ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Mainstream Animal Ag Groups, HSUS Square Off In D.C.

by 5m Editor
9 May 2007, at 12:29pm

US - The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry heard from two very different witnesses during a hearing on animal welfare Tuesday in Washington D.C. Representing the interests of many mainstream animal agriculture groups was Charlie Stenholm of Texas, the former ranking Democrat on the House Ag Committee.

"
The first people who have come in contact now with this unwanted horse phenomenon has been the people bringing their horse into the livestock auction to sell it.
"
Charlie Stenholme - former democrat on the house ag comitee
Mainstream animal ag groups, HSUS square off in D.C. The House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry heard from two very different witnesses during a hearing on animal welfare Tuesday in Washington D.C. Representing the interests of many mainstream animal agriculture groups was Charlie Stenholm of Texas, the former ranking Democrat on the House Ag Committee.

Speaking for animal rights activists, and arguably, many millions of consumers who know little about animal agriculture, was Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the U.S (HSUS). And while members of the House ag panel appeared decidedly more sympathetic to Stenholm's point of view, Pacelle suggested his group could simply go around the House Ag Committee to advance its agenda if necessary.

Stenholm was the sole witness on the first panel to testify at the hearing. He gave an eight minute opening statement that pointed out livestock producers have a both a financial and moral interest in treating the animals in their care humanely. Stenholm also noted "animal rights are NOT synonymous with animal welfare," and he accused the HSUS of using its massive war chest of donations to advance a political agenda, rather than using the money to actually care for animals.

"The Humane Society has accumulated $113 million in assets, has a budget three times the size of PETA's [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] and according to the activist cash web site, has more than enough funding to finance animal shelters in all 50 states," Stenholm testified, "yet only operates one animal sanctuary, Black Beauty Ranch in Texas, which is at full capacity."

But Stenholm, who lobbies on behalf of the Livestock Marketing Association among other groups, focused much of his testimony on the efforts of animal rights activists to end the practice of horse slaughter in the U.S. At the beginning of the year, three horse slaughter plants were in operation in the U.S., two in Texas and one in Illinois. Since then, a court decision put an end to horse slaughter in Texas and the Illinois facility is currently operating while it appeals a separate injunction that temporarily shut it down. And Stenholm told lawmakers horse owners who are looking to get rid of their unwanted equines are already feeling the effects of a potential horse slaughter ban.

"The first people who have come in contact now with this unwanted horse phenomenon has been the people bringing their horse into the livestock auction to sell it," Stenholm said. "And they're being turned away because they're being told, 'We can't buy your horse.'"

Stenholm called banning horse slaughter "a slippery slope" that could lead to the curtailing of the property rights of all livestock owners and producers. And Stenholm said he had a problem with that.

Source: Brownfield

5m Editor