I think that I can honestly say that most things people do is because they THINK it's the right thing to do. I think that honestly most public officials enter politics because they really do want to make things better. However, often times things go VERY wrong and the best intentions become the worst thing possible.
We can see this clearly through the Illinois state bill HB 4162. This is the Horse Transportation Bill that would originally outlaw the use of double decker trailers to transport horses in the state of Illinois. The bill was introduced in response to a horrific accident that killed and injured horses and blocked traffic on a highway for hours. The USDA, the AHDF, and many other humane organizations have long known and stated that the transport of horses in double decker trailers, even those modified, is inhumane. The bill was supposed to help protect horses being transported through and within the state of Illinois. What more noble intention is there than to make this state a more humane state?
With all these noble intentions and support for a wonderful bill, why then are we now not supporting the bill? Because somehow the intentions got thwarted and the intent of the bill was changed by a special interest group, specifically the Farm Bureau. The Farm Bureau has taken the position that transport in double decker trailers can be made humane and asked that an amendment be added to the bill that would allow double decker usage. However, it also made changes to the current way the law is written. Currently state law requires the transporter to PROVE that their method of transport is humane, the amendment would force the STATE to prove that the method is inhumane. The prosecutor would have to call humane experts, transport experts and equine experts in to testify in EVERY case. This would cause a burden to the prosecutors, a financial burden on the taxpayers and would basically prevent the law from being ever used, rendering the bill completely useless and actually even making it EASIER to use double decker trailers than it is today because it would allow drivers to argue that the trailer was designed for equine. As stated earlier, the USDA, the AHDF and many humane organizations have already determined that the use of double decker trailers is inhumane, EVEN IF THEY ARE MODIFIED. The USDA is even in the process of revising their regulations to ban the transport of horses in double deckers to locations other than a slaughter plant because it is so inhumane and transporters have taken advantage of the loophole in the current regulations.
In other words, the law that started out to protect the horses from inhumane treatment would actually end up hurting them more.
So, unfortunately we here at the AHDF can no longer support the bill. We join a number of other organizations in making that decision. We ask that if you live in Illinois you call your local Representatives and ask that they NOT support the bill and if they are a supporter that they withdraw their support. You can find your legislator by clicking here. It is vitally important that the bill not pass at this point. You can point out that the bill would place an undue burden on the taxpayer, that it would not prevent the inhumane treatment of horses during transport and could actually promote their inhumane treatment.
It is a tragedy that such a wonderful bill with such noble intentions has gone down this road. It is sad that so many people are motivated by a dollar that they cannot do the right thing without it being regulated. However, that is the world we live in and we, those who care about the animals who have no voice, MUST speak for them and protect them. Good intentions are great, but we must be ever vigil that they not be warped by others because it can and does happen.