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

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Make a Video and You May Win $1000.00 for The Horse Rescue of Your Choice!

YouTube Horse Slaughter Contest
From AlexBrownRacing
Jump to: navigation, search
1 The Contest
2 The Rules
3 Determining the winner
4 Entries
5 Media Coverage
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The Contest
Alex Brown Racing is sponsoring a YouTube contest that will run from Tuesday, February 10 to Sunday May 10 2009. We will offer a $1,000 prize, to be sent to the horse rescue organization of choice of the winning entry, as of Noon eastern time, May 10, 2009. All entries are to be completed, posted and approved, by Noon on Friday April 10, 2009.
Entrants must read and be familiar with the document: Deconstructing the Horse Slaughter Issue: Chapter Horse Slaughter.
The Rules
Anyone can enter, regardless of age and country of origin.
Each video is to be 1 - 4 minutes in length.
Each video discusses specific aspects of the horse slaughter issue as noted in the above document, whether it is to agree, reinforce or disagree with the issues noted in the document.
Each video must be without gory details, PG 13 please.
Each video must use the phrase "horse slaughter" in the title, and the video must be tagged with the phrase "horse slaughter". The video should also be tagged with the phrase "ABR Video Contest".
Each entrant (video producer) can produce as many videos as he or she desires.
Each entrant needs to add his or her videos to the ABR YouTube group and e-mail Wendy.
Wendy needs to approve each entrant for the contest prize via adding a comment to the video (see the rule re: no gory details).
To be eligible a video must be completed and posted by end of day, April 10, 2009 and must be new content as of February 10, 2009.
All submissions must comply with Youtube's Copyright Infringement Policy:
"YouTube respects the rights of copyright holders and publishers and requires all users to confirm they own the copyright or have permission from the copyright holder to upload content. We comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and other applicable copyright laws and promptly remove content when properly notified. Repeat infringers' videos are removed and their accounts are terminated and permanently blocked from using YouTube." If you have questions about how to comply with this policy, please visit:
Determining the winner
The winner will be determined by multiplying the number of comments the video received, by the rating of the video. And then adding the number of views of the video. This calculation will be made at Noon eastern, May 10, 2009
Horse Slaughter: Our Forgotten Veterans Deserve Better BrookePSU
Horse Play - Saving Horses From Slaughter horseplayri
No More Horse Slaughter horsesrule925
End Horse Slaughter thoroughbredlover3
Another Chance: Saved from Horse Slaughter millertime83
Please Stop Horse Slaughter sandyelmore490
Horse Heroes - Stop Horse Slaughter wendyu1
Media Coverage
Friday Fun: For the Heart, Head & Soul Diva Marketing Blog, February 28, 2009
Youtube Horse Slaughter - $1000 - Open to all - 1 to 4 minutes - Over Due: May 10th, 2009 The Video Contest Community, February 26, 2009
Teaching An Old Horse New Tricks Triple Dead Heat, February 17, 2009
Horse Slaughter Video Contest
Video contest on horse slaughter issue Horsetalk, February 11, 2009
Videos To Stop Killing The Horse Racing Stars Triple Dead Heat, February 11, 2009
Horse slaughter...Have your say Gathering The Wind, February 11, 2009
Bright Future Thoroughblog (bottom of entry), February 11, 2009
Breaking News Texas Horse Talk, February 11, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Agriculture Associations Misrepresent Horse Slaughter!

Equine Welfare Alliance
Contacts: John Holland & Vicki Tobin

Agriculture Associations Misrepresent Horse Slaughter

CHICAGO, (EWA) - At a time when Americans are experiencing the worst economic period in most of our life-times, Cattle and Agriculture Associations have taken the economic downturn as an opportunity to further the agenda of promoting horse slaughter. The word slaughter has been replaced with the word “Harvest” to portray crops that have ripened and need to be gleaned. Although there is no market in the US for the crop, proponents of this fraud want to ensure healthy horses are killed so there is a continuous supply of meat on the hoof that must continually be shipped to overseas markets that Americans do not own nor profit. This is referred to as the never ending cycle of breed and dump.

Using a benign word such as Harvest, a word we all cherish, is an insult and outrage to horse lovers everywhere. This fraud attempts to reduce the horse, the animal which in partnership with man built this nation – attempts to reduce the horse to a commodity such as corn, wheat, barley, or oats.

Not only are the cattle and agriculture associations promoting horse “harvesting” but organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) are often quoted and named in their articles and speeches as supporters and misuse the word harvest to portray a cruel process which they attempt to mask with a word with pleasant associations in the American vocabulary..

These are the very organizations that are entrusted to promote equine welfare and care. They are organizations that have seen recent results of three year long U.S. Department of Agriculture Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) probe by animal cruelty investigator Julie Caramante which resulted in the release of photos and reports from investigations of the department that clearly depict the cruelty and abuse inherent with the entire horse killing process FOIA Reports. The three year cover-up by the USDA has been dubbed by some in the media “Slaughtergate”. It is hardly a harvest.

Horses are not food animals in America. They are trusted work, service, sport, therapy and companion animals. It is time for Americans to stand up and end the hold the predatory foreign market has on the American Equine Industry. It is time for Americans to stand up and let their legislators know that horses are not crops, and that it is imperative that The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009 be passed swiftly and without hesitation by the Congress and signed into law by President Obama.

Horses are not a vegetable crop. They aren’t even food. Would you harvest your dog, your cat, or yes, even your gerbil? Tell these organizations it’s just fine to promote their belief that killing horses for profit is the American way, but at least they should be honest in the language they use to describe this unspeakably cruel act where horses are hung upside down to bleed to death after their throat is cut, an act in which their hooves are often removed while they are still conscious.

For information on legislative activity, visit: Legislative Activity

Monday, February 23, 2009

Open Letter to Legislators from Paula Bacon, former Mayor of Kaufman Texas says it all! Please contact you Reps and ask them to co-sponsor HR503!

Dear State Legislator:
You will soon be asked to vote on ... legislation regarding the commercial slaughter of American horses of which you probably have very little firsthand knowledge. No doubt you have heard from lobbyists and organizations who want you to support the practice, but before you do, you should ask yourself why the residents of Texas and Illinois worked so hard to rid their states of their horse slaughter plants. The answer may surprise you.
As a mayor who lived with this plague in her town for many years, who knows what the horse slaughter industry really is and what it does to a community please allow me to tell you what we experienced. The industry caused significant and long term hardship to my community which was home to Dallas Crown, one of the last three horse slaughter plants in the United States.
All three plants were foreign-owned, and since the market for horsemeat is entirely foreign, the industry will always be dominated by these foreign interests. The corporations involved in this industry have consistently proven themselves to be the worst possible corporate citizens.
The Dallas Crown horse slaughtering facility had been in operation in Kaufman since the late 70's and from the beginning had caused problems both economically and environmentally. I have listed some of the specific issues below.
I will gladly provide you with detailed reports from my former City Manager, Police Chief, and Public Works Director regarding odor and wastewater effluence violations at the Dallas Crown horse slaughter plant in the City of Kaufman.. The reports reference "decaying meat [which] provides a foul odor and is an attraction for vermin and carrion," containers conveyed "uncovered and leaking liquids," there are "significant foul odors during the daily monitoring of the area," and "Dallas Crown continually neglects to perform within the standards required of them."
Therefore, in August of 2005, our City Council decided by unanimous decision to send the Dallas Crown issue to the Board of Adjustments for termination of their non-conforming use status. In March of 2006, the Board of Adjustments voted to order Dallas Crown closed, but the plant was able to tie the enforcement up in the courts until they were finally closed under state law in February of 2007.
Dallas Crown repeatedly described itself as a "good corporate citizen." I will be straightforward in asserting that they are the very antithesis of such.
Dallas Crown had a very long history of violations to their industrial waste permit, ‘loading' the capacity of the wastewater treatment plant.
Dallas Crown denied the City access to their property for wastewater testing beginning October 1, 2004 until July 6, 2005 , despite requirement by city ordinance, city permit agreement, and court order.
City staff reported that a $6 million upgrade to our wastewater treatment plant would be required even though the plant was planned and financed to last through 2015.
Odor problems resulting from the outside storage of offal and hides over several days persisted not only in traditionally African-American neighborhood known as "Boggy Bottom", but at the nearby Presbyterian Hospital , the daycare center, and surrounding areas.
Transport of offal and fresh hides on City and state thoroughfares is conducted in leaking containers without covers.
City documents reveal an extended history of efforts to have Dallas Crown address various environmental issues. Reports include descriptive language including such as "blood flowing east and west in the ditches from your plant," "It has been over 45 days [it had been 59 days] and no apparent cleanup has occurred," "Your system has not improved and subsequently it has gotten a lot worse," "Words cannot express the seriousness" of recent violations and the "adverse effects on the wastewater treatment plant," and "Please be sure trailers are secured before leaving your premises to prevent spills," noting also "bones and blood laying in front of the facility," problems with bones and parts in neighboring yards and the attraction of "dogs and other animals."
In response to 29 citations for wastewater violations, each accompanied by a potential fine of $2,000, Dallas Crown requested 29 separate jury trials, potentially causing yet another economic strain to the City's budget. We could, of course, not afford to litigate in order to extract the fines
Dallas Crown took 11 months to submit a mandatory "sludge control plan" to assist efficient operation of the wastewater treatment plant though City staff requested it orally and in writing many times.
The City Manager advised me that the City would have to spend $70,000 in legal fees because of Dallas Crown problems, which was the entire legal budget for the fiscal year.
During this period, Dallas Crown paid property taxes that were less than half of what the City spent on legal fees directly related to Dallas Crown violations.
Generally, Dallas Crown has the economic ability to prevail, to exceed the constraints of the City's budget.
Dallas Crown had a negative effect on the development of surrounding properties, and a horse slaughter plant is a stigma to the development of our city generally. I have since learned that these problems were mirrored at the other two plants. Fort Worth's Beltex horse slaughter plant also violated Ft. Worth's wastewater regulations several times, clogged sewer lines, and both spilled and pumped blood into a nearby creek (San Antonio Current, June 19, 2003 ). Texas State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, whose district includes Beltex, and Rep. Toby Goodman, R-Arlington, fought hard against legislation that would have legalized horse slaughter in Texas in 2003.
The horse slaughter plant in DeKalb , IL had a similar pattern. It was destroyed by fire in 2002, and rebuilt in 2004. It was charged and fined by the DeKalb Sanitary District almost every month from the reopening until its closing in 2007 under a new state law for consistently exceeding wastewater discharge guidelines. I can provide you with the documentation of those violations. Like Dallas Crown, Cavel refused to pay their fines for years.
During this time, I learned that an estimated $5 million in Federal funding was being spent annually to support three foreign-owned horse slaughter plants! And when the Dallas Crown tax records were exposed in the city's legal struggle, we found that they had paid only $5 in federal taxes on a gross income of over $12,000,000!
Moreover, the parent company of Cavel has since moved its operations to Canada and continued to slaughter American horses. In Canada they have apparently become even more blatant, dumping huge untreated piles of entrails onto open ground and even using a tanker truck to discharge blood and refuse into a local river.
I have mentioned only the pollution issue, but this is but one negative aspect of horse slaughter. I have subsequently learned of a USDA document containing 900 pages of graphic photos that show the horrors that the horses were subject to. Behind the privacy fences of these plants, trucks arrived continuously and on those trucks was every form of inhumane violation one can imagine from mares birthing foals to horses with eyes dangling from their sockets and legs ripped from their bodies.
The more I learn about horse slaughter, the more certain I am: There is no justification for horse slaughter in this country. My city was little more than a door mat for a foreign-owned business that drained our resources, thwarted economic development and stigmatized our community. Americans don't eat horses, and we don't raise them for human consumption. There is no justification for spending American tax dollars to support this industry at the expense of Americans and our horses.
Former Mayor Paula Bacon
Kaufman, TX
325-665-2043 cell

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pro-slaughter says Livestock - Anti-slaughter says Companion, Here is What the FDA Says...
February 12, 2009
FDA Reminds Public of Comment Period Deadline for the Draft Guidance for Industry on Anesthetics for Companion Animals
On December 17, 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published in the Federal Register the availability of a draft guidance document for industry entitled “Guidance for Industry #192: Anesthetics for Companion Animals.” The comment period for the guidance closes on March 2, 2009.
The purpose of the guidance document is to provide industry with FDA’s recommendations for the development of new animal anesthetic drug products for companion animals (dogs, cats, and horses). The guidance discusses information that sponsors should consider when planning and conducting safety and field studies for their proposed drug product. The guidance also provides recommendations on how to analyze the study data and how to present the collected data in an organized package to CVM.
The draft guidance, once finalized, will represent the Agency’s current thinking on the development of companion animal general anesthetic (injectable or inhalational) drug products.
The draft guidance document is available at The federal register notice can be found at: Interested persons may submit written comments on or before March 2, 2009, to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), FDA, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Electronic comments may be submitted to: Identify all submissions to the docket with the following docket number: 2008D-0623.
For additional information about the draft guidance, please contact Dr. Germaine Connolly at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, 240-276-8331,



February 17, 2009
Dear Humanitarian:
The Montana State House of Representatives is currently considering a bill that would enable the construction of horse slaughter plants in Montana – and which would severely restrict citizen action to oppose their construction. Introduced by Representative Edward Butcher (R-Winifred) , H.B. 418 flies in the face of American public opinion and fiscal responsibility.
Horse slaughter is a brutal and un-American trade in which our horses – animals not raised for slaughter – suffer enormously to satisfy the whims of high-end diners in Europe and Asia. So horrid is the trade that the country’s sole remaining horse slaughter plans (all European-owned) were shut down under state law in 2007. Meanwhile, the United States Congress is considering a federal ban that would permanently end the slaughter of American horses here or abroad. Montana Representative Edward Butcher and his supporters are seriously out of step with current thinking, yet the Montana House Agriculture Committee, which held a hearing on the bill last week, is poised to move the legislation out of committee as early as the end of this week.
If you live in Montana, please take a moment to contact members of the House Agriculture Committee TODAY – with the exception of the bill’s sponsor - and ask them to OPPOSE H.B. 418. Contact information is shown below. Respectfully let them know that:
· The establishment of a horse slaughter plant in Montana would be fiscally irresponsible.
· There is currently a federal restriction in place – passed by the United States Congress – that would prohibit the federally required inspection of horsemeat, thus preventing its sale outside of Montana state lines.
· The United States Congress is expected to pass a federal ban on horse slaughter in the near future making this state bill irrelevant.
· H.B. 418 contains language, which would severely restrict the ability of American citizens from challenging the construction or operation of a horse slaughter plant. The restrictive language sets a dangerous precedent that could impact other sectors of civic life.
· Horse slaughter is a cruel and predatory business that purposely seeks out healthy horses; it does not provide a humane outlet for so-called “unwanted” horses as its proponents would like the public to believe.
· Americans don’t eat horses, nor do we raise them for slaughter. The vast majority of Americans oppose horse slaughter – and passage of H.B. 418 will be a proverbial black eye for Montana.
Montana House Agriculture Committee
Jopek, Mike (D) (Chair)Butcher, Edward (R) (Vice Chair) (H.B. 418’s sponsor – Do Not Contact)French, Julie (D) (Vice Chair)Bean, Russell (R)Belcourt, Tony (D)Caferro, Mary (D)Dickenson, Sue (D)Fleming, John (D)Furey, Timothy (D)Hoven, Brian (R)Howard, David (R)Kerns, Krayton (R)MacDonald, Margaret (D)McClafferty, Edith (D)Randall, Lee (R)Regier, Keith (R)Roundstone, J. David (D)Taylor, Janna (R)Wagner, Bob (R)Warburton, Wendy (R)
How to Contact Legislators
By Telephone
Call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800 to leave a message for as many as five legislators or one legislative committee per call. Your message will be delivered directly to the legislators. The TTY (Telephone Device for the Deaf) number is 406-444-4462.
By Fax
House 406-444-4825
You may send a message by clicking here: gov/css/sessions /61st/legwebmess age.asp.
You may also use the e-mail addresses provided with the legislative gov/css/Sessions /61st/roster. asp?HouseID= 0&SessionID=94% 20 and published in legislative guides.
By Mail
Address letters to:Rep. XXXXMontana House of RepresentativesPO Box 200400Helena, MT 59620-0400
Please be sure to provide your Representative with your name and mailing address, and as a constituent, request a response on this issue. Please also share our “Dear Humanitarian” eAlert with family, friends and co-workers, and encourage them to contact their legislators, too. As always, thank you very much for your help.
Chris Heyde
Please note AWI's new address and telephone number.
************ ********Christopher J. HeydeDeputy Director, Government and Legal AffairsAnimal Welfare Institute 900 Pennsylvania Ave, SEWashington, DC 20003http://www.awionlin

Is the Horse Slaughter Movement Funded by horse Breeders?

Is the Horse Slaughter Movement Funded by Horse Breeders?
The slaughter of horses for human consumption is no longer legal in the US. Sadly more than 100,000 horses each year are shipped to Canada and Mexico to satisfy the palates of “gourmands” overseas. Upwards of 90 percent of the horses sold for slaughter are healthy, sound animals, according to USDA statistics. Of that 90 percent, some are bred solely for the slaughter market, others come from farms providing horse urine to pharmaceutical companies and others are horses with cosmetic or minor conformation issues which make them valueless to the breeders, many of whom are producing a hundred or more foals yearly.
Several states, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming, among others, are studying or considering opening horse slaughter plants under the guise of providing a more “humane” method of disposing of “unwanted” horses than shipping them in trucks cross country for slaughter in Canada or Mexico. There is also a well-funded, but virtually unknown national movement afoot, with bills pending in Congress, to allow horse slaughter for human consumption once again.
This issue is not about treating horses humanely or dealing with “unwanted” horses. It’s about profit, pure and simple. For example, the wording of the North Dakota bill includes “… to meet overseas export markets for horsemeat…” Clearly, sponsors of this bill see a market opportunity, thinly disguised as a way to “solve” a conveniently overstated problem.
As the movie line goes, “Follow the money.” Who would profit if a horse slaughter facility were to open in any given state? We know the slaughter facility will make money; that’s a given. But so will the people who supply the horses destined to become someone's dinner. Who is lobbying for these plants to reopen? It's my guess that it’s the potential suppliers who see the slaughter business as a way to make money off an “unwanted” or “valueless,” product, to quote the North Dakota bill’s sponsor.
For a breeder, each year’s “crop” of foals has a percentage of colts and fillies who do not meet the breeders’ standards. The North Dakota bill is sponsored by a rancher who raises Quarter Horses, which, coincidently, is the most common breed to be sent to slaughter. His last sales catalog listed 80-plus young horses for sale. Were there any “unwanted” or “valueless” horses sent to slaughter because they didn’t make “the cut”? Horse breeders, as well as horse associations, surprisingly, are some of the most vocal supporters of horse slaughter.
Other lobbyists for the horse slaughter movement claim a slaughter facility will alleviate horse “overpopulation” by providing breeders and others with a place to send horses (for a profit) to a “humane” death rather than let them face starvation, neglect or abandonment because the owner, for whatever circumstance, is unwilling to care for the animal. Horse slaughter proponents won’t tell the public that the death of a horse in a slaughter facility is anything but humane. They also won’t share statistics that don’t support their cause. For example, cases of abuse, neglect and abandonment, not to mention horse theft, actually went down when the slaughter plants closed. Supporters also won’t tell the public that there are dozens of rescue facilities, not to mention horse-loving youths and adults, who would willingly take a breeder’s “unwanted” horse and give it a loving home.
Horse slaughter is a highly emotional subject with “facts” bandied about with little but anecdotal evidence to back them up. Factual information can be found in the USDA records, as well as from organizations that track this type of activity. If, after researching the issue for yourself, you feel moved to contact legislators and share your opinion in opposition to horse slaughter, be prepared for a fight. Too much money is on the table for breeders, ranchers, kill buyers/shippers and foreign and domestic investors in slaughter facilities to let this issue die.
Here are the links to some websites you may wish to visit:
Article about horse slaughter provided by the Humane Society of America
Article in Agweek supporting horse slaughter, primarily in North Dakota.
Article from Animal Law Coalition detailing the results of a study on abuse of horses following the closing of slaughter facilities
Article from Animal Law Coalition providing information about horse slaughter bills in various states
Contact information for federal legislation to further protect horses
Vicki A Voice For Our Horses
No breed is more prominently represented in the slaughter trucks rolling
toward Canada and Mexico than the quarter horse. ~ John Holland

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bible's Lessons Help In Taming Horses

Bible's Lessons Help In Taming Horses
by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

Grant Golliher is a special kind of horse whisperer: he subdues wild horses with gentleness and a dash of spirituality.
And true to form, he's made for Hollywood: about 6 feet tall and trim, with rough, leathery hands, silver hair and piercing blue eyes. He wears buttery tan chaps and a white 10-gallon hat.
As Golliher enters a round pen at a county fair in Jackson, Wyo., a chestnut horse bolts away, bucking and screaming. The cowboy pays no heed; instead he hoses down the pen so the horse won't kick up dust.
'Show 'Em Who's Boss'
He tells the four dozen spectators sitting on bleachers that he's been breaking horses since he was a kid.
"And we did things the old way, I call it," he says. "Make 'em do it, show 'em who's boss. If they give you any grief, whack 'em with a two-by-four. Get their attention."
Over the years, he ruined a bunch of talented horses that way, he says. One horse strangled himself with his rope trying to get away.
But a quarter century ago, Golliher met Ray Hunt, one of the original horse whisperers, who tamed horses by building trust not fear.
Golliher mounts Freckles, a gray horse he calls his "buddy," and begins to chase around the chestnut.
"Now, what I'm going to do is go ahead and drive these horses around a little bit," he says, as the horse lets loose a bucking spree. "This horse is troubled. He's a 5-year-old. He's been ridden quite a bit, but lately he's been bucking off his rider — his owner."
If Golliher can't cure his bucking, he says, the horse could end up at the slaughterhouse.
The cowboy shakes a white plastic bag attached to a long crop — he calls it his "flag" — and touches it to the horse's flank. The chestnut snorts, his eyes bulge. But — and this is key — the horse is not tied up. He knows he can run away.
And that's the secret of horse whispering, Golliher says: giving a horse the chance to make the right choices.
"If the horse won't come to you, you don't capture him, you don't rope him and choke him down," he explains. "You let him know he's free, let him know he still has the freedom to choose whether to come to you or not, see. And that's the relationship with God."
Odd talk for a cowboy perhaps. But Golliher applies spiritual principles to his horse training — and horse whispering principles to life.
Discipline And Love
In the round pen, the chestnut has stopped running but is dancing around, clattering against the fence in an attempt to avert the flag. Golliher persists.
"I'm going to keep pressing the issue until we get some change here," Golliher says.
Golliher follows the chestnut around the pen, tapping the plastic flag on his haunches and forcing the horse to face his fear. The horse finally stops.
"There," he says, removing the flag and stroking the horse's neck with his hand. Golliher then walks toward the audience, and the horse follows.
Golliher says this is tough love.
"Love is great," he says. "But love without discipline is abuse. Discipline goes along with love. I love you enough when you make a mistake, I'll bring it up. We're going to try to deal with it."
Golliher sees this as a metaphor for how God works with people.
"Hebrews, Chapter 12 says God disciplines those he loves," he says later. "And when we go the wrong way, he has his way through life circumstances, we run into trouble. God steps in and starts waving his flag," he says. "So to me, this is just the Bible opening up through God's creation — which is a horse."
In the corral, Golliher has a decision to make. It would be a good time to end the session with the chestnut. But he opts to press a little further. With one swift move, Golliher mounts the horse and reaches for his flag.
"Now, if he was to buck, I just need to stay on," he says. "If I can."
A Horse Is A Mirror
The horse dances around, his hooves in constant motion. But he doesn't buck. Soon the horse settles into a calm walk. Golliher reaches down and rubs his chest.
"See him lick his lips?" he asks. "That's a good sign. That means he feels good about what just happened. Horses really love you when you help them get through their fear."
The crowd murmurs with amazement. Afterwards, people rush up to seek his advice.
Golliher says what astounds him most is not the changes in the horses, but in the people who watch and practice horse whispering. Some abused women have told him they see themselves in the skittish horses. Some men begin to use gentleness rather than fear in their relationships.
Horse whispering, Golliher says, gives people insight into themselves.
"The horse is just a mirror," he says. "He's just trying to tell us, 'Let me show you how to live.'"

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Abandoned Horse Reward Fund Announced!

For Immediate Release


Washington, DC (January 29, 2009) – The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) announced today the establishment of the “Animal Welfare Institute Abandoned Horse Reward Fund.” Under the program, individuals providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who abandons a horse in violation of state law will be rewarded with up to $1,000 by AWI. “We’ve heard time and time again from those defending horse slaughter that the fight to end this cruel practice has led to an increase in abandoned horses. The truth is that the number of American horses going to slaughter now is the same or higher as before the domestic plants closed under state law. In fact, killer buyers seem to be buying more horses than when the plants were open,” said Chris Heyde, AWI’s Deputy Director of Government and Legal Affairs.

Under the program, individuals with evidence should first contact their local police department, provide as many details as possible about the horse abandonment situation and let the department know about the Animal Welfare Institute Abandoned Horse Reward Fund. In such cases, eligibility for rewards and specific reward amounts will be determined by AWI. For complete terms and conditions of this reward fund, please go to

“If horses are being neglected or abandoned and the law is being violated, individuals need to be held accountable. Caring for a horse or any animal is a lifelong responsibility and not something you toss aside when inconvenient. We hope our reward fund will assist in bringing criminals to justice,” said Chris Heyde.

The Animal Welfare Institute has been at the forefront of efforts to pass a federal law to end horse slaughter. While the few remaining horse slaughter plants operating in the US were shut down in 2007 under state law, the absence of a federal law means that American horses are still at risk of being slaughtered for human consumption, and more than 100,000 horses were exported to Mexico and Canada in 2008 for that purpose. In Canada, horses are often shot to death while in Mexico some plants still use the “puntilla” knife to stab the horse into a state of paralysis prior to being slaughtered while still fully conscious. The meat is then sold to high-end consumers in Europe and Asia. Congress is currently considering the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503), which will protect American horses from this brutal trade.


For further information contact:
Chris Heyde, 202-446-2142
Liz Ross, 202-497-6780

For over 58 years, AWI has been the leading voice for animals across the country and on Capitol Hill. Please join us in our ongoing campaigns to reduce the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans. Sign up for AWI eAlerts to receive the latest news on what you can do to help us protect all animals:

Talk Radio- Live Feed Saturday Feb. 7th at 4 PM with John Holland!

LIVE FEED ON SATURDAY FEB. 7TH 4PM With John Holland (Senior Analyst for AAHS) and Paula Bacon and Laura Allen!
Saving America's Horses on WFL Endangered Stream Live, Talk Radio for the Protection of AnimalsThe Hidden Cruelty of Horse Slaughter and the Fight for Federal Support to Make it Stop.Host Katia Louise interviews an expert panel of guests on the continuing sordid practice of horse slaughter as currently sustained by the United States. Horses suffer unimaginable cruel treatment in the process of their transport out of the US to Mexico and Canada where they experience barbaric slaughter. Listeners will learn the truth about one of America's darkest secrets and how to take action to stop this cruel and rapidly growing business of exports through the support of current, yet disregarded bills lingering in Congress for the past 8 years. Guests include Paula Bacon representing Americans Against Horse Slaughter and as former mayor of Kaufman TX, she helped to shut down the Dallas Crown, a US horse slaughter plant now operating in Mexico, among the worst malign abusers of cruelty in this brutal practice. Also joining us is the renown author on the issue of horse slaughter, John Holland; senior analyst for Americans Against Horse Slaughter. Holland has authored and coauthored studies on the relationship of horse slaughter to the rate of abuse and neglect in horses and has written dozens of articles on the subject of horse slaughter and its politics. Plus we have Animal Law Attorney, Laura Allen of the Animal Law Coalition who's been fiercely active in the support of getting legislature passed for the Prevention of the Equine Cruelty. These panelists are fighting to abolish horse slaughter and the export of horses for slaughter with support more stringent enforcement of laws to prevent abuse and neglect.Call-in number: (646) 727- 2170. Calls will be accepted live during the show. The chat room at the show's WFL Endangered Stream Live Blog Talk Radio page will be open throughout the broadcast for simultaneous discussion and to help answer questions. Registered listeners may connect and talk straight from their computer from anywhere in the world. (learn more) Listen live on Saturday, Feb 7th at 3pm (PST) at WFL Endangered Stream Live Blog Talk Radio.Listen anytime on demand. Links:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act Supporters

National Horse Industry OrganizationsAfter the Finish Line™The American Holsteiner Horse Association, Inc.The American Sulphur Horse AssociationAmerican Indian Horse RegistryBlue Horse CharitiesChurchill Downs IncorporatedEaton & ThorneEaton Sales, Inc.Fasig-Tipton Company, Inc.Hambletonian Society, Inc.Horse Industry PartnersHughs ManagementKeeneland Association Inc.Magna Entertainment Corp.National Show Horse RegistryNational Steeplechase Association, Inc.National Thoroughbred Racing AssociationNew Jersey Racing CommissionNew Jersey Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders AssociationNew York Racing AssociationNew York State Thoroughbred Racing and Development Fund CorporationNew York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc.Ocala Breeder's Sales Company (OBS)Palomino Horse Association, Int.Racetrack Chaplaincy of AmericaThoroughbred Racing Protective BureauThoroughbred Retirement FoundationUnited States Eventing AssociationHorse Industry LeadersJosephine Abercrombie – Owner, Pin Oak StudJoe L. Allbritton – Owner, Lazy Lane Farms, Inc.Peggy Augustus – Owner, Keswick FarmNiall and Stephanie Brennan – Niall Brennan StablesNadia Sanan Briggs – Padua StablesMaggie O. Bryant – Locust Hill FarmW. Cothran "Cot" Campbell – Dogwood StablesNorman Casse – Chairman of the Ocala Breeder's Sales Company (OBS)Nick and Jaqui de Meric – Nick de Meric BloodstockRichard L. Duchossois – Chairman, Arlington ParkTracy & Carol Farmer – Owners, Shadowlawn FarmJohn Fort – Peachtree Racing StableJohn Gaines – the late founder of the Breeder's Cup World Thoroughbred ChampionshipGainesway FarmGaWaNi Pony BoyRandy Hartley – Hartley/De Renzo ThoroughbredsCharles E. Hayward – President and CEO, New York Racing Association, Inc.John Hettinger – Owner, Akindale Farm, Principal stockholder Fasig-Tipton Co, Inc.,Chairman Emeritus Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation,Trustee NY Racing AssociationTom Meeker – Churchill DownsReiley McDonald – Partner, Eaton SalesHerb and Ellen Moelis – Candyland FarmNick Nicholson – President and Chief Executive Officer, Keeneland AssociationMadeline Paulson Pickens – Owner- BreederGeorge Stout – National Cutting Horse Association Members Hall of FameFrank Stronach – CEO, Magna EntertainmentDan and Jocelyn Sumerel – Sumerel Training and TherapyBecky Thomas – Sequel BloodstockD.G. Van Clief, Jr. – NTRA Commissioner, CEO & Breeders' Cup PresidentWalnut Hall LimitedDonna WardMarylou Whitney and John Hendrickson – owners of BIRDSTONE, 2004 Belmont Stakes winnerRussell Williams – VP, Hanover Shoe FarmKentucky Derby Winning OwnersRoy and Gretchen Jackson (BARBARO – 2006)Jerry and Ann Moss (GIACOMO – 2005)Patricia Chapman (SMARTY JONES - 2004)Sackatoga Stable,Jack Knowlton, Managing Partner (FUNNY CIDE - 2003)John and Debby Oxley (MONARCHOS - 2001)Beverly Lewis (CHARISMATIC-1999, SILVER CHARM - 1997)Mike Pegram (REAL QUIET - 1998)William T. Young, Jr, Overbrook Farm LLC (GRINDSTONE - 1996)Joseph and Eileen Cornacchia (GO FOR GIN - 1994, STRIKE THE GOLD - 1991)Bill Condren (GO FOR GIN - 1994, STRIKE THE GOLD - 1991)Mrs. Paul Mellon (SEA HERO - 1993)Arthur and Staci Hancock (SUNDAY SILENCE - 1989, GATO DEL SOL - 1982)Howard Keck, Jr. (FERDINAND - 1986)Dell Hancock (SWALE - 1984)Bert and Diana Firestone (GENUINE RISK - 1980)Penny Chenery (SECRETARIAT - 1973, RIVA RIDGE - 1972)Thoroughbred Trainers and JockeysJerry Bailey – Hall of Fame JockeyW.A. "Jimmy" Croll, Jr – Hall of Fame TrainerNeil Drysdale - Hall of Fame TrainerJulie Krone – Hall of Fame JockeyChris McCarron - Hall of Fame JockeyRichard Mandella - Hall of Fame TrainerGary Stevens - Hall of Fame JockeyNick Zito – Two-time Kentucky Derby Winning and Hall of Fame TrainerHorse Industry PressHorse Connection MagazineLiving Legends MagazineNatural Horse MagazineThe United States Harness Writers AssociationCorporate LeadersLes Alexander - Owner, Houston RocketsGary Bisantz - Founder, Cobra Golf ClubsAlex Campbell - Chairman, Shakertown & Triangle FoundationJess S. Jackson and Barbara R. Banke – Kendall-Jackson Wine EstatesSummerfield Johnston - Retired Chairman and CEO, Coca-Cola EnterprisesRobert McNair - Owner, The Houston TexansPaul Oreffice - former Chairman Dow Chemical Co, Inc.T. Boone Pickens – Founder and CEO, BPCapitalLeonard Rigio - Founder and CEO, Barnes & NobleSatish Sanan – Chairman and CEO, Zavata, Inc.Richard Santulli - Chairman, Net JetsBarry Schwartz - Co-Founder, Calvin Klein Inc.Nina DiSesa - Chairman, McCann Erickson New YorkJ.V. Shields - Chairman and CEO, Shields & Co., Wall Street, NYCGeorge Steinbrenner - Owner, New York YankeesGeorge Strawbridge - Private InvestorStuart Subotnick - General Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Metro MediaDaniel V. Tully - Ex CEO Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & SmithWilliam Ziff - Ziff Brothers Investments, New York CityCelebrity SupportersShane Barbi-WahlSia BarbiBarbara BossonBruce BoxleitnerJeff BridgesChristie BrinkleyRita CoolidgeJohn CorbettAlex CordCatherine Crier, Court TVJames CromwellTony and Jill CurtisEllen DeGeneresRon Delsener - Ron Delsener PresentsBo DerekClint EastwoodMike EppsWill EstesShelley FabaresMorgan FairchildMike FarrellMorgan FreemanKinky FriedmanMelissa GilbertWhoopi GoldbergJane Goodall, PhD.Merv GriffinArlo GuthrieMerle HaggardJack Hanna, Director Emeritus, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Columbus, OhioDaryl HannahTess HarperTippi HedrenMariel HemingwayLaura Hillenbrand - author of SeabiscuitGeorge JonesAshley JuddToby KeithEddie Kilroy, Program Director, "Hank's Place" XM 13Carole KingKris KristoffersonChief Arvol Looking Horse - 19th generation keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle and holds the responsibility of spiritual leader among the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota PeopleGeorge LopezMrs. Roger (Mary) MillerSteve MillerMary Tyler MooreSir Paul McCartneyAli McGrawJesse & Joy McReynolds of Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys - Entertainer, Member of the Grand Ole Opry,Bluegrass Music legendConnie Nelson - Outlaw ManagementWillie NelsonOlivia Newton-JohnAlexandra PaulThe late Richard and Jennifer Lee PryorKeith RichardsKid RockTheresa RussellWilliam ShatnerPaul SorvinoMira SorvinoBernie TaupinBilly Bob ThorntonRob ThomasMarisol ThomasShania TwainKen WahlDwight YoakamNational Humane GroupsAmerican Horse Defense FundAmerican Humane AssociationAmerican Sanctuary AssociationThe American Standardbred Adoption Program, Inc.American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to AnimalsAnimal Legal Defense FundAnimal Protection InstituteAssociation of Veterinarians for Animal RightsDoris Day Animal LeagueEpiscopal Network for Animal WelfareEquine AdvocatesThe Fund for AnimalsHabitat for HorsesHooved Animal Humane SocietyThe Humane Society of the United StatesThe Progressive Animal Welfare SocietyThe National Humane Education SocietySociety for Animal Protective LegislationUnited Equine FoundationUnited States Equine Sanctuary & RescueWild Horse and Burro Freedom AllianceWorld Society for the Protection of AnimalsArizonaArizona Racing CommissionConquistador Equine Rescue Program (In Defense of Animals)Equine Voices Rescue & SanctuaryHacienda de los Milagros, Inc.Humane Education Club - Barry Goldwater High School (Phoenix)In Defense of Animals At Arizona State University (Student Organization)Keepers of the WildSuperstition Horse RanchWildhorse Ranch RescueCaliforniaCalifornia Equine Retirement FoundationCalifornia Thoroughbred RescueCooper Racing (Carol Cooper) - Qtr Horse Breeding, Training and LayupsEast Bay Animal AdvocatesGEVAThe Piedra FoundationThoroughbred FriendsTranquility FarmColoradoColorado Horse Protection LeagueColorado Horse RescueLove Can't Wait Pony RescueLucky Three Ranch, Inc.Political Voice for AnimalsProject EquusConnecticutThe Humane Organization Representing Suffering Equines (H.O.R.S.E.) of Connecticut, Inc.Tara Farm RescueDelawareThe State of DelawareSouth Delaware Retirement FacilitySummerwinds Rescue Tri-State Equine RescueWhimsical Horse RescueFloridaAloha Equestrian CenterAziizi Foundation, IncRetirement Home for HorsesGeorgiaBig Sky Farm - Quarter Horse boarding and breeding facilityGeorgia Equine Rescue LeagueHorse Rescue, Relief and Retirement Fund, Inc .Magic Hollow FarmsSTARS (Sound Trail And Rail Society, Inc.)IdahoHorse Haven RescueFor the Love of Horses Rescue and SanctuaryIllinoisArlington Park RacecourseBalmoral Park RacetrackBlackberry Station Feed StoreBlock Thoroughbred FarmCANTER IllinoisCentral Illinois Humane SocietyCrosswinds Equine Rescue, IncChicago Barn to WireDrexler Horse TransportationEastland Farm and Training CenterFairberry FarmFairmount ParkHawthorne National RacecourseHill ‘N Dale FarmHorsin' Around TVIllinois Thoroughbred Horseman's AssociationIllinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners FoundationIllinois Harness Horseman's AssociationIllinois Horseman's Benevolent Protective AssociationInternational Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 727John Marshall Law School, Animal Law Society, Chicago, ILLazy Maple Equine RescueManhatten AcresMaywood Park RacetrackOak Tree FarmPam Kuhl Horse TransportationRERUN IllinoisShawnee Hills FarmThree Way FarmTop of the Hill FarmTower FarmIndianaAnimal Protection CoalitionCANTOR of IndianaFriends of FerdinandIndiana Horse RescueIowaIowa Racing and Gaming CommissionKentuckyBlairs Equine RescueBluegrass Equine Products, Inc.Brandeis Student Animal Legal Defense FundDreamCatcher Stables, Inc.Holly's Place Animal RescueHome at Last animal sanctuaryHumane Society, A.L.L. of Madison CountyKentucky Animal Relief Fund, Inc.Kentucky Animal Rescue AllianceThe Kentucky Coalition for Animal Protection, Inc.Kentucky Equine Humane CenterLexington Humane SocietyMarion Co. Humane Society, IncWolfrun Wildlife Refuge, Inc.Woodstock Animal FoundationLouisianaThe Coalition of Louisiana Animal AdvocatesMaineBarrel Race in MaineDowneast Border Riders Saddle ClubMarylandAlex Brown RacingThe American Quarter Horse Rescue OrganizationCeltic Rein Equine Rescue & Sanctuary, Inc.Heather Knisley RacingHorsenet Horse RescueUniversity of Maryland Equestrian ClubMassachusettsSuffolk DownsMichiganHorses' HavenC.A.N.T.E.R MichiganMinnesotaMidwest Horse Adoption ProgramMisfit Acres Inc.Save Our Souls Equine RescueMontanaPryor Mountain MustangsWindDancer FoundationNevadaMiracle Horse Rescue, Inc.Shiloh Horse Rescue and SanctuaryWild Horse Preservation LeagueWild Horse Spirit, Ltd.New JerseySave the Animals FoundationStandardbred Retirement FoundationNew MexicoA.N.N.A. - Animals Need No AbuseAnimal Protection of New MexicoIndependence FarmPerfect Harmony Animal Rescue & SanctuaryWalkin "N" Circles Equine Rescue RanchWild Horse Observer's Association (W.H.O.A.)New YorkCarpe Diem Equine Rescue, Inc. (NY, PA, NJ)Double L Stable Equine Rescue & SantuaryEquine Rescue Resource, Inc.H.O.R.S.E. Rescue & SantuarySpring Farm CARESVassar Animal Rescue CoalitionNorth CarolinaJus Linda's StablesNorth Carolina Equine Rescue LeagueStillwater FarmNorth DakotaTremont's Pet Sitting ServiceOhioAngels4horses Adoption-Placement FoundationCanter-OhioLiving Legend ArabiansSound Horse Organization of OhioOklahomaAngel Horse Rescue, Inc.Horse Feathers Equine Rescue Inc.PennsylvaniaAnimal Care and Welfare/SPCAAnother Chance for HorsesBran Manor Equine Rescue & PlacementCANTOR PennsylvaniaCozee Valee FarmEastern University Equestrian TeamLost and Found Horse RescueOohMahNee Farm Animal SanctuaryPennsylvania SPCAR.A.C.E Fund, Inc.Rhode IslandHorse PlaySouth CarolinaHollow Creek Farm Equine RescueNeverending Farms Horse RescuePalmetto Equine Awareness & Rescue League (P.E.A.R.L.®)South DakotaHelping Hands Equine Rehabilitation and RescueTexasAnimal Connection of TexasAnimal Sanctuary of the United States/Wild Animal OrphanageAustin ZooBlack Beauty RanchCity of Flower Mound,TXCommon Ground FoundationThe Crows Nest Miniature Horse FarmLone Star Equine Rescue, Inc.Lone Star ParkMadden InvestigationsOak Cliff BreedersThe Queenie FoundationR-9 RanchSound Horse Organization of TexasTexans for HorsesSPCA of TexasThe Texas Federation of Humane SocietiesTexas Humane Legislation NetworkTexas EquuSearch Mounted Search and Recovery TeamTexas Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders AssociationWild Horse & Burro Refuge & RegistryTennesseeEgyptian Cross ArabiansMisfit RanchUtahSound Horse Organization of UtahVirginiaChes-N-Oak FarmsHelping EquinesThe Laughing Horse SanctuaryParkway Quarter Horse, Inc.Virginia Thoroughbred AssociationWhite Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue - Stillwater FarmWest VirginiaSantiburi FamrWest Virginia Equestrian Association (WVEA)WisconsinAll God's Creatures Equestrian CenterAnimal Rescue and Farm SanctuaryMidwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc.WyomingWyoming Animal Network Paid for by T. 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Friday, January 16, 2009

As Costs of Ownership Rise, More Horses Left Behind

By Dan Testa
The neglect and abandonment of horses across Northwest Montana and the state is increasing as hay prices climb and a recession settles in, making it harder for owners of the animals to afford the cost of their care, according to local and state officials. But these officials also caution that the perception of high horse abandonment and neglect is significantly greater than the real scope of the problem. “We are seeing an increase in the number of abandoned horses,” Steve Merritt, spokesman for the Montana Department of Livestock, said. “I expect that it will continue and get worse.” According to Merritt, there have been five horse abandonment cases since August in the district encompassing Flathead, Lincoln, Lake and part of Sanders counties, which is up from the previous period. He didn’t have hard numbers for how many horses have been abandoned across the state in that time, but said it is increasing slightly.“We’re not talking about huge numbers, but we are seeing an increase,” Merritt added. In addition to the doubling in the price of horse hay and the recession, Merritt also attributes the increase in abandonment to the ban on horse slaughter in the U.S. The common result is that owners with sick or injured horses they can no longer afford to care for, can’t afford to ship to Mexico or Canada for slaughter and can no longer sell, end up neglecting the horses or abandoning them, sometimes on public land – which is a felony. Meanwhile, the number of horses sent to Mexico or Canada for processing has skyrocketed. “Their well-intentioned idea didn’t work,” Merritt said of the slaughter ban. “A lot of these abandoned horses would normally end up in a market.” But Merritt also said a number of high profile horse abandonment cases across the Pacific Northwest, and subsequent news stories generated by these cases, have created an outsized perception of the problem. This, coupled with the affection – if not always understanding – most people have for horses has resulted in livestock officials and animal wardens chasing a lot of false leads when it comes to horse abandonment and neglect.“This has basically turned into a media feeding frenzy,” Merritt said. “People are too removed from the farm these days.”Paul Charbonneau can attest to that. He is one of Flathead County’s four animal wardens and he investigates a call about an abandoned or neglected horse just about every day. While there are a few horses Charbonneau is “really keeping a close eye on,” most he checks out are adequately cared for. “We’re definitely seeing more calls of concern about horses not being fed,” Charbonneau said. “Horses are being fed, but people can’t see hay under snow.” He attributes the increase in horse neglect calls to the recent heavy snow, where someone driving past a pasture doesn’t see a hay bale covered with snow, or is worried horses can’t handle the cold weather, which is rarely the case. But Charbonneau is also concerned that as the recession extends through the year, more people may find they can no longer afford to care for their livestock. “People are getting livestock, a horse or a cow, without actually understanding what it exactly takes and how much money it costs to have one,” he added. And those costs have increased at a steep rate, particularly when it comes to feed. Two years ago a horse hay bale cost $5 or $6 at Cenex Harvest States in Kalispell, according to Feed Department Manager Ken Sederdahl. Today, a horse hay bale costs about $11. A ton of horse hay that might have previously cost $80, now runs anywhere from $180 to $200. Sederdahl noted that there is more livestock in the valley than hay produced, so part of the high cost of hay derives from shipping, as well as the increase in fertilizer costs. Hay is cheaper in eastern Montana, but more expensive throughout much of the Western U.S. As a result of the price increase, customers who might have purchased bulk hay in the past, now buy much smaller amounts.“We sell an awful lot of hay by the bale,” Sederdahl said. “Six months to a year ago, money was no object.” Over the counter, Sederdahl said he hears a lot from customers about neglected horses or strays wandering onto public and private land, and he’s afraid horse neglect could increase between March and July, when demand for retail hay peaks, before local farmers cut their hay in July. The rise in hay prices is not only making it more difficult for some owners, but tougher on the equine sanctuaries that take in horses for adoption when their owner can no longer keep them. “There’s no doubt in my mind that there are many people in financial trouble who can’t afford their horses,” Jane Heath, executive director of the Montana Horse Sanctuary, west of Great Falls, said. “Our waiting list is longer than it’s ever been, for sure.” Two years ago, Heath estimates she had about 50 horses on the sanctuary’s waiting list. Today, about 100 horses are waiting, from all over Montana. While she’s grateful adoptions have continued at a steady pace, the supply of horses in need of homes continues to vastly outstrip the demand. In the Flathead, the number of horse rescue groups has dwindled as the hay costs have increased and adoptions have decreased. The Angels Among Us Equine Rescue and Sanctuary, in operation since 2001, was forced to close at the end of last year. Michelle Sudan, president and co-founder of Angels Among Us, said her organization was caring for as many as 40 horses at a time for several years, but volunteers, along with funding and feed donations dropped off precipitously in 2008. “We went too big too soon because we thought that we would continue to get these donations,” she said.Like Charbonneau and Merritt, Sudan hasn’t seen an increase in horse abandonment, but agrees it has inexplicably become a problem with a higher profile. Still, she believes the economic downturn is going to realign the expectations many people have when it comes to owning a horse or other livestock. “Everybody thinks they should have a horse – that Montana dream of owning a horse,” Sudan said. “That’ll change.” And with fewer options and no end in sight to the recession, the problem of horse abandonment could grow to fill its outsized reputation in 2009. “I still get calls with ‘Can you take my horse?’” Sudan added. “It kills me to say no.”

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Support H.R. 503



Washington, DC (January 15, 2009) – The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503), was reintroduced yesterday by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Representative Dan Burton (R-IN). They first introduced the bill, which will ban horse slaughter, in the summer of 2008. It gained quick bipartisan support and passed out of the Judiciary Committee but did not move further as the legislative clock wound down. Committed to seeing the measure passed into law, Chairman Conyers has given the bill priority in his committee, as signaled by its reintroduction so early on the legislative calendar. With sixty-one original cosponsors, the bill already enjoys strong bipartisan support.

Although the few remaining horse slaughter plants operating in the US were shut down in 2007 under state law, the absence of a federal law banning the practice means that American horses are still at risk of being slaughtered for human consumption. In fact, more than 100,000 horses were exported to Mexico and Canada in 2008 for slaughter; In Canada horses are often shot to death while in Mexico some plants still use the “puntilla” knife to stab the horse into a state of paralysis prior to being slaughtered while still fully conscious. The meat is then sold to high-end consumers in Europe and Asia.

“There are naysayers who claim we should reopen the US plants rather than seek to ban all horse slaughter. Clearly, they’ve already forgotten how awful the plants here were,” said Chris Heyde, deputy director of Government and Legal Affairs for the Animal Welfare Institute.

Documents recently released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal just how brutal conditions were at the US plants before they were shut down. Hundreds of graphic photographs taken by U.S. Department of Agriculture employees at one plant show live horses with missing legs, with eyeballs hanging out, with skin ripped from the body and the birth of foals at the plant. Other photos show horses dead on arrival, having succumbed to the miseries of transport.

“The suffering of hundreds of thousands of our horses rests solely on the shoulders of those blocking this bill. Were it not for their stalling tactics horse slaughter would have ceased years ago. Meanwhile an American horse is slaughtered every five minutes. We commend Chairman Conyers and Representative Burton for taking the lead once again to end this cruel practice through introduction of H.R. 503, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act,” said Heyde.

For further information contact:
Chris Heyde, 202-446-2142
Liz Ross, 202-497-6780
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