Friday, February 2, 2007

Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Letter

To the members of the 110th Congress of the United States of America:

As Sheriff of the third largest Sheriff’s Office in our nation and as law enforcement professional that puts animal cruelty and abuse cases as a top priority, I call on you today to end the slaughter of America’s horses for human consumption and other purposes.

I ask you to consider how horses helped build America. Not only did they transport our forefathers from the east coast to the west coast, they have been and remain an invaluable tool to the nation’s law enforcement agencies. Horses provide entertainment in the arenas and race tracks; they are therapy animals for the mentally challenged as well as for many of our soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan; and perhaps most importantly, horses are the faithful and beloved companions of millions of our constituents.

And yet, I have been shocked and saddened to learn that thousands of American horses now end up on the dinner plates of wealthy European and Asian consumers as an expensive, exotic gastronomic delight.

How shameful it is that we as Americans, who would never dream of eating horse meat, would yet allow the export of it as a food source to other countries for the sole purpose of greed.

Adding insult to injury, it isn’t even American companies profiting from this shameful business but rather three foreign companies which are making millions of dollars of profit conducting these slaughter houses here in our country. At the hands of these operators, the very animal which did more to build this great nation than any other, meets a cruel, painful, long and demeaning death.

Isn’t it our responsibility as humans to take care of the creatures which share this earth with us? Or at the very least, can we not honor the American horse with a humane, painless and dignified death?

You members of Congress write and enact the laws of the land. You help set the standards by which we are measured as a nation. Remember - a nation will be judged by how it treats its animals. For that reason, I urge you to enact a law that will honor the American horse and ban the slaughter of equine which have served this great nation since its beginning.

As Sheriff of Maricopa County for 14 years, I have a good read on the public and how it feels about issues such as animal cruelty. If the American people were to become acutely aware of these horse slaughter houses –their purpose for being and their methods of killing–your constituents would rightly be as outraged as I am.

You represent the American people. Do what is right for them and for their much-loved horses. Ban the practice of slaughter.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Maricopa County
Phoenix, AZ.