Donna Lenz Wright/The Week
(Published Sept. 11, 2007, 5:38p .m.)
Last year over 100,000 horses were killed in the United States and shipped overseas for human consumption, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
The vast majority of these horses were old, bad or sick horses who had no possible quality of life, according to the Belgian company, Cavel International, that runs three horse slaughter plants in Illinois and Texas.
"They are not old, they're healthy young horses being slaughtered to feed people oversees," insists Debra Lopez, who co-founded Animal Fairy Charities, Inc., along with Lori Charney, a non-profit organization formed to stop this and other animal cruelty practices through legislation.
The horses are bought at auctions around the country under the guise of a desire to keep them as companions. Instead they are shipped to the slaughtering plants and then to Europe, Canada, Mexico and Asia.
Proponents of the bill also claim that before the horses meet their ends, they are treated extremely inhumanely through transportation and holding processes as well.
"Until this bill was brought before Congress and these horse advocacy groups started writing to editors, the horse slaughter was a dirty little secret," Lopez said.
As part of their plight, they've organized Musical Horse Aid, a day of music, learning and fund-raising for the cause Sept. 15 at the Walworth County Fairgrounds.
"This is an event to lend a voice, to launch our charity and inform and educate the general public on what we're doing to try to stop cruelty to all animals with an emphasis on horses," she said.
"This is the perfect time to educate the layperson about how many horses need our help out there."
A bill was recently passed in Texas "making it illegal to sell, possess and transport horsemeat for sale for human consumption," according to the Society for Animal Protective Legislation.
And on Feb. 22 HB 1711 was introduced in Illinois, the only other state where significant horse slaughtering continues, that would prohibit the transportation of horses into the state for the purpose of slaughter for human consumption.
Federal efforts are also in the works in the United States House of Representatives for passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act under HR 503 and the United States Senate under S. 311, supported by over 500 organizations, many legislators and even more citizens.
"Through Musical Horse Aid we're lending our voices to pass the bill to end horse slaughter in America," Lopez said.
"We've got people flying in from all over the country to perform and speak on their behalf."
Musical Horse Aid is Sept. 15, noon-10 p.m. at the Walworth County Fairgrounds. Tickets are $25 with all proceeds going to horse rescue organizations and charities including the Humane Society of the United States, Habitat for Horses, Thoroughbred Charities of America and local rescues. Other features include a variety of items from area businesses will be donated for raffle, food and beverage vendors, the Wisconsin National Guard will open and close the event with full Color Guard and a National Anthem tribute and a performance by the Kettle Moraine Rough Riders. For tickets or more information, visit www.animalfairycharities.org or call (262) 835-6784.
Brian Stace of Nashville, Tenn.
Ronnie Nyles and the Krash. Band, Spiral Trance and Twang. Dragons of Milwaukee.
Martha Berner of Chicago.
Brent Mitchell of Austin, Texas.
Twisting Roses, Illinois.
Musical comedy interludes by CJ of the Mythic Figs, Indiana.
Emcee Cindy Huber of FM 106
Shelley Abrams, board member of the R.A.C.E FUND.
Gail Vacca, of the Animal Welfare Institute.
Jill Fritz the Humane Society of the United States.
Shelley Sawhook, president, the American Horse Defense Fund.
Barbara Boubelik-Chmielewski, founder and executive director of Lazy Maple Equine and Rescue Rehabilitation Center.
Sandy Kimpfbeck, Wisconsin board member of Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation.
Content may not be published, broadcast, re-distributed or re-written.