Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Horse Meat Investigation & Meetings, Europe 1/3/12-1/8/12

Animals' Angels

Animals’ Angels went to Europe meet with veterinarians and other animal welfare organizations to discuss the issues involved with the horse meat imports from Canada and Mexico. Animals’ Angels believes that it is of utmost importance to create more awareness among European consumers in regards to where the horses meat is coming from, the cruelty involved in this trade as well as the potential risk of drug residues. The meetings went well and we are excited about the possibility of a campaign on both sides of the Atlantic.
REC 0006_007_0009Additionally, the investigators looked into pricing of horse meat at butcher shops and the protection offered by the “Equine Passport”. While the ways to obtain the passport are slightly different in the member states (http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/identification/equine/ms_information_en.htm), all passports require the owner to fill in information if the horse can later be slaughtered or not. This decision can’t be changed later, even if the animal is sold.  If the owner chooses that the horse can be slaughtered, all medicine ever given to the horse has to be recorded in the passport by the administering veterinarian. However, there is no guarantee that the veterinarian really does that.
REC 0006_9Once a slaughter horse arrives at the plant, the passport is checked. According to a veterinarian, who used to work at a horse slaughter plant, he has witnessed horses arriving with a “no-slaughter” passport and all of them were rejected. A violation could carry a fine of several thousand Euros for both the plant and the shipper.
Prices for horse meat found at butcher shops were $17.80/lbs -$19.00/ lbs for the filet, $13.00/lbs-$16.00/lbs for a roast and $10.00/lbs-$13.00/lbs for horse meat sausage.

Oregon teen author raises $20,000 for rescued PMU horses

Tuesday's Horse

“I decided to speak out because I believe most women do not realize the hormone replacement therapy drug Premarin® actually stands for PREgnant MARe urINe, and that it is a billion dollar industry built on horse abuse and slaughter.”
~ Alexandra Gritta
Alexandra Gritta and horses at the Duchess Sanctuary
Sixteen-year-old Alexandra Gritta, shown here with horses at the Duchess Sanctuary, works to raise both funds and public awareness for horses forced to suffer at PMU (Pregnant Mare Urine) facilities in order to produce the hormone replacement therapy drug Premarin®.
Portland, OR (PRWEB) January 31, 2012
Alexandra Gritta, sixteen-year-old author and President of the Charity Book Series®, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, announced today her charitable gift to Duchess Sanctuary in Oakland, Oregon. Gritta’s donation comes from the profit of her children’s book, “Mystery at Silver Key Stables,” and her own personal fund-raising efforts. Her charitable gift of $10,000 brought another $10,000 in matching funds from the Humane Society of the United States, for a total donation of $20,000 to the Duchess Sanctuary.
More than 180 rescued horses are allowed to roam free on the 1,120 acres of land at Duchess Sanctuary, a rural property outside of Roseburg, Oregon, run by the Fund for Animals in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Jennifer Kunz, Duchess Sanctuary Ranch Manager, reports that among these are 100 mares and foals rescued from Canadian Pregnant Mare Urine (PMU) farms. After visiting the Duchess Sanctuary in July 2011, Gritta was inspired by the genuine love and concern that Jennifer Kunz has for the horses she has cared for since their rescue.
Celine Myers, founder of the Ark Watch Foundation, rescued the PMU mares that now call Duchess home. Myers reports that these mares were formerly used at Canadian PMU farms where their urine was collected and used by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Pfizer, in the manufacture of hormone replacement therapy drugs, including Premarin®. A Duchess Sanctuary video clip released by the Humane Society of the United States (6/24/2011) depicts how PMU mares are kept in a constant state of pregnancy, forced to wear plastic urine collection devices, and tied up for six months of every pregnancy in stalls so small the mares cannot even turn around. After foaling, the mares are immediately impregnated again and the brutal cycle repeated.
Although horse rescue organizations try desperately to save as many PMU horses as possible, according to Vivian Grant Farrell, founder of the International Fund for Horses, “Live PMU foals, by-products of the endless horse pregnancies necessary to manufacture Premarin®, are typically sent to auction where they fall prey to slaughterhouse buyers. Sometimes the foals are shipped in live loads to foreign markets for slaughter. When the exhausted PMU mares finally wear out, they too often end up in the hands of slaughter buyers. Conservatively speaking, hundreds of thousands of PMU mares and foals have probably died in connection with the manufacture of the Premarin® family of drugs. Taking into consideration the quantity of pregnant mare urine required to make Premarin® and its high volume of sales, that number is quite possibly as high as a million, probably even higher. These numbers, of course, will continue to climb as long as women continue to choose to take drugs manufactured from pregnant mare urine.”
Alexandra Gritta: “I decided to speak out because I believe most women do not realize the hormone replacement therapy drug Premarin® actually stands for PREgnant MARe urINe, and that it is a billion dollar industry built on horse abuse and slaughter.”
A Stock Markets Review article, dated May 18, 2010, reports Pfizer/Wyeth now has another drug in the pipeline, awaiting FDA approval and intended to be marketed as a drug for both osteoporosis and post-menopausal symptoms. The new drug Aprela® is also manufactured from pregnant mare urine. This news bodes ill for horses, as the market for Aprela® has the potential to be even more lucrative for the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry than Premarin®, with Epsicom Business Intelligence forecasting future worldwide sales for osteoporosis drugs to be nearly US$14 billion by 2014.
Alexandra Gritta: “The amount of pregnant mare urine that will be required for Pfizer/Wyeth to continue to manufacture Premarin® plus its new drug Aprela®, if it is approved, is unimaginable. It is even harder to imagine the suffering and the slaughter of the horses that will be necessary to provide it.”
Source: Press Release
Pfizer set to seek Aprela nod

Monday, January 30, 2012

Thoroughbred aftercare: a new legacy for Barbaro

Tuesday's Horse

Ray Paulick writes the following in a post for the Paulick Report:
On Friday, I suggested that time is running out for the industry to act on the long-neglected issue of Thoroughbred aftercare. On almost a weekly basis, our industry is being smeared, deservedly or not, by heartless cruelty to horses by what I can only say are evil people.
The new world of instant communications and social networking spreads these stories like a fast-moving virus, and whether or not the Thoroughbred industry is at fault, all of us are cast in a shadow. Thoroughbred racing is, like it or not, a poster child for the equine world. The lack of response to animal welfare crises from the Thoroughbred industry, borne out of resistance to collaboration or centralization, only makes these matters worse. Our image is getting killed, because people everywhere love horses, and the message we are sending them is, “We don’t really care.”
Paulick is the one who broke the story that went viral about Kelsey Lefever, the Pennsylvania woman who reportedly sent Thoroughbred racehorses to slaughter instead of rehoming them as she promised their owners she would do.
He adds:
Barbaro Profile
Can Thoroughbred industry leaders stop the abuse of horses or provide for every unwanted equine for the rest of its life? Of course not. But it would be reassuring for the industry to have a program that says, “We are doing everything we can.”
Now that would be a great legacy for Barbaro.
Ray Paulick is that rare racing man who speaks out against racehorse abuse and slaughter, and we are grateful for his voice.
A big reason the public feel negatively about the Thoroughbred industry is highlighted by the very story that Paulick broke.
Where were the spokespersons for the major horse racing organizations, of which there are so many who make money off the backs of these horses, stating their outrage and denouncing what Lefever did? There were none to be heard that we came across.
The reason for this appears to us — and most likely to quite a few others — that it is because these organizations are well aware that Thoroughbreds are routinely sent to slaughter, backhanded or otherwise, and simply condone it.
In my opinion, central to it all is the way the horse racing industry generally thinks about the racehorse. To breeders, agents, owners, trainers and more than a few jockeys, the horses are seen as a commodity, an ego booster, but more than anything else, a money spinner.
In countries where the treatment of Thoroughbreds is at least taken into some sort of consideration, horse racing is doing more than just managing to stay afloat in challenging economic times, it is actually growing.
Read full post at the Paulick Report >>

Calls Needed Today in Support of Ban on Hauling Horses in Double-Deck Trailers

Animal Welfare Institute

Monday, January 30, 2012

House Committee to Consider Bill on Thursday

Dear Humanitarian:

At long last, a ban on the use of trailers with more than one level for hauling horses is on the verge of being considered by Congress... It is also on the verge of being derailed. While language clearly banning ALL hauling of horses by double-deck trailers is included in the Surface Transportation Extension Act, opponents are trying to undermine this modest yet important legislation.

Support for banning the use of double-deck trailers is strong, and includes the American Veterinary Medical Association, National Black Farmers Association, Animal Welfare Institute and Veterinarians for Equine Welfare. Equine rescue, humane, and professional organizations realize it is cruel and dangerous to haul horses on double-deck trailers. Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture has come out against their use: "We do not believe that equines can be safely and humanely transported on a conveyance that has an animal cargo space divided into two or more stacked levels." (9 CFR Parts 70 and 88). In fact, USDA has prohibited using these trailers for transporting horses to slaughter, but its rule doesn't cover horses being transported for any other purposes - or those supposedly being hauled for another purpose. All horses, irrespective of where they are going, deserve this important protection, and the language included in the Surface Transportation Extension Act will provide it.

On Thursday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is expected to consider the Surface Transportation Extension Act. There are rumors that someone on the Committee might offer an amendment removing the language calling for a ban on these inhumane trailers. During the last Congress the same Committee unanimously approved the ban on double-deck trailers, and this support is needed again now. Please, can you help us?

Time is Short; Here's What You Can Do:

If your U.S. Representative is on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, please take a few minutes TODAY to call and ask him or her to support the existing language and oppose any amendment that would change it. Below is some additional information that might be useful when you call.

To find the name of your Representative and his/her phone number, please visit www.compassionindex.org. You can also call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected.

Thank you for taking action on this very important issue. Be sure to share this eAlert with friends, family, and coworkers and urge them to call in support of the language as well.


Chris Heyde
Deputy Director
Government and Legal Affairs

Double-Deck Trailers are Inhumane and Unsafe. According to the USDA and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), horses require 7-8' (84"-92") ceiling clearance for safe and humane transport. Double-deck trailers often have ceilings as low as 5'5", well below the recommended minimum. Even trailers "modified" for special use have ceilings no higher than 5'11" (71"). When moved in these physically inadequate vehicles, many horses have arrived at their destination with grievous wounds on their shoulders (withers) and backs because their heads were forced into an unnatural and unbalanced position for extended periods of time during travel. Double-deck trailers, designed for shorter-necked species, like cattle and swine, do not provide adequate space for horses to retain their balance, leading to unstable footing, falls, injuries, trampling, and death.

Grisly Accidents Cost Lives, Traumatize First Responders, and Inflict Financial Burdens on Communities. Accidents in recent years have created gruesome roadside scenes of horses twisted, entangled, dead, and dying. Responders are often unprepared and left shocked by such horrifying disasters. Local communities have had to pay for the rescue and rehabilitation of the horses in many cases.

Patchwork of State Laws Exists. Six states ban the use of double-deck trailers for the transport of horses entirely (Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont). A federal law would harmonize the varying state laws that address horse transport, improve enforcement of horse transportation safety laws, and make America's roads a safer place for all interstate travelers.

USDA Regulation Doesn't Cover Non-Slaughter Horse Transport. The USDA has unequivocally stated that double-deck trailers are inhumane and unsafe and has implemented a ban on their use for the transport of horses to slaughter. Unfortunately, there is a need for Congress to do what USDA has not been able to do - prevent the use of double-deck trailers to transport horses for other purposes. No matter the destination, using double-deck trailers to transport horses is inherently dangerous to horses and to people.

We respectfully urge you to support the language in the Surface Transportation Act banning the transportation of horses on double-deck trailers. This language will make transportation safer for horses and our roadways safer for drivers. Feel free to contact us with any questions.


AVERAGE HORSE HEIGHT: 7'-7'8" (84"-92" or 15-17 hands)
AVERAGE TRAILER CEILING HEIGHT: 4'7"-5'11" (55"-71") each level
RECOMMENDED HEIGHT: 7-8' (84"-96") each level
MODIFIED RODEO TRAILER: 5'11" (71") each level

Sunday, January 29, 2012

American's Against Horse Slaughter Releases "White Paper"

Americans Against Horse Slaughter

American's Against Horse Slaughter Releases "White Paper"
American's Against Horse Slaughter (AAHS) would like to announce that we have written a new, comprehensive and in-depth report on the horse slaughter issue. Its distribution to members is part of AAHS's dedication to America's horses and our steadfast commitment to ensuring the safety and humane treatment of American horses, in addition to our continued and unwavering support of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA).
AAHS hopes the information contained in the report, "Horse Slaughter: Truth and Deception" will arm you with the knowledge you need to stand with and fight alongside us in educating and informing your family, friends and legislative representatives. It is our vision that you will use the information to become a voice for the horses and help us put an end to the Slaughter of America's horses for human consumption.
To print out your copy, you can log on here:
Thank you all in advance for your support and for all you do for our horses.
Charmaine Jens
Public Relations Representative
Amerians Against Horse Slaughter
Power is Numbers!
Help Us Educate The Citizens of Our Country!  Please click on the image and help us spread awareness to the masses. Please help support our Campaign and repost everywhere! Posters will be available shortly and we will inform you when and where you can get yours;)
Please remember, it's no secret that Campaigns to right a wrong are won at the grassroots level.  It takes commitment and dedication. Research shows that the success of any campaign revolves around numbers. With numbers comes power. With power comes influence. And with influence comes success. 
Friends, this is just a reminder.  We want to underscore how very important this Action Alert from AWI is.  Please keep us posted if you are attending a town hall meeting (Where, When, Who) and email us at aahsus@gmail.com.
Here's the alert again: http://awionline.org/action-ealerts/take-stand-against-horse-slaughter-town-hall-meetings-your-community

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Legacy of a Champion: Five years after his death, Barbaro’s winning spirit endures - Cecil Whig: Local

Legacy of a Champion: Five years after his death, Barbaro’s winning spirit endures - Cecil Whig: Local: Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of Barbaro’s passing. I
remember vividly what I was doing that fateful day when I received
a phone call fro…

Video Update: Wild Horses in Court

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Legal Update from the Field

    Presidio Federal Vet Wants No More Calls Complaining About Horses

    Horseback Magazine

    January 28, 2012
    By Steven Long
    Photo Courtesy Ray Field
    HOUSTON, (Horseback) – A federal veterinarian charged with overseeing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service animal inspections in Presidio, Texas told Horseback Online Thursday he was tired of getting calls from citizens irate about the abuse of horses brought to the C-4 slaughter holding pens.
    “I’ve had these middle aged women calling me and complaining about what’s going on here and I’m tired of it,” he said. “I don’t have anything to do with those horses.”
    Dr. William Brown said that he has never held a Coggins certificate from horses at the facility in his hands. Moreover, he says he was under orders to ignore the place.
    Late last year Horseback learned from Texas Animal Health Commission inspector Richard Wagner the same Coggins documents were being used again and again for different horses going to slaughter and held at the pens. The TAHC official said nothing at his level was being done because his agency’s budget had been cut by the Texas Legislature and simply didn’t have the manpower to take action.
    However, TAHC routinely inspects stables around the state for strict inspections of Coggins documents.
    The Coggins certificate is a federal document, and it is a federal offense to falsify the form. Violations could result in a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment of 5 years or both.
    “My boss in Austin told me not to go anywhere near those horses,” a clearly irate Brown said.
    The pens are a way station where horses are held awaiting transport across the border to a Mexican slaughter facility.
    “They can call my boss in Austin if they want to complain,”  he said.
    Asked by Horseback who his boss is, Brown readily gave the name of Dr. Jim Amend of APHIS.
    “They can just get him on the phone if they want to complain,” he said. Almost certainly, irate horse lovers will do just that.
    But getting Amend on the phone is not so easy. Horseback called not only Amend, but also his superior, Neither have returned our calls more than 24 hours after the initial contact.
    Brown says he doesn’t do  inspections on the slaughter bound horses because  the feds aren’t funding him to do the inspections.
    “They removed the funds to pay me,” he said. “They are paying a private veterinarian.”
    Brown said the private vet provides him with a certificate that he routinely signs, preferring to personally inspect incoming horses and cattle from Mexico, rather than outgoing horses destined for slaughter across the border. Late last year, more than 60 horses were seized from the C-4 pens in various stages of starvation, dehydration, and illness. Several died, and a dumping ground of horse carcasses was discovered in a flash flood prone creek that runs behind the pens and empties into the Rio Grande River.
    Despite the risk of spreading infectious disease, the pen owner of the C-4 pens was chided by the state agency and given a slap on the wrist by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
    Horse owners are required to have Coggins certificates indicating the animal has passed a test showing it is free of equine infectious anemia, (EIA).
    Brown told Horseback, “I know of a guy who works for the state who told me they were surprised when he actually wanted to go out and look at those horses, they don’t want you to look at those horses,” he said.

    Friday, January 27, 2012

    AZ bill would treat animal abusers like sex offenders

    AZ bill would treat animal abusers like sex offenders

    Friday Fun


    Click to Mix and Solve

    Federal Judge Declines to Prevent Nevada BLM Mustang Gathers

    Straight from the Horse's Heart

    Story by Pat Raia of The Horse Online
    But Door Left Open for Further Litigation
    Attorney Gordon Cowan, Plaintiff Laura Leigh, WHFF President R.T. Fitch
    A U.S. District Court Judge has denied wild horse advocates’ request to halt Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wild horse gathers in Nevada on grounds that the court cannot rule on BLM round-up conduct that has yet taken place.
    In August wild horse advocate Laura Leigh, vice president of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, filed a complaint and a companion Temporary Restraining Order asking the U.S. District Court Nevada District to stop the gather of mustangs from the Triple B and other Nevada herd areas on grounds that animals are treated inhumanely during and immediately after round-ups. U.S. District Court Judge Howard McKibben declined to prevent the BLM from completing the gather, but issued a temporary restraining order banning any mistreatment of mustangs during BLM gathers.
    In September, Leigh filed an amended complaint asking the court to order specific humane treatment of BLM mustangs during and after gathers on grounds that BLM round-up conduct observed at the Trible B gather was likely to occur during other round-ups.
    Meanwhile, BLM Director Bob Abbey announced that a team composed of agency personnel would review existing agency procedures used at the Triple B gather. In December, the agency released the panel’s findings along with 11 recommendations to improve BLM horse handling during gathers.
    During a Jan. 26, hearing McKibben said that the court did not have the jurisdiction or supporting case law to be the “overseer” of the BLM overall, and that the court would not “police all gathers in the U.S. or even gathers in the district of northern Nevada.” However, McKibben said that wild horse advocates could continue to pursue round-up conduct cases on a gather-by-gather basis.
    BLM Spokesman Tom Gorey declined detailed comment about McKibben’s decision.
    “The decision speaks for itself,” Gorey said.
    Leigh said she was encouraged that McKibben acknowledged wild horse welfare issues represented in the case, and promised to pursue future wild horse welfare cases when warranted.
    “We’ll do it on a round-up-by-round-up basis until a written wild horse humane care protocol is in place,” Leigh said.

    Federal Vets Ignored Misuse of Coggins Certificates at Presidio Holding Pens

    Horseback Magazine

    January 27, 2012
    By Steven Long,
    Photo Courtesy Ray Field
    HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The highest ranking federal veterinarian with jurisdiction over the controversial C-4 holding pens at Presidio, Texas told Horseback Online Thursday that he has never held a Coggins certificate from horses at the facility in his hands. Moreover, he says he was under orders to ignore the place.
    “My boss in Austin told me not to go anywhere near those horses,” said Dr. William Brown of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS).
    The pens are a way station where horses are held awaiting transport across the border to a Mexican slaughter facility.
    “They removed the funds to pay me,” he said. “They are paying a private veterinarian.”
    Brown said the private vet provides him with a certificate that he routinely signs, preferring to inspect incoming horses and cattle from Mexico, rather than outgoing horses destined for slaughter across the border. Late last year, more than 60 horses were seized from the pens in various stages of starvation, dehydration, and illness. Several died, and a dumping ground of horse carcasses was discovered in a flash flood prone creek that runs behind the pens and empties into the Rio Grande River.
    Despite the risk of spreading infectious disease, the pen owner was chided by the state agency and given a slap on the wrist by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
    Horse owners are required to have Coggins certificates indicating the animal has passed a test showing it is free of equine infectious anemia, (EIA).
    Late last year Horseback learned from Texas Animal Health Commission inspector Richard Wagner the same Coggins documents were being used again and again for different horses going to slaughter and held at the pens. The state official said nothing at his level was being done because his agency’s budget had been cut by the Texas Legislature and simply didn’t have the manpower to take action.
    The Coggins certificate is a federal document, and it is a federal offense to falsify the form. Violations could result in a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment of 5 years or both.
    Brown told Horseback, “I know of a guy who works for the state who told me they were surprised when he actually wanted to go out and look at those horses, they don’t want you to look at those horses,” he said.
    Horseback attempted to contact Browns superior, Dr. Jim Amend in Austin, as well as Amend’s boss, Dr. Kevin Varner of the USDA. Neither returned our call.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    Urge BLM to Cancel All Plans to Remove Idaho Mustangs from the Range

    American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

    Agency Targeting Nearly 100 Wild Horses for Removal from Hardtrigger & Black Mountain Herd Management Areas

    Click below to watch video of a few of the beautiful horses living in the Hardtrigger HMA. 

    Comments are due by January 31, 2012.
    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Boise, Idaho District Office is targeting nearly 100 wild horses for permanent removal from their high desert homes in the Hardtrigger and Black Mountain Herd Management Areas (HMAs).

    The BLM has opened a scoping period and is seeking public comments for the proposed roundup. The agency is portraying this action as a Catch-Treat-And-Release (CTR) operation in which horses will be captured and released after mares are treated with the PZP fertility control vaccine.
    However, if, as the BLM expects, the populations in the two HMAS are at or over the "Allowable Management Level" (AML) of 190 horses, the agency will remove approximately 94 mustangs. This will leave behind just 30 wild horses in Black Mountain and 66 horses in Hardtrigger. Meanwhile, the agency authorizes hundreds of private livestock to graze this public lands area. 
    The scoping period is the time during the planning process when the BLM seeks suggestions from the public about what information and alternatives to consider in the roundup plan and Environmental Assessment.

    Please take a moment to submit your comments below and urge the BLM to forgo the removal of any horses and to instead humanely manage the herds on the range, leaving these unique mustang herds to live and die on the lands where they were born.

    Click HERE to TAKE ACTION!

    Horses for Slaughter

    New York Times Student Journalism Institute Tucson 2012

    Many horses bought in Arizona are sent to meat processing plants in Mexico despite the recent lifting of a ban on horse slaughtering in the United States. The ban was lifted to stop horses from being killed after grueling journeys across the border.

    Last Hope for Horses

    Humane Society

    The Agriculture Appropriations bill passed by Congress and signed into law last month stripped the House-approved language prohibiting the use of U.S. Department of Agriculture funds for horse slaughter inspections, a defunding provision which had been in every agriculture spending bill since 2005. It reverses six years of U.S. policy against subsidizing foreign-owned horse slaughter plants, and it could pave the way for the resumption of equine slaughter here on American soil.
    Allowing federal funds to be used to inspect horse-slaughter plants is a step backward for America's iconic horses and a waste of tax dollars. Americans don't eat horses, and they don't want them inhumanely killed for a high-priced appetizer in Europe or Asia.
    It is vital that we renew our push to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 1176/H.R. 2966) that will prohibit horse slaughter from returning to the U.S. and end the export of American horses for slaughter. Please make a brief, polite phone call to your two U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative, urging co-sponsorship of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. Look up your legislators' phone numbers here.
    Then, use the form below to send a follow-up note. We encourage you to add your own thoughts or comments about horse slaughter in the editable portion, so your federal legislators know how important this issue is to you personally.


    Click HERE to TAKE ACTION!

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    War Horse Nominated for Oscars

    Canadian Horse Defence

    War Horse has been nominated for six Oscars.  Listed below, they are:
    Best Motion Picture
    Best Achievement in Cinematography
    Best Achievement in Art Direction
    Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
    Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
    Best Achievement in Sound Editing

    Monday, January 23, 2012

    AWI Press Release: The Face of American Horse Slaughter: Shady Dealer Shifts Species but Modus Operandi Remains Unchanged

    Animal Welfare Institute

    Washington, DC (January 23, 2012) – Some politicians in Washington feel that restarting a horse slaughter industry on American soil is a good idea. We’d like to offer a small window into how the horse slaughter industry currently operates, as shady players make deals amongst themselves while duping innocent people into giving up their horses to be butchered.  Read on…
    A story recently surfaced about a 24-year-old Pennsylvania woman, Kelsey Lefever, who faces felony charges after allegedly collecting over 120 retired racehorses from well-meaning owners, promising them she would find good homes for the horses.  Her intention all along, however, was to sell them to killer buyers. Their “good homes” turned out to be a slaughterhouse in Canada, where they met with a gruesome death in order to become a “delicacy” at restaurants abroad. In the police report, a witness indicates that Lefever told her, "I killed every one of those (expletive) horses—over 120 of them. If they only knew, every one of them is dead."
    Her middleman is alleged to be one Bruce Rotz, Jr., who operates his killer buyer business from barns in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.  He is under contract to buy horses for the Canadian meat company Viande Richelieu. 
    Long before Rotz was a killer buyer, however, the Rotz family gained notoriety via another avenue of animal abuse: as Class B dealers. Rotz worked for his father, Bruce Rotz, Sr., who acquired dogs via an illicit supply chain and made tens of thousands of dollars a year selling the poor victims—many of whom were likely former companion animals—to research facilities for experimentation.
    As dog dealers, the Rotzes had numerous run-ins with the law.  The elder Rotz was fined $1,240 in 2005 for failing to meet minimum requirements under the Animal Welfare Act.  The Rotzes acquired many of the dogs they sold from a family of notorious dealers in Missouri whose license was eventually revoked and a fine imposed for violations of the federal law, including failing to keep accurate records on hundreds of the dogs they sold.

    In 2006, Bruce Rotz Sr. let his license to operate as a random source dog dealer expire, and he sold his business. Although Bruce Rotz, Jr. continued to work for the new owner for a while, he was already moving on to horses by then. Though he’s shifted species from dogs to horses, Rotz’s methods appear to be the same.  He is part of a dirty business where animals come to him from questionable sources, and he sells them for profit.  He frequents the nearby New Holland horse auction to acquire horses, including former racehorses, for the trade in their meat.  Recently, according to the criminal investigation, Rotz bought horses from Ms. Lefever.
    Rotz doesn’t appear to be any more concerned with where the horses come from than he was with the dogs—and because he is once removed from the known illegal activity, he appears to be successfully ducking prosecution.  While Lefever faces prosecution for her fraudulent acquisition of the horses, Rotz remains free—a fine example of the sort of individual poised to take a lead role in a revised American horse slaughter industry.
    “This makes you wonder why some Members of Congress are fighting so hard to restore an industry filled with crooked individuals like Rotz and Lefever, while thumbing their noses at those responsible owners who lost their horses into slaughter against their will,” said Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for AWI.  “Thankfully, the majority of legislators are supporting passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act which would protect horses from corrupt profiteers.”
    For more information:
    Chris Heyde, chris@awionline.org, (202) 446-2142

    Sunday, January 22, 2012


    Habitat for Horses


    22 Jan
    The $2,000 Award
    RT Fitch and I each placed $1,000 on the table as an award to anyone who can prove that equine slaughter has a basis in need other that sticking money in the pockets of the pro-slaughter crowd. Without fail, the customary propaganda spewed forth like sewage from an overflowing cesspool. Not a single statement held any factual backing. Several tried to turn the tables, challenging us to provide the answer to, “Why not?” Nor was a word uttered on this blog by the high and mighty “authorities,” although some person named “Wallis,” who thinks she is a leader of some sort, did post on several other blogs that I was an idiot and should be “investigated.” 
    Meanwhile, I was proud to have a large number of comments posted against horse slaughter by this who see through the fallacies, lies and misdirections. One person, Faith Bjalobok, PhD, asked if I would like to post one of her articles that fit perfectly and answers the question about the proven “Facts” on horse slaughter. I am honored to present it to you:
    There is much debate about the best way to deal with horses whose owners no longer seem to have any desire to care for them.  In terms of the solutions proposed by horse owners there are those who support slaughter and those who oppose it. Group A who view horses are mere property much in the same way one views a farm tractor tend to be pro-slaughter. Group B who view their horses as a part of their extended family believe they have a moral obligation to care for them in their old age and tend to oppose slaughter.
    Currently there are no operating horse slaughter facilities in the United States. American horses destined to be slaughter are shipped to Canada or Mexico. It is estimated that about 95,000 horses annually are shipped to slaughter (Animal Law Coalition).
    The proponents of opening U.S. horse slaughter facilities employ numerous informal fallacies as the cornerstone of their position. In relying on the fallacy of hasty generalization, they label all anti-slaughter people as animal rights extremists. In employing the slippery slope fallacy, they would have you believe that banning horse slaughter will inevitable lead to the end of all agriculture in the United States. Pro-slaughter arguments also tend to rely heavily on the naturalistic fallacy (it is the case therefore it ought to be the case).  Although polls indicate that nearly 70% of Americans polled are against horse slaughter, Congresswoman Sue Wallis and her supporters claim they are taking the moral high ground in their fight to bring horse slaughter back to the U.S.  The Animal Welfare Institute lists organizations and individuals opposed to horse slaughter. Included on the list of those opposed are such equine industry giants as the American Thoroughbred Association, Blue Horse Charities and the New York Racing Association.
    Currently, two states California and Florida have adopted laws that make the sale or transport of horse for slaughter a crime.  HR 503 (Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act) awaiting a vote would place a federal ban on the purchase or transportation of horses for slaughter.
    There is a much larger issue at stake in the horses slaughter debate that says a great deal about who we are as Americans. Ronald Dworkin (1986) argues that while justice and fairness are distinct from the law integrity in the law requires that the law reflect justice and fairness. He also argued that integrity in the law requires citizens who are committed to justice (Dowrkin, 1986 ). 
    Justice is not something that occurs in a state of nature but rather it is a human construct that exists only in human society. While some societies actually place great value on justice others value justice only when its implementation is cost effective. The question then becomes why is it the case that some societies have a greater propensity to value justice than others. This discussion is not new and can first be found in Plato’s Republic.
    In terms of the 18th century thinkers upon which our political system is built, the writings of Immanuel Kant hold a place of distinction.  Kant addressed that very question concerning justice in his Lectures on Ethics and in the Metaphysics of Morals. Kant did not believe that we have direct duties to animals because they are not, according to his definition of person as a rational being, part of the moral community. However, he believed that we have indirect duties to animals because Kant like Hogarth and many other thinkers believed that cruelty to animals undermines our own humanity and leads to cruelty to humans. 
    Kant argued:
    If he is not to stifle his human feelings, he must practice kindness towards animals, for he who is cruel to animals becomes hard in his dealings with men’
    We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals (p. 240).
    Again in the Metaphysics of Morals Kant argues:
    With regard to the animate but nonrational part of creation, violent and cruel treatment of animals is far more intimately opposed to a human being’s duty to himself, and he has a duty to refrain from this, for it dulls his shared feelings of their suffering and so weakens and gradually uproots a natural predisposition that is very serviceable to morality in one’s relations with other men (pp. 192-193).
    It appears that Kant is arguing that a compassionate predisposition towards animals aids in the development of a compassionate disposition towards other human beings which is a necessary prerequisite of a just individual. 
    Of course empirical evidence of the link between animal cruelty and human cruelty is well established as is the link in increased violence in areas that open slaughter houses. Kant is the philosopher who initiated the idea of the intrinsic value of all humanity and argued for the necessity of human freedom but he also realized that none of this is possible without justice and to be committed to justice requires a certain predisposition whose development is hindered by engaging in cruelty to animals.
    The final question that remains is horse slaughter cruel???  By their own admission proponents of horse slaughter admit it is in fact cruel because they keep telling us they are working to develop a humane method of horse slaughter. Animals Angels have documented the inherent cruelty in horse slaughter. The video has raised much concern among the nations of European Union so much so that they intend to investigate the Canadian and Mexican horse slaughter facilities. 
     Of course the inherent cruelty of the stun bolt created by a horse’s anatomy does not address the inherent cruelty of the fear and betrayal horses experience in the process of getting them to the slaughter house. Horses are prey animals and when they learn to trust us they go against their natural instinct and place their safety in human hands.  This trust is betrayed when we load them onto death trailers. Many observers have noted the fear in horses’ eyes as they await their death in holding lots looking for a human to protect them. 
                Based on Kant’s writings, the way we treat our horses is a reflection of our own humanity.  The humane treatment of America’s horses is a requirement of justice. If one holds a unity thesis in relation to the law that the law should reflect justice and agree with Dworkin and Kant that just people are a prerequisite of a just society, then we must urge the passage of HR 503.
    Of course some individuals will argue that slaughter is the only feasible solution for horses no one wants, but that position is premised on a false dichotomy. In other words, it is not the case that either we slaughter horses or the country will be overrun with unwanted stray horses. Killing is never a just solution.  A just society must reject the slaughtering of  our horses.
    Dworkin, R. in Philosophy of Law, Feinberg & Coleman, ed. 2008, Wadsworth.
    Kant, I. Metaphysics of Morals, 1996, Cambridge.

    2011 High School Rodeo Finals, Still Abusing Horses

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

    Congress Considering Ending Horse Slaughter Once And For All

    Straight from the Horse's Heart

    By Amy Worden, Inquirer Staff Writer
    Predatory Business Breeds Corruption and Crime
    Charges filed against a Chester County woman for posing as a rescuer of horses while sending them to slaughter have prompted a new round of calls in Congress to end the killing of horses for meat in the United States.
    U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R., Pa.) on Thursday urged his colleagues in the House and Senate to pass legislation to halt horse slaughter after reading a report in The Inquirer that Kelsey Lefever of Honeybrook was allegedly selling animals for slaughter in Canada under false pretenses.
    “This is a tragic example of why we need federal law to prohibit the transportation and sale of horses for slaughter in the first place,” said Meehan, one of 150 cosponsors of anti-slaughter legislation in the House. “Horses are not raised for human consumption, and their slaughter for sale overseas is a cruel and inhumane practice that is not consistent with our values here in Pennsylvania.”
    In November, state police charged Lefever, a 24-year-old horse trainer, with multiple counts of fraud connected to an alleged scheme involving ex-race horses.
    Lefever duped thoroughbred owners at a central Pennsylvania racetrack into believing she would find homes for their retired racehorses and instead sold them to kill-buyers at a Lancaster auction, according to charging documents.
    Horse slaughter effectively ended in the United States in 2008, when the last plant closed after federal funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors was withdrawn. Since then, an estimated 140,000 U.S. horses have been transported to abattoirs in Canada and Mexico.
    With funding for USDA inspectors restored in a budget bill President Obama signed late last year, slaughter plants could again legally operate in the United States.

    Horse truck driver alleges abuse

    Ch 4 WSMV Nashville

    A trucker who says he unknowingly drove horses to their deaths at a border slaughterhouse is telling his story to Channel 4.
    He doesn't want his name used because he now works for another company, so we agreed to call him "Bob."
    Bob made a run for Three Angels Farms in Lebanon in 2010. He says the owner, Dorian Ayache, lied to him and told him he would be hauling a load of cattle to Texas. Bob says when he arrived to pick up the cattle, he was told the plan had changed and that he would be delivering horses to Texas.
    They loaded about 70 horses on two livestock trailers; the driver says he immediately felt uncomfortable when Ayache began striking the horses with a fiberglass rod when they were reluctant to board the trailer. Read MORE...

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    Breaking News: OIG Investigation of BLM Roundup Contractor Requested

    The Cloud Foundation

    20 January 2012

    cloud_email_logoInvestigation of BLM Roundup Contractor Requested
    Allegations filed with Interior Office of the Inspector General

    WASHINGTON (Jan. 20, 2012) – The Cloud Foundation (TCF) of Colorado Springs, CO has requested an investigation into the contracting process which led to Sun J Livestock of Vernal, Utah, receiving millions of dollars in Bureau of Land Management (BLM) contracts to round up wild horses and burros in the West since the Fall of 2010. The request for an investigation was filed yesterday with the Interior Office of the Inspector General.

    “Specifically, did Sun J have the requisite experience to obtain these BLM contracts?” asks Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of Colorado-based TCF. “Did the Sun J helicopter pilot, Josh Hellyer, have 1,500 hours of comparable experience conducting the humane round up of wild horses and burros? And was BLM aware of any experience short-comings prior to the issuance of contracts to Sun J?“

    When Kathrens questioned BLM about the experience of the Sun J crew, she was told that they had worked with Cook Livestock, also of Vernal Utah. Kathrens contacted the owner of Cook Livestock and former BLM roundup contractor, asking about Sun J’s work experience with her company.

    “Josh Hellyer was never on our payroll,” Kathrens was told. “And it’s seriously questionable whether the Sun J ground crew had the hours of prior experience required.”

    Cook filed a protest with the U.S. Department of Interior in 2010 regarding the awarding of the contract to Sun J. The mandatory qualifications include “1,500 hours of flying experience… in similar projects” as well as 3,000 hours of “humanely capturing wild horses and or burros… while utilizing helicopter drive trapping.”

    Maureen VanDerStad, president of Grassroots Horse, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in June of 2011, requesting the Sun J bid proposal, which would have included documentation regarding their experience including the experience of their pilot, Josh Hellyer. “I was told I would receive the requested information in 10 days,” states VanDerStad. “After numerous delays with assurances the information requested would be sent, I received a denial letter on August 30,” stated VanDerStad. She filed a FOIA appeal which was also denied.

    On August 25, 2011 Debbie Coffey, an investigative journalist, also filed a FOIA requesting the Sun J bid proposal after reading the credentials of Josh Hellyer, an employee of Sky Aviation, Worland, WY. “I wondered what hauling equipment or aerial crop spraying had to do with rounding up wild horses?,” stated Coffey. She has yet to receive a response from the Department of the Interior.

    “We believe that Sun J’s lack of experience has led to the inhumane treatment of wild horses and burros,” states Kathrens. “There have been a string of abuse claims from observers who have seen this crew in action.”

    Allegations of inept and rough handling of wild horses arose at Sun J’s first roundup on the Western Slope of Colorado. In October of 2010, Sun J rounded up 73 wild horses in the Piceance/East Douglas Herd Management Area. As a result of the roundup over 10% of the wild horses died, including a foal that was killed as it was pushed into the trap and a mare who was kicked by a wrangler, roped and dragged into a trailer and subsequently died.

    One month later, Laura Leigh, illustrator, journalist, and wild horses advocate, attended an Oregon roundup of wild horses in an area called Warm Springs.  “I questioned BLM regarding the clearly inexperienced performance of the helicopter pilot, Josh Hellyer,” states Leigh. “BLM told me he was ‘just learning.’” Nine horses died during and after capture by Sun J.

    Allegations of abuse at the Antelope roundup in northeastern Nevada were brought to the attention of the District Attorney of White Pine County, in January of 2011 but the DA failed to act. “I filmed the helicopter pilot, Josh Hellyer, run an old mare until she collapsed in a snow bank.” Kathrens says. “As she struggled to get up and escape, the pilot flew within feet of her head before breaking off the chase.”

    In February, a four person in-house BLM review team including Gus Warr, BLM-Utah Wild Horse and Burro Program Specialist and Lili Thomas, Wild Horse and Burro National Program Office, concluded that no existing BLM policy or procedures were violated in the Antelope roundup.

    Laura Leigh, illustrator, journalist and wild horse advocate, filed charges of inhumane treatment in the Triple B roundup in Nevada in July of 2011 in which it appears that the Sun J pilot hit a horse with the strut of the helicopter. On August 31, 2011, the Honorable U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben found that the BLM's pilot was "in violation of" the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, 16 U.S.C. Section 1331 et seq.

    BLM again did an internal review and found no inhumane treatment of the animals but did say that there were cases of “inappropriate, aggressive” practices.

    Most recently, in December of 2011 Kathrens, who is an Emmy Award-winning documentarian, filmed the Sun J ground crew repeatedly hot-shotting 10 burros at the most recent Calico roundup in northwestern Nevada while BLM personnel and a government vet stood watching, but did not intercede.

    Since the Fall of 2010 Sun J Livestock has received over $5 million in BLM contracts to round up wild horses and burro. Previous to this, they reported an annual income of $40,000.

    # # #

    Media Contact:

    Lauryn Wachs

    Links of Interest:

    Wild burros hotshotted at Calico roundup (TCF video): http://youtu.be/_io4dsSILF4

    Old mare run to exhaustion at Antelope roundup (TCF video): http://youtu.be/IUoTc9mUpME

    Horse hit with skid of Sun J helicopter (Laura Leigh video): http://bit.ly/yS2W28

    Horses chased relentlessly at Triple B roundup (Grassroots Horse photos): http://blog.grassrootshorse.com

    Horse strangled by negligently loose rope at Triple B roundup (Laura Leigh video): http://bit.ly/yYaoXG

    DOI denial of VanDerStad FOIA request: http://bit.ly/y0Gb7H

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    The Wild Horse Conspiracy, a book by Craig Downer, out now

    Tuesday's Horse


    Proudly announcing the publication of a pivotal book for America’s wild horses and burros that has been over 4 years in preparation

    by Craig C. Downer, Wildlife Ecologist and Author (Date of Publication: 1/18/2012)
    Craig Downer (by Laura Leigh)

    Craig Downer (Laura Leigh)

    This stirring and amply illustrated, 300-page book fully justifies America’s magnificent wild horses and burros while countering the biased machinations against them. Written by an ecologist who grew up observing these animals in the West, it presents new evidence concerning their history and evolution in North America then describes their many positive contributions to soils, plants, animals and people. Though true restorers of this continent’s ecosystem, they have been unfairly targeted for elimination.

    Over the centuries, they have borne our burdens and helped us along life’s way—which makes it doubly unfair that they should be blamed for what we humans have done. As always, they stand ready to help us do the hard work now so desperately needed to restore our shared home. Many of the author’s personal experiences with these animals, their diverse herd areas, and the multicolored people involved with them are herein vividly shared.

    Urgently required now at the 40th anniversary of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act is a strategy to reverse the negative schemes that are causing their demise the wild. As described, Reserve Design provides a way for establishing self-stabilizing populations through intelligent and caring programs executed with enthusiasm.
    Wild Horses (by Craig Downer)

    Wild Horses (by Craig Downer)

    Their lesson for humanity concerns how to share freedom and the land with such paragons of nature. Soaring beyond mundane pettiness and with an inspired vision for the future of all life, the elevated perspective and compassionate spirit of this book will prove key to accomplishing its critical goal. In the wild the vigor of any kind is preserved. And the entire horse family—as the Earth itself—needs America’s wild horses and burros to continue at vital levels into the future here in their evolutionary cradle and worldwide.

    The author has defended wild horses/burros against attacks for over 40 years and observed many of the West’s colorful herds. He has also studied the endangered mountain tapir and is president of the Andean Tapir Fund, also dedicated to saving wild horses/burros (www.andeantapirfund.com).

    A member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and board member of The Cloud Foundation, he has written popular and scientific articles and books, including action plans for endangered species, enjoys nature photography and musical composition, lives in Nevada, and is proud companion of mustangs Lightning, a palomino stallion, and Princess Diane, his curly mare, both of whom he knew in the wilds of NW Nevada before they were captured by BLM in 2010.

    To order Craig’s groundbreaking book, make out and send $25 (which includes taxes, shipping & handling) either to Andean Tapir Fund (as a tax-deductible contribution to this 501 c 3 organization) or to Craig C. Downer, both at P.O. Box 456, Minden, NV 89423-0456 USA.

    Alternatively, you may use PayPal to purchase the book by calling up www.andeantapirfund.com and clicking on PayPal. To order more than one book, please pay $20 per book for up to 5 books, $15 for over 10 books (which includes taxes, shipping & handling).

    For any questions or to arrange for a speaking, picture showing and book signing event, write the author at the above address, or call (775) 267-3484 or (775) 901-2094 or email ccdowner@aol.com.

    Gov Rick Perry’s Office Says “NO” to Petitions to Stop Shooting Wild Burros

    Straight from the Horse's Heart

    story By Patrick Beach of the the Austin Statesman.com
    Over 100,000 Petitions Delivered to Lt. Governor after Perry Slap-Down
    Marjorie Farabee and Abby ~ photo by Terry Fitch
    At a Statehouse dominated by elephants, the donkey got some love in a short parade in downtown Austin on Wednesday.
    The occasion was a protest of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department‘s shoot-to-kill policy concerning feral burros in Big Bend Ranch State Park. Marjorie Farabee , founder of the Wild Burro Protection League and director at the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, had a helper drop some 103,000 petitions against shooting the burros at Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s office.
    “Because Gov. Perry’s office refused authorization of delivery,” Farabee said. “Be sure you write that.”
    Farabee and about 15 of her fellow protesters rode or led six donkeys — the recalcitrant Nancy refused to budge from the parking lot where the group’s parade started — for a few blocks from a nearby staging area to the Capitol. The group takes issue with the state’s position that the burros are non-native and that most of the animals were abandoned from ranches in nearby Mexico or are descendants of those animals.
    The state further argues that the burros’ presence is a threat to indigenous species in a fragile ecosystem, trampling food and fouling scarce water resources. The state’s policy is to trap or kill the animals. But because of their intelligence, burros are easier to drop with a rifle than to catch.
    Farabee’s side says the practice is all about making more room for bighorn sheep — hunting permits for which go for the low six figures at auction — and other prized game animals. Farabee says about 130 burros have been killed at the park since the practice resumed in 2010. The herd is estimated at 200 to 300 head.
    With Department of Public Safety motorcycle officers as escorts, the group headed down Lavaca Street at noon, cut over to Congress Avenue via 16th Street and halted at the north side of the Capitol.
    “Hey, there’s jackasses in there already — let ‘em go,” said supporter Susan Nelson of Gainesville.
    (Better that they didn’t try. With all that tack, it’d take forever to get the donkeys through the metal detectors at the main south entrance.)
    “I can’t see how anybody could shoot these teddy bears,” said Nelson, whose daughter, Waco veterinarian Jennifer Garretson, rode one of the beasts. “If it wasn’t for the donkey, Texas wouldn’t be here.”
    Garretson criticized state officials for failing to recruit properly qualified people in past failed attempts at rounding the burros up.
    “There are plenty of people willing and able to corral them,” Garretson said. “I’m not going to tolerate shooting donkeys.”
    On their way to the statehouse, Farabee, driving a donkey named Miss Abby and pulling a wagon that contained the box of petitions, turned to one of her trooper escorts and asked, “Could you shoot one of these?”
    The trooper shook his head and said no.
    On the Web
    Read a Texas Parks 
& Wildlife Department’s statement on burros at 
Big Bend Ranch State Park at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/burros.
    Read the Wild Burro 
Protection League’s rebuttal on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/zwRGrT.