Andy Harris vs. Heather Mizeur: How will a large segment of the small undecided vote go on Election Day?
U.S. Congressional District 1 voters like me should not support a strident congressman who notoriously backs horse trainers who do horrific acts to animals in their care. Andy Harris uses his influence to back these trainers, who are allied with cock fighting interests across America.
Much of my life has been spent showing horses and writing about horse shows. For 60 years, I and my family have fought against the use of acid on horse’s legs – agitated by objects around their ankles and 15 lb. shoes to make them step higher. It’s not acceptable in modern American society.
I am a conservative, but will go against any politician who supports animal abusers. I’m not alone. Good voters, left and right, who care about the welfare of lost pups and kittens, and also care if fox chasers treat foxes well, notice when people who torture show horses depend upon a paid congressman. Trainers appreciate his support when they continue “soring” horses to win ribbons.
When I was moving to Chestertown, MD, from our horse farm in Prince George’s County, I lobbied Congressman Harris to support a reform bill, the PAST ACT, that would enable U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors to stop abusive horse trainers. He said he would vote for the bill. But when the time came to vote, even though a majority of his fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives and all of the Democrats supported the reform bill, Harris switched his stance last minute. He voted no on the PAST ACT, and indicated he would support the horse trainers’ substitute bill, the so-called “DesJarlais compromise.” It was designed to maintain the trainers’ practices. Harris supports the abusers.
Both national veterinarian organizations, the national blacksmiths, American Horse Council, Maryland Horse Council, US Equestrian Federation, and Animal Wellness Action oppose soring and support the eventual passage of the PAST ACT. The entire horse industry, all Maryland horse people and animal lovers should stand against Andy Harris.
Abusers argue the Bible gives men stewardship over animals, so who needs regulations. If they want to splash mustard oil on horses’ ankles, beat them when they can’t stand up in their stalls, and use electric shock to teach them to tolerate any palpitation on their legs when show inspectors try to discern acid abuse, then it’s humankind’s right. That is not stewardship. It’s torture.
I will admit that I am, perhaps, a rare voter who will split his overall vote between Republican and Democrat. But I will not vote for someone who so publicly tolerates animal cruelty. Although she’s pretty far to the left on some issues, I will vote for the candidate I know supports true anti-cruelty legislation. I will vote for Democrat Heather Mizeur.
David Turner has written for the Washington Post on historic preservation and horse shows, and Maryland’s Equiery Magazine. He worked with the Reagan & Bush Administrations as Editor of their Management magazine and as a speechwriter.