Republic of Horse

Bob Goodlatte

Bob Goodlatte is the U.S. Representative for Virginia's 6th congressional district. He has performed various roles in the House Agricultural Committee, including Chairman of the full Committee. He consistently opposes Internet gambling but excludes online horse race betting, apparently having received significant campaign contributions from the horse racing industry. From The Paulick Report, 10/8/2008:

"When the Judiciary Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives held a markup hearing on Sept. 17 to discuss H.B. 6598, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008 that would ban slaughter and criminalize the transportation of horses for the purpose of having them slaughtered for human consumption, a letter from National Thoroughbred Racing Association president and CEO Alex Waldrop said his organization took a neutral position on H.B. 6598 despite supporting previous anti-slaughter legislation.

"Waldrop’s position statement, read into the record by Republican Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, outraged a number of prominent Thoroughbred industry participants...

"Agriculture Committee chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and ranking Republican Goodlatte both have been recipients of contributions from the NTRA (National Thoroughbred Racing Association) PAC, most recently receiving $5,000 for their 2008 campaigns. Peterson is a member of the Congressional Horse Caucus and Goodlatte has been a strong ally of the NTRA’s lobbying efforts concerning Internet gambling and tax incentives for breeders. Goodlatte has been an opponent of slaughter legislation."

Congressman Bob Goodlatte made the following statements on a House amendment to defund USDA horse slaughter inspection in the 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Bill:

"...consequences of the amendment will cost a lot of money because this amendment does absolutely nothing to stop the many practices that occur in this country that create unwanted horses, everything from nurse mares in the thoroughbred racing industry, to Premarin mares to produce the drug Premarin, to the foals of those mares, to the fact that for every Smarty Jones that is created, there are hundreds and hundreds of unwanted racehorses who do not make the grade and other horses that are unsuitable for riding and other pleasure purposes or showing. Those horses, as well, will fall into that category of unwanted horses."

From Bill Finley's 2006 article for ESPN titled "From Derby winner to a slaughterhouse?":

"Polls show that the vast majority of Americans are against the slaughtering of horses. In Texas, home to two of this country's three equine slaughterhouses, 72 percent of those polled said they were opposed to the slaughtering of horses for human consumption. That sentiment is shared by most members of Congress.

"But the will of the people too often doesn't matter in Congress. For varied reasons, cattlemen's groups, the American Quarter Horse Association and, shamefully, the American Association of Equine Practitioners are pro-slaughter. These groups have gotten to a couple of powerful lawmakers who have continually found ways to keep slaughter alive.

"Chief among them is Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), whom is the Chair of the House Agriculture Committee. It should come as a surprise to no one that one of the top contributors to his 2006 campaign was the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

"What is frustrating is that there are two or three individuals in Congress who are thwarting the overwhelming sentiment of the American people that we put a stop to horse slaughter," (Congressman) Whitfield said."

Agribusiness is the highest-contributing sector to Goodlatte's career-long campaign contribution history.

(This is only part of the story on Goodlatte's support of horse slaughter. More to come.)