Former Governor Bill Richardson met in Washington D.C with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and urged him to stop the reopening of horse slaughterhouses, but didn’t come back with the response he hoped to hear.
Richardson suggested that the USDA immediately conduct a complete review of its rule making procedures regarding horse slaughter and that it block any horse slaughterhouse from reopening until that review is completed. The meeting was part of an effort made to prevent the opening of a horse slaughterhouse near Roswell. “We appreciate Secretary Vilsack’s willingness to listen to our suggestions, and we hope that today’s meeting will be an important milestone in the fight against horse slaughter.”
“I impressed on him the urgency of the matter as the welfare of these animals and the impact to the environment hangs in the balance,” Richardson added.
Richardson’s trip was on behalf of The Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife, an animal protection foundation he recently founded with actor Robert Redford. Earlier in the week the Foundation announced its first action was joining a federal lawsuit against the USDA that seeks to block horse slaughter. The Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue and Horses For Life Foundation are among the organizations that filed the suit against USDA officials.
Brian Egolf, attorney for the foundation, said: ”The Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife believes, as the vast majority of Americans do, that horse slaughter has no place in our country.
Source: Albuquerque Business First
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Robert Redford and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Monday joined the fight against a return to domestic horse slaughter, announcing the formation of an animal protection foundation to fight the opening of plants in New Mexico and Iowa.
The Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife’s first act was to join a federal lawsuit filed by the Humane Society, Front Range Equine Rescue, Horses For Life Foundation and other groups to block the planned Aug. 5 opening of the first horse slaughterhouses in the U.S. to operate in more than six years.
“Horse slaughter has no place in our culture,” Redford said in a statement. “It is cruel, inhumane, and perpetuates abuse and neglect of these beloved animals.”
Officials said it was legally obligated to issue the permits, even though the Obama administration opposes horse slaughter and is seeking to reinstate a congressional ban that was lifted in 2011.
Another permit was approved a few days later for Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa. The move has divided horse rescue and animal welfare groups, ranchers, politicians and Indian tribes about what is the most humane way to deal with the country’s horse overpopulation and what rescue groups have said are a rising number of neglected and starving horses as the West deals with persistent drought.
An Aug. 2 hearing is set on the demand by animal protection groups for a temporary restraining order to prevent the plants from opening and becoming the first horse slaughterhouses to operate domestically since 2007.
In addition to its opposition to horse slaughter, Redford and Richardson say, the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife will focus on the preservation and protection of the state’s wild mustang and burro population. Other efforts will focus on the Mexican gray wolf, bison and the reintroduction of native fish and mammal species. The foundation will also work to support New Mexico’s animal shelters and to prevent animal cruelty.
Source: AP News
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