Nine-Year-Old Comes to Washington to Speak Up for Horses
In "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," a young Jimmy Stewart comes to Washington as a lawmaker to demand good government and to root out corruption. Well, yesterday, young Mr. Gregg—9-year-old Declan Gregg, that is—came to Washington to root out cruelty to animals. Declan came to The HSUS’s downtown headquarters after a long day on Capitol Hill, where he lobbied to urge adoption of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, H.R. 2966 and S. 1176. He talked to his congressman, Frank Guinta from New Hampshire, and spoke to other lawmakers when Rep. Guinta took him to the floor of the House, where Declan urged them to ban the slaughter of American horses in the U.S. and abroad. He also had a separate meeting and press conference with Rep. Jim Moran, co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus and a great fighter for horses.
With Declan Gregg at HSUS headquarters.
Declan learned about the slaughter of horses from his mom, and he decided he wanted to do something about it. So he elected to take two days off from school in New Hampshire and get a practical civics lesson by lobbying Congress.
More than 100,000 American horses are shipped to be killed each year in Canada and Mexico, often suffering terribly during transport and slaughter. The HSUS and other animal protection groups have been campaigning on many fronts to stop this cruel and predatory practice. This week, we also highlighted how the equine slaughter pipeline could threaten public health. The animals sent to slaughter are former race horses, carriage horses, family ponies, and others routinely given drugs and medications potentially toxic to people—yet their meat is being sold for human consumption, mainly as a gourmet item in Europe and Asia.
Front Range Equine Rescue and The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal petition on Tuesday with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prevent former companion, working, competition, and wild horses from being used as human food. The petition alleges that the drugs given to these horses are banned by FDA and/or potentially dangerous to humans, and that using these horses for human food creates an unacceptable and illegal public health threat. It also requests that FDA certify all horses and meat from American horses as “unqualified” for human consumption.
In November, Congress authorized the inspection of horses for slaughter in America, something that had been prohibited since 2006. Now, misguided investors and businesses pushing to reopen horse slaughterhouses on American soil are actively promoting horse meat—in Missouri, New Mexico, and other states. This makes our campaign more urgent than ever.
We’d win this fight if more animal advocates met with their lawmakers and politely demanded action. Declan is showing us how it’s done.