Rock star Tom Petty and his wife Dana have offered their support to a massive petition drive to end horse slaughter.
Last week, the famous front man for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers signed an appeal to the Obama Administration asking them to intervene on behalf of the 150,000 horses sent to Mexico and Canada annually for slaughter.
After signing the petition created by New York-based horse sanctuary Equine Advocates, Petty shared the petition on his Facebook page, and with the following statement: “Tom & Dana have signed this petition to end the unethical treatment and slaughter of horses. They urge you to help–horsemeat is toxic! Thank you.”
News that the musician had joined the effort to end horse slaughter was music to the ears of Susan Wagner, president of Equine Advocates, creator of the petition, and huge Tom Petty fan.
“I’m just so grateful to Tom Petty and his wife Dana for doing this,” Wagner says. “He’s been my favorite entertainer for years. I’ve seen him 20-25 times in concert. The idea that he came onboard is beyond my wildest dreams.”
The petition drive, which has thus far garnered nearly 8,000 signatures, also drew support from Billy Joel and Graham Nash, she says, noting that the celebrity support is helping to ignite the effort to raise awareness about slaughter and tainted horse meat products.
“After Tom Petty signed we picked up about 2,000 signatures immediately,” she says. “Having rock ‘n’ roll legends on board will really help us continue to grow. There are many people who are well known, or in the limelight—writers, actors, musicians —who are also horse lovers. Most Americans fell in love with them as children by reading about them, but not as many people understand that they’re being slaughtered” and their meat has been found in the food chain, she says.
Noting that major studies in the last eight years have linked drugs commonly used to treat horses to illness, even cancers, in humans, Wagner says that at the same time, other research has found evidence that horse meat has been sold to unsuspecting consumers.
Citing the 2013 horse meat scandal in Europe, in which food advertised as beef was found to be horse meat, Wagner points to a 2015 study by Chapman University, which documents horse meat tainting the American chopped-meat supply, as a troubling trend that needs to be stopped.
“This is an unregulated meat that we ourselves don’t want to eat, and yet, we’re sending it over our borders for others to eat,” she says. “That is highly unethical. That’s not what we should be doing, as Americans.”
To sign the petition, please click this link: Petition to President Obama and Vice President Biden.