Monday, April 27, 2009
National Wild Horse Act on the move
National Wild Horse Act on the move
The Natural Resources Committee of the US Congress will have a mark-up on HR 1018 on Wednesday, April 29th at 10:00am EST
Dear Friends of Cloud and the Wild Horses,
Just a quick note to let you know that H.R. 1018, the "Restoring our American Mustangs" (R.O.A.M.) act, sponsored by Congressman Nick Rahall to protect America's wild horses, will be given a full committee mark-up this Wednesday. This is the time when amendments will be proposed by other committee members and it is our hope that this will improve and strengthen this bill for our wild horses. The mark-up will be on a live video webcast that starts at 10:00am EST this Wednesday and you can watch it online here.
We'll get back to you with what we can all do next to see that the ROAM act vastly improves the future for our wild horses.
* Ginger will be giving a lecture, "The True Nature of Wild Horses", in Pittsburgh at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History on Thursday, May 7th at 7:30pm.
* Ginger and her wild horse, Trace, will be at the Equine Awareness Day Event on May 16th in Black Forest, Colorado - sponsored by Front Range Equine Rescue.
Click here for more information on both these upcoming events!
Our mailing address is:
The Cloud Foundation 107 South 7th St Colorado Springs, CO 80905
Copyright (C) 2008 The Cloud Foundation All rights reserved.
April 27: For pet owners who have had to give up their animals because of personal or financial troubles, Deborah Wilson's ranch is a sanctuary. NBC's Maria Menounos reports on how one woman is Making a Difference.
There is a mark up next Wednesday, April 29 ,2009, in the Resource Committee on HR 1018 at 10am.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Posted by Todd Vancampen on April 25, 2009 · 1 Comment
By Amy Wilson of the Lexington Herald-Leader
Barbaro’s cremains returned to the site of his greatest victory sometime in April without the fanfare his public might have expected. They were placed in the ground reverentially but quickly cemented in place under the better than life-sized statue that will be unveiled Sunday morning at Churchill Downs.
Harriette Gill, a big fan of Barbaro, stood by a painting she had autographed by his trainer Michael Matz, at her farm near Nicholasville. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff
Roy and Gretchen Jackson, who owned him, will be there. As will Mike Matz, his trainer; Dean Richardson, the doctor who saved his life for as long as he could; and Edgar Prado, the jockey who did the same, but in a different way.
Also on hand will be at least 200 members of a nationwide community who found each other on a Web site that was never meant to bring them together but did. Not only did it rally those concerned about his welfare while he was alive, it has endured for three years, long beyond his attempt at recovery, his death and any meaningful period of mourning in the aftermath.
The Fans of Barbaro will be easy to spot. They’ll be dressed in Lael Stable colors — blue and lime green. They’ll be wearing ribbons for those members who were not able to attend. And they’ll be the ones most inconsolable. For their devotion to the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner is unlike that for any other racehorse.
It has driven them to write bedtime stories for him while alive and poems to him in death. It drove 600 of them to show up for a birthday party for him at Delaware Park, where he won his first race. It has also driven them to rescue 2,900 horses from slaughter and raise more than $1 million for horse rescue. It has made them a player in anti-slaughter legislation in every state.
It has driven them to post messages at the rate of 1,200 to 1,500 a day (it rises to 2,000 daily during Triple Crown season), now passing the 1 million mark, on their Web site, alexbrownracing.com.
And it has driven them to do silly things like ship a Beanie Baby Barbaro thousands of miles around the country to be photographed at important Barbaro landmarks — he came to Midway to meet Dynaformer, Barbaro’s sire at Three Chimneys Farm and was snapped with the mighty stallion — and to arrange a mock marriage between Barbaro’s parents.
It may be hard for the outsider to understand what drives that. Or what drives 5,000 others to keep such faith.
Whatever it is, it has driven them closer in the years since the beautiful bay took the Derby by 6½ lengths. And it held them there.
An Internet connection
It all started when an exercise rider named Alex Brown put up a Web site in 2004 for his boss, Tim Woolley Racing. Nobody cared. But Brown was fascinated by the power of Internet marketing and had some ideas he wanted to try. Barbaro’s Derby win was the perfect opportunity. Brown posted a few things about the horse’s hopeful run-up to the Preakness and he got some traffic.
Then Barbaro fractured three bones in and around the ankle of his right hind leg as he tore out of the gate.
“I wasn’t going to exploit this,” says Brown. His experiment was dead, he figured.
But the Jacksons shipped the horse back to Pennsylvania to a facility very near Fair Hill Farm where Brown was working. Brown had done some occasional work with Michael Matz, Barbaro’s trainer, and he knew the people who were working with the horse now. He knew he could provide updates on the status of the health of the horse to the world.
The Internet was proving its unique ability to find an audience that wanted to be found.
Waiting for every one of Brown’s morning and evening updates was Harriette Gill in Lexington. As a native Kentuckian, she always watched the Derby, but it was just tradition and good eats until 2006, she says, when she happened to see Barbaro on the television.
“He took my breath away,” she says. “The minute I saw him, I was hooked. I had never been affected by anything like that ever. He spoke to my soul through that TV.”
On the day of the Preakness, she confesses to a bad feeling. When Barbaro pulled up, she prayed, “Please let this horse live.”
She went to her computer as a last resort, frantic, hoping to hear word, to find somebody who could talk her down from her panic. She found Brown’s Web site.
Once Gill began posting comments, it became her job to write the motivational and inspirational words for the group each morning. It was a sort of morning devotional, using her Native American heritage sometimes as a basis for connecting to the natural world.
A discussion group of the Fans of Barbaro got into the habit of waiting each night until a member would “tuck Barbaro in” with a special bedtime story she would write. Then all the FOBs online could go to bed.
In the morning, they would wait by their computers for Brown to post.
“We all waited for three words,” says Gill. “Another comfortable night. That was the best news.”
In this way, the group of fans became family, she says.
The morning he died, Gill had the bad feeling she had had on the day of the Preakness. So before she heard word of his death, Gill wrote a short story that she knew would help others accept his passing. It was, she believes, a story sent from a higher power.
This is when she had to make sense of the obsession.
“I kept asking my husband and he didn’t know. I prayed to God. Why. What is my role supposed to be in this?”
Roy and Gretchen Jackson figured it out pretty quickly, says Alex Brown. They understood the power of a group of committed people to get something done. They had previously stated they wanted Barbaro’s legacy to be about helping other horses. Gretchen Jackson, in particular, suggested to the Fans of Barbaro that horse welfare issues were in need of advocates.
Marcia Doran watched the Web site from the day Barbaro broke down, but she didn’t post for the longest time. Not until Gretchen Jackson spoke up.
“What’s been great,” says Doran, “is that most of us had never given a single thought about horse rescue and now a lot of us are active in the movement.”
The FOBs had to learn about the harsh reality of horse slaughter, the complexities of horse rescue, including how to go to horse auctions, how to negotiate with dealers, how to write to legislators, how to talk to veterinarians.
Fans of Barbaro includes — and here Doran cannot help but laugh — “Republicans, New Age healers, radical lesbians, devout Christians, classical musicians and those who just graduated fifth grade.” The group is 90 percent women, most of them over 50. Some own horses; some have never touched one.
The welfare of racehorses
Caroline Betts is an associate professor of macroeconomics at the University of Southern California. She did not become a Fan of Barbaro until 2007, after his injury and death. She went to the Web site to discuss horse slaughter and to connect to those doing the work of horse rescue. It led her to found her own Thoroughbred rescue organization (www.sctbrescue.org).
Betts grew up near Epsom in England and was a Derby fan — an Epsom Derby fan — since she was 4. She has been worried about racehorse welfare issues a long time before Dynaformer laid eyes on La Ville Rouge. She credits the FOBs with helping her “tremendously with moral and financial support” and with Brown for convincing the Jockey Club to make their tattoo database available online for easier identification when she and groups like hers are trying to buy Thoroughbreds at weekend auction.
The FOB Web site (alexbrownracing.com) is like a ready-made resource, she says, from which she can mobilize help when lobbying is taking place, when kill auctions are being conducted, and when money, hay or emotional support are in short supply.
She is particularly concerned about racehorse welfare issues. And she understands that Alex Brown is employed by the racing industry.
“I have never been asked not to speak my opinions there,” she says. “But I also respect his opinions. I am a real racing fan but I am concerned about what the public isn’t seeing.”
She believes that the real grace of the FOBs is that they have been willing to see that, too. She knows they were entranced by the magnificence of this special horse but they have looked at him and seen every horse he represents as worth their time and attention and love as well.
“I personally know people,” says Harriette Gill, “who are not eating lunch because they’re giving their lunch money to rescue horses.”
Friday, April 24, 2009
Showdown at Horse Slaughter Pass
April 25, 2009
by John Holland
» Prices soaring for unwanted horses
Mountains of horse entrails lay on the ground near the Saskatchewan slaughter plant
On April 3, Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana issued an amendatory veto of House Bill 418. The bill, designed to attract a horse slaughter facility to the state, would have effectively removed the ability of Montana residents to challenge such a plant's operations in state court.
Within hours, the bill's sponsor, Representative Ed Butcher, had issued a defiant statement vowing to challenge the Governor's amendments and to send the bill back to him for an up or down action. A special kind of person is required to defend horse slaughter, and Ed Butcher is such a man. A classic fight was brewing and the only thing missing was an old west saloon piano banging out a frantic chorus.
Butcher began his long political career in 1992 as the Chair of Montanans for Term Limits. He was first elected to the Montana Senate in 2000, but by 2004, his interpersonal skills and redistricting catapulted him into the House of Representatives. A determined man, Butcher appears resolved to remain in office until his goal of term limits is finally fulfilled.
Nor is Butcher one to shrink from a fight. An outspoken politician in the rich oral -podiatric rhetorical style of former Montana Senator Conrad Burns, Butcher came under a storm of controversy by referring to special needs children as "vegetables". More recently, he referred to his fellow legislator and Native American Jonathan Windy Boy (Chippewa Cree) as "Chief Windy Boy" and inquired whether he would wield his vice-chairman's gavel as a "war club".
Butcher was later reported to have said he learned a valuable lesson about how a simple joke can easily be misunderstood. True to his self-criticism, Butcher refrained from any semblance of humor as he hurled insults at the opposition to his horse slaughter bill.
In a subsequent interview, Butcher said that the Governor's amendments would "gut" his bill and leave a slaughter house open to "harassment" by "two bit hippies". The comment could be viewed as a reference to the Kaufman, Texas Board of Adjustments, the DeKalb, Illinois Sanitary District and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, all of which have "harassed" horse slaughter plants in recent years over their discharges and dumping.
During earlier hearings in the Agriculture Committee, former Mayor Paula Bacon of Kaufman, Texas had told legislators of the long running problems her town had experienced with the Dallas Crown horse slaughter plant, including such graphic details as the plant's installation of a pump designed to force untreated waste down the sewer. The result, Bacon recounted, had been blood rising into the bathtubs and drains of the surrounding community.
Butcher was quick to counter Bacon's testimony by saying, "I don't care what Paula Bacon says." That devastating retort on Butcher's part was apparently all the committee needed to hear and they quickly passed the bill to the Senate floor on a 7 to 2 vote.
The bill then went to the full Senate where it passed by a narrow majority, eventually winding up on the Governor's desk. In response to Butcher's claims that the bill was effectively "gutted" by the Governor's amendments, opponents of the original exculpatory language point out that only the outrageous provisions were eliminated and that the title, bill number and Butcher's sponsorship remain entirely intact in the amended version.
A complete override of the Governor's veto was not in the cards, and neither side wanted a half victory. So the House and Senate voted to reject the amendments, forcing a showdown for the Governor.
During the debate on the bill, Representative Butcher referred to "the Belgians", who were interested in locating a plant in Montana if they could be protected from legal "harassment". He assured his fellow legislators that it would be a modern, clean facility and give Montana a much-needed economic boost. However, recent developments at the Belgian plant in Canada provide interesting insights.
Last December, the Canadian government suspended the operating license of the Natural Meats (formerly Natural Valley Farms) plant in Neudorf, SK. The plant was run by the Velda Group, referred to by Butcher as "The Belgians". This was the same Velda that had owned the Cavel plant in DeKalb, Illinois; which accumulated over $100,000 in fines for sewer discharge violations. It had been shuttered under a new state law in September, 2007.
Butcher's "Belgians" had barely transferred their Cavel operations to the Canadian plant when they fell victim to an ancient Chinese curse, "May you come to the attention of those in authority."
The plant was first the subject of a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation story over its treatment of horses. The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition then documented their dumping mountains of entrails on the open landscape near the plant and allegedly letting blood enter a local river. In the end, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency would say only that the license had been suspended for "food safety concerns". After a temporary reinstatement in January, the plant was closed permanently in mid-February.
As regards the highly touted economic boost Butcher promised his Belgian friends would bring to Montana: When it was closed, the plant was already in receivership with debts reported to be in excess of $25 million dollars.
In the light of these revelations, Representative Butcher's plan reminds one of the classic westerns where the villain, twirling his mustache and laughing wickedly, ties the girl (in this case the citizenry of Montana) to the tracks. But will the hero (Governor Schweitzer) gallop up, cut the ropes with a slashing veto, and release the hostages? Stay tuned for our next exciting episode.
» Horse slaughter in the news
More articles by John Holland
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.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Sanctuary rescues Mexico's vanishing icons
Small sanctuary rescuing fast-vanishing icons
by Sergio Solache - Apr. 22, 2009 12:00 AM
Republic Mexico City Bureau
Manager German Flores carries a young donkey at the Burroland donkey shelter. Many burros are being neglected as Mexicans switch to pickups and tractors.
OTUMBA, Mexico - You can hear the Burroland donkey shelter long before you see it, as the braying of jacks and jennies mixes with the mournful whistles of freight trains in this small town outside Mexico City.
Here, 20 donkeys wander behind a wire fence, munching carrots and leftover tortillas and waiting for pats on the head from the occasional tourist.
This shelter for unwanted donkeys would have once seemed a laughable idea in Mexico, where the hard-working burro is practically a national symbol. These beasts of burden carried settlers over the Sierra Madre, hauled gold from mines and pulled plows through Mexican fields for centuries.
But Mexico's donkeys are quickly being replaced by pickup trucks and tractors even in the poorest areas, prompting efforts to save unwanted animals and remind Mexicans how much their country owes to burros.
"People love them, but there's not as much work for them anymore," said Luis Huerta, a member of the Donkey Sanctuary of Mexico, a group of veterinarians who help the Burroland shelter.
Mexico's population of donkeys plummeted from 1 million in 1991to 581,000 in 2007, according to Mexico's National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Data Processing. Many are killed by their owners or end up in slaughterhouses, Mexico's Society for the Protection of Animals says.
It's a sad end for an animal that once thrived in Mexico. Burros, loosely defined as a donkey 40 to 48 inches tall, were brought to the New World by Spanish colonists, said Leah Patton, registrar for the American Donkey and Mule Society.
Otumba, 45 miles northeast of Mexico City, became a major animal market.
The donkeys that were once sold here pulled carts of silver and gold from Mexico's mines, bringing fabulous wealth to the Spanish empire.
They carried silks and spices from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean as part of the trade route to Asia. And donkeys accompanied pioneers pushing west and north through the Americas.
"These are animals that basically built the continent," Patton said.
But, in most parts of Mexico, donkeys are associated with backwardness and rural poverty, Huerta said. As Mexicans become wealthier, many farmers are getting rid of their animals.
"They're not even worth 500 pesos ($38) these days," said German Flores, manager of Burroland. "The people who have burros are peasants over age 60 who still value the animal's work. The newer generations prefer a pickup or a tractor to a burro."
The animal's fate has inspired some efforts to save them. Donkey Sanctuary has begun sending a mobile veterinary clinic around Mexico to treat donkeys for free because farmers no longer want to spend money caring for them.
The Mexican Society for the Protection of Animals is campaigning to bar the killing of unwanted donkeys and horses at slaughterhouses. And the government of Jalisco state imported a few males from a taller, stronger breed in Kentucky in an effort to revive interest among farmers.
Flores, an accountant, bought some land next to his family's home and opened the Burroland shelter in 2006.
The place is not exactly scenic: The donkeys wander among rusting 1940s-era cars scattered around the dirt lot.
Visitors are given donkey ears and tails to wear as they visit a small museum, complete with papier-mache burros.
There are puppet shows and burro rides. Children can pose for pictures with staff members dressed like the donkey from "Shrek" or Eeyore from "Winnie the Pooh." Admission is free.
Burroland lives mainly off donations from visitors, local companies and international groups like Donkey Sanctuary in Britain. It costs about 200 pesos a day, or $15, to feed each burro, Flores said.
"I'd like to have more burros here, but it would be irresponsible because we don't have the money to keep and feed them," Flores said.
The shelter's residents have colorful histories. Roberto used to pull a cart for a junk collector in Mexico City until a bus hit him head-on, breaking both front legs. Apache, a white burro with brown spots, was rescued from a forest fire.
The shelter gets about 30 visitors on a good weekend, Flores said. He eventually wants to add a snack shop, expand the museum and build stables for all the donkeys.
"We want it to be a sustainable project and leave it as a legacy for Otumba and all of Mexico," he said.
Republic reporter Chris Hawley contributed to this article.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Horse Meat Food Safety Concerns
Yes. Horses are slaughtered in the United States for human consumption. The meat of American pet, recreation, and sport horses is sold as a $12-$15 per pound entrée at restaurants in Italy, France, Belgium, and Japan. This aspect of the American horse industry has had two effects: people turning their heads away from the realities of horse slaughter and others standing up for the horses. The political and social climate of this arena has been increasingly heated in the past few years as bills are being brought before Congress regarding the fate and treatment of these horses.
Regardless of personal stance on this issue, it is a fact that horsemeat from the United States is a food safety issue for anyone consuming it.
The horses slaughtered come from various backgrounds:
* Racehorses that were not fast enough to be profitable on the track or have become injured.
* Children’s outgrown ponies and retired recreation horses that did not sell above the meat price at local auctions.
* The wild mustangs protected by the BLM and adopted out to the public are sometimes later sighted at auctions being sold to meat buyers.
* PMU foals. The companies which produce the PMU drug annually breed thousands of mares in order to collect estrogen for use in drugs. The unfortunate by-product of this production: thousands of unwanted foals, who, if homes are not found for them, end up in a slaughter house.
* Stolen horses. The meat market for horses has also led to increasing horse theft, and the stolen horses meet their anonymous end before they can be tracked down.
(When CA banned horse slaughter in 1998, horse theft went down 34%)
What all these horses have in common is very important:
* NOT ONE of them was bred or raised to be human food.
* Most recreational horses are routinely given medications such as penicillin, bute (phenylbutazone), ace promazine (promazine hydrochloride), banamine (flunixin meglumine), wormers (anthelmintic), Nolvansan (a topical suave), Kopertox (hoof care), and SWAT (fly repellent).
* All FDA approved equine medications bear warning labels reading: NOT FOR USE ON HORSES INTENDED FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.
* The racehorses and sport horses pose a further threat to the safety of their meat. These high-performance athletes are regularly dosed with up to dozens of drugs, including the illegal, but recognized, use of many anabolic steroids.
* Some drugs, such as therapeutic aminogycoside antibiotics, can remain in the muscle tissue for up to 18 months
* There are no published or recommended withdrawal times from these drugs in horses
* These problems have never been a concern for the FDA, who approved all of these drugs, or the horse owners, since nowhere in America are horses raised for food.
Despite these facts, from 1990 to 1999 1,953,000 horses were slaughtered in the United States
While Europe is turning its back on beef due to the threat of BSE (Mad Cow Disease), they are turning to horse meat as a safer alternative. This attitude could be risky:
* BSE is transmitted to the food animals via contaminated animal products in their feed
* An animal product feed-ban was implemented on cattle feed in 1997
* Horse feed and supplements still contain animal products, including bone meal,
activated animal sterol, extracted glandular meal, dried meat, and liver concentrate
The conditions in which horses are transported pose a further threat to the integrity of their meat:
* They are shipped on van and trailers not designed for horses in order to maximize the number of horses that can be shipped.
* The low ceilings of these double-decker trailers, often designed for cattle, cause the horses to have no head room.
* In such close quarters the horses struggle for standing room and often fall, get trampled, or fight
* Numerous eyewitnesses report drastically injured horses being unloaded from trailers with electric cattle prods
o The chance of catching a “downer animal” with a serious illness would be impossible under these circumstances
Other problems exist within the horse meat industry within the United States
+ The slaughter companies can pay for their own inspectors
Trichenosis: Since 1975 France 2296 cases in 8 outbreaks, Italy 1030, in six outbreaks
Hydatidoses: A parasite in Great Britain - strain Echinococcus granulosis equinus
The preparation of horse meat is also a food safety concern among the populations that consume horses. Traditions of cooking horse meat vary by country, but many involve eating it raw or very minimally cooked, adding the to risk of illness.
* Japan – A popular dish of raw horse meat is called sakura ( cherry blossom) because of its pink color. It can also be served raw as sashimi in thin slices dipped in soy sauce, often with ginger and onions added
* Belgium- Horse meat is highly prized, and is used in steak tartare. Besides being served raw, it can be broiled for a short period, with a crusty exterior and a raw, moist interior.
* Italy - It is used in a stew called Pastissada, or served as horse or colt steaks.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: John Holland
Beef: It’s still what’s for dinner
CHICAGO, (EWA) – Horse slaughter advocates have recently thrown their misinformation
campaign into high gear. In an attempt to solicit support by any means necessary, they
are now feeding Congress outright lies on what the passage of the Federal Prevention of
Equine Cruelty Act of 2009, HR 503 and S 727, will mean. The legislation could not be
more clear in its intent: an end to horse slaughter. It is not, as recently asserted, an act
to criminalize horse meat.
More importantly, the legislation is absolutely, unequivocally, indisputably, not the
beginning of a vegetarian led effort to end animal agriculture in this country. Such claims
are, in the jargon of animal agriculture, just plain hogwash.
Wyoming State Representative, Sue Wallis has teamed up with a special interest group
and has become the go to lobbyist for the pro-slaughter campaign. In an “Informational”
paper, that rivals the length of the recent stimulus package, Wallis missed her calling as a
And why is this special interest group, a 501(C)3, currently fundraising to “assemble a
political war chest” to fund Wallis’ travels in what would appear to be a violation of Article
3 of Wyoming’s constitution? We urge the Wyoming legislature to convene an ethics
investigation of Wallis’ highly suspect activities on behalf of the horsemeat industry.
What is readily apparent is that slaughter advocates are glaringly lacking in factual
information. Their arguments, when exposed to critical examination, fall apart like the
succulent beef of a well cooked roast. They have escalated efforts to scare the livestock
industry into believing that ending horse slaughter is the first step to banning the
slaughter of livestock. The shallow thinking exposed by this argument totally ignores the
millions of beef, pork and chicken eaters who are revolted by the prospect of killing a nonfood
animal such as a horse or dog for profit.
Supporters of ending slaughter are portrayed as tree hugging vegans and PETA crazies
that are on a mission to take away everyone’s hamburgers. The entire premise of
Representative Wallis’ dissertation on horses as a food source is negated by the fact that
horses are not classified as food animals by the USDA and are in fact classified by the FDA
as companion animals.
Sue Wallis and the meat business she hawks like a carnival barker want to create a
market for horse meat in this country. Wallis, and the group she lobbies with, has even
created a survey that is being sent only to carefully selected individuals that have
registered on a pro slaughter web site. Undoubtedly, the results will be published as the
voice of Americans and sent to our Congress even though only one side of the issue has
Ms. Wallis goes on to use the same property rights arguments that slave owners used
unsuccessfully to stop the government from freeing their “property”. She argues that
owners have the right to dispose of their “property” in any manner they choose, oblivious
to disposal laws on appliances, cars, computer equipment, toxic waste materials and in
some areas, horses. Wallis cannot change history any more than she can change the grim
reality of horse slaughter.
In survey after survey, more than 70 percent of the American public has gone on record
saying they don’t want horse slaughter. Congressman Conyers and Senator Landrieu, who
introduced the federal legislation, are respected legislators that have been elected to
multiple terms. Neither could be remotely considered tree hugging, vegans out to ban
livestock slaughter. Conyers comes from a state where Midwestern beef is revered.
Landrieu hails from Louisiana, and anybody knows that if something moves in that state it
will likely end up in a pot to make a spicy Creole dish. Radical vegans? Hardly!
With rare exception, equine welfare advocates are meat eaters. Ending horse slaughter is
not going to take away our hamburgers, sausage, chops and steaks. If anything, it would
be a great opportunity for the livestock industry to start promoting our beef overseas.
We urge Congress for the swift passage of the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act and not be
swayed by desperate attempts to link it to an imaginary vegan agenda.
And American Beef? It’s still what’s for dinner.
The Montana Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly rejected the amendments to a bill that would establish a horse slaughter facility for human consumption in the state.
House Bill 418 now goes back to the desk of Governor Brian Schweitzer in its original form. Schweitzer has ten days to either veto the bill or sign it into law, according to the Associated Press.
On Friday, the state Senate rejected Schweitzer’s amendments to House Bill 418 by a 44-5 margin. The state House of Representatives rejected the amendments 59-41 on April 9.
The bill, introduced by state Representative Ed Butcher (R-Winifred), allows the construction of a horse-slaughter facility and offered it legal protection from anyone challenging the legality of the plant.
The state legislature originally passed the measure on March 20. In addition to allowing the construction of a horse-slaughter facility, it would also have forced anyone wishing to contest the construction of a plant to post a bon equal to 20% of the estimated construction costs. Also, it would prohibit a court from issuing an injunction based on a challenge brought form the public.
On April 3, Schweitzer added amendments to the bill that eliminated the special legal protections offered to the plant and sent it back to the legislature.
Butcher said the proposed plant would accept all breeds of equine from in- and out-of-state.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
And more states are proposing bans on horse slaughter.
The Rhode Island House of Representatives has passed a resolution calling for passage of the Equine Prevention of Cruelty Act, H.R. 503/S.B. 727, which would stop the slaughter of American horses for human consumption.
H.R. 6026 recognizes that:
Horse slaughter is not humane euthanasia and is in fact animal torture and cruelty; and
Horse slaughter has been detrimental to the communities where slaughtering facilities have been located, with significant negative impacts to these communities ranging from nuisance odors to chronic sewer and environmental violations; and
Horse slaughter has been found to increase and abet horse theft; and
Horse slaughter is not a means of controlling numbers of unwanted, abandoned or neglected horses, but, rather, is a for-profit operation driven by a demand for horsemeat in some foreign countries; and
American horses are not raised, fed and medicated within the FDA guidelines established for food animals, making them potentially unfit and unsafe for human consumption; and
In America, horses are an icon of our history, traditions, and culture, revered for their contributions to the building of this country, their companionship and special bond with people.
Polls show the overwhelming majority of Americans oppose horse slaughter. Horse slaughter for human consumption is illegal, in fact, in the U.S. because Congress defunded the ante-mortem inspections required by federal law for horses that would be used for food.
New York is considering a ban on this sleazy, sordid practice. Find more information about the New York bill here.
Also, pending bills in New Jersey, A. 551 and Wisconsin, S.B. 142 would ban horse slaughter for human consumption in those states.
Why worry about state bans if horse slaughter for human consumption is illegal in the U.S.?
Well, Congress could re-fund the inspections at some point. Also, pro-horse slaughterers have had several bills introduced in some state legislatures that call for the defeat of the federal bill, H.R. 503/S.B. 727.
In North Dakota and South Dakota they have actually asked for substantial taxpayer dollars to "study" the feasibility of building horse slaughter facilities there. The foreign investors that would own these slaughter houses expected American taxpayers to fund feasibility studies for their private slaughtering operations. South Dakota rejected the study, but sadly, North Dakota's legislature agreed to it.
In Montana the state legislature agreed to limit access to the courts and hamstring the ability of citizens and judges to challenge construction of a horse slaughter house by what were described as "Belgian" investors. Nice protection for foreign investors that make their profits from animal cruelty. Gov. Brian Schweitzer has issued an amendatory veto that would limit these changes to the judiciary. The matter is now back before the state legislature.
The upshot of these legislative resolutions and bills is to persuade the American people to call for the defeat of the federal bill, H.R. 503/S.B. 727 and the re-opening of the slaughter houses in the U.S. Horse slaughterers also hope to create a market in this country for horse meat. Currently, horse meat is not consumed in the U.S. But they want Americans to start eating their companions and friends.
The profit from this practice will, of course, remain with the foreign investors. There is no tax revenue or good jobs for the states so willing to accommodate these foreign investors. There is only environmental and health hazards, sewer problems, nuisance odors, substantial clean up costs, increased horse theft and the stigma of allowing a practice that profits off animal torture.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Support Rhode Island's bill, H.R. 6026. Urge the Rhode Island Senate to pass this resolution. Find an email and phone list for Rhode Island state senators here. If you live in Rhode Island, go here to find your state senator.
Also, go here to help pass a ban on horse slaughter for human consumption in New York.
Write or call New Jersey legislators found here and urge them to pass the ban in bill, A. 551. The bill is stuck in the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Contact these committee members and urge them to pass A. 551. Albano, Nelson T. - Chair Amodeo, John F. Conaway, HerbWisconsin legislators can be found here. Here is an email directory for Assembly (House) and Senate members. Write or call these legislators and urg them to pass S.B. 142 would ban horse slaughter for human consumption in that state. The bill is now in the Agriculture and Higher Education Committee. Contact these committee members and urge them to pass S.B. 142.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
REGINA, April 7 /CNW/ - With the news that the Natural Meat Company
(formerly Natural Valley Farms) in Neudorf, Saskatchewan has been shut down by
the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for food safety concerns, the
Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) is calling for a complete audit of
Canada's remaining horse slaughter operations by the CFIA.
Graphic evidence of animal welfare violations was documented at Natural
Valley Farms in April and May 2008 and aired to the public a month later. At
the time, government officials made repeated assurances regarding the plant's
Over six months later, the CFIA quietly ordered the plant closed citing
food safety concerns.
"Despite the attention given to this operation, this action shows that
there are major problems in Neudorf and quite possibly elsewhere," said
Sinikka Crosland, CHDC's Executive Director. "Only a full audit can begin to
deal with the real concerns that the public has with Canadian horse slaughter
"This is exactly the kind of problem that arose in the United States and
the reason, along with concerns associated with inhumane treatment, that saw
the US close every single one of its slaughter houses," added Ms. Crosland.
For further information: Sinikka Crosland, CHDC, (250) 768-4803 or go to
Edited press release
The New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. is proposing a task force that includes the New York Racing Association, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack and the New York State Racing and Wagering Board for the purpose of broadening programs that assist Thoroughbred owners forced with selling their horses while developing a policy that punishes any owner, breeder or trainer that either directly or indirectly contributes to an outcome where a horse is knowingly sent to slaughter.
“Regardless of the difficult economic conditions that touch virtually every business sector, we need an affirmative strategy that allows us to find a safe nurturing environment for thoroughbreds whose owners either can no longer afford to stable them or neglect them,” said Jeffrey A. Cannizzo, executive director of New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc.
The NYTB issued a resolution several years ago condemning the slaughter of horses for human consumption, and Cannisso said it is now stepping up its efforts to rally support for various rescue groups as the recession has placed several horse owners in dire economic straits and they need to be provided with humane options.
“Modest contributions would greatly aid the horse rescue groups that operate throughout New York and the nation,” said Cannizzo. “The recession cannot be made the convenient foil for the expedient disposal of thoroughbred horses by any one. There are means to deal with this emergency and, collectively, our industry will rally to lobby for appropriate solutions.”
Diana Pikulski, executive director of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, said, “No one can control the actions of people who are determined to do the “wrong” thing with their horses but you can come up with industry standards and rules, and ramifications for violation of those rules. And, the Thoroughbred industry needs to show the American public that it is taking affirmative steps to protect its horses by developing industry-wide funding mechanisms for humane retirement.”
Friday, April 3, 2009
Schweitzer vetoes, amends horse-slaughter bill
By The Independent Record - 4/3/09
Gov. Brian Schweitzer sent House Bill 418, the horse-slaughter bill, back to the Legislature for amendment, exercising his amendatory veto power.
Rep. Ed Butcher, who sponsored the bill, says he will fight the veto, which would send the measure back to Schweitzer for an up-or-down veto or signing.
Schweitzer’s amendments specifically address the limitations imposed upon the citizens of Montana to bring a legal challenge to a license approving a horse-slaughter facility. His proposed amendments would strike that from HB418. There are other amendments, too.
“I begin by saying that my proposed amendments do not prevent the licensing and operation of a horse slaughter facility in Montana,” Schweitzer wrote in a letter to Speaker of the House Bob Bergren. “My amendments retain those aspects of HB 418 that clarify existing law to ensure that a horse slaughter facility, if licensed to operate in Montana, conforms to Montana’s current laws pertaining to all livestock slaughter facilities. My amendments are focused on eliminating what I believe is the unnecessary and potentially harmful special treatment that would be granted to one particular industry under this bill.
“Before addressing my specific amendments, I want you to know that, like you, I believe horse owners must be responsible for the health and care of their animals. Like you, I believe it is unacceptable that any horse would be left starving or to die due to neglect. I also believe owners should have access to a legal method to put their horses down as necessary and appropriate — due to age, infirmity, or other legitimate circumstances.
“While I understand the value in licensing horse slaughter facilities, it is equally important that any facility approved to operate in Montana comply with this state’s health and environmental laws. Therefore, a person applying to license a horse slaughter facility who wishes to do so in accordance with Montana law has nothing to fear from the amendments I propose.”
Horse-slaughter measure is OK except for one thing
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Mar 3, 2009
Advises that law must balance horse and burro concerns with wildlife and ecosystem considerations
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Arizona Game and Fish Department Director Larry Voyles today told a congressional committee that a proposed bill that would change how free-roaming horses and burros are managed could result in adverse impacts to wildlife and habitat, as well as to the horses and burros the legislation seeks to further protect, and he offered several recommendations on ensuring a viable future for each.
Testifying on behalf of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Voyles told the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands that some aspects of the legislation, H.R. 1018, could alter the ecological balance of the habitat on which wildlife and horses and burros depend for their existence.
Acknowledging the challenges the subcommittee faces in considering both the human concerns for free-roaming horses and burros and concerns for healthy wildlife populations and rangelands in the western states, Voyles offered several recommendations:
1. Continue to limit free-roaming horse and burro herds to the areas where they were found upon enactment of the 1971 act.
2. Make law and policy drive refinement of methods (such as techniques modeled after wildlife population census studies) to accurately assess free-roaming horse and burro populations and accurately set “appropriate management levels” (AMLs) for horse and burros herds.
3. Federal agencies should continue to use AMLs as target numbers for managing free-roaming horse and burro herds.
4. Law and policy should facilitate research into innovative tools for herd management, including feasible and efficient removal and fertility control, as well as continued usage of practical tools such helicopters for inventory, roundup and removal efforts, where dictated by habitat conditions or management targets.
5. Congress must appropriate funds sufficient for the management of free-roaming horse and burro herds within AMLs and the land’s capacity to support them, as one component of diverse and thriving ecosystems.
“If we fail to manage the balance between free-roaming horses and burros and the capacity of the land to support them and the wildlife that depend on those lands, then the laws of nature will prevail and we will fail as stewards of all three: land, wildlife, and horses and burros,” said Voyles.
H.R. 1018 would amend the 1971 Wild Free-roaming Horses and Burros Act. Among other provisions, it would remove the limitations on areas where horses and burros can roam, require the creation of sanctuaries for these animals, bolster the Bureau of Land Management’s horse and burro adoption program, and change the circumstances and methods by which free-roaming horses and burros could be removed.
Voyles was one of several experts who provided testimony before the subcommittee on the proposed legislation.