Horse Slaughter Supporters, Opponents Face Off Online

Advocates on both sides of the horse processing issue have posted petitions on a U.S. government website that allows the public to inform the Obama administration about issues important to them.

The We The People website allows the public to create petitions on a range of issues including agriculture, the economy, and the environment. Petitions that receive 5,000 signatures within 30 days of their posting, will be reviewed by the White House staff before being submitted to the appropriate policy experts for an official response.

A Sept. 22 petition posted on the site calls on the White House to restore humane horse slaughter on grounds that reestablishing horse processing in the U.S. will improve equine welfare and create jobs. Conversely, a petition posted on Sept. 23, asks the Obama administration to support passage of the bills, on grounds that banning horse processing in the U.S. would enhance equine welfare.

At press time on Sept. 30, the pro-slaughter petition had received 1,327 of the 5,000 signatures needed by Oct. 22 to warrant administration review and the anti-slaughter petition had posted 3,016 of the 5,000 signatures needed by Oct. 23.

Wyoming lawmaker and horse processing supporter Sue Wallis said the petition provides those most affected by the demise of the US. horse processing in the U.S. a way to directly make their case to the White House.

"We view this as an opportunity to get the attention of the administration, and to have them honestly look at an issue that they have until very recently only heard one side of," Wallis said.

Keith Dane, director of Equine Protection for the Humane Society of the United States, said the anti-slaughter petition (which was created by a private citizen) is intended to ensure the Obama administration receives the equine protection community view of the issue.

"Supporters of horse slaughter have posted their own petition so it's important that (anti-slaughter advocates) speak up to protect our horses from this tortuous treatment by those who seek to profit from their misery," Dane said.

Both petitions may be viewed and signed by visiting whitehouse.gov/petitions. Both can be found under the "agriculture" filter.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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