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Wyoming Lawmaker Sue Wallis, Raw Milk and Horse Slaughter Advocate, Found Dead at Age 56

Wyoming State Rep. Sue Wallis (R-Recluse) was found dead early Tuesday at a Gillette hotel. She was 56. An autopsy is planned, according to Campbell County Coroner Tom Eekhoff.

Governor Matt Mead ordered state flags at the Wyoming Capitol Building in Cheyenne and in Campbell County lowered to half-staff from now until sunset of the internment for Wallis, who has represented the county in the Wyoming Legislature since 2007.

“Wyoming lost a great voice today. Representative Wallis was a poet and her eloquence was on display whether she was writing or debating on the floor of the House or in my office. The strength of her convictions was clear, as was her commitment to the West and our way of life. I will miss her,” Mead said.

Wallis practiced politics her own way, blending her uniquely western style of Libertarianism into a GOP caucus that was often left scratching its collected head. She was a fierce believer in individual rights and in helping Wyoming’s farm and ranch community.

Married for 18 years to cowboy poet and author Rod McQueary, who died in late 2012, Wallis was also one of the West’s larger-than-life personalities. With McQueary, she co-wrote “The Cowboy Cattle-log” and published “Surviving the Good Life,” a memoir of Wallis’ grandmother.

Like other Wyoming ranchers during the recent drought, she became concerned about starving horses being abandoned, and she worked to bring back horse slaughter. Animal rights activists began calling her “Slaughterhouse Sue.” She did not seem to care, pointing out that horsemeat was on the menu not all that long ago at the Harvard Faculty Club.

Wallis and McQueary were friends with two old cowboys who apparently could have made their own version of the movie “Brokeback Mountain.” Wallis, citing that friendship,  emerged as a leader in Cheyenne for equal rights for same-sex couples.

Likewise, Wallis stood up for the right of Wyoming women to abortion services. In doing so, she could be blunt, telling her fellow lawmakers that as a young, single mother of three, she made a difficult decision to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Her opposition helped defeat a bill that would have required doctors to show women ultrasound images and require 24 hours notice before an abortion.

The daughter of former Wyoming legislator Dick Wallis, she was staying overnight at the Tower West Lodge in Gillette because an annual legislative breakfast was being held there Tuesday morning. But, shortly before 7 a.m., Gillette police dispatched an EMS unit to Wallis’ room and Campbell County Sheriff Bill Pownall confirmed her death.

Up until she died, Wallis showed no signs of slowing down. She had just returned from the Western Stock Show in Denver.

And she’d promised to sponsor a bill in the Wyoming Legislature, which begins Feb. 10, to legalize medical marijuana. She says McQueary, known for his appearances at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV, benefited from medical marijuana obtained in Colorado before he died.

Wallis also tried to legalize raw milk sales in Wyoming, and, when that did not work, she worked on regulators to allow cow-share programs. She was more successful with opening home kitchens to making cottage foods.

“She was a bulldog you know, she really was an incredible force on it, and was phenomenally respected, particularly on her ag issues on a nationwide basis,” said state Sen. Ogden Driskill (R-Devil’s Tower).

© Food Safety News
  • Marge Mullen

    Karma, pure Karma!!

  • Beverley Hughes

    I respect Wallis’ views on gay rights, medical marijuana and other liberal issues, but I will never understand her literal war on horses. Therefore I cannot mourn her death but express my sympathies to the people who loved her.

    • Letty Grayson

      My sentiments also. Something strange going on there.

  • susanm

    There is so much that this article does not state about Sue Wallis and her obsession with killing horses for profit. It’s a shame that someone with that much drive and perseverance couldn’t have used that energy for the greater good. As she was respected by some, she was abhorred by others who understood her pursuit to reinstate horse slaughter in this country. I am saddened by the fact that someone would make killing a major part of their lives’ work instead of preserving and protecting the integrity and well-being of the same. If anything, her strong ambition to slaughter horses has brought about an awareness and movement in this country to bring back ethics and morals and to remove from office those who work against those standards.

    • Dovie Hahn

      At this rate it is moot though dont you think? Sides… if horses go to heaven shes got hundreds maybe thousands to answer to.

  • Carla McNeelan Tillman

    I pray for comfort for her family.

  • RideEm Cowboy

    My sympathy for her family, friends and other loved ones no matter her stand on some issues. Does anyone want their fellow man no showing any compassion for them at their passing just because of their stance on particular political issues. What I don’t understand is all of you outraged citizens so concerned about the rights of horses yet their is not much said on the euthenization of cats and dogs and the murder of unborn human babies. What puts the rights of horses above all else? Is the horse a “god” of all animals, certainly seems that way. I rather see them eaten or hunted and humanely euthenized instead of starving to death, I wouldn’t wish that form of cruel death on any living creature.

    • Another Horse Lover

      I really don’t understand the thought process that says, if you respond to something regarding one subject it is to the exclusion of all others. I have seen this faulty logic in other discussions and I can’t help but be amazed. The love of horses does not exclude the love of dogs, cats or babies. The concern over the topic of horse slaughter does not exclude concern over the welfare of dogs, cats or babies. You need to educate yourself on why horse slaughter is a health concern to people. To help you get started, look up aplastic anemia and Bute together. Then check out environmental concerns regarding horse slaughterhouses. Don’t be afraid to learn something.

    • Homononconsumus

      Can I assume from your response that you are pro slaughter of Cats, Dogs, and Unborn Babies for human consumption? How horrible! Horses like other pets are given drugs during their ownership for things like pain relief that can cause cancer in humans. That’s why horses are not fit for human consumption. There are no horse in the U.S. bread for consumption like cattle, and this is also why cattle can’t be given certain drugs if they are to be consumed.

      P.S. quit eating babies

  • judithkay41

    While I agreed with her on gay rights and medical marijuana, I could never respect anyone who believed in horse slaughter as cruel and ugly as that is. I do send condolences to her family and friends who will miss her very much. She was much too young.

  • Dovie Hahn

    Well damn. As a woman I respect her.. specially on the abortion part for opposing and defeating there of. Raw milk sales could have made it easier ands cheaper for some families to get milk in their fridge. Deciding between food and a house or apartment note is easy yet you still gotta eat.. I hope medical marijuana is legalized in wyoming. It’s good for increasing appetite and building ones strength back. Chemo patients and terminally ill ands those witb glaucoma could really benefit from the pain relief it brings too. Though I fiercely disagreed with horse slaughtering. I mean all the hype on the media is true. A cow is shown more dignity then what is given a horse at s slaughter house. Still when it all boils down like the rest of us she was a human being. I am willing to wager her heart gave out, she did work her tail end off after all.

  • Kelley

    One word. KARMA!

  • Gary Graham

    So its inhumane to kill horses unless you haul them 1500 miles then kill them. Help me understand because i know how they kill them in mexico and thats ugly i dont like the fact of taking any life but you should know what your talking about before you run your mouth! Do some research!!!!!!!!!!!!!