Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Congressman who closed horse slaughterhouses again proves his high regard for animals

The congressman who was the top player in ending commercial horse slaughter in the U.S. proved again Sunday that he is an animal lover, rescuing a fatigued stray dog from deadly traffic and donating $1,000 to the animal shelter where he took it.

Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield of Western and Southern Kentucky's 1st District was driving on US 41 when he saw the dog almost get hit by two trucks, he told The Messenger's LaMar Bryan. “His tongue was hanging out as far as it could go,” he told the Madisonville daily.

When Whitfield stopped and called the dog, “He immediately jumped in some bushes,” Whitfield said. “I walked down there and started calling him in a real gentle voice. He stuck his head out and ran up to me.” He got some water for the dog, a mixed breed of about 30 pounds, and called a Hopkins County Humane Society animal-control officer, who took the dog to the shelter.

“He was a beautiful dog and quite friendly,” Whitfield told The Messenger. “I told (the officer) that if they would take care of him I would make a contribution.” Whitfield told the paper he has picked up several dogs, including one that he and his wife Connie, a horsewoman, still have. (Read more, subscription required) Well, after all, Preisdent Harry Truman said, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."

UPDATE, Aug. 11: "Max’s big adventure ended with a script that would suit Hollywood," as he was reunited with his owner, Bryan reports.

Several years ago, Whitfield sponsored successful legislation to stop funding Department of Agriculture inspections of U.S. abbatoirs that slaughtered horses for human consumption, mainly in Europe and Japan. The ban forced closure of the slaughterhouses, which some horse advocates say has contributed to the problem of horse abuse and abandonment because there is no longer a floor price for horses. The House voted this summer to keep the ban after an attempt to repeal it narrowly failed in committee.

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