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Those who feel the Obama presidency has been a disappointment can all point to a specific moment or specific piece of legislation as thatdefining point that the larger than life candidate did not live up to their expectations when assuming office. These issues range from Obama’s promise to close Guantanamo Bay (still open) to his promise to fight for comprehensive climate change regulation (an issue that atonce took the back burner, and now, even talk of energy from renewable resources is all but dead after the Solyndra scandal) to Obama not coming out more strongly for gay rights. There are a myriad of other issues which Obama has compromised on. Watering down health care legislation and extending the Bush Era tax cuts, anyone? But what about pulling an entire 180, a Mitt Romney if you will? Political flip flopping is always a hot topic, but especially so in the year leading up to a national election. Obama’s signing of a bill to allow horses to be slaughtered for human consumption in the United States—a law that will allow people to eat horsemeat–is one such example. This decision by Obama (to enact legislation which is the absolute reverse of what he said in his campaign rhetoric) is my main Obama disappointment moment. Through disappointment to disappointment I slugged it out with him, an unfailing advocate for a president I believed in. I argued that compromise was necessary, that no one is perfect, that he was trying to stay above the fray and his attempts at bipartisanship were idealistic and naive, but their aim was commendable. This “quiet signing” of the horse meat bill is, however, the nadir of Obama’s presidency to me. No, I won’t take as much of a hardline stance on Obama’s ordering of the killing of Anwar Al Awlaki (the American citizen turned terrorist), but I will stand up for innocent animals who should be allowed to live in peace and not be exploited for profit and killed because of some people’s cruel desire to eat them. Yes, this is an issue of ethics.
More information on the bill Obama signed can be found here: http://www.louisville.com/content/obama-administration-oks-horse-meat-americans-opinion-arena:
While I am certainly an advocate for preventing the slaughter of any animal, it is not only my fellow animal rights advocates who feel that horse slaughter is particularly inhumane. Many who claim not to be vegans or vegetarians find the practice of killing horses for their meat abhorrent. Horses are intelligent, majestic, docile creatures who have been an integral part of the American landscape since before the first English colonists settled here. Horses form special bonds with humans not unlike other domesticated pets. Would you eat your dog or cat? There is no necessity to kill horses. No argument from scarcity can be made as food in the United States is abundant. For those who claim that many of today’s horses are neglected and that they are being slaughtered in other places with fewer regulations (like Canada and Mexico) today anyway, I ask why more isn’t being done to ensure the proper treatment of these horses? The answer should not be to kill them for profit. Must everything be exploited and destroyed? The answer is no. Slaughtering horses for human consumption is a cruel betrayal to these animals and enables a culture that thrives on suffering.
There have been several bills proposed in both the House and the Senate over the past few years that prevent the sale, distribution (and related actions), and slaughter for human consumption of horses and burros. The most recent bill was proposed in September 2011 and the last action taken on this bill was in October 2011. The bill can seen here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.2966:
The bill that was signed by President Obama on November 18 was not a bill that explicitly stated anything about horse consumption or horse slaughter in its title. The language that lifts the ban on horse slaughter was included in a large, multi-piece spending bill The Huffington Post describes as “designed to keep the government afloat” through the end of the year. Sneaky indeed.
It is encouraging that groups from The Humane Society to passionate citizens will fight the implications of the legislation, but I still feel betrayed by Obama. It is bad enough that we are in a place where spending bills must be passed for a month at a time and that the president has not taken a harder line with obstructionist House Republicans, in particular, but this move is something I cannot overlook.