Dear Representative Kevin Hern, Congressman Markwayne Mullin, Frank Lucas, Congressman Tom Cole, Congresswoman Kendra Horn:
First and foremost, I am writing to invite you to our horse rescue in Coweta, Oklahoma, so you can see first hand the urgency in supporting bipartisan legislation, H.R. 961, to permanently ban the slaughter of American horses. The measure currently has 216 co-authors – none of whom represent the great state of Oklahoma.
The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act would prohibit what has become perhaps the cruelest consequence of the shuttering of equine slaughterhouses in America: The inhumane exploitation and transport of live horses for the express purpose of foreign slaughter.
Horses were never meant to be food. They were brought to America to help forge this great nation, carrying explorers and their gear into every nook and cranny of the land we call home. They are partners, companions, and most of all, loyal servants.
Beyond the statistic – more than 84,000 horses 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. According to the USDA, 92 percent – more than 77,000 – of the horses bound for slaughter are healthy and able to live productive lives.
If you believe slaughter is tantamount to humane euthanasia, necessary to cull America’s unwanted horse population, then why did the U.S. close its slaughterhouses? If the greatest nation on earth was unable to maintain safe, humane slaughter facilities, do we really believe other nations are safeguarding the world’s food supply while treating our animals with dignity and compassion?
Of course we don’t.
The dirty little secret is that closing American slaughterhouses didn’t end slaughter. It abdicated the responsibility of ensuring humane treatment of our horses to foreign governments and spawned an unregulated, billion-dollar 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 butcher.
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 slaughter statistic.
And America can turn a blind eye.
Soon our rescued horses, once discarded as trash, will help rehabilitate veterans with PTSD, revitalize dementia patients, and teach victims of bullying how to survive – proving all sentient beings have intrinsic worth when given the chance.
Please finish what Congress started. Support the SAFE Act and safeguard America’s horses – and the world’s food supply – once and for all.
Tami Marler, MBA
President, Swingin’ D Horse Rescue
(Please feel free to use a version of this letter contact your members of Congress)