Horseman, Pass By
Posted at 12:40 p.m. on Feb. 1, 2012
The Humane Society of the United States will today name Sen. Mary Landrieu the “Humane Horseman of the Year” for 2011, an honor to be bestowed, as best as we can figure, for riding a bill that’s only lost traction during the past seven years.
The Louisiana Democrat joins fellow anti-horse-slaughter advocate Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) as only the second Member of Congress to claim the “Humane Horseman” crown. Whitfield was the very first honoree, back in 2008 — though the issue itself dates back several years.
The problem: People enjoy eating horses.
Who would do such a thing?
According to the HSUS, those who choose to dine on Trigger include our neighbors to the north and south (Canada and Mexico, respectively) as well as the French, Italian and Japanese. HSUS estimates that anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 domestic horses get caught up in the international horsemeat trade each year. And they obviously want it stopped.
“The HSUS has made ending the slaughter of America’s horses for human consumption one of its top priorities,” the group stated in an email.
Landrieu has been onboard with the horsemeat ban for approaching a decade, dating back to her co-sponsorship of S. 1915 in October 2005. That bill boasted the support of 34 Senate co-sponsors, while at least 203 lawmakers climbed aboard its House counterpart, H.R. 503. The gang gave it another go during the 110th Congress, picking up 38 Senators (S. 311) and twin factions in the House (H.R. 503 — 206 co-sponsors; H.R. 6598 – 124 co-sponsors), but built up zero legislative speed. Landrieu’s latest attempt, S. 1176, has just 26 supporters in the Senate, and the companion House bill, H.R. 2966, is down to 158 co-sponsors.
Supporters insist the shifting numbers fail to reflect the public’s aversion to the alterna-protein.
“Horse slaughter is once again a possibility in the United States,” an HSUS aide warned, adding, “This has really been a wake-up call.”
Landrieu aides echoed the call to action, citing a GAO report endorsing a permanent ban and polling that shows overwhelming opposition to having Mr. Ed show up on their plates.
“I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress and other advocates to ensure that the American people are heard and that we stop this inhumane practice once and for all,” Landrieu vowed in a release.