By Duane Ranger, Harness Link
American actor and environmentalist Robert Redford has come out strongly against the slaughter of America's wild and domestic horses, which also includes our wonderful harness racing breed.
The 76-year-old, who has starred in several equine movies including 'The Horse Whisperer' and ‘The Electric Horseman’, went public in a letter to Equine Advocates president, Susan Wagner.
The founder of the Sundance Film Festival, he said horse slaughter was wrong and had no place in American culture.
The Santa Monica (Ca) native made his statements on the cusp of the 2013 Annual American Equine Summit hosted by the New York-based national equine protection organization Equine Advocates on April 27 and 28 in Chatham (NY).
“Horses are acquired for slaughter without disclosure and often through fraud and misrepresentation. The entire slaughter process is cruel, inhumane and perpetuates abuse and neglect without consequences, in addition to condoning a violation of our nation's cruelty laws,” said Redford . “As Americans, we have the right to oppose both the return of horse slaughter to the US and the transport of our wild and domestic equines to other countries for the purpose of slaughter.”
Redford joins a bilateral effort to reverse the advance of horse slaughter through public opinion and safety concerns, and legislation on both state and federal levels.
In the United States campaigners have been trying to resurrect the horse slaughter industry in an attempt to export horsemeat for people in other countries to eat, despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans are strongly opposed to it and find the practice repulsive.
For most Americans, humane euthanasia (a lethal injection as administered by a licensed veterinarian) is the culturally acceptable way to put sporting, recreational and companion animals down, just as people do for our dogs and cats.
New York has become the latest state to push for a ban on horse slaughter with Senate Bill S.4615 and Assembly Bill A.3905. New York State Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, who will deliver the Keynote Address at the Summit , joined State Senator Kathy Marchione in co-sponsoring the bill at a press conference last week. If passed, New York State would join California , Illinois , New Jersey and Texas in prohibiting it.
The Obama administration’s proposed 2014 budget includes a proposal to essentially prevent equines from being slaughtered in the US by defunding FDA inspections. The recent bipartisan introduction of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act would also prohibit the transport, export or import of horses intended for slaughter or horsemeat, leading the issue closer to the solution most Americans demand: Ban it.
“We applaud Robert Redford for his powerful, meaningful and profound words on behalf of America , at a time when over 80% of our citizens oppose horse slaughter,” said Wagner.
“Beyond the sheer brutality of the practice, horse slaughter will enable dangerous FDA-banned drugs found in horsemeat to potentially threaten the US food supply if cross contamination occurs with other meat, like what’s happening across Europe . Horses are not bred for food and should be removed from the food chain.”
Experts, government officials and others will convene at Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary in Chatham , NY Saturday, April 27 – Sunday, April 28 for the 2013 Annual American Equine Summit. Founded in 1996, Equine Advocates Inc. is a national non-profit equine protection organization whose mission is to rescue, protect and prevent the abuse of equines -- especially through banning the slaughter of American horses -- through education, investigation, rescue operations and public education.