Sunday, April 8, 2012

My Speech in Washington DC with Congressman Jim Moran

I know a lot of you have probably be wondering what I said in my speech during the press conference sponsored by Congressman Jim Moran.  We haven't been able to get a copy of the audio or video yet, so I thought I would just put what I said right here for you to read.  I hope you like what I said.  ~Declan

Hi my name is Declan Gregg.  I am 9 years old and I have come from New Hampshire today, to tell you what I think about horse slaughter and why it should stop forever.

At the end of November last year, I saw my mom looking up a lot of things on the computer.  I watched her and asked what she was doing and I was told how horses are being treated badly and inhumanely.  She didn’t say exactly what was happening to them because she was trying to protect me, but over the next few days, I kept asking her what she was reading and why she seemed so sad and upset.  She finally told me that horses were being slaughtered in Mexico and Canada for people to eat in other countries and that President Obama had just signed a Bill, allowing the inspection of horse meat, which means that horses can be slaughtered in our country.

This made me feel really upset and sad.  I wanted to know more about what slaughtering horses meant and how it happens, because I was curious and I really care about horses.  Over the next few weeks, my mom let me research the subject and see some pictures showing what was happening to our horses during their transport to feedlots and slaughterhouses.  She kept asking if I was OK with reading things and seeing pictures and told me it was all up to me how much I wanted to know.  It made me really upset and I cried at first, but I wanted to know what was happening for myself and I felt brave enough to look at a few pictures and read some articles about slaughter.

I have seen arguments from both sides.  The people who are against the slaughter of horses for human consumption, and those who are for it.  I made up my own mind and decided for myself that I think horse slaughter is inhumane, cruel and unnecessary.

I started to ask my mom how I could help save the horses.  What could I do to stop them from being hurt so badly?  It really bothered me knowing that people were doing the kinds of things they were doing to hurt horses.  Treating horses like they don’t matter, like they have no feelings and can feel no pain or suffering.  I couldn’t stop thinking about them and how I wanted to protect and help the horses.

My mom found out about a bill, H.B. 1446, being discussed in our state capital, which was proposed by people who wanted to protect horses too, by having them be exempt from the meat inspection laws in our state.  I asked to go to the hearing and my mom said I could, if I understood it would be like a day at school and I would have to write a report for my teacher about my experience and the things I learned.  I would also need to prepare my testimony so I would be ready if they allowed me to speak at the hearing.  I think she thought that would discourage me from going, but it made me want to go even more knowing that there was a chance I would get to tell the adults who make the laws in our state, what I think about horse slaughter and how it should be banned for good.

I did testify at the hearing, speaking in a room packed full of adults I didn’t know.  I was nervous, but I wanted them to hear what I had to say.  At the end of the hearing, several people came up to thank me for my testimony.  I felt like I had made a difference that day and accomplished something great.

I began doing everything I could think of to help protect horses from being hurt.  I started my own blog, Children 4 Horses, so I could raise awareness about horse slaughter and report on my experiences.  I began actively participating in the Million Horse March’s Children’s Letter Writing Campaign, as a way to help horses and encourage other children to stand up for what they believe in.  I have been invited to speak to children’s groups like the Girls Scouts and Brownies, 4H and the KIND Club at the SPCA, to tell them about what is happening to our horses and let them know about ways they can help end inhumane and cruel treatment of horses.

I have also been interviewed for articles in local newspapers, done a radio interview for our local Clear Channel Radio stations and made a video presentation to reach people all over the country.

I have collected letters from children all over the country, and adults from all over and even Canada, have sent me letters too, telling me how I have inspired them to speak up against horse slaughter.  I am thankful for every letter I receive and take the time to read each one. 

A week ago, I hosted my first Children 4 Horses event and held a Children’s Letter Writing Party, which was sponsored by the New Hampshire SPCA. 

Just because we are children, doesn’t mean we can’t stand up for what we believe in.  We are citizens of this country and decisions made by adults affect us too.  People in 56 countries from all over the world are reading my blog, which makes me feel like my work is making a difference and people care about what is happening to horses.   

There are so many reasons why horse slaughter is wrong, so many reasons why it should be banned for good and why America’s horses should never cross our borders to be slaughtered in Mexico or Canada.  Horses, and in fact all animals, should be treated humanely and be cared for with love and respect.

How would you like to have your eyes cut out by the person on the truck, which is carrying you to your death and be trampled on while you try to keep your balance on an over-loaded truck?  Then, when you get to your destination, be whipped and beaten into a slaughter house and be slipping in the blood of the horses before you.  Would you then want to be stabbed in the back multiple times like in Mexico or be shot in the head with a captive bolt where they can miss and hit you in the eyes or mouth?  Would you then like to be strung up by your hind leg and have your neck slit and bleed to death while you were still conscious?  How would you feel?!!  Horses are flight animals, and their instinct tells them they should be trying to run away.  They panic and get very scared.

That is what is happening to our horses. If you wouldn't like that to happen to you, how do you think the horses feel?  Horses are not being treated fairly, what did they ever do to you to be killed this way?  When I see pictures and videos of this inhumane way to kill horses I look at their eyes and see the most hurt and scared eyes that I have ever seen!  How would you like to be treated so unfairly?  Our horses should be treated fairly and with respect!

Horses have helped us build our economy and this is how we thank them?  How would you want to be treated after you did so many things to help others?  Kindly.  And that is how our horses should be treated!

How would you like to live in a town with a horse slaughterhouse and have no clean water and have blood and insides from horses in your water system?  How would you like to worry about being hit on the road by a person driving one of the trucks that is sending horses to slaughter because they drive so badly that no other industries are willing to hire them?  

I love horses and I want to see the cruelty towards them end.  Horse slaughter is NOT a humane end of life for a horse.

I feel very happy and honored to be here to speak with you today because I know that I can make a difference and help our horses.  I hope that you agree that horse slaughter should be banned forever as well as the transport of America’s horses to other countries for slaughter.  I hope you agree that our horses deserve more respect than a slaughterhouse.  After all, they helped to build our nation and make it a better place.

Please stop this unnecessary evil for good and support and co-sponsor H.B. 2966 and S.1176, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act and ask your fellow Congressmen and Senators to do the same!

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

Thank you for listening.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for standing up for horses! You are doing a great job!