to take out any 'so called' pet designation and allow the rest of the provisions to take effect. 

Let's face it, the reason the farm bureau objects to this legislation is it denies the industry of a way to dispose of horses cheaply and reduce the supply of surplus horses, something which can be addressed by responsible horse ownership.  Responsible horse ownership costs money, dumping a horse in an auction and earnings a couple of hundred dollars doesn't.

So if you are in favor of this legislation, please make your voices heard.  Contact the Governor's office as soon as possible to urge him to sign the legislation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. With at least 80% of Americans strongly opposed to horse slaughter in the latest poll, it's great to see a racing fan - as I am - speaking common sense on this issue.

The typical Farm Bureau member joins for the insurance and member benefits. Interestingly, the Farm Bureau provides no independent polls showing their rank and file members are actually in favor of horse slaughter.

In fact, it's unlikely their members poll in favor of butchering US horses for meat in light of the 2012 nationwide poll showing a strong majority - 80% - of American voters strongly opposed to slaughter, including rural residents, Republicans, and horse owners.

If I were an elected representative, I'd be cautious about going against such numbers in return for the Farm Bureau Insurance Company's dubious promise of delivering votes.

Who, exactly, is going to vote for a candidate that only represents the owners of 1% of horses that die each year? (99% of horses are not slaughtered)

Case in point: a Congressional district in this horse populated mixed rural area of NY voted out a pro-slaughter Rep in 2010.

Voters are having a hard time justifying spending taxpayer dollars to enable horses (viewed as companion and sporting animals by most Americans) to be brutally slaughtered, put banned drugs into the human food supply, to feed upscale foreigners and line the pockets of offshore corporations that avoid paying US taxes.