AWI Honors Arkansas Man with Albert Schweitzer Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Advancement of Animal Welfare

Honoree, Greg Fett, Rescued 11 Horses from Slaughter

Washington, DC—The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) honored Greg Fett of Arkansas on Tuesday with the Albert Schweitzer Medal for outstanding achievement in the advancement of animal welfare. Fett successfully detained the drivers of a livestock trailer at his tire shop while awaiting authorities to seize the 11 malnourished horses being transported.

One horse, too ill to stand, was lying trampled beneath the hooves of the others on the trailer floor. The equines were traveling from Tennessee to slaughter in Mexico, where killing horses for the consumption of their meat still occurs. Since the destination was death, no hay or water was provided during the trip, nor any time to rest or much needed veterinary care.

"It was pure animal cruelty," Fett says, "and I wasn't about to let it pass me by."

For Fett, the day's events were history repeating. Astonishingly, two years prior, he staged a similar intervention when a trailer of 19 horses broke down en route to slaughter. While authorities ultimately rendered Fett's rescue efforts unsuccessful that year, his above-and-beyond commitment to animal welfare has garnered accolades from AWI.

"Greg Fett's efforts prevented the certain death of those horses," said Cathy Liss, president of AWI. "He is an example to us all that we can make a difference and ensure no animal is treated inhumanely."

Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) bestowed Fett with AWI's prestigious Schweitzer Medal at a ceremony in the nation's capital on Tuesday. In 1951, Dr. Albert Schweitzer gave his permission to the organization to strike the medal in his honor. Schweitzer is heralded today as the 20th century pioneer of animal welfare.

Each year, more than 100,000 horses are purchased by killer-buyers for export to Canada and Mexico, where they are brutally slaughtered for human consumption in Europe and Japan. While killing methods involve activities such as knife stabbing, it is the deplorable conditions in transport leading up to slaughter that constitute some of the most horrific abuses.

AWI has been the champion of ending horse slaughter, urging Congress to pass legislation that makes both the transport and slaughter of American horses a federal offense. The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008, HR 6598, carries criminal penalties for the purchase, sale, delivery or export of horsemeat intended for human consumption including fines and prison time. Introduced on July 24, 2008 by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Representative Dan Burton (R-IN), the bill would amend Title 18 of the US Code, providing US government officials and law enforcement officials with the tools necessary to ensure that American horses are protected from the brutal trade for their meat.

A 2006 national poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies found that almost 70 percent of Americans already support a federal ban on horse slaughter.