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For the second time this year, the party led by a guy with a cowboy hat is about to send horses to the slaughterhouse - in spite of huge public opposition that cuts across all lines. The first time, Republican Senator Conrad Burns from Montana reversed 34 years of federal protection for the wild horse with a stealth rider attached to the 05 federal appropriations bill, legalizing sale of mustangs in government pipelines to the lowest bidder.
Because of the Burns rider, 41 wild horses were immediately sent to the rendering plant, with thousands more on the way. After a hard-fought battle that went on for months, the rider was recently undone with the passage of an anti-horse slaughter amendment attached to a different piece of legislation, the 05 Agricultural Appropriations bill, by Republican Senator John Ensign from Nevada and West Virginia Democrat Robert Byrd. The 68-29 vote was overwhelmingly in favor of stopping the slaughter of horses in American plants - from which their meat was often shipped to France, the country Republicans ran against in the last election.
But now Republicans are once again trying to wipe out the horse they rode in on. Some members of the Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee (which includes Burns, now linked with Jack Abramoff and named one of the 13 most corrupt Congressmen) are planning to strip the anti-horse slaughter language from the bill, by 4 pm on October 25th, before it leaves a committee conference and heads for Bush's desk. This would relieve the beleaguered Texan from having to deal with legislation that enrages his Big Beef cronies, while simultaneously revoking the reprieve for thousands of mustangs on equine Death Row, many of them stolen by the feds in semi-legal takings on public lands this summer and in past years - and open up the pipelines for continued round-ups until the day comes that the range is completely bereft of our heritage.
Strangely, Texas prides itself on mustang mojo. Yet Bush's homeland has two of the three remaining
horse slaughter plants in the US. And they are all about to get very busy, just as they were decades ago, when hundreds of thousands of horses roamed the Texas range. Today there are NONE, thanks to Dallas cowboys who cleared them out to make room for burgers on the hoof. Not content with taking over the second biggest state in the Union, the cattle lobby now wants the rest of the West - and it's as close as ever to getting it.
To head these horse thieves off at the pass, visit this site NOW and call the listed members of the appropriations subcommittee IMMEDIATELY, especially your representatives, and more especially, those who voted for the amendment; let them know that the Ensign-Byrd amendment must stand - especially since it already passed by a huge margin. With Bushco about to go down, they should not be permitted to take horses with them. For more about how our ranch hand President is riding the American mustang off the stage, please check my recent blogs on this site - here and here - and also my Slate piece for a deeper analysis, as well as Senator Byrd's impassioned anti-slaughter statement. By the way, I love cowboys as much as the next red-blooded American gal, but a cowboy who hates his horse has got to go.
UPDATE: The latest action info, as per the
International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros:
Please call all the CONFEREES below even if they are not in the state that you reside and ask them to support the above amendment to stop the slaughter of horses in our country. Ask for the staff assistant who is working on the Agricultural bill.

The bolded names voted to allow horses to be slaughtered by voting NO on the amendment.
Capitol Hill Switchboard: (202) 224-3121


Name -------------------------------- Vote position ---- Phone -------- Fax

Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX) NO 202-225-4511 202-225-2237
Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT) YES 202-225-3661 202-225-4890
Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA) NO 202-225-8490 202-225-5639
Rep. Allen Boyd (D-FL) NO 202-225-5235 202-225-5615
Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-CA) NO 202-225-2511 202-225-5444
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) NO 202-225-4404 202-226-0326
Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) YES 202-225-2861 202-225-6791
Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) YES 202-225-4711 202-225-5681
Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey (D-NY) YES 202-225-6335 202-226-0774
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) YES 202-225-4146 202-225-7711
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) NO 202-225-5831 202-226-2269
Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL) NO 202-225-6201 202-225-9249
Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) NO 202-225-5476 202-225-3301
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) NO 202-225-5861 202-225-6498
Rep. David R. Obey (D-WI) YES 202-225-3365 Not available


Name ---------------------------------- Vote position ---- Phone -------- Fax

Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-UT) YES 202-224-5444 202-228-1168
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) YES 202-224-5653 202-224-9787
Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-MO) NO 202-224-5721 202-224-8149
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) NO 202-224-6521 202-228-1265
Sen. Conrad R. Burns (R-MT) NO 202-224-2644 202-224-8594
Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) YES 202-224-3954 202-228-0002
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) NO 202-224-5054 202-224-9450
Sen. Larry E. Craig (R-ID) NO 202-224-2752 202-228-1067
Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND) NO 202-224-2551 202-224-1193
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) YES 202-224-2152 202-228-0400
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) YES 202-224-3841 202-228-3954
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) YES 202-224-3254 202-224-9369
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) NO 202-224-5842 202-228-5765
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) YES 202-224-5824 202-224-9735
Sen. Mitch McConnel (R-KY) YES 202-224-2541 202-224-2499
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) YES 202-224-4254 202-228-1229
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) NO 202-224-3004 202-224-2354

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