Those hungry for horsemeat may get their wish this week
Just check out these 9/7/2006 headlines, and read this in the text:
One fast food franchise has already applied for the name "Barbaro Burgers" as a trademark, and expects to be selling horse burgers before November 1st.
Horrifying, isn't it? OK, this is a fictitious copy of a fictitious newspaper. 2006 Kentucky Derby Winner Barbaro is not going to be slaughtered because of his injuries. You're not going to be finding "Barbaro Burgers" on the menu of your local fast-food restaurant this weekend.
But could it happen? Yes, and here's why.
Up before the U.S. House of Representatives this week is a bill known as H.R. 503, The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, a bill to to "prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption, and for other purposes."
The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA) is scheduled to go before the House on September 7, 2006. Simply put, its a bill to end the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States and the export of live horses for the same purpose.
The bill has been reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Congressional Horse Caucus Co- Chair John Sweeney (R-NY), Representative John Spratt (D-SC) and Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY). Senator and veterinarian John Ensign (R-NV) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) have reintroduced an identical measure in the Senate.
This sounds fine, except that there are currently no guarantees that this bill is going to pass. The Society for Animal Protective Legislation (SAPL) has been involved, and has sent out an urgent alert letting people know that this potential legislation needs the support of people like all of us. SAPL is the oldest non-profit organization in the United States specifically dedicated to the passage and promotion of federal, international and local legislation to ensure and protect animal welfare.
Paula Bacon, the Mayor of the small town of Kaufman, Texas, has been fighting to get the nearby Dallas Crown Inc. slaughter mill to close. Some families in the area say that odors from Dallas Crown keep them indoors. The plant and its Belgian owners have survived numerous attempts to close it in recent years. Bill H.R.503 would shutter Dallas Crown and other slaughter plants in Fort Worth, TX and DeKalb, Il. Horse meat is not marketed as table fare in the US, but the slaughter plants process hundreds of horses each week and ship the meat overseas. Horse meat (pictured here) is considered a delicacy in some European countries, Japan and other places.
Noted Texans, such as oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens and country singer Willie Nelson and gubernatorial hopeful Kinky Freidman have been activists on this issue for some time, accusing the slaughter plants of cruelly killing even young horses and call the processing operations an un-American slaughter of a cultural symbol. Nelson sat down recently with Bo Derek, Morgan Fairchild and Jennifer Lee Pryor and openly discussed this brutal practice which must be ended. There are many others who have come out in support of ending this often brutal slaughter.
So what can be done about it, and when?
FlyingFilly.com has put together a marvelous set of resources and facts to help you better understand the issues at hand and the actions that can be taken. Take a moment and see exactly where your representative stands on this, then contact your representatives directly and let them know how you feel. Read what Equine Advocates has to say about this issue and what you can do.
But whatever you decide, do it before September 7th, or you might be explaining fast-food signs like this to your kids in the near future.
It's in your hands - there's still time for you to act.
Our lexidiem is horsemeat.
tags: HR 503, Barbaro, Barbaro Burger, fast food, Congress, AHSPA, SAPL, basashi, lexidiem, jargontalk, Kentucky Derby, FlyingFilly, Willie Nelson, Kinky Friedman, Bo Derek, Dallas Crown, John Sweeney, John Spratt, Ed Whitfield, John Ensign, Mary Landrieu