Sunday, April 29, 2012

Declan Speaks at Horses on the Hill Event in DC

When I woke up on Wednesday morning (which was really early because I was so, so, so excited), I got ready as fast as I could and we were off to the big event and Mr. Patch from the ASPCA was driving us!  When we got to the Russell Senate Building,  I was so excited to speak for the horses I flew out of the car and then hoped happily along to the front entrance.  While waiting in line to go through security,  I noticed and pointed out that the name on a piece of marble in the hallway, was"Dennis Chavez, like the guy named Dennis Chavez who has the feedlot and is mistreating horses and it also said the person was from New Mexico!  That wouldn't be the same guy - would it??  

After we passed security, we walked to the Small Business Committee office and and went into the room where the Horses on the Hill press conference was going to be held.  While waiting for the event to begin, I spoke with several representatives from the ASPCA, HSUS and AWI, some of whom I had met before like Jessica Fiengold-Lieberman (HSUS), and Valerie Pringle (HSUS).  I also spoke with Congressman Moran (D-VA) again and met Senator Landrieu (D-LA), Senator Brown (R-MA), Congressman Whitfield (R-KY), Congressman Rivera (R-FL), Prince Lorenzo Borghese, Bo Derek, Amy and Raelyn Nelson (Willie Nelson's daughter and grand daughter),  John Boyd, President of the National Black Farmers Association, Sonja Meadows (Animal's Angels), Manda Kaliman, her daughter Sabrina and Pamela Polk (Seraphim12 Foundation), Chrisitine Hajek (Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue) and some of the girls from the Foxcroft and Madeira schools.  The room was packed and it was great to meet so many wonderful horse advocates and be all together to stand up for horses!

Nancy Perry ASPCA) started the press conference and I was called up.  I didn't know why and wasn't expecting to be up first.  She explained that the ASPCA wanted to give me an award and I was so excited I almost cried!  Valerie Angeli presented me with the Equine Angel Award and said I was the first kid to ever be awarded with the honor.  I opened the award there was a real ASPCA law enforcement badge showing a fallen carriage horse and the driver beating it, but then an avenging angel with a sword was laying a protecting hand on the horse!  I am very honored to be the first recipient of the Junior Equine Angel Award and I hope it encourages other children to speak up for horses too!
Valerie Angeli giving me the Junior Equine Angel Award
Nancy Perry then talked about the event and Senator Landrieu spoke and called up each of the speakers!  I was the last to speak and felt that I would do a great job.  I marched right up and hit it out of the park for the horses!  I think I got the loudest applause too!  

Here's the video of my speech:

I wanted to say a lot more than what we had time for since there were so many people who wanted to speak up for our horses and against horse slaughter, but I think I made people understand that just because I am a kid, doesn't mean I don't have my own thoughts and opinions and that my advocacy work IS making a difference! 

This is what I said:

Hi my name is Declan Gregg and I am 9 years old. I have come from New Hampshire today to help stop horse slaughter once and for all, because it is inhumane, cruel and unnecessary.

I’m also here to tell you that children can play an important role in our political system. We are citizens of this country and decisions made by adults affect us, too.

I have started my own organization, Children 4 Horses, and have been doing everything I can think of to raise awareness and fight to end horse slaughter for good. I have been interviewed by the media, spoken to other children’s groups, designed my own blog, and have a Facebook page. People from all over the world, in over 60 countries, have been reading my blog to learn about the slaughter of American horses. I have had over 8000 views on my blog, so I know my advocacy is making a difference.

The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act is not about taking away rights or adding more government. It's not a party issue. It’s about doing what is right and listening to the over 80% of Americans who do not want our horses to be slaughtered. Let’s work together and pass this legislation – I will stay in this fight until we have won for the horses!

Me and John Corbett
The press conference was really exciting and I think it was a bit hit and that people will be listening better now!  After the press conference, we all talked for awhile afterwards and people took lots of pictures.  I met John Corbett and gave him and Children 4 Horses bracelet - I hope he wears it and remembers me and the horses.  My mom got a great picture of us holding up our bracelets.  I gave one to Sabrina (Manda's daughter) too!
Me and Lorenzo Borghese
The girls from the school groups, myself and some others, got a lesson on how to be effective when lobbying.  I really like the slides that Jessica Johnson (ASPCA) created - they were very helpful especially if you were someone who had never gone to a legislators office before.  I hope they helped make the girls and other people feel more confident to lobby against horse slaughter.  Since I had already been to DC and had been meeting with legislators, I already felt comfortable talking with them again.  We all went to different legislators offices from our states to go tell them that horses slaughter is inhumane!  
Jessica, my mom, and I went to Senator Ayotte's (R-NH) office, to she if we could talk to her.  Unfortunately she wasn't available and neither was Emily Lynch who I had had a meeting with before.  Emily knew I was back in DC and wanted to meet with her, so I left a few horse slaughter fact sheets for her and the Senator to look over.  

My mom and I had a little bit of time before we had to go to the airport to fly home, so we got tickets to see the Senate gallery from Senator Ayotte's Staff Assistant and headed there next.  Down in the tunnels underneath the Capitol, we saw Senators and Congressman walking to the different buildings.  That made me feel important because I got the honor of being there too.  

While going through the visitor center security, we got stopped by security and asked why we had a LE (law enforcement) badge in my backpack!  That was funny!  At least I know security is really protecting everyone!  In the Senate gallery, we watched the Senators debate and even take a vote!  I spotted Senator Landrieu and Senator Brown and my mom pointed out a few others to me who she knew.  It was so cool!  

Me and Ruby!
When I got back to the ASPCA, I met Carolyn's dog Ruby who is a greyhound she rescued from the track.  She loved to be loved on and to snuggle!  Before we left for the airport, we got a picture of everyone who was in the office at the time including me who was working to stop horses slaughter!  Unfortunately, a few people had already left, but I know I am in other pictures with them that I can look at.  After a really exciting day, we headed to the airport and flew back to Boston.

When I get the professional pictures and video, I will post them for you.  There should be some really great ones to share.  In the mean time, I hope you like the ones my mom took - most of them turned put pretty good.  She said she was so happy for me, that she kept forgetting to take pictures and just decided to rely on getting them from other people.  There is also an album posted on the Children 4 Horses page on Facebook. Children 4 Horses on Facebook

Part of the team at the DC offices of the ASPCA
I feel really honored to have been invited by the ASPCA to take part in such a great event and I will remember my experience at Horse on the Hill forever!  



  1. Thank you for taking a stand against horse slaughter and for all that you are doing to end it. Diane Hemmerich

  2. Хлопець молодець) Побільше б таких дітей