Slaughtering a Good Horse Bill
It has worked this way in Congress for as long as there has been a Congress. If you oppose a reasonable piece of legislation, and you aren't sure you have the votes to sink it, you instead "poison" it with amendments that you know will detract from the very gist of the bill. That way, its initial supporters cannot support it either and it dies, twisting in the wind. That's what is happening to a noble piece of legislation that would outlaw the slaughter of horses in America.
The House Agriculture Committee Thursday wedged into the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act a series of amendments that gut the purpose of the act. The three existing domestic horse slaughterhouses, for example, are allowed to continue to sell horse meat for human consumption overseas. Another amendment makes the federal government financiall responsible for the un-slaughtered horses (just what the government needs, more expenses). And yet another amendment requires horse owners to be compensated for not being able to have their horses slaughtered (usually, the slaughterhouses pay a few hundreds dollars per horse). All of these changes, of course, render the Act either pointless or politically unattractive and that is the purpose.
Earlier this week, when I first wrote about this issue, I created the distinct impression that I do not even comprehend "the other side" of the horse slaughter debate-- that there is no legitimate justification to continue to do this in America. As T. Boone Pickens (no lilly-livered liberal he) said earlier this week: Horse slaughter is un-American. I still don't. The arguments raised on behalf of keeping things the way they are-- allowing horses to be slaughtered here-- all focus upon the practical problems involved in ending the practice. Either that, or silly slippery slope arguments that suggest that if the government can ban the slaughter of horses, it can ban the slaughter of other animals that we might like to eat. These objections are valid but not insurmountable; they go to the mechanics of the problem but not to its core.
90,000 horses were slaughtered in America in 2005. Surely it does not have to be so.
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Posted by: wally | July 31, 2006 12:26 PM
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