Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Slaughtergate Wins Award!

From The Radio-Television News Directors Association

The Radio-Television News Directors Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow's pursuit of excellence in journalism embodies the spirit of the awards that carry his name. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the broadcast news profession.

Listed below are the 2009 RTNDA Regional Murrow Award recipients….

Feature: Hard News
KHOU-TV, Houston, TX
Watch the winning entry

Also listed:

Feature Reporting
KOLD-TV, Tucson, AZ
Animal Defenders: Horse Slaughter
Watch the winning entry

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shagra Animal Miracles

Animal Miracles

Retired Race Horses Skip Slaughter House to Fight Crime

From Fox News

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NEWARK, N.J. — Broadway Kevin waited in the auction holding pen, a successful harness horses whose life was now worth less than the cost to take care of him.

If the local Amish farmers bought him, he'd spend his last years pulling carriages over the countryside. If the meat procurers won, a horse that went to the winner's circle five times would be shipped to Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered for meat to be sold in Europe and Japan.

Broadway Kevin caught a break: The 11-year-old was sold for $525 to a rescue group and became a member of the Newark Police Department's mounted patrol. Across the country, retired race horses like Broadway Kevin are finding new careers fighting crime.

Retired standardbreds and thoroughbreds have run downs hoodlums in Newark, thwarted car thieves in Richmond, Va., patrolled the streets of Omaha, Neb., and guarded the trails of some of the nation's most beautiful parks.

"The common trait among the race horses is that they are smart and they can learn their jobs. They are well suited for police work," said Jennifer Nagle, the adoption manager of the Standardbred Retirement Foundation in Hamilton, an organization that seeks homes for former harness horses who have either finished their racing careers or whose owners can no longer provide for them.

Overbreeding, the recession and the high cost of care has sent the number of unwanted horses spiraling. The last horse population census, done in 2005, showed 9.2 million horses in the United States, up from about 5.5 million in the mid-1990s, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Nagle said owners who used to call and offer one horse for adoption may now be seeking homes for five or six.

Last year, 98,963 U.S. horses were shipped to Canada and Mexico in 2008 for slaughter, according to Keith Dane, the society's director of equine protection.

Saving horses can be costly. Ellen Harvey, who is the executive director of Harness Racing Communications and works with rescue groups, said it cost $3,000 in rehabilitation and training to get Broadway Kevin, now named Saber, ready for his second career.

The recession is affecting some mounted police units. Boston plans to disband its 12-horse unit in July and Camden, N.J., plans to shut its unit because feed and veterinary costs are too high.

But in Newark and other cities, police say horses are a key part of their force.

Thirteen of Newark's 18 mounted horses are standardbreds and at least three others are thoroughbreds. Most of the standardbreds came from the retirement foundation, which has found new homes for more than 2,000 horses in its 20-year existence.

"Like humans, no two horses are the same," said Lt. Robert Marelli, director of the mounted unit in Newark. "Most have good temperaments, they are not highly excitable and are used to being around crowds from their racing days. I'm happy to give them a second chance here."

A few weeks ago, officer Dennis Dominguez was patrolling Broad and Market Streets in downtown Newark and saw three young men pummeling another man. When one of the suspects fled on foot, Dominguez tracked him down on his police horse named — what else — Justice.

"He thought he was going to get away, but you can't outrun these horses," Dominguez said. "This is what they do. They are thoroughbreds, they are race horses. I did what I had to do. I'm glad I caught him."

Sgt. Eric Bardon, officer in charge of Richmond's six-horse mounted unit, said even on the roadways, horses are an effective crime-fighting force. He recalled how three standardbreds help nab a car thief.

"The car was stopped at a light and we surrounded him," Bardon said. "The guy gave up. He really wasn't expecting it."

The horses help with more routine police work as well, helping patrol parking lots and schools.

Officer Anthony Matos in Newark said being on the mounted patrol the past two years has given him the feeling of being closer to the community.

"The kids love them (the horses) and the parents usually bring the kids up to us," Matos said as 3-year-old Kayla Perry walked up and petted Commander, who raced as Cunning Liar, winning 26 of 171 lifetime starts and nearly $300,000. His last win came at the Meadowlands on Feb. 10, 2007.

"We always get thanks for being out here, with the community. It goes a long way, a lot longer," Matos said.

Newark officer Erich Schroeder has fond memories of finding a child who was separated from his parents in a department store. He got off his horse, Bold Ruler, and let the child pet the animal until the boy's parents were located.

"The child wiped away his tears and he just thought the horse was the greatest thing in the world," Schroeder said.

Marelli, who has been a police officer for 39 years, the last 19 on Newark's mounted patrol, has to make sure horses the department receives are cut out for police work.

Once he gets a horse, Marelli has three weeks to decide whether these 1,200-pound athletes will make the grade. The keys are temperament, demeanor and ability to follow six commands — walk, stop, stand, back up, side left and side right.

If they don't make it, they are returned to the foundation.

"I have some horses that are juicy out in the street, but when it comes time to work, they put their heads down and do their job," Marelli said. "The officer doesn't have to think about them ... That's what I stress, relax and let the horse do his thing."

Brian Nelson, the senior officer in a 12-horse unit in Omaha, recently added a standardbred. A former colleague saw an advertisement from the Standardbred Retirement Foundation and they adopted Kevin's Charger — later renamed Smokey— from the Wisconsin-Indiana area.

"It was not a matter that we particularly wanted a standardbred, but we always heard good things about them, that they are stout, very sound and usually 'bombproof,"' Nelson said.

Besides working in police departments, some former harness horses have joined the military. Three serve as riderless horses at funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. Sergeant York, who was the riderless horse at the funeral for President Ronald Reagan, used to race at Freehold Raceway in New Jersey as Allaboard Jules.

The older Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., also has a novel program with prisons in eight states which allows inmates to care for horses.

"It's about caring for horses and saving lives," said executive director Diana Pikulski. "The horses need someone to care for them and love them, and the inmates need someone to care for and love."

All the Pretty Horses

From The Paper Tyger

Since I'm still in the midst of sorting out what's next, I thought I'd follow Merlin's advice to Wart (Arthur, in T.H. White's amazing The Once and Future King): when you are sad, learn something. And while I wouldn't say I'm exactly sad, I certainly am a bit rudderless, so learning can't be a bad thing.

As a life long horse lover (and animal lover in general) the whole issue of horse slaughter is one that is fairly new to me and utterly heartbreaking. The past two Triple Crown seasons I was glued to NYT reporter Joe Drape's blog, The Rail. He had a few guest bloggers and all of them were insightful or interesting and they each shed new light on different angles of the horse industry. One of the best was Alex Brown who writes and operates Alex Brown Racing in addition to galloping horses for Steve Asmussen at Woodbine in Canada. In addition to his coverage of Barbaro and his brothers, Nicanor and Lentenor, Mr. Brown is one of the most well-spoken and passionate advocates for horses and against horse slaughter.

I love all aspects of equestrian sport, from racing, to steeplechasing and eventing, but now as I am learning more about the industry--and yes, it seems it is an industry--that is horse slaughter, it is beyond disturbing. That we humans treat these regal creatures with so little respect is shameful. We love the sheer beauty of watching them run and compete, and seeing them give their all, but what happens after their career is done? It's not so much different from rescuing greyhounds after their racing days are over, but after reading a few of Mr. Brown's pieces it is difficult to imagine ever being at a racetrack without wondering what is to become of the gelding who came in last, or the filly who just never found her stride.

I'm off to read more of Mr. Brown's work, there are great links on his website (click on Alex Brown above) to some of the guest commentaries he's written and more about what we can all do. Take a few minutes and look around and see if you aren't moved to write a few letters in support of anti-slaughter legislation or to assist with retraining racehorses to be dressage or jumping horses.

Surely it seems naive to worry so much about horses when people don't treat each other very well in many cases. But how we treat animals, says a good deal about us as humans, too. I know that I won't be able to plead ignorance on this issue any longer, and hopefully, the more of people who are made aware by Mr. Brown's efforts, the more will want to take action. I'm late to this party, but I hope I can make up for lost time.

For all the beauty, grace, and strength that horses share with us, seeing that they live out their lives comfortably and happily--whether they are a Triple Crown winner or a colt who never won a race--seems a small effort on our part.
Posted by The Paper Tyger at Tuesday, June 23, 2009


From Mustang Heritage Foundation

Horsemen receive guaranteed $700 for 90 days training

The Mustang Heritage Foundation is doing what no other horse related organization in the nation has attempted – give a horse to a trainer for 90 days and guarantee $700 in payment, with the promise to help market the trainer and the horse to the public.

“This is the answer for many of our nation’s talented horsemen who are losing customers or have customers who can no longer pay to have their horses trained,” said MHF Executive Director Patti Colbert. “Through the Foundation’s Trainers Incentive Program (TIP), horsemen can receive up to four mustangs, gentle them and place them for adoption in a period of 90 days and receive $700 for each horse.”

Colbert added that the $700 creates a trickle down economic effect throughout the agriculture market through the continued purchase of grain, hay and horse care products. TIP can also help folks pursue new careers and support employment of those currently involved in farming and ranching, in addition to saving the U.S. government millions of dollars in the cost of feeding mustangs in long and short term holding facilities...read more.

Mustang Heritage Foundation | P.O. Box 703 | Bertram, Texas 78605 | (512) 355-3225 | (512) 355-2737 fax

The Mustang Heritage Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) public, charitable, nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating successful adoptions for America’s excess mustangs and burros. Founded in 2001, its mission is to help promote the Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Program and increase the number of successful adoptions.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

BLM Sets Wild Horse Adoption Day

From Native American Times

Written by W. Lee Morrow

WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will hold the first ever National Wild Horse Adoption Day on September 26, 2009. The goal of the event is the placement of 1,000 mustangs with private owners. According to the BLM this will save taxpayers $1.5 million.

The sponsors of National Wild Horse Adoption Day are especially interested in Native American involvement.

“We see the creation of National Wild Horse Adoption Day as an opportunity to bring attention to the history of America’s native peoples with the wild horse,” said Julie Bryant (Cherokee), spokesperson for the project. “Native Americans helped spread horses throughout the Great Plains and the West. Until the mid-twentieth century, horses continued to be released onto public lands by the U.S. cavalry, farmers, ranchers, and miners. Those horses mingled with those of the Native American to form the wild herds we see today.”

There are currently nearly 33,000 wild horses on western federal lands. The Wild, Free Roaming Horses and Burro Act of 1971 requires that the BLM control animal populations on lands it manages, in order to maintain a “thriving natural ecological balance.” Previously existing efforts have not adequately addressed these requirements.

“The current system of relying on a flat adoption market to sustain BLM mustang removal programs is an increasing drain on federal resources,” said Jerry Reynoldson, Adoption Day spokesperson. “There is an immediate need for a comprehensive, sophisticated, well managed and successful marketing and adoption program.”

Reynoldson, however, is quick to point out that there is more involved here than just saving the government money.

“The day a horseman or woman brings a mustang into their lives, is one they will remember forever,” Reynoldson said. “These iconic symbols bring a dimension to any horse lover’s experience that will help them deepen their understanding, skill and commitment to the relationship we all have experienced with these magnificent animals.”

Across the nation more than 65 events at approximately 25 locations will be held in support of Adoption Day from mid-September through mid-October. More information is available at the event website adoptawildhorse.com.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wildlife Takes Top Priority Under New Public Lands Management Blueprint

From New York Times, Energy and Environment

Published: June 18, 2009

A sweeping bill introduced last week in Congress would mandate that wildlife habitat preservation "should guide the stewardship of America's public lands," a policy that, if implemented, could upend current land management policies and create new challenges for renewable energy development across the West.

The bill, sponsored by Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.), is aimed at the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service, which must adhere to a "multiple-use" principle of land management that makes room for oil and gas drilling, minerals mining and timber harvesting alongside recreation and habitat protection.

"This legislation is badly needed to put wildlife on an equal footing with other sustainable uses of our federal lands," said Kind, the seven-term lawmaker from western Wisconsin, in a statement. "Unfortunately, in recent years we have seen an increasing emphasis on extractive uses to the detriment of wildlife species."

Environmentalists hailed the "America's Wildlife Heritage Act" as a landmark bill and the first comprehensive conservation legislation in 30 years. Among other things, they said it could steer wind farms and solar arrays away from sensitive wildlife habitat, and assist federal land managers developing wildlife corridors through which plants and animals could migrate north as the climate warms.

One of the bill's boldest provisions -- and one sure to draw fire from opponents -- is a measure requiring federal land managers to identify as many as 20 "focal species" for each land unit that would act as proverbial canaries in the coal mine with respect to potentially harmful activities.

"Fish and wildlife have taken a back seat to oil and gas leasing and other uses of federal lands for too long," and Kind's bill would "level the playing field as our nation's multiple-use laws have always intended," said Steve Williams, president of the nonprofit Wildlife Management Institute, which has lobbied Congress on wildlife issues for nearly a century.

BLM spokeswoman Melodie Lloyd said the agency had no comment on the America's Wildlife Heritage Act and how it might affect operations. Forest Service spokesman Joseph Walsh also declined to comment on the bill.

But observers agree the legislation continues a trend of ambitious conservation proposals emerging from the 111th Congress that, if passed, would significantly raise the bar for federal land protection and preservation.

The "Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009," approved by Congress in March, designated 2.1 million acres of federal land as wilderness -- almost as much land as the 2.4 million acres designated during the entire eight years of the Bush presidency. Lands in the National Wilderness Preservation System are off-limits to any kind of energy development and mining activity.

Meanwhile, Congress is considering the "Northern Rockies Ecosystem Preservation Act," which would designate 24 million acres as wilderness in five Western states. That bill, which remains before the House Resources Committee, has attracted 92 cosponsors but has no companion bill in the Senate and no endorsement from the White House.

The America's Wildlife Heritage Act could prove even harder to get past energy-minded Republicans and an Obama administration that remains committed to expanding the nation's renewable energy infrastructure across tens of millions of acres of public lands.

For one, it would remove much of the discretion afforded federal land managers who have traditionally given wildlife preservation equal footing with energy production, mining and recreation as they developed management plans for federal lands. Advocates of the new bill say the curtailment of such discretion will eliminate radical shifts in policy that often come with changes in presidential administrations.

In lieu of open-ended management, BLM and the Forest Service would have to "plan for and manage" their lands in such a manner as to "maintain sustainable populations of native species and desired non-native species within each planning area," according to the bill, which defines a planning area as an individual BLM or Forest Service unit.

Impeding energy development

But the legislation also directs BLM and the Forest Service to "ensure that any activity authorized, funded, or carried out within the planning area does not increase the likelihood" of harming wildlife populations in those areas.

Some fear such language could be interpreted by land managers as a way to stop or slow development of renewable energy projects on federal lands.

"I don't want to be the guy who says energy development is more important than animals," said Mike Olsen, a former Department of Interior senior administrator who now works in the environmental strategies group at the law firm Bracewell & Giuliani. "But we need to get our energy somewhere, and experts are saying that federal lands are going to play an increasing role in energy development in this country. If there's legislation and other steps being taken to place more emphasis on other uses of federal land, I think that's going to be problematic."

Lakeisha Harrison, a spokeswoman for the American Petroleum Institute, said her members are concerned the new legislation would add an additional layer of regulation to an already rigorous permitting process for oil and gas companies.

"There are already regulations in place that are more than adequate for protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat through the Endangered Species Act and the [National Environmental Policy Act] process, and this would be a redundant and unnecessary set of regulations that could create delays for the industry," she said.

To Olsen and others, the bill is the latest in a series of congressional proposals that have left energy officials confused and placed President Obama in the difficult position of having to decide between conservation initiatives and his own administration's push to expand the use of renewable energy.

The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by Obama in February includes billions of dollars in tax incentives and government loans and grants for renewables. Meanwhile, BLM and the Forest Service last year announced they would open up to 190 million acres to geothermal energy development, with BLM later amending its plans to include solar and wind projects.

In addition, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has made expanding the electric transmission system a top priority. His first secretarial order in March made the production and delivery of renewable energy a top priority for the department, with a key piece being the securing of rights of way for new transmission in the West.

Peter Nelson, federal lands program director for Defenders of Wildlife, said the bill's intent is not to prevent wind farms, solar arrays and geothermal power plants on BLM and Forest Service land from being built. Rather, he said, the legislation calls for energy projects to be designed in a way that sustains wildlife populations.

"That should be everyone's goal," Nelson said. "Not constraining [energy production] activity, but promoting intelligent siting."

Challenge of global warming

Another of the bill's goals is to ensure that federal land managers begin the process of identifying and preserving undeveloped migration corridors that will ease the gradual shift of plants and animals as their traditional habitats become unsuitable due to climate change.

The legislation states that federal land "will play an important role in the ability of fish, plants, and wildlife to adapt to and survive global warming's mounting impacts."

The International Panel on Climate Change estimates average temperatures in the United States could warm 7 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. Scientists have calculated that for every increase of 1.8 degrees, the U.S. vegetation belt shifts 60 miles north or 550 feet higher in elevation.

As the vegetation moves, thousands of species will rely on the nation's remaining undeveloped spaces to seek out new habitat.

But because so much of the nation's 624 million acres of federal land are crossed by highways, transmission lines and other infrastructure, wildlife biologists, environmental groups and some policymakers are promoting more heavily the idea of establishing national wildlife corridors.

The America's Wildlife Heritage Act is one of three legislative efforts before Congress that touch on the issue of wildlife corridors. The others are the "Climate Change Safeguards for Natural Resources Conservation Act" and the "Border Security and Responsibility Act," which among other things discusses restoring wildlife migration routes severed by the controversial U.S.-Mexico border fence (Land Letter, April 30). Rep. Raúl Grijalva, (D-Ariz.), is the chief sponsor of both bills.

Though the "America's Wildlife Heritage Act" lacks specific instructions on how BLM and the Forest Service should meet their mandate to "develop strategies to address the impacts of climate change," Nelson said wildlife corridor development will be a centerpiece of implementing the law, should it pass.

Other influential groups that have endorsed the corridor concept include the Western Governors' Association, which in 2007 passed a resolution urging federal land managers, the energy industry and conservation groups to "identify key wildlife migration corridors and crucial wildlife habitats in the West" and make recommendations on what needs to be done to preserve them. The governors also established the Western Governors' Wildlife Council to identify the corridors and help develop policy options for preserving them.

One model that BLM and the Forest Service could use for establishing such corridors comes from the nonprofit sector.

For more than a decade, the Wildlands Network has coordinated efforts to carefully plot migration corridors that link public lands already protected under state and federal statutes. The group's Western director, Kim Vacariu, said those efforts have involved both BLM and the Forest Service as well as private landowners who have agreed to voluntarily set aside property to aid wildlife migrations (Land Letter, Dec. 18, 2008).

Eventually the network hopes to establish a 5,000-mile wildlife corridor from Mexico to Alaska to be called the "Spine of the Continent Wildway." Passage of the Wildlife Heritage Act will provide an important step toward making that corridor a reality, Vacariu said.

Scott Streater is a freelance journalist based in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Copyright 2009 E&E Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

Save Cloud & His Herd

What You Can Do to Help Save Cloud's Herd and America's Wild Horses

Over 40% of America’s wild horses have been removed from the wild from 2000-2008 alone and if the agency responsible for managing our wild horses, the Bureau of Land Management, does not change we are in danger of losing the last of our wild horses. Over 100 herds have been zeroed out from the over 19 million acres legally designated for their use. The BLM needs to return wild horses to these areas—over 30,000 are currently in government holding.


As few as 13,600 wild horses remain in designated public land herd areas in ten western states in America, among them is Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountain area of Montana and Wyoming. Only 25% of our wild herds are currently at genetically viable population levels! Cloud’s herd is one of these although a massive round-up planned for August 2009 would change this. The round-up would result in 60 horses losing their families and their freedom, including some horses who have lived their entire 20+ years in the wild. We must stop the destruction of Cloud’s herd and work for the sustainable future of all our wild horse herds across the west. Congressmen Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) have stepped forward to make real and positive changes to the Wild Horse and Burro program with their recently introduced bill HR 1018. Please write to them to thank them for their hard work. You can read Ginger Kathrens’ comments and suggestions to the congressmen here.

Here is a short list of government contacts -- please write, e-mail and/or call on behalf of Cloud and all our wild mustangs.

Contact the following agencies and representatives



President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Comment line: 202-456-1111

1. Stop the BLM from managing our wild horses to extinction.
2. Halt all round-ups of wild horses until range conditions and herd numbers can be verified.
3. Return wild horses in holding to the 100+ herd areas (19+ million acres) that have been zeroed out.
4. Expand the Pryor Mountain. Wild Horse Range for Cloud’s Herd & protect herd at viable population level of at least 150 adult horses until range is expanded.

Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV)
2307 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-3452

Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
1440 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
ph (202) 225-2435
fax (202) 225-1541
Email to: Laurel.Angell@mail.house.gov

Your US Senators and Congress people

Montana Senator Max Baucus (D)—specific to Cloud’s herd
511 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510, phone: 202-224-2651
e-mail from: http://baucus.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm

Montana Senator Jon Tester (D)—specific to Cloud’s herd
204 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510,
phone: 202-224-2644, e-mail from: http://tester.senate.gov/Contact/

Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee:
304 Dirksen Senate Building, Washington, DC 20510
phone: (202) 224-4971, Fax: (202) 224-6163, e-mail all 23 members at http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.Home
Reinstate wild horse protections removed in 2004 by the Burns Rider and include language in the bill that would prevent BLM from destroying healthy wild horses.



1. Work to expand the legal boundaries of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range to include the historic and current use areas in the Custer National Forest. This will allow for a truly viable herd of 200-300 mustangs.
2. Keep the population at a viable number of at least 150 adults until range expansion is achieved. This will allow for the preservation of the rare Spanish genetics of the herd. Bringing in horses from other herds is ill advised, unnecessary and costly.
3. Do not remove older horses
4. Work to protect the mountain lions that have kept the herd at zero population growth in years past. Natural management should be the goal.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar \
DOI, 1849 C Street NW, Washington DC 20240
Phone: 202-208-7351, exsec@ios.doi.gov

BLM Acting Director Ron Wenker & Acting Deputy Director Mike Nedd
1849 C Street NW, Washington DC, 20040, phone: 202-208-3801 Ron_Wenker@blm.gov, Mike_Nedd@blm.gov

Don Glenn BLM Division Chief of Wild Horse and Burro Program
BLM Washington Office, 1849 C Street NW, Rm. 5665 Washington DC 20240
Phone: 1-800-710-7597 or 202-208-3801, Fax: 202-208-5242, wildhorse@blm.gov

Jim Sparks, Field Manager BLM -Billings Field Office
5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, MT 59101
phone (406) 896-5223, fax (406) 896-5281

United States Department of Agriculture
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
Email: AgSec@usda.gov

Ask the following people to please work with the BLM to expand the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range to include the historic and current use areas in the Custer National Forest. This will allow for a truly viable herd of 200-300 mustangs.

• Abigail Kimbell, Chief USDA Forest Service
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C.

phone: (202) 205-1661, e-mail: akimbell@fs.fed.us
• Mary Erickson, Acting Forest Supervisor- Custer National Forest
PO Box 130, Bozeman, MT 59771,
p. 406-587-6701, mcerickson@fs.fed.us
• Chris Worth, Acting Deputy Supervisor
1310 Main Street, Billings, MT 59105
phone: 406-657-6200, cworth@fs.fed.us

Please write letters to the editor, ask that your favorite radio and TV hosts cover this story and last but not least, please tell your friends and family about wild horses and ask them to join the Cloud Foundation in helping to protect and preserve wild horses on our public lands.

List compiled by The Cloud Foundation, March, 2009 ~ www.thecloudfoundation.org


Cloud's grandchildren, Arrow & Image: two who could be removed

The Road to Paradise

Woman Leads Horse on Trek Across the US

By Tod Westlake

NAPANOCH – Ann Byrns had never intended to own a horse, let alone lead one on a walk across the United States. But now she's doing just that.

Having lost her business, a mailing and shipping franchise in Storrs, Connecticut, Byrns found that she was unable to afford the stabling fees for the mustang — named Winnie, after her mother — that she had acquired by accident several years earlier at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auction.

This presented a dilemma. She could give the horse away, but she had become very attached to Winnie. She could ship Winnie across the country, but she didn't have the money to do so.

"I thought, 'I can't leave this horse,"' says Byrns. "And I couldn't afford a trailer. But you know what? I have two good legs."

Now Byrns is leading Winnie across the United States to her daughter's small farm in Paradise, California, where the pair will enjoy a frugal retirement.

In the interim, Byrns and Winnie have quite a trek in front of them. The pair started out their nation-wide journey in early June, leaving from western Massachusetts and heading south toward Pennsylvania. The Journal caught up with Byrns and Winnie at the Loosestrife Farm in Napanoch, where the owners Myron and Jean Langer had been gracious enough to offer shelter for Ann and Winnie while they took a short respite from the road.

"I kind of got this horse by accident," says Byrns.

She says that she visited the BLM auction out of curiosity, and that she had never intended to take on the burden of caring for a horse — let alone a mustang that, until a few months earlier, had been running wild on the plains of the western United States.

But there were six horses that had received no bids, and several of those had "three strikes" on them, meaning that they had been auctioned three times with no interest from bidders. This meant that the horses could be destroyed.

"After they've been to three auctions, they can dispose of them," Byrns says.

A friend then offered Byrns a temporary shelter for the horse. And since she had been an avid rider in her youth, she figured that, at the very least, she was doing a good deed in rescuing Winnie.

Thus Winnie and Ann began their relationship. Over the following year, Byrns set out to gain Winnie's trust.

"I started out with a DVD on horse taming," she says. "I used a bamboo pole to begin touching her withers."

After a few weeks of this, Byrns was able to get closer to Winnie. Eventually, she was able to touch Winnie with her hands. She then began to treat the sores Winnie had developed from the halter she was wearing, and before long Ann had won Winnie over.

"Once she trusted me, she was easy to train," says Byrns. "But it took a lot of patience."

Shortly after this, Ann's business collapsed, yet another victim of the economic downturn. Byrns says that she then became depressed.

"I was having trouble getting out of bed in the morning," she says. "But I had to get up to take care of this horse."

It was the caring for Winnie — day in, day out — that kept her emotionally grounded during the crisis.

"I really feel that she rescued me," says Byrns.

So, what started out as a pairing-up by necessity has became one of choice, as the two are now inseparable.

Byrns also realizes that she has a very long way to go if she's going to reach Paradise, a California town situated just north of Sacramento. She just hopes to make it to her uncle's place in Ohio before the winter sets in. After the cold weather ebbs, she'll continue her trek west.

Ann also hopes to lead Winnie along a section of the Santa Fe Trail in homage to Ann's mother, who, in 1925, at the age of twelve, drove the family livestock from New Mexico to more fertile land in western Colorado.

"It's hard to believe some of the things people used to do to get by," says Byrns.

As for now, the duo will continue south toward eastern Pennsylvania. Along the way they hope to encounter kind-hearted souls who might be willing to stable Winnie for a night or two.

And Byrns isn't alone in her endeavor. She has some outside assistance from her friend Mark McPartland, who keeps tabs on her progress and comes to her assistance as necessary. In fact, McPartland was in Napanoch on the day of this interview, having come to replace Ann's dead cell phone.

Later that afternoon, Ann's Bluetooth headset in place, the two hit the road again.

Byrns sees her trek west not just as a chance to save a single horse, but also as an opportunity to highlight the plight of the wild mustangs of the west, horses whose range continues to dwindle due to encroachment by ranchers.

"There's a debate as to whether these horses use too much rangeland," Byrns says.

Byrns herself has no doubt that wild mustangs are worth saving.

"After all, she saved me," Byrns says, as Winnie, oblivious to her fortunate turn of fate, munches away on the onion grass nearby.

If you are interested in keeping tabs on Ann and Winnie's progress, you can do so by visiting Byrns's website, walkingwithwinnie.com. Also, if you can assist them on their journey, you can contact Ann by email at ann@walkingwithwinnie.com or by phone at (860) 463-1477.

Save the Date: Horses on the Hill

Save the Date: Horses on the Hill

AWI June 09 Horse only
Please mark your calendar and join us in Washington, DC on July 14th to meet with your legislators and show your support for America’s horses and the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503/S. 727). The last Horses on the Hill was a huge success, let’s make this one even bigger and better!

As plans unfold for the daylong event you can start right now by signing up to attend. Please send an email to blair@awionline.org telling us if you plan on attending. Feel free to email if you have any questions.

Then follow these steps:

1. Visit AWI’s Compassion Index to find your US Representative and two US Senators. Enter your zip code and hit go.
2. Call their offices and ask to speak with their animal staffer, let them know you are a constituent. Schedule a meeting on July 14th between 10 am and 4 pm. You will be scheduling a total of three meetings (one in US House, two in US Senate). You can ask to meet with your legislator, as well, but meeting with the animal staffer is very beneficial. Questions about calling Capitol Hill? Click here.
3. After you set your meetings, come back to AWI’s Compassion Index and fill out the form with your meeting information. This will help us both coordinate your meetings and follow up after you leave. We will provide specific information (brochures, fact sheets, etc…) that will help in your meetings.
4. Send this email to everyone you know and ask them to join us in Washington, DC on July 14th for America’s horses.
5. Make your travel plans to join us on Capitol Hill. DC is a great summer destination. There are lots of things to do.

If you have any questions please email Blair at blair@awionline.org. We look forward to seeing you all on July 14th. Be sure to bookmark http://www.horsesonthehill.org and check back often for updates and new information.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Interesting exchange between Paula Bacon and Ed Butcher

Publishing this with permission:

Letter received from Butcher

Sorry—this propaganda is the “myth”—no one is trying to get Americans eating horses. This is not being pushed by the “horse slaughter industry”—but rather by horse breeders, ranchers, and other horse people who live in the real world. As a matter of fact when I called the CEO of one of the European companies, he laughed at me and asked why should he invest $5 to $6 Million in constructing a plant in the United States if they were going to be harassed. He has no problem building the plant and operating it according to any reasonable laws in the U.S., but can breed and kill horses for meat in Eastern Europe much easier than dealing with a bunch of U.S. “nut cases”. The horse processing is critical for the American horse industry if we are going to raise horses in the U.S.. Our other option is to encourage Mexico (who also eat horse meat) to increase their slaughter facilities, but as horse owners, we would rather control how the horses are handled by strict regulations.

All business must make a profit to stay in business so quite being such a socialist—governments raise taxes to run business which are usually totally inefficient—it takes money to operate any business, but that is not the driving force behind our efforts to provide a processing alternative.

The Texas mayor’s family whose goal was to run out the processing plant in order to develop adjacent property which they owned. The kind of health issues of “blood running down the streets and clogging drains…” which they are claiming would not be tolerated by any health department in the United States—I cannot believe that you would be dumb enough to ever believe this kind of nonsense if you simply gave it some basic thought!!

The numbers presented in your article are not accurate—first of all there are 130,000 to 150,000 extra horses which have been processed every year for years—60,000 to 80,000 per year are shipped to Mexico for processing which has been increased the past couple of years because there are no plants in the U.S. since 2007. The Indian reservations and government land operators are facing serious problems with horses being dumped off to get rid of them. The sale yards have to lock their gates at night to avoid having alleys full of dumped off horses. This is the true facts—not the nonsense you have attached below. Ranchers simply go over a hill and shoot their surplus horses and let the scavengers feed on their carcass—this is what is going on in the “real world.” Why don’t you pass the facts around instead of this e-mail “shop-worn” misinformation. (I have gone to their original web-sites as well as having received dozens from naïve people such as yourself)—get educated instead of making yourself look foolish to people who understand the issue.


Ed Butcher

Response from Paula:

June 8, 2009

Mr. Butcher:

I take great offense at your spreading such misleading and inane representations of my motives for visiting the great state of Montana . Your misinformation regarding my supposed property holdings near the horse slaughter plant is completely fallacious.

You would have to pass a hospital, a daycare center, a pharmacy, professional buildings, a nursing school, two neighborhoods, a large apartment complex, a city park, a convenience store, a BBQ eatery, several other assorted businesses and offices, the TOWN SQUARE , and more before arriving at my family’s closest property to the horse slaughter plant (P.G. Bacon Lumber Co., “Friendly service since 1896”).

I testified to the Montana Senate Agriculture Committee because the horse slaughter plant was a perfectly horrible part of our community, and in fact, they literally had blood running in the streets at one point. As a result the City of Kaufman was sued by the State and we sued the horse slaughter plant. These are facts of record.

Documents I submitted to the Montana Senate Agriculture Committee are based upon factual information, much of which is excerpted from City staff reports regarding the horse slaughter plant. 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."

Still more documents reference, "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" [this predating their 600-gallon blood spill], 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."

I could go on for a very long time with a litany of the horse slaughter plant’s damaging presence in this community and in the U.S. For example, records subpoenaed by the City revealed the horse slaughter plant paid $5 in federal income tax on $12 million dollars in sales on their last tax return, selling to themselves at a loss so that profits only surface overseas. But I fear it would be wasted. Perhaps it is your own inability for what you refer to as "some basic thought" that contributes to your willful denial of available and verifiable facts.

Your disinterest in the facts and fatuous remarks, especially concerning the cruel and predatory practices of horse slaughter is in my opinion, the height of arrogance and poor public service. To put it in the kindest terms possible, you do not understand the issue--though I suspect you could if you wanted to.

Regarding your wanton disregard for facts in evidence in an effort to discredit me regarding property holdings and my motives for going to Montana , I request of you an immediate apology and retraction along with this letter, communicated to all those recipients of your distorted epistle, and to me, as is my legal right. Absent receipt of same, I will be forced to assume you are a lesser man than I had believed.


Paula Bacon

Welfare group comment on arabian slaughter position

From: Horsetalk Magazine

Welfare group comment on Arabian slaughter position

June 17, 2009

by John Holland

I found the justifications of their pro-slaughter resolution put forward by the Arabian Horse Association officials in the Jurga Report, and cited in Horsetalk.co.nz, to be most enlightening. They give a graphic indication of the true nature of the "extensive research" mentioned in the original AHA pro-slaughter resolution.

Glen Petty is quoted as saying: "Compelling reasons for passage of the motion were conditions at Mexican slaughter facilities and at a growing numbers of farms in the US." I would agree about the conditions in Mexico, but most other slaughter proponents do not. These proponents site the AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) which claims to have inspected the Mexican slaughter plants recently and found them to be humane. This was also reported in the Jurga Report. So which is it?

But the second part of this statement is clearly an attempt to associate the effects of the economic downturn with the closing of the US slaughter plants. The linkage could only be true if the number of horses being slaughtered had significantly decreased.

However, exports simply replaced domestic slaughter and the number of American horses slaughtered in 2008 (over 134,000) was the second highest of any year since 1995. It is therefore impossible to assign any effect to a decline in slaughter that never happened.

The study we did last year established that there had been no observable increase in abuse and neglect through the beginning of 2008, but it did find a linkage between unemployment and neglect. Prophetically it warned in the conclusions that a downturn in the economy could cause an increase in neglect nationwide.

This would all be questionable enough, but Petty continued: "It was felt humane slaughter and government regulation was a better alternative to the growing inhumane conditions that have occurred as unintended consequences caused by the passage of HB503."

This is the most illuminating statement of all. First, the bill number was not HB503, but H.R.503, and more tellingly, it passed only the House of Representatives in the 109th Congress and did not become law. A bill with the same number is pending in the current congress. So again, Petty is using the effects of something that did not happen as a justification for their resolution.

If there was any lingering doubt about the nature of the "extensive research" upon which the AHA's resolution was based, Mr Petty has certainly removed it with his explanation.

Horse slaughter in the news

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.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Arabian committee at odds with Arabian Horse Association’s resolution on horse slaughter

From Equine Welfare Alliance

June 14, 2009


Contacts: John Holland


Vicki Tobin


Arabian committee at odds with Arabian Horse Association’s resolution on horse slaughter

CHICAGO, (EWA) – Subsequent to an Equine Welfare Alliance press release (June 9, 2009) calling attention to the Arabian Horse Association’s (AHA) passing a resolution in support of horse slaughter, the AHA Rescue and Rehoming Subcommittee, chaired by Carol Darnell, who is also chair of the Arabian Horse Foundation’s Rescue and Rehoming Advisory Panel, took strong exception to the AHA move, issuing the following position statement:

“We, the members of the Rescue/Rehoming Subcommittee of the Equine Stress, Research and Education Committee of AHA, take serious issue with the recent BOD action in support of equine slaughter.”

“Quite aside from the reality that some of the membership of AHA does support slaughter,” the release continued, “we believe it to be inappropriate for our BOD to take any position whatsoever on such a passionate and divisive issue, especially without polling our membership for consensus or consulting with our two rescue entities within the AHA/AHF complex. We believe it should be the role of a breed promotion organization to support husbandry practices and organizational goals which sustain our horses, rather than endorse practices which enable irresponsible husbandry at the horses' expense.”

The committee went on to say, “On a practical level, the negative response by much of the Arabian community and the equine community as a whole, along with significant negative press, is damaging to the organization at a time when we can ill-afford such damage, especially when it is self-inflicted.

We, along with many others in the Arabian horse community, are striving to have the BOD revisit and reconsider the action taken.”

The original press release issued to media outlets by the AHA led readers to believe the AHF was involved in the passing of the resolution. The AHF has a separate BOD, functions independent of the AHA and was not involved in the discussion and passing of this motion.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Documents Reveal BLM Secret Plan to Destroy Wild Horses


June 11, 2009- for immediate release
Documents Reveal BLM Secret Plan to Destroy Wild Horses
Documents obtained from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) via the Freedom of Information Act by a Phoenix-based non-profit, The Conquistador Program, reveal shocking and detailed plans to destroy healthy wild horses in government holding facilities as well as those still remaining in the wild on public lands.
BLM employees as well as a USDA veterinarian held weekly “Implementation Team” meetings beginning in July of 2008 in which they discussed and developed strategies aimed at ridding BLM of thousands of mustangs. In October they completed a 68 page document entitled “Alternative Management Options”. Tactics included in this document are reminiscent of those used to wipe out Native American tribes in the 1800s.
The BLM team created scenarios for killing mustangs using barbiturates, gun shots, or captive bolts. Bodies would be disposed of through rendering, burial or incineration. They discussed killing 1200-2000 wild horses per year. The document states that “the general public would be prohibited from viewing euthanasia.” Additionally, the Team felt that “increased support from public relations and management staff would also be needed to insulate those doing the actual work from the public, media and Congressional scrutiny/criticism.”
“Minutes from these meetings as well as the Draft Plan reveal what amounts to ‘the final solution’ for the American mustang,” states Ginger Kathrens, filmmaker and Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “Despite a huge outcry from the American public last year regarding BLM plans to kill wild horses in holding, the agency is still pressing forward with a plan to destroy our American mustangs both on and off the range.”
Division Chief of the Wild Horse and Burro Program Don Glenn told The Cloud Foundation that “no decision has been made to move forward on a large scale with this plan, yet.”
BLM meeting minutes speak for themselves. “Security at facilities and at gathers would need to be increased to combat eco-terrorism. Having the people that are willing to put down healthy horses at gather sites could be a problem. Having vets putting down healthy horses at preparation facility[ies] could also be a problem.” Meeting minutes reveal the psychological toll that employees would pay—“have counseling for employees and contractors that have to euthanize the healthy horses because it is very stressful.”
The report created an option in which wild horses of all ages could be sold “without limitation”. In other words, horses could be sold directly to killer buyers in unchecked numbers. The Team admitted that “some wild horses will go to slaughter”.
“Once they are gone, they’re gone” says Karen Sussman, President of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros. “To lose this incomparable species would be a travesty.”
Team Members formulated ways in which they could circumvent the National Environmental Policy Act, asking “How many (wild horses) could be euthanized during a gather (roundup) without having NEPA?” BLM discussed ways to circumvent the federal carcass disposal law (43 CFR 4730.2). Conversations included how many wild horses could be rendered at the Reno Rendering plant or “disposed of in pits”. The Team concluded that “there will not be large numbers of horses euthanized during gathers or in the field. This is due to state environmental laws.”
Recommendations include the creation of gelding herds, and sterilization of mares to create non-reproductive herds in the wild in place of natural herds. The team recommended changing the sex ratio from the normal 50% males and 50% females to 70% males and 30% females. Then the experimental two-year infertility drug, PZP-22, would be given to all mares that are returned to the wild. Plans call for rounding up the wild horses every two years to re-administer the drug.
“Mares on the drug will cycle monthly and, with the altered sex ratio, the social chaos will be dangerous and on-going,” Kathrens explains. “Any semblance of normal wild horse society will be completely destroyed.”
Kathrens has spent 15 years in the wild documenting mustang behavior for her PBS television documentaries which chronicle the life story of Cloud, the now famous pale palomino stallion she has filmed since birth. “Even Cloud and his little herd in Montana are in serious danger if BLM implements these options,” she continues. “The BLM plans a massive round up in Cloud’s herd beginning August 30, 2009.”
The BLM will not guarantee that Cloud and his family will remain free.
The BLM documents referred to above and photos of wild horses are available from The Cloud Foundation.
The Cloud Foundation, Inc.
107 South 7th St.
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
719-633-3896 (fax)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

GAO Asked to Investigate Cruelty to Horses

From Animal Law Coalition: GAO Asked to Investigate Cruelty to Horses

Posted Jun 11, 2009 by lauraallen

* Horse Slaughter

Obama and Vilsack asked to push for ban on horse slaughter

Ithaca, New York (June 10, 2009) The Animal Law Coalition and Animals Angels have asked the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) to investigate gross violations of humane laws and regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in connection with the commercial slaughter of horses.

The request for a GAO investigation comes in the wake of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents which were subsequently released by the USDA. Alarming cruelty and violations of regulations were documented in several hundred photos taken during 2005 at U.S. slaughterhouses by USDA investigators.



Though horse slaughter ended in the U.S. in 2007, American horses are still sold for slaughter in Mexico and Canada. Proponents of horse slaughter have insisted on the re-opening of horse slaughter plants, saying U.S. laws protect horses from cruelty unlike Mexico and Canada.

Documents and photos released by the USDA, however, refute such claims. The FOIA shows horses bound for slaughter in the U.S. endured shockingly cruel treatment. Photographs documented horses with legs ripped off, eyeballs hanging on their cheeks and other severe injuries.

Earlier GAO documents raise additional disturbing humane issues. A 2004 GAO report found horses were slaughtered while conscious, which are considered significant violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.

Sonja Meadows, Executive Director of Animals' Angels, a Maryland based animal welfare organization, said, "We are asking the GAO to thoroughly examine the ineffectiveness of laws in preventing documented cruelty and inhumane practices. It seems clear from the USDA FOIA, earlier GAO reports, ours and others' investigations, that horse slaughter is a predatory business whose economics require cruel and inhumane practices. It is definitely not, as horse slaughter advocates would have the public believe, a service motivated by altruistic concerns or humane practices."

Horses are slaughtered for consumption overseas, primarily in parts of Europe and Asia. A USDA study shows that 92% of the American horses at slaughter are young, healthy and without behavioral problems, refuting claims that horse slaughter provides a service in disposing of horses that are old, lame, sick or crazy.

Meadows said, "Irrefutable evidence of brutality is already quite plentiful, unfortunately. We believe the GAO's report will be the definitive wakeup call to the new USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and the Obama administration to push for an immediate ban on horse slaughter."


A copy of the request for a GAO investigation is attached at the end of this article along with Exhibits 1, 2, and 3 also submitted with the request.

Go here to review the documents including photos released by the USDA.

For additional information on horse slaughter investigations and information regarding the export of horses for slaughter, go to http://www.animals-angels.com/.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Humane and Optimal Restoration and Sustainability of Equines (H.O.R.S.E.) Act

From the United Organizations of the Horse

A VERY dangerous bill that does not address the over-breeding issue AT ALL.

The Humane and Optimal Restoration and Sustainability of Equines (H.O.R.S.E.) Act

[Proposed Legislation for introduction in the US Congress]

Horse owners and concerned citizens from across the Nation have come together with real solutions to ensure the humane care, management, and euthanasia of horses; to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of the equine industry; to restore the market for all horses; and to restore the habitat, and ensure well-managed sustainability for free-roaming wild herds on federal lands.

The current federal legislation pertaining to horses, H.R. 503 – Prevention of Cruelty to Equines, its corresponding Senate bill S. 727, and H.R. 1018 – amending the Free Wild Roaming Horses and Burros Act are all misguided “feel good” bills that at first glance, and to a misinformed, emotionally manipulated public seem to protect horses—while, in fact, they do exactly the opposite. These bills and their horrific unintended consequences would institutionalize and codify a miserable, cruel, and barbaric death for hundreds of thousands of horses. Horses suffer from starvation, abandonment, and neglect by owners unable to sell or give their horses away. Ultimately, these bills would spell the end to the use and enjoyment of horses by American citizens. No country can afford to support an unchecked population of any species over the long term.

Concerned citizens who sincerely seek the well-being of horses should understand that animals of all kinds require management and control. No jurisdiction in the country allows feral animals or native wildlife to reproduce unchecked to the point where they have eliminated their resource base, are starving and dying, and destroying the environment for all other species. The same immutable laws of nature apply to horses. To protect people and the environment, horses must be adopted or used by someone who has the resources to care for them, or be humanely euthanized, just like the local animal shelter euthanizes other animals that are not adopted. Agencies and owners responsible for all forms of wildlife need to control numbers to preserve the resource base, and maintain ample deer, elk, bears, and wolves—so must we control numbers of wild horses and burros to ensure that our children and grandchildren can enjoy their presence on our public lands.

Euthanasia is defined as a “good death” that is quick, painless and stress-free as possible. After euthanasia is provided, all legal, moral and ethical obligations for the well-being and care of that animal cease. How the carcass is disposed of, or utilized, is entirely the prerogative, right, and responsibility of the animal’s owner. For animals that have been trusted companions, loyal partners, and pets, this will generally mean a respectful burial or cremation depending on the owner’s philosophy and resources. For others the most appropriate option might be delivery to a rendering plant or a landfill. Rendering plants reduce animal carcasses to oils and useful by-products such as soap, glycerin, lubricants, inks, cleansing creams, shampoo, glue, antifreeze, explosives, and paints. Most small animal shelters utilize rendering plants for carcass disposal, as do livestock producers who occasionally have carcasses unsuitable for processing. Because horses are traditional food animals in most of the world, there is a viable export market for horse meat. Many horse owners either need, or wish to recoup the monetary value of their unusable horse, or a horse they can no longer support, and are comfortable with this solution; especially if they can be assured that their animals are humanely killed.

The H.O.R.S.E. Act of 2009 is being drafted now, and will include provisions to deal with the following:

· Requires that all horses to be euthanized must be humanely killed using a method that is approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP).

· Allows processers of horse meat to apply for and receive fee-based inspection services from the USDA and state inspection programs. Under this regulation, which is already in use for all species of non-amenable animals such as bison and pen-raised elk, the processor pays for the necessary food safety, live animal handling, and humane euthanasia regulation at the processing point, as well as the necessary coordination between USDA, European Union, Japanese, and other Asian food safety systems.

· Provides for the inspection and licensing of equine rescue, recovery, and retirement operations that are accepting unusable, unwanted, and horses that owners cannot support, for a fee, or for no charge. Regulation will ensure horses are being cared for appropriately, and that owners’ stipulations are being adhered to in terms of the disposition of the horses they have surrendered.

· Mandates the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to adopt and enforce all recommendations of the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Committee. The bill also includes a clear mandate to measure population numbers accurately, and that the optimum numbers are not exceeded. By strictly adhering to herd numbers in Horse Management Areas, the BLM can ensure the sustainability and ecosystem integrity of the resource base for horses, burros, native wildlife, and livestock. The H.O.R.S.E. Act of 2009 promotes reasonable attempts and creative programs that can be established to encourage the adoption or sale of all horses removed from BLM lands. The H.O.R.S.E. Act of 2009 clearly establishes that no wild horse should be held captive in a corral, feedlot, or pasture for longer than 90 days. Finally, the bill mandates that wild horses in captivity and not transferred to private ownership within 90 days shall be sold to the highest bidder without reservation, with all of the proceeds returned to improve the management and habitat for the wild herds.

The H.O.R.S.E. Act of 2009 does not impede the market, transport, processing, or use of horses in any way. It does not take away the private property rights of horse owners. It does not eliminate the right of Americans to decide how, or if, they choose to market or consume horse meat. The Act will encourage and not defeat the efforts of states, tribes, and private citizens to implement services, facilities, and options for all horse owners. Nor does it impose egregious financial and regulatory burdens on either horse owners, or taxpayers. The H.O.R.S.E. Act of 2009 does not require American taxpayers to pay for the care of excessive and unrealistic numbers of wild horses and burros on our public lands, or for care of the Nation’s unwanted domestic horses.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

PETA thwarts efforts to bring home racehorses

From Equine Welfare Alliance:

June 7, 2009

John Holland

Vicki Tobin

PETA thwarts efforts to bring home racehorses

CHICAGO, (EWA) – As reported today on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, PETA has inserted itself into the issue of American racehorses being slaughtered in Japan. The slaughter of Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand in 2002 brought outrage to American horse owners and was the catalyst for anti- slaughter awareness in America.

The Program reported on two thoroughbreds, War Emblem and Charismatic who are both standing stud in Japan. ESPN interviewed Michael Blowen, owner and founder of Old Friends, A Kentucky Facility for Retired Thoroughbreds and Kathy Guillermo, vice president of laboratory investigations for PETA.

Over the years, Blowen has developed an excellent relationship with key personnel in Japan that has smoothed the way for retiring these great athletes to Old Friends. He keeps a list of thoroughbreds that are nearing the end of their stud duties and has been following their stud careers for years. At the top of his list are War Emblem and Charismatic. Blowen has been in discussions for the past eighteen months and developing plans with his Japanese contacts for their retirement to Old Friends.

Despite the claims of slaughter advocates to the contrary, PETA had until now, remained out of the horse slaughter issue. But now, in true PETA fashion, the message was horrific visuals of the cruelty inherent with slaughter, however, their organization offered no assistance in bringing the athletes home. At one point, Ms. Guillermo actually challenged Blowen by saying she was not aware of anyone that was working to bring the horses home. Blowen had recently discussed just this effort on EWA’s Howling Ridge radio program.

Blowen’s most recent Japan rescue was Wallenda who earned $1.2 million in 33 lifetime starts on the track. Old Friends also expanded its facility from 40 acres to 92 acres last year and currently has over 40 retired athletes including Popcorn Deelites, one of the horses that portrayed Seabiscuit in the box office smash hit about the legendary California racehorse.

“I’m hoping things like PETA is doing won’t hurt our relationship with the Japanese,” Blowen said, asking the extremist animal rights group, “Are you just going to keep showing footage of horses in excruciating painful situations or are you going to try to build a relationship with the people that actually own these horses, that actually control them - to find a place for them and work really, really hard to bring them home?”

EWA couldn’t agree more.


Documents from Bureau of Land Management Reflect Intent of BLM for Wild Horses in Holding Facilities & on Public Lands


The Conquistador Equine Rescue & Advocacy Program

For Immediate Release


Patricia Haight, Ph.D., (480) 430-2294, pathaight@yahoo.com

Julianne French, 520-309-5791, J_French@cox.net

Documents from Bureau of Land Management Reflect Intent of BLM for Wild Horses in Holding Facilities & on Public Lands

Quote from internal BLM document discussing euthanasia of wild horses: “Increased support from public relations and management staff would also be needed to insulate those doing the actual work from the public, media and Congressional scrutiny/criticism.”

(Phoenix, June 6, 2009). The Conquistador Program announced today that it has received material obtained under the Freedom of Information Act that indicates the Bureau of Land Management is continuing to plan for the euthanasia of a large number of wild horses now in long-term and short-term holding facilities across the United States and for direct sale authority for many more. Notes of conference calls extending from July 22, 2008 through September 23, 2008 by a six-member implementation team and a draft Alternative Management Plan document demonstrate that several options are being planned. Among the options are:

Euthanasia of animals for which an adoption or sale demand does not exist (The section addressing euthanasia also includes the following statement, “Increased support from public relations and management staff would also be needed to insulate those doing the actual work from the public, media and Congressional scrutiny/criticism.” The section also includes a discussion on psychological counseling for those involved in the destruction and disposal of the bodies because it will be so stressful).

Direct sale of animals who have not been adopted after three attempts with no restrictions on the buyer. (This would allow for the purchase of horses by killer buyers for sale to slaughter).

Direct sale of horses eleven years and older with no restrictions on the buyer. (This option also would allow for the purchase of horses by killer buyers for sale to slaughter).

Direct sale of horses of all ages with no restrictions on the buyer. (This option also would allow for the purchase of horses by killer buyers for sale to slaughter).

Spaying mares and returning them to the wild. (This option holds the risk of a minimum 10% mortality rate to the mares. The statistic is provided by a BLM staffer based on data from the spaying of 30 mares by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service at Sheldon Refuge in Nevada).

Adjusting the ratio of stallions to mares and reducing the ratio to 50:50 thus increasing the number of stallions. (This section includes a discussion indicating that information from the 80’s suggests that the mares and stallions should be allowed to adjust to their natural numbers but BLM thinks 50:50. The section also includes a discussion of whether changing sex ratios would affect behavior including a statement, “Do we care?”).

The documents also contain information included below related to euthanasia of wild horses in their custody:

BLM discussed ways to circumvent the federal carcass disposal law, 43 CFR 4730.2, that prohibits them from paying any agency or individual for burial, burning, incinerating, composting carcasses and paying for disposing of remains. BLM explored paying for carcass disposal through rendering by contract.

As one alternative, the BLM has been in discussion with slaughter businesses from Denmark and Canada to take 10,000 wild horses for slaughter.

BLM discussed strategies to kill horses without having to perform a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) assessment. They discussed killing horses in numbers of 1200-2000 per year to avoid greater criticism and scrutiny from Congress, media and the public. The BLM noted the public would be prohibited from viewing euthanasia. There is fear among horse advocates that such activity is already taking place or will take place soon.

BLM discussed methods of changing current policy to fast track horses using the 3 strikes regulation and offer as many as 12,000 wild horses and burros under age 11 for sale earlier hence making more animals at risk of going to slaughter.

The agency also is discussing as one alternative euthanizing horses in the field during round ups at an estimated cost of $500.00 per horse and considering among other things, shooting the horses or use of the captive bolt. The $500.00 figure is the same cost denied to Madeline Pickens who offered to take the wild horses and give them a home.

In a 1978 court case in which the Bureau of Land Management was caught shooting wild horses, a federal judge noted, "Horses were loaded into a truck, six or seven at a time and driven to the burial trench where they were shot while in the truck and then unloaded. ...such wholesale slaughter of animals (especially horses) is considered by many to be degrading to the human spirit, and inappropriate conduct for a civilized human being." The judge further noted,” It is also undisputed in the evidence that the most humane way to kill a horse is by the injection of a barbiturate, "which he mandated.

The documents are available on The Conquistador Program website at www.conquistadorprogram.org. The public is urged to review the documents. The material was obtained with the assistance of attorney Debra Sirower who guided the Conquistador Program through an initial request process and then appeals process to obtain the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. Sirower is the attorney who successfully worked with attorney Anthony Merrill to obtain a temporary restraining order preventing the removal of wild horses in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forests. In a second set of documents containing more than 800 pages of contract information, obtained under FOIA this week, it also was verified that the BLM has continued to use a contractor for gathers who was charged and pled guilty to violations of the Wild Horse and Burro act.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Turning a Blind Eye



a non-profit corporation
Advocates for Horses

Horse slaughter


Turning a Blind Eye

The idiom "turning a blind eye" is used to describe the process of ignoring inconvenient
facts or activities.
Among all the many things we are really good at in America, few come close to our
profound ability to turn a blind eye to what we don't want to know or see. There are
more horses in America per capita than anywhere else in the world. We love horses.
Horses, we proclaim with patriotic pride, are part of our national heritage. We so love
and revere horses that we've made it illegal to slaughter them or sell horsemeat in
When advancing equine rights, we must be careful not to offend people with the truth.
They will become angry for showing them things they don't want to see. Despite our
professed love for the horse, America exports more horses for slaughter than any single
nation on the planet. But don't show the pictures because it might make someone cry.
But we should cry. We should scream. Try to imagine the horror of a horse made to ride
in a cramped and crowded truck for days without food or water. When she arrives at the
slaughter house, she's poked hard in her flanks by workers using long poles who could
care less about hurting her because, after all, she's about to die. They force her and
other horses toward the 'Kill Shute.' She's scared and her adrenaline is coursing through
her body as she hears the anguished screams of the horses ahead of her as they're
stabbed repeatedly in the neck one by one until their spinal cords are almost severed.
She's so frightened she urinates where she's standing. She smells the blood and every
single fiber of her being is screaming at her to run, get free, survive. She rears up, pins
her ears back, kicks, bucks, fights until she's moved into the Kill Shute and feels her own
neck being stabbed over and over. The pain is excruciating; her blood flows and she
loses control of her legs, falling into a pool of blood and urine. She's dragged into the
slaughter house and her back legs are attached to a hoist. She's still alive but that
doesn't matter. She's lifted upside down so she's suspended into the air. She's even
more terrified now because she doesn't have a clue what's happening but she knows
undeniably that she's in mortal peril. A knife slices deep into her throat and through her
jugular vein. She tastes and smells her own blood and convulses a few more times She
isn't dead yet but the workers are impatient. They cut open her belly and she's
disemboweled. Those are her last moments. That's how her life ends. And it happens in
the thousands each and every week. It's happening today. It's happening now.
In law, someone who knows that a wrongful act is occurring and does nothing to stop it
is an accomplice. We are all accomplices when we turn a blind eye.
Copyright 2009 Equine Justice, Inc., a non-profit corporation

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Saving America's Horses

Saving America's Horses



WFLF’s film label, Humanion Films is in production on a series of documentary films centering on the advancement of compassion to animals. Production began earlier this year on a feature documentary film, SAVING AMERICA’S HORSES which is in part inspired by the successful documentary audio program produced under WFLF’s radio label, WFL Endangered Stream Live.

A press release is scheduled the first week of June to publicly announce the official film title which up until now has been referred to as FOR THE BENEFIT OF HORSES, (a working title). Other exciting news in the upcoming press release includes the launching of the film’s new official website, blog, social network pages and more.

We are sending preview invites to a few of our radio show supporters and friends to preview the new film website and exchange banners with us in support of this important film project. If you would like to join in, we will work hard to get your organization’s banner up on the site before the scheduled press release goes out.

About the Film

Healthy vibrant horses are disappearing, never to be seen again. Find out where they are going, how they're getting there, what's really happening to them, and who's responsible.

The mission of Saving America's Horses, the film, is to inspire the apathetic and disposable mindset of today’s unassuming society into taking protective action for horses. This festival bound film follows the life stories of a few horses in a journey through time while taking a focused look into the horse slaughter business. This movie seeks to advance compassion for horses, raise awareness for their suffering, and expose the corrupt driving forces that serve to misinform the public. It's a potentially life changing film presentation that speaks to a broad demographic through inspirational anecdotes, riveting investigative reports, stunning audio/visuals and compelling solutions.

We have a compelling and riveting film in the works which promises to arouse strong public outcry in support of America’s horses. The film is attracting the attention and support of key industry names with several of the country’s most renowned and prominent horse experts on board and others still joining in.

Advisory Board members include Laura Allen, Dr. Nena Winand, John Holland, Paula Bacon, Shelley Abrams and Julie Caramante.

This feature presentation is anticipated to receive strong reviews and is moving forward quickly. Completion is expected in the fall of 2009.


Sneak a peek at the sleek Humanion Films website, for a glimpse at production insights.

Help us out by exchanging banners :-) Visit and explore the official film website, www.savingamericashorses.org. Get banners, exchange banners, subscribe to the film blog updates, and add the film at Twitter, MySpace and Facebook.

For the advancement of compassion to animals,

Warmest regards,

Katia Louise

Executive Director, Wild for Life Foundation Inc (WFLF)

Producer/ Host WFL Endangered Stream Live

Director / Founder Humanion Films
Mixed Results on Slaughter Bills as State Legislatures Adjourn

by: Pat Raia
June 02 2009, Article # 14283

The sponsor of Tennessee legislation promoting horse processing plant development in that state is not giving up on the bill, although it's now stalled in the state's Senate Commerce Committee.

Sponsored by Rep. Frank Niceley, HB 1428 would allow private investors to develop a horse slaughter plant in the state. It would also insulate prospective developers from legal challenges that state courts deem without merit. The bill passed the Tennessee House Agriculture Committee, but the Senate Commerce Committee adjourned before considering it.

The bill will remain in the committee until the legislature reconvenes in January 2010.

"We're just going to let it lay there until the next session," Niceley said. "We don't have to start over."

Another piece of legislation sponsored by Niceley, HJR 245 also remains in the Tennessee Senate's Finance Committee. This resolution instructs Tennessee's congressional delegation to oppose the Conyers-Burton Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, which would ban the export of horses for slaughter.

The Tennessee bills were among several similar measures introduced in state legislatures across the country with mixed results.

A Montana bill allowing horse processing plant development became law in May. A North Dakota measure authorizing a processing plant feasibility study in that state goes into effect in July.

Meanwhile, an effort to repeal Illinois' ban on horse slaughter failed.

Resolutions opposing the Conyers-Burton federal legislation also failed in Idaho and Minnesota.

However, similar resolutions passed in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. An Arizona resolution is pending.