Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson met US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in Washington DC on Thursday to urge him to stop the reopening of horse slaughterhouses.
Richardson’s trip was on behalf of The Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife, an animal protection foundation he recently founded with actor and director Robert Redford.
Earlier this week, the foundation announced its first action was joining a federal lawsuit against the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) that seeks to block horse slaughter.
“I appreciate Secretary Vilsack’s willingness to meet with me and listen to the concerns of our foundation and those of others who adamantly oppose horse slaughter,” Richardson said.
“Secretary Vilsack made it clear to me that he opposes horse slaughter, but said he has to follow federal rules.”
Richardson suggested that the USDA immediately conduct a complete review of its rule-making procedures regarding horse slaughter and that it block any horse slaughterhouse from reopening until that review was completed.
“I impressed on him the urgency of the matter as the welfare of these animals and the impact to the environment hangs in the balance,” Richardson added.
Brian Egolf, attorney for the foundation, said:”The Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife believes, as the vast majority of Americans do, that horse slaughter has no place in our country.
“We appreciate Secretary Vilsack’s willingness to listen to our suggestions, and we hope that today’s meeting will be an important milestone in the fight against horse slaughter.”