By Jessica Rettig, Washington Whispers
The Humane Society of the United States sent its cavalry of horse rights activists to Capitol Hill yesterday to educate members of Congress about equine cruelty—from the corralling of wild horses to the slaughtering of the black beauties for human consumption. Actress Kelly Carlson of Nip/Tuck fame and Just Shoot Me comedienne Wendie Malick joined forces with the Humane Society's Wayne Pacelle, Michael Markarian, and Nancy Perry to lobby for a bill (H.R. 503/S. 727) to prevent the inhumane transport of American horses to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada and stop roundups of wild horses by U.S. government authorities. The animal rights advocates later met with press members at K Street's Teatro Goldoni to promote the cause over a fresh beet salad and angel hair pasta.
Perry says that the issue of equine cruelty, along with several other animal rights issues, has struck a personal note with several Washington wonks and is one of the few truly bipartisan efforts happening on the Hill. Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers is pushing the bill in the House, while Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican Sen. John Ensign are backing the Senate's version.
Although equine slaughterhouses no longer exist in the United States, "killer buyers" still collect horses from U.S. lands and transport them to Mexico and Canada for butchering. The meat is bought mostly by Belgian-owned companies for consumption in Europe. Carlson, who participates in horse rescue and rehabilitation efforts with the Long Run organization in Ontario, Canada, when she's not on shoot, says that although the activists can't change the way other countries treat their horses, she hopes that her work will help keep American horses safe and cared for.