Lawmakers in Florida have introduced a bill that would permanently protect America’s horses from slaughter. U.S. Representatives Vern Buchanan and Jan Schakowsky said the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act would also prohibit what has become perhaps the cruelest consequence of the shuttering of equine slaughterhouses in America: the inhumane transport of live horses to Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses.
American blues musician Elizabeth Cotten perhaps said it best: “Through the days of love and celebration and joy, and through the dark days of mourning…the faithful horse has been with us always.”
Horses were never meant to be food. They were brought to America to help forge this great nation. As we laud the explorer who discovered every nook and cranny of this land, should we not also revere the loyal partner that carried its trusted human across the wild frontier?
Beyond the statistic – more than 100,000 horses are exported to slaughter each year – is the terror and abuse suffered by each and every horse before it ever gets its turn with the bolt gun. More than 90,000 of the horses bound for slaughter are healthy and able to live productive lives. Most are discarded by owners who unwittingly condemn them to horrific deaths.
Congress understood the horse’s sentience and historical significance when it shuttered the inhumane equine slaughter industry; yet unknowingly left them vulnerable to even worse abuse, neglect and cruelty. The dirty little secret is that closing slaughterhouses didn’t end slaughter. It abdicated the responsibility of ensuring humane treatment of our horses to foreign governments and gave birth to an unregulated slaughter pipeline where criminals and charlatans prey upon good-hearted rescuers and donors and abuse horses with impunity.
Now, rather than being dumped at the inhumane slaughterhouse just up the road, an unwanted horse suffers weeks or months of abuse, starvation and exploitation before it ever enters the death chute of an inhumane foreign slaughterhouse. The horse that faithfully trusted and served throughout its life – was fed, sheltered, given aid when it was sick or injured – is now thrust into an inhumane auction cycle where it’s electrically prodded and whipped into crowded trailers and pens and forced to fight to survive. Most receive little or no food or water and no veterinary care from the time they’re initially offered at auction to the time they’re executed. Babies, pregnant, elderly, sick, infectious, injured, trained, feral – all crammed together while they’re peddled on Facebook for 10 to 100 times their auction price. Those that fail to fetch a profit make the days-long journey to hell. They’ve suffered an eternity by the time they become part of the statistic.
Please finish what Congress started. Support the SAFE Act and safeguard America’s horses, once and for all.
Please feel free to use the above letter as a starting point for your letter to your member of Congress regarding the SAFE Act. Copy and paste it or edit it however you wish, but please contact your member of Congress. No rescue can save every horse; but together, we can make a difference for all horses by ending this inhumane industry.
Following are Oklahoma’s members of Congress and ways to contact them.
SEN. JAMES INHOFE:
Washington, DC Office: 205 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510-3603; Main: (202) 224-4721; Fax: (202) 228-0380
Tulsa Office: 1924 S. Utica Avenue, Suite 530, Tulsa, OK 74104 -6511; Main: (918) 748-5111; Fax: (918) 748-5119
Oklahoma City Office: 3817 NW Expressway #780, Oklahoma City, OK 73111; Main: (405) 208-8841; Fax: (405) 604-0917
McAlester Office: 215 E Choctaw Ave, Suite 106, McAlester, OK 74501; Main: (918) 426-0933; Fax: (918) 426-0935
Enid Office: 302 N Independence, Suite 104, Enid, OK 73701; Main: (580) 234-5105; Fax: (580) 234-5094
SEN. JAMES LANKFORD:
Washington, DC Office: 316 Hart Senate Office Building, WAshington, DC 20510; Main: (202) 224-5754
Tulsa Office: 224 S. Boulder, Ste. 210, Tulsa, OK 74103; Main: (918) 581-7651
Oklahoma City Office: 1015 North Broadway Avenue, Suite 310, Oklahoma City, OK 73102; Main: (405) 231-4941
DISTRICT 1 REP. KEVIN HERN:
Washington, DC Office: 1019 Longworth HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515; Phone: 202-225-2211
Tulsa Office: 2448 E. 81st St., Ste. 5150, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74137; Phone: 918-935-3222
DISTRICT 2 REP. MARKWAYNE MULLIN:
Washington, DC Office: 2421 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515; (202) 225-2701
Claremore Office: 223 W. Patti Page Blvd., Claremore, Oklahoma 74017; Phone: (918) 283-6262
McAlester Office: 1 E. Choctaw, Ste. 175, McAlester, Oklahoma 74501; (918) 423-5951
Muskogee Office: 811-A N. York St., Muskogee, Oklahoma 74403; (918) 6687-2533
DISTRICT 3 REP. FRANK D. LUCAS:
Washington, DC Office: 2405 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515; (202) 225-5565
Canadian County Office: 10952 NW Expressway, Suite B, Yukon, OK 73099; (405) 373-1958
DISTRICT 4 REP. TOM COLE:
Washington, DC Office: 2207 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515; 202-225-6165
Norman Office: 2424 Springer Dr., Ste. 201, Norman, OK 73069; 405-329-6500
Lawton Office: 711 SW D Ave., Ste. 201, Lawton, OK 73501; 580-357-2131
Ada Office: 100 E. 13th St., Ste. 213, Box 13, Ada, OK 74820; 580-436-5375
DISTRICT 5 REP. KENDRA HORN:
Washington, DC Office: 415 Cannon HOB, Washington, DC 20515;
Oklahoma City Office: 400 N. Walker, Ste. 210, Oklahoma City, OK 73102; (405) 602-3074