by John Holland and Vicki Tobin, Founders, Equine Welfare AllianceÂ Â
CHICAGO, (EWA) – In the aftermath of Montana Governor Schweitzer’s non-action, HB 418, a bill that bars Montana’s citizens from taking court action against the building of a horse slaughter plant, became law.
This action has left many Montana legislators and citizens shocked that their state might soon be known as the new "home of horse slaughter". Montana has enacted a probably unconstitutional statute that denies due process under the United States Constitution.
Horse slaughter will tarnish the "Big Sky" brand and everything it stands for from cattle to tourism. History has shown that such plants bring nothing but pollution and controversy. Montana law makers failed to ask themselves why Texas and Illinois, and now Saskatchewan Canada, have rid themselves of the industry. Who is to gain?
The Equine Welfare Alliance has obtained a document that answers this question. The mass e-mail was from Stan Weaver, president of the Montana Quarter Horse Association (MQHA) and is titled "HB 418 Final Comments – Success!!!!. Rejoicing in the news that Montana may be home to a horse killing plant, the MQHA president boasts that the MQHA was the driving force behind the passage of the law.
Weaver praises members for pushing the legislation while bragging about the haste with which it was put together. Weaver describes how the MQHA and the bill’s sponsor, Representative Ed Butcher, had come up with the idea for the bill just weeks before it was introduced. After that introduction, the bill was ridiculed widely as the "Montana Butcher Bill."
Indeed, this is cause to rejoice for the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), the organization leading the effort to continue the slaughter of American horses for foreign firm’s profit. This magnificent breed, touted as the most versatile of all horses, is being sent to slaughter in record numbers. In fact, half of all horses sent to slaughter each year are American Quarter Horses.
Meanwhile, the AQHA continues to promote indiscriminate breeding.
Weaver is apparently so enamored at the prospect of a slaughter plant to butcher Montana’s Quarter Horses that he ponders writing a book that will contain all the emails and letters in support of horse killing.
Last year, when other businesses were reducing production, AQHA management and its member breeders continued their mad quest to grow revenues by registering 140,000 new foals, an increase of 5,000 more horses over 2007.
In his speech before the 2008 annual convention, Bill Brewer, the AQHA’s then executive vice-president said, "Our challenge becomes looking at ways to introduce an equine economic stimulus package that will boost registration numbers."
Apparently, that package includes killing off existing Quarter Horses to make room for more.
The AQHA and its allies have promoted unfounded stories that the nation is being flooded with tens of thousands of abandoned horses. It was a salient point made by supporters of "The Butcher Bill" and was picked up by the Montana media and repeated without question, even though county officials reported a total of only fourteen abandoned horses in 2008.
Yet the group and its apologists fail to mention the indiscriminate breeding encouraged by the AQHA and ranchers such as Weaver. Weaver’s ranch alone produces and registers 100 horses per year and helps fill the AQHA treasury with registration fees.
According to Weaver, the next major AQHA effort will be to try to defeat the federal legislation that will end the slaughter of American horses; HR 503, The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009.
In their zealous quest to defeat HR 503, EWA says it expects more of the elaborate disinformation campaign from the AQHA and its lobbyists.
Go here to learn how you can help pass HR 503/SB 727, the federal bill that would make it illegal to "possess…, ship…, transport…, purchase.., sell… deliver…, or receive" in interstate or foreign commerce any horse "with the intent that it is to be slaughtered for human consumption". Â It would also be illegal under this bill to trade in horse flesh or carcass for the purpose of human consumption.