While most animal rights activists are likely to excuse President Obama for eating dog as a boy, many may be more perturbed by his move last November to break a campaign promise and sign a bill reviving the slaughter of horses in the United States.
Now, Obama’s decision may be about to revive a practice reviled by many lovers of our equine friends, who are viewed more as pets than livestock.
News has just emerged that as a result of Obama’s action, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has received its first application to begin slaughtering horses in the United States – from a Roswell, New Mexico slaughterhouse.
In signing the Agriculture spending bill, which included the provision that paved the way for renewed killing in the United States of horses for food, Obama appeared to violate at least the spirit of a 2008 campaign promise made to the Humane Society.
Responding to a questionnaire from the group, Obama answered “yes” to the following question:
“Will you support legislation such as the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, S. 311 and H.R. 503, to institute a permanent ban on horse slaughter and exports of horses for human consumption?”
He didn’t get this bill, so technically he didin’t violate his promise, but one could be excused for drawing the conclusion that he would not permit horse slaughter.
PETA supports Obama on this issue, reasoning that in the absence of an export ban, it’s more humane to have horses slaughtered here. But others, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, oppose reopening the U.S. slaughterhouses, believing it will reinstitute a cruel practice that will be hard to get rid of again. They want an export ban instead.
Horse slaughter could be a real political loser for Obama. A poll commissioned by the ASPCA in January found 80 percent of Americans strongly opposed the practice. Mitt Romeny and his wife Ann, who are both avid riders, may be particularly well positioned to take advantage of the issue.
The issue is showing signs it could end up as part of the 2012 political narrative. George Demos, who is seeking to be the Republican candidate for Congress in New York’s First District, is knocking his potential Democratic opponent for supporting the Agriculture bill.