AWHC Response to Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) Floor Statement in Support of Horse Slaughter

Rep. Tom Cole statement in opposition to an amendment to stop U.S. Horse Slaughter:

“7th biggest horse producing district.  We have a lot of people and facilities that care very much about horses.  We also host more than 20K horses that aren’t from OK but are exported from the planes. It costs us $7-8/day to feed the animals and maintain land.   They’re beautiful. The BLM is struggling with the cost of dealing with this.  This animal is not indigenous to the continent.  It is the biggest fastest thing on the plane. They overgraze, starve themselves, damage the environment.  There has to be some way to manage the population.  I’ve raised this issue that run the facilities. The folks there tell me neutering is hard.  It doesn’t work. Adoptions run out quickly.   They reproduce fast.  It’s expensive to keep a horse.  Will oppose the amendment. Hope we find another solution. Letting it go on w/taxpayer picking up the cost. And horses living in a bad environment.  This is not the way to do this.”

AWHC Response:

Rep. Cole:  Regarding your vote for horse slaughter this morning: We appreciate your recognition of the fact that people care about these beautiful horses, but we would ask you to reconsider your views on U.S. slaughter plants and urge you to take a strong stand against wild horse slaughter in a vote likely to occur in full committee next week.  Please also consider the following:   

1. Your vote today was against the wishes of 3 out of 4 of your constituents who oppose the slaughter of American horses for human consumption by a margin of 73% to 19%. 

2. The 16 long-term pastures in your state that house wild horses are both cost-effective for American taxpayers ($1.83/horse/per day vs. over $5/horse/day for federally-run holding pens) and an economic benefit for Oklahoma ranchers who receive contracts to house the horses. Your vote to slaughter these horses instead is a vote AGAINST the economic interests of these ranchers.

3. Slaughter is not a solution for wild horse management; birth control is.  This was affirmed by the National Academy of Sciences in 2013 and in decades of use on wild horses and other populations of wild animals.  It’s provenIt worksIt’s cost-effective.  And it’s acceptable to the people you represent, unlike slaughter.

Rep. Cole, we would be happy to brief you on the facts so that you might stand with your constituents and the American people in opposition to horse slaughter and in favor of protection and humane management of our nation’s iconic wild horse and burro herds.  While it is too late to change your vote on the horse slaughter plant defund amendment, there is likely to be an opportunity for you to vote next week to protect our nation’s horses and we hope that you will do so.