To the editor:
A bill our representatives will be voting on ... is called "Safeguard American Food Exports Act." This bill would protect our food supply and the reputation of the U.S. for exporting safe food.
Horsemeat can be dangerous to humans because of the unregulated adminstration of numerous toxic substances. A common pain reliever routinely given to horses - phenylbutozone - is known to cause fatal human diseases. The shocking discovery of horsemeat in beef products proves what a threat this is to consumer health and the reputation of U.S. exports.
Forcing taxpayers to pay for horse slaughter is fiscally irresponsible. At a time when the budget of the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service is already stretched thin, the USDA should not extend funding for a new program to slaughter horses, which 80 percent of Americans strongly oppose.
The slaughter of horses for human consumption is extremely cruel and is a complete betrayal of these intelligent and sensitive animals. Many of the horses who end up slaughtered are raised as companion animals and are condemned to this horrific end following a lifetime of service to people. If someone can no longer care for their horse, they have the responsibility to either find another home for them or have it humanely euthanized and disposed of for approximately $225 - the cost of one month's care.
I went to a horse auction recently and was dismayed to see that many people are still breeding their horses. As long as there are slaughterhouses, overbreeding will continue.
USDA documents that more than 92 percent of horses that go to slaughter are in good condition; those are the ones that killbuyers want because they bring more dollars per pound.
Please call your senators and congressmen at (202) 224-3121. Ask them to co-sponsor the "Safeguard American Food Exports Act" (S.541/H.R. 1094). As far as I know Sen. (Charles) Grassley and Congressman (Steve) King were both voting against it. So, we need lots of calls. Thank you.