Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Equine Welfare Alliance News and Press Release

January 18, 2011



John Holland



Vicki Tobin                        



Extremists Introduce Rash of Legislation against Animal Welfare

Chicago (EWA) - Each year, as state legislatures start their new sessions, there is a rash of new state bills. Invariably, many of these are ill advised, unconstitutional, or even irrational.

Early indications are that this year will prove to be record setting. Not only does much of the proposed animal related legislation violate federal law but it is a clear message from extremists in the Agricultural community of a total disregard for animal welfare and a deep vitriol for organizations that promote it.

The most glaring demonstration is two pieces of legislation introduced by Senator Tyson Larson in Nebraska. One bill, LB 305, calls for state inspectors for horse meat so the meat can be transported across state lines. Larson is a newcomer to the legislature and is probably not aware that his bill would be in violation of federal law.

The purpose of Larson's bill is to bring back a slaughter market for the horse industry which he feels was lost when the US slaughter plants were closed under Illinois and Texas laws. Larson is apparently unaware that the horse market was not affected by the US plant closings since the same volume of horses is being exported to Mexico and Canada for slaughter.

This type of legislation demonstrates the lack of understanding between the horse industry and the meat industry. The horse industry earns its billions from live horses doing what they were bred and raised to do. The income the industry receives for horses sent to slaughter is less than .03% of its revenues.

Moreover, these animals are not food animals and are not raised with the proper controls for human consumption. Rather than address the excess breeding of excess horses, the extremists advocate slaughter.

Yet, Larson's second bill, LB 306, sets a new standard for absurdity. The bill would allow humane societies and horse rescues to be charged with a class four misdemeanor for refusing to accept a horse! In other words, it would punish the very rescues who are trying to deal with the problem of excess breeding while leaving those causing the problem to profit.

This is nothing more than a continuation of the attack by Agriculture extremists on the Humane Society of the United States because of legislation they have promoted to make life more tolerable for food animals.

Larson was a speaker at the recent horse slaughter meeting in Las Vegas so it came as no surprise to see this irrational legislation being introduced. The entire purpose of the meeting was apparently to bash such animal protective organizations and to promote the myth that closing the US plants damaged the horse market.

Virginia delegate Robert Orrock introduced H.B. 1541 that would weaken the care of equines and farm animals (agricultural animals) by allowing water and feed to be withheld unless it would cause emaciation or dehydration. This is quite remarkable in light of the fact that medical science has long established that withholding feed and water causes emaciation and dehydration.

In addition, any animal found abandoned, deprived of care or mistreated would have to be sold instead of being placed for adoption or with a sanctuary. In other words, any animal abused by its owner would be guaranteed further abuse at the hands of the state.

Georgia introduced Sue Wallis'  "Food Freedom Act", also known as the "Wallis Road Kill Utilization Act". The bill would remove all regulation of food sold by a producer directly to a consumer. Whole milk, for example, would not be required to be pasteurized. In light of the recent increases in food recalls, this type of legislation only adds to public health concerns.

As 2011 unfolds, it is clear that the extremists in the Agriculture community are going to continue to try to blur the lines between food animals and non food animals and display their blatant disregard for both animal welfare and consumer protection.

Equine Welfare Alliance encourages all Americans to contact their state legislators and voice their concerns over the frivolous legislation and to oppose legislation removing animal protections. For additional information, please visit www.animallawcoalition.com.

The Equine Welfare Alliance is a dues free, umbrella organization with 134 member organizations. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids. www.equinewelfarealliance.org


Welfare Ranchers Form Bogus Wild Horse Committee to Control Mustang Policy

Chicago (EWA) - When the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners appointed a group of "wild horse experts" who were all public lands cattle ranchers to the new Feral Horse Committee to oversee wild horse issues, questions arose as to which horses, which issues, and who were the members of this new committee?

It was soon learned that one member of the committee was actually a former mustanger, others were members of various hunting committees for bobcats, coyotes, and other wildlife, and the chairman Mike Stremler, was actually a mountain lion bounty hunter for Nevada's wildlife commission receiving $1,800 for each lion killed. It was not clear how these men were qualified in any way to be called experts on wild horses.

Wild horse advocate's fears were realized when an article written by Stremler stated ranchers should stand on their state-owned water rights because wild horses had no legal "beneficial use" or right to drink Nevada's waters.

In a telephone conversation in November 2010, Stremler was asked if his plan was to let Nevada's wild horses die of thirst, which he quickly denied, stating that was entirely untrue and to deny Nevada's wild horses water was not the committee's intent at all.

However, now it appears that it was Stremler's reply that was entirely untrue.

According to a January 14th Associated Press article, Water use for wild horses questioned by Nev. panel,  the Feral Horse Committee has drafted a letter to the state engineer to request federal agencies to immediately remove Nevada's wild horses and burros for illegally drinking Nevada's waters.

It seems a plan has been underway for some time to call Nevada's wild horses "feral", and not define them as a wild life species.  Information from NDOW regarding "feral horses" was found on a Hunter's Alert site stating that feral horses will be examined as a "stand-alone" issue that will be addressed by the NBWC (Nevada Board of Wildlife Commission). They would create a committee "to develop position statements on habitat destruction by feral horses" and "issue continual position statements on habitat destruction by feral horses impacting wildlife."

Futher, they would "support proposal for creation of a maximum of two (2) horse ranches in Nevada to have a maximum of 1,000 'wild' horses where horses can run free, upon creation, all 'wild' or feral horses must be removed from all other Horse Management Areas statewide."

Obviously, the plans for Nevada's wild horses are going forward as previously planned.

Regardless of state law to recognize wild horses and burros as wildlife, they are a protected species under federal law. According to the 1971 Act, this means all unbranded and unclaimed horses and burros. Whether or not Nevada agencies choose to call them wild or feral, they are still federally protected animals, which assures their right to "beneficial use" of water.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1976 (Kleppe vs. New Mexico) that "where state laws conflict with the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, or with other legislation passed pursuant to the Property Clause, the law is clear: the state laws must recede ... "

Despite the ranchers' state owned water rights, the horses and burros remain federally protected as "components of the public lands" and are entitled to roam free in areas where they were as of the date of the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971.

This committee is basically asking the state engineer to instruct federal agencies to break federal law.

The committee is scheduled to meet today in Eureka, Nevada.


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