Willie Nelson’s convictions

by  W.T. Fitch

There are many celebrities who lend their names to causes and appear to have conviction and moral fortitude but often times, when things get a little heated, they tuck their tails between their legs and run for cover.  But not Willie; question his motives or make an uninformed statement and Mr. Nelson will come out swinging and that’s just what he is doing over the issue of Equine Welfare.

,Willie and his daughter, Amy, have been long time out-spoken, pro-horse advocates who have lobbied for the cessation of the predatory business of horse slaughter in the United States.  Even though the last three horse slaughter plants were shuttered in 2007 hundreds of thousands of healthy US horses are shipped across our boarders for brutal slaughter in Mexico and Canada with their flesh destined for human consumption overseas.  U.S. horse meat is now deemed unsafe for human consumption but that did not stop Tennessee Rep. Frank Niceley from sponsoring a bill to bring back the inhumane practice to the state of Tennessee this past week.  Niceley couldn’t let it go at that, he went as far as to publicly “blame” Willie Nelson and thousands of equine advocates for the alleged “starving” horses across the United States.

Such bogus propaganda and disconnect from the facts is not uncommon in the world of anti-horse and slaughter mongers.  Montana, Wyoming, Illinois and a few other states have been embarrassed and plagued by uneducated, misinformed, singular state Representatives who are out to make a name for themselves, on this issue, and have no regard for facts and the truth.  Willie wasn’t sitting down for this one.

Willie called a spade a spade and lashed back at Niceley through a statement that his daughter Amy and granddaughter Raelyn read to the Tennessee House Sub-Committee this past Wednesday.

“We ride horses in America, we don’t eat them.”  states Willie.

“My friends and I supported efforts that shut down foreign-owned horse slaughterhouses in the United States, and we continue to work to pass the federal Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (HR 503/S 727), which would ban horse slaughter and prevent horses from being hauled outside of the United States for slaughter.

This must be what state Rep. Frank Niceley was referring to at a recent House Agriculture Committee meeting when he said, “Willie Nelson thought it was the humane thing to do to shut down the horse processing plants.” Showing compassion? Trying to end equine abuse? Yes, that is the right thing to do, and I will keep fighting for America’s horses.”

Willie doesn’t stop with the issue of horse slaughter, either, he has also thrown his weight behind the plight of our native Wild Horses.  Two weeks ago when simultaneous “March for Mustang” demonstrations were held in Washington D.C., across the nation and across the Atlantic in the UK, Willie stepped up to the plight and called on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to suspend their deadly helicopter round-ups and pause from the abusive practice until a reasonable compromise could be reached.

“I’m a little prejudiced when it comes to horses.  I have always loved them.”  says Nelson

“The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the agency in charge of protecting wild horses, has been rounding them up at an alarming rate, supposedly for their own good.  Sadly, there are more wild horses in holding pens than in the wild.  Something is wrong with that, so we must act now before the BLM has managed these magnificent animals into extinction.”

Willie puts his money where his mouth is; back home in Luck, Texas Willie has a herd of 68 rescued horses with about half of them saved from slaughter through the efforts Habitat for Horses.  Willie currently sits on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Horses and recently adopted  from HfH “Voodoo” the legendary Wild Horse survivor from the 3-Strikes Ranch killing fields of Jason Meduna .

“I got involved 8 years ago, when I first became aware that American horses were being slaughtered and shipped overseas for human consumption.  It’s a shame horses – or any animal – be treated this way when horses are the foundation of America. Horses were a way to travel to get to where we are today, and it is our job to protect them.”

For Willie, Equine Advocacy is a family affair and a way of life.  Love, compassion and caring are the centerpieces of his “horse sense” and his tenacity and energy are a model for horse advocates across the land.

We thank you, Mr. Nelson, for being a man of your word.

Like you, we don’t eat our friends, either.


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