A Pennsylvania-based equine rescue organization hopes a billboard advertising campaign will raise awareness of horse slaughter issues, particularly among non-horse owners.
Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue in Glenville launched the campaign this week by placing billboards depicting two horses and the message "Stop Killing Us" in two Baltimore, Md., locations. The campaign's companion website, www.stopslaughteringus.com, contains information about horse slaughter issues, and encourages visitors to urge their legislators to oppose local horse processing plant development and to pass federal anti-slaughter legislation.
Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue hopes that billboards with an anti-slaughter message will raise public awareness about horse processing.
Image Courtesy Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue
A court decision halted horse processing in the United States in 2007. Processing plants in Mexico and Canada have since become destinations for slaughter-bound horses from the U.S. Legislation (HR 503/S727 The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act) remains pending that would prohibit the transport, sale, delivery, or export of horses for slaughter for human consumption. It also criminalizes the purchase, sale, delivery, or export of horse meat intended for human consumption. Meanwhile, in 2009, legislation allowing private sector horse processing plant development was introduced in some states with mixed results. Plant development legislation became law in Montana and Wyoming in 2009. No processing plants have yet opened in those states.
Angel Acres founder and director Jo Deibel said general public support is key to moving anti-slaughter legislation forward.
"Our mission is to educate the non-horse owning public about the risk our American horses face," Deibel said. "Only when our country's horse and animal lovers loudly raise their voices in concert will our legislators finally pass bills that languished in governmental committee for years."
Equine welfare advocate Richard Couto agrees that many people outside the equine community are largely unaware that horses are still processed for meat.
"Almost all Americans, and also our political leaders, have not a clue of the slaughter issue and the process of getting horses into Mexico and Canada," Couto said. "The billboards would have an effect with the proper picture and phrase implemented."
Deibel's aim is to erect several billboards bearing the anti-slaughter message in high profile locations throughout the U.S. and is seeking donations to help defray the $300 cost of each advertisement.
Wyoming Representative Sue Wallis, sponsor of legislation allowing horse processing plant development in that state believes contributor funds could be better spent.
"My personal opinion is that their dollars would be put to a lot better use, and help a lot more horses, if they would donate that money to the horse rescues that are all overwhelmed and have no money to feed the horses already on their hands," said Wallace.
Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.