Sunday, August 16, 2009

is moving through Congress
August 11, 2009
Bill passes House, now in Senate Committee
Congressman Nick Rahall's (D-KY) bill to overhaul the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Program passed in the House of Representatives by a majority of 54 votes. On August 5, 2009, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid submitted the Senate's version of the bill that was sponsored by Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV.) The Senate bill number is S.1579, and it has been referred to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources.

The ROAM Act will affect the management of wild horses and burros in a number of ways. It will basically repeal the Burns Stealth Rider. It will also require BLM to tighten its ship with respect to BLM's management policies regarding wild horses and burros. The Act will also allow BLM greater flexibility in how and where the agency can place wild horses, while strengthening standards relating to the agency's responsibility to maintain a "thriving ecological balance" in those locations where it manages horses on public lands.

The operative features that we have noticed in the bill include:

It provides a more concise definition of "thriving ecological balance" and it reasserts relevant Federal land use policies.

It converts some "authorized" activities and methods into "required" activities and methods with respect to taking inventory, making determinations and application of peer reviewed scientific methods as the basis for developing management strategies, and it requires consistent evaluation and management practices across all public lands.

It permits BLM to establish sanctuaries and exclusive use areas, however the Secretary is required to assess and report on a number of conditions specifically listed in the bill prior to establishing those areas.

It authorizes BLM to identify and appropriate additional rangeland for wild horses and burros through various means, subject to the conditions and requirements set forth elsewhere in the bill. Those conditions include avoiding any potential conflicts with other lawful public lands activities and uses as identified in the bill.

It requires BLM to develop and implement enhanced fertility control, as is presently used by a number of private sanctuaries and non-BLM horse management agencies. While the science of equine fertility control is relatively new, it shows great potential in reducing horse recruitment rates (expansion of populations as birth rates exceed mortality rates) without decreasing the genetic diversity of the herds.

It charges BLM with the responsibility of undertaking all practical options for maintaining a thriving ecological balance on the range.

It prohibits BLM from maintaining horses in prohibitively expensive contract corrals and short term holding facilities for longer than six months, upon which horses in such holding facilities must be moved to more cost-effective facilities or appropriate alternative ranges.

It charges BLM with improving its marketing strategies with specific examples provided.

It reinforces BLM's authority to remove horses and burros under conditions stipulated in the original Act.

It requires BLM to provide additional data with respect to its management activities, and that data is to be more transparent and available for public inspection on the BLM website.

It expands BLM's ability to enter into cooperative agreements to address program deficiencies and needs.

It outlines specific program reporting requirements so that Congress and the American public can be informed as to BLM's progress with respect to complying with the provisions of this bill.
Read the actual bill
(in a new window)
Read our mock-up
of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act
as amended by S.1579 (in a new window)


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Contacts: John Holland
Vicki Tobin

AQHA Official Celebrates Pending Slaughter of Quarter Horses

CHICAGO, (EWA) – In the aftermath of Montana Governor Schweitzer’s non-action, HB 418, a bill that bars Montana’s citizens from taking court action against the building of a horse slaughter plant, became law. This action has left many Montana legislators and citizens shocked that their state might soon be known as the new “home of horse slaughter”. Montana has enacted a probably unconstitutional statute that denies due process under the United States Constitution.

Horse slaughter will tarnish the “Big Sky” brand and everything it stands for from cattle to tourism. History has shown that such plants bring nothing but pollution and controversy. Montana law makers failed to ask themselves why Texas and Illinois, and now Saskatchewan Canada, have rid themselves of the industry. Who is to gain?

The Equine Welfare Alliance has obtained a document that answers this question. The mass e-mail was from Stan Weaver, president of the Montana Quarter Horse Association (MQHA) and is titled “HB 418 Final Comments – Success!!!!. Rejoicing in the news that Montana may be home to a horse killing plant, the MQHA president boasts that the MQHA was the driving force behind the passage of the law.

Weaver praises members for pushing the legislation while bragging about the haste with which it was put together. Weaver describes how the MQHA and the bill’s sponsor, Representative Ed Butcher, had come up with the idea for the bill just weeks before it was introduced. After that introduction, the bill was ridiculed widely as the “Montana Butcher Bill.”

Indeed, this is cause to rejoice for the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), the organization leading the effort to continue the slaughter of American horses for foreign firm’s profit. This magnificent breed, touted as the most versatile of all horses, is being sent to slaughter in record numbers. In fact, half of all horses sent to slaughter each year are American Quarter Horses.

Meanwhile, the AQHA continues to promote indiscriminate breeding.

Weaver is apparently so enamored at the prospect of a slaughter plant to butcher Montana’s Quarter Horses that he ponders writing a book that will contain all the emails and letters in support of horse killing.

Last year, when other businesses were reducing production, AQHA management and its member breeders continued their mad quest to grow revenues by registering 140,000 new foals, an increase of 5,000 more horses over 2007.

In his speech before the 2008 annual convention, Bill Brewer, the AQHA’s then executive vice-president said, “Our challenge becomes looking at ways to introduce an equine economic stimulus package that will boost registration numbers.” Apparently, that package includes killing off existing Quarter Horses to make room for more.

The AQHA and its allies have promoted unfounded stories that the nation is being flooded with tens of thousands of abandoned horses. It was a salient point made by supporters of “The Butcher Bill” and was picked up by the Montana media and repeated without question, even though county officials reported a total of only fourteen abandoned horses in 2008.

Yet the group and its apologists fail to mention the indiscriminate breeding encouraged by the AQHA and ranchers such as Weaver. Weaver’s ranch alone produces and registers 100 horses per year and helps fill the AQHA treasury with registration fees.

According to Weaver, the next major AQHA effort will be to try to defeat the federal legislation that will end the slaughter of American horses; HR 503, The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009.

In their zealous quest to defeat HR 503, EWA expects more of the elaborate disinformation campaign from the AQHA and its lobbyists.

EWA wholeheartedly supports humane and responsible animal agriculture and is prepared to respond.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Horse slaughter dream a financial nightmare

Horse slaughter gut piles at Natural Valley Farms, Canada
Equine Welfare Alliance EWI
Contacts: John Holland
Vicki Tobin

CHICAGO, (EWA) – The dream of the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) and its affiliate the MQHA (Montana Quarter Horse Association) to bring horse slaughter back to the US may have just been dealt what may be its death blow. The blow came not from anti-slaughter advocates, nor public revulsion, nor Congress, but from a horse slaughter industry insider whose op-ed, Meat plant: a cautionary tale, appeared on April 30th in the Western Producer, a subscription-only Canadian online animal agriculture journal.
“Natural Valley Farms died the day the decision makers chose to kill horses”, says Henry Skjerven, an investor and director of the defunct Natural Valley Farms (NVF) slaughter complex in Saskatchewan, Canada. Skjerven tells the story of how NVF, which had originally been built to process cattle during the BSE crisis, ended in a $42 million financial disaster following its decision to kill horses for the Velda Group of Belgium.
The story broke just as the AQHA and Stan Weaver of the MQHA, were celebrating the passage of Montana bill (HB 418).
On April 5, EWA broke the news that the plant had been closed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in December. In his article, Skjerven refers to the plant’s confrontational interaction with the CFIA over the plant’s “composting” and other issues. Unlike beef that can be used in pet food, horse byproducts must be disposed of properly because they contain substances such as the wormer, Ivermectin, which can cause fatal encephalitis in some breeds of dogs.
Blood disposal appears to have been equally problematic for NVF as with other horse slaughter plants. Not only do horses have twice the quantity of blood as cows, but the blood is notoriously difficult to treat. The bacterial agents used in standard cattle digesters fail to provide acceptable discharge levels because of antibiotics often found in horse blood. As a result, pollution follows the horse slaughter industry where ever it goes.
During debate over HB 418, the Montana Senate Agriculture committee dismissed evidence of these problems as anti-slaughter propaganda. Even the testimony of former Kaufman, Texas mayor Paula Bacon was ignored when she told of blood rising into people’s bathtubs in her town. But unfortunately for NVF, the CFIA was not so easily assuaged.
Even Butcher has admitted that any horse slaughter plant that is built in the US will have to be operated by an EU group like Velda because the horse meat market is in Europe and they control it. Now Velda needs a new home, but in his op-ed Skjerven, says, “horse slaughter never brought a single minute of profitability to the company.”
In the end, it may not matter that HB 418 is unconstitutional, nor that a horse slaughter plant in the US could not export its horse meat without USDA inspectors, nor that the industry has committed a thousand sins against horses and the environment. If investors in a horse slaughter plant cannot be comfortable in knowing they will make a profit, there will be no plant built.
If Stan Weaver and the AQHA want horse slaughter they may have to do the killing themselves.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Hundreds of Mustangs Rescued from Nebraska Ranch Ready for New Homes
Rescue Agencies and Volunteers Continue to Care for the ‘Nebraska 200’


1 May 2009
Alliance, NE – More than two hundred neglected horses and burros found at a Morrill County ranch are now available for adoption through Habitat for Horses, a Texas-based equine protection organization.

On April 22nd, more than two hundred horses and burros were seized from Three Strikes Ranch, a private mustang facility just outside Alliance, Nebraska. An additional 74 animals were confirmed dead. Necropsy results on a number of these animals revealed significant fat and muscle atrophy, which is consistent with starvation.

Jason Maduna, the ranch’s owner, was arrested on one count of felony animal cruelty, but additional charges are expected. The animals are now recuperating at their temporary home at the Bridgeport Rodeo Grounds. The Humane Society of the United States, Habitat for Horses and Front Range Equine Rescue have been working alongside the Bureau of Land Management and area veterinarians to feed, treat, and assess the 220 animals, including a number of foals born since the seizure. According to Jerry Finch of Habitat for Horses, “the outpouring of support from the local community is humbling. From home-cooked meals for the volunteers, to hay provided by the local Farm Bureaus, we could not ask for more or better support.”

Of the 220 animals at the Fairgrounds, 22 have been identified by their owners and will be returned to them. The remaining animals are available for placement with qualified individuals or groups. Those interested, should contact Hillary Wood of Front Range Equine Rescue at 719-481-1490. The horses have all received a negative Coggins and have been dewormed, vaccinated and microchipped. Finch strongly cautions that they are looking for those with experience in handling and training wild mustangs. According to Finch, "these are not back yard ponies."

A dedicated website has been setup which includes photographs and descriptions of the available animals, as well as forms and contact numbers. For more information, please visit:

Donations are still needed to help cover the cost of medical care. Credit card donations can be made online at Donations can also be mailed to: Habitat for Horses, P.O. Box 213, Hitchcock, TX 77563. Please notate on your check and/or credit card donations that it is for "Nebraska 200 ". Any and all help is greatly appreciated.
Habitat for Horses (HfH) is a not-for-profit equine protection agency committed to the prevention, rescue and rehabilitation of neglected, abused and homeless horses. The largest organization of its kind in North America, HfH operates a rehabilitation ranch in Texas. The organization has taken a leadership role in horse protection issues and has been instrumental in developing and promoting legislation to eliminate the slaughter of American horses. To learn more, visit

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Evil Empire of Breeding Horses For Slaughter!

The Horse Welfare Coalition (is an alliance of veterinary, horse-industry and agricultural groups ( that are a part of The Evil Empire, they are the enemy) representing over 500,000 individual members in the United States. Who's mission is to promote the breeding and slaughter of horses and keep the breeding for slaughter markets open. Make every effort to keep this billion dollar industry operating, fight to keep the export of horses for slaughter and lobby to reopen slaughter plants in the United States.
Their words .........“We must be responsible to show a good public image of the horse through propagator, lobby and policy advocacy. Members of our Coalition represent the leading horse breeding factories and foreign horse meat corporations.”
The Horse Welfare Coalition is opposed to H.R503 and HR1018. They breed horses for Slaughter that is where they make their Money $$$.
This is a Statement from The Horse Welfare Coalition to its Membership. “'H.R. 503 Is Not Best For Any Horse. The time is now for American Quarter Horse owners to stand up and be counted. Animal rights groups and wealthy, misguided horse interests are trying to pass legislation that will be detrimental to the welfare of our horses as well as the health of the entire horse industry. We must contact our members of Congress tell them to OPPOSE HR 503.”
Stop the export of US horses and their senseless, barbaric slaughter.
As you are aware, nearly 400,000 U.S. horses were exported for slaughter last year. On the way to the slaughter houses, they are made to endure tremendous suffering and many die before reaching the slaughter house. Perhaps they are the fortunate ones because the fate that awaits those who survive is barbaric, cruel, inhumane. It reflects the worst in human nature. Most are butchered while still alive! This must stop! Please make certain that HR503 and HR1018 passes in this secession of Congress write your Representative ask them to cosponsor HR503 and HR1018
Contact your representatives ask them to cosponsor Bills HR503 and HR1018

If you belong to the Associations below you are supporting The Evil Empire of Horse Slaughter.
Call: Tell them you are not renewing your membership.

Members of The Evil Empire of Horse Slaughter:
American Association of Equine Practitioners - American Quarter Horse Association
American Veterinary Medical Association - Animal Welfare Council
California Cattlemen’s Association - Colorado Horse Council - Colorado Outfitters Association
Equine Nutrition and Physiology Society - Hooved Animal Rescue and Protection Society
Horsemen’s Council of Illinois -Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association
Kentucky Quarter Horse Association - Masters of Foxhounds Association of North America
Michigan Horse Council - Missouri Equine Council, Inc. - National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
National High School Rodeo Association - New Jersey Horse Council, Inc.
New York State Horse Council, Inc. - North Carolina Horse Council - Ohio Horseman’s Council
Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association - Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Association
Palomino Horse Breeders of America - Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association
South Dakota Quarter Horse Association - Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
Utah Horse Council - Utah State Quarter Horse Association
Vermont Quarter Horse Association - Wisconsin Horse Council


Thank for caring about horses,
Haviland R. Gordineer

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Could This Be Why Horse Theft Appears To Be On The Rise?

March 18, 2009 at 17:52:21

Prices soaring for unwanted horses
by John Holland

The auctions call them “loose” horses because they are run through the auction ring without riders and are sold mostly to “killer buyers”. Slaughter advocates including the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) call them “unwanted” horses because they clog up the market for new foals and new registration fees. But whatever you call them, they are suddenly in increasingly short supply.
The last three horse slaughter plants in the US were closed in 2007, but the industry quickly shifted to exporting the horses for slaughter in Canada and Mexico. By the middle of 2008, there were more horse slaughter houses killing American horses than at any time in the past decade. Yet the closings galvanized the meat packing industry which saw them as a dangerous victory for “animal rights advocates” and their perceived “vegan agenda”.
Within weeks of the first closings, countless anecdotal stories began appearing about how America is awash in unwanted horses. Lawmakers in almost a dozen agricultural states have put forward initiatives aimed at bringing slaughter back to the US, based largely on these accounts. But the actual sales statistics from the horse auctions tell a very different story.
For example the New Holland auction in Pennsylvania is one of the largest slaughter auctions in the country. In October of 2008, they sold a total of 815 slaughter grade horses at an average price of $323, but despite rapidly worsening economic conditions, by February that number had dropped by 28% to 582 horses and the average price had risen by 31.6% to $425. It is largely the same story at auctions across the country.
Leroy Baker, owner of the Sugar Creek Auction in Ohio, has been heard publicly assigning the shortage of sellers to bad publicity including an HBO documentary about race horses going to slaughter through his auction.
Moreover, the USDA recently fined Baker an unprecedented $162,800 for numerous violations of the Commercial Transport of Equines to Slaughter Act (CTESA). The act prohibits the transport to slaughter of late term pregnant mares, foals, blind horses and horses that cannot support their weight on all four legs; prohibits the use of double deck trailers; and specifies minimal rest and feeding intervals.
And Baker has not been the only source of bad publicity for the horse slaughter industry. In response to a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request, the USDA recently disclosed 900 pages of photos documenting some of the grizzliest violations imaginable that occurred at the Texas slaughter plants prior to their being ordered closed in 2007.
The photos, which were taken in an attempt to enforce compliance with the CTESA, show horses with horrific injuries ranging from severed legs to crushed skulls. Still other photos show blind horses, newborn foals and even a mare standing on the unloading docks with her placenta still draping to the manure covered floor.
The exposure of these photos was a double embarrassment to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medicine Association). The evidence surfaced just as the AVMA was getting traction on a well financed PR campaign to convince lawmakers that the US plants should be reopened because they had been more humane.
Every indication is that the supply of unwanted horses will only get worse because production has been destroyed. The reason for this lies in the nature of the source of slaughter horses.
Contrary to popular perception, most horses sent to slaughter are not old, but young and healthy. They are largely the “culls” from an industry that over breeds in a quest for perfection. When times are good, the profits are made on the best foals and the culls (be they slow race horses or simply horses of the wrong color) are dumped to slaughter.
But the market for top grade riding and performance horses has tanked, once again proving the old adage “The best way to make a small fortune in horses is to start with a large one.” So breeders have cut back. With less breeding there are fewer culls.
Some breeders liquidated in response to the low horse prices and high feed prices, while still others were forced out of the business when their properties were lost to foreclosure.
A Kentucky breeder, for example, gave away his entire prized Arab bloodline to keep the horses from going to slaughter.
And the “kill auctions” are losing yet another source of horses. Slammed by bad publicity, an increasing number of horse tracks have put in place “zero tolerance” programs that ban owners and trainers caught selling their horses to slaughter. In October, the Magna Entertainment Corporation announced that all nine of their tracks would have a zero tolerance policy and they were quickly joined by at least three other tracks.
Kill buyers have adapted to the shortage in a number of ways, including placing ads on sites like Craig’s List. In one memorable case, a kill buyer and his wife showed up at the seller’s house saying they thought the horse would be a perfect starter horse for their young daughter. The horse was a Thoroughbred (racing) stallion.
But there remains one possible reservoir of unwanted horses. Since the first plants were closed in Texas, there have been countless unsubstantiated stories about horses being abandoned. Some slaughter advocates have estimated that as many as 170,000 such horses were abandoned just last year. This valuable pool of unwanted horses could serve as a kind of “petroleum reserve” for the horse slaughter industry if only they could be found. And for that matter, there are always the unicorns.
John Holland is a freelance writer and the author of three books. He frequently writes on the subject of horse slaughter from his small farm in the mountains of Virginia, where he lives with his wife, Sheilah, and their 12 equines. Holland is a charter member of the Equine Welfare Alliance and serves as senior analyst for Americans Against Horse Slaughter, an organization composed entirely of volunteers.
John Holland