« PA-Sen: Abortion Hurting Casey Fundraising | Main | Philly-DA: Bloggers for Williams Go Mainstream »

Monday, May 02, 2005

MT-Sen: New Law to Stop Burns' Slaughter

Posted by Bob Brigham

Regular readers of Swing State Project might see the word "slaughter" in a headline about embattled Montana Senator Conrad Burns and assume that the post was about Burns' General Custeresque march into re-election (Burns' re-elect number is 36%). But no, this isn't a metaphoric slaughter, this is an actual blood and guts slaughter. And the politics are so overwhelming against Senator Burns that Congress is now considering a new law -- bipartisan legislation with 50 co-sponsors -- to undo the Burns Slaughter.

From Indian Country:

WASHINGTON - The Interior Department has abruptly halted the delivery of mustangs to buyers to investigate whether the slaughter of 41 wild horses in April violated a federal contract requiring them to be treated humanely.

Interior's Bureau of Land Management is charged with the liquidation of some 90,000 wild horses. [...]

Congress in December replaced the 34-year-old ban on slaughtering mustangs with a law permitting older and unwanted horses to be sold. Wild horse advocates warned that would allow the animals to be killed and sold for horse meat, as dog food or for human consumption overseas.

Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., urged Congress in April to immediately repeal the change in law that Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., sponsored last year. Rahall and Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., so far have 50 co-sponsors for such legislation in the 435-member House.

There is quite a coalition coming together to stop the Burns Slaughter, from the Tribune News Service:

WASHINGTON - A coalition of celebrities, race track leaders and others have called in from across the country hoping to push forward legislation that would end or limit the slaughter of wild horses. [...]

"When you've got a coalition ranging from Willie Nelson to Nicollette Sheridan, we've got something for everyone," said Nancy Perry, the Humane Society of the United States' vice president of government affairs. [...]

Horse advocates have solicited comments from actors - including Richard Gere and Mary Tyler Moore - and have drawn support from horse racing leaders and others.

Churchill Downs Inc., parent company of the legendary Kentucky race track, supports the end of horse slaughter. Ford Motor Co., maker of the Mustang sports car, this week offered financial support to save the lives of 52 mustangs. And "Weekly Reader," an educational publication geared to elementary and middle school students, included an article on the issue.

Seeking star power to jazz up an issue isn't a new tactic. Last year, for example, actress and horse owner Bo Derek traipsed through the Capitol to gather support for a similar bill.

About that bill, from the Courier Journal:

Whitfield, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and nearly 50 co-sponsors have introduced H.R. 297 to outlaw the sales of the mustangs. Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., has introduced a separate measure, S. 576. [...]

"Those involved in the slaughter of wild horses and burros have blood on their hands," Rahall said during a Capitol Hill news conference.

Whitfield, R-1st District, said no horses should be slaughtered for food, particularly those under Bureau of Land Management protection.

Senator Conrad Burns is now facing a bi-partisan legislation condemning him while he's being called out as having blood on his hands. His response?

Grant Toomey, deputy press secretary to Burns, said the slaughter of the 41 horses was "awful and had nothing to do with the senator's intentions."

"This can't be allowed to happen," Toomey said, adding that Burns plans to meet with bureau officials to discuss the situation.

Is this a flip-flop or just incompetence?

Saying it can't happen would make it appear the Senator is now opposed to the slaughter. I hope this is a reversal rather than Burns trying to say he didn't know that lifting a ban on slaughtering would cause horses to become dogfood.

Burns screwed up big-time on this one.

Posted at 11:10 AM in 2006 Elections - Senate, Montana | Technorati