Saturday, March 31, 2012

'Walking death': Harrowing video recorded in undercover probe shows horses starved and dying at U.S. auction house

Mail Online

Undercover investigators have exposed the shocking neglect of horses at a U.S. livestock auction house, releasing harrowing footage of four animals in the throes of a slow and undignified death.
Despite the activists' pleas for the horses to be euthanised, a state inspector who was present at the sale earlier this month seemed reluctant to end their suffering.

The video below was filmed in a large pen at Dennis Chavez's Southwest Livestock Auction and Feedlot, in Los Lunas, New Mexico.

Declan, 9, visits Washington to argue against slaughter


Nine-year-old Declan Gregg is being hailed by the Humane Society of the United States for showing  how to advocate for horses.
Declan visited Washington DC to urge an end to the slaughter of horses.
Humane society chief executive and president Wayne Pacelle, in his blog, A Humane Nation, said Declan visited the society’s downtown headquarters after a long day on Capitol Hill, where he lobbied to urge adoption of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, H.R. 2966 and S. 1176.
Declan talked to his congressman, Frank Guinta, from New Hampshire. He had a chance to speak to other lawmakers when  Guinta took him to the floor of the House, where Declan urged them to ban the slaughter of American horses in the US and abroad.
He also had a separate meeting and press conference with Representative Jim Moran, co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus and a great fighter for horses.
Pacelle said Declan learned about the slaughter of horses from his mother, and decided he wanted to do something about it.
He opted to take two days off from school in New Hampshire and instead got a  practical  lesson by lobbying Congress.
Pacelle said more than 100,000 American horses were slaughtered annually in Canada and Mexico, and pointed to the campaign opposing the trade run by animal protection groups.
“We’d win this fight if more animal advocates met with their lawmakers and politely demanded action. Declan is showing us how it’s done.”

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pro Slaughter’s Sue Wallis Claims Ambush on NPR Station – Hangs Up on Interview and Blasts Guests in Press Release

Horseback Magazine

March 30, 2012
Sue Wallis Ambushed in Media Setup by Animal Rights Bullies

From United Horsemen’s Dave Duquette – Earlier today, Sue Wallis, our former vice president, and staunch advocate for the humane and regulated processing of horses, was asked to participate in a telephone interview to present the horse industry’s view of the issue.

Only after the interview began did it become clear that it was a set up organized specifically to harass and vilify Sue Wallis personally, and the horse industry in general. Without informing her beforehand, the show included HSUS’ Wayne Pacelle, Madeleine Pickens, and R.T. Fitch all attacking Wallis with unfounded, unethical, and fallacious sound bites in an obviously choreographed ambush.

Sue Wallis agreed to the radio interview with Sasha Rethati on her show “Sound Off with Sasha” on a local NPR radio station in Southwest Florida believing that she would be interviewed about the horse industry and the need for humane and regulated processing in U.S. See the email inquiry below.

When it was Sue’s opportunity to speak she was rudely interrupted by the other guests, meanwhile the host of the show, who was obviously a co-conspirator, also interrupted Wallis in an attempt to bait her with loaded, inflammatory questions.

While Sue did agree to the interview, what she did not agree to was the ambush that was about to take place on air.  It was never announced by the show’s producer or show beforehand that Sue would be joined on air by Pacelle,  Pickens, and Fitch–all leaders of the radical anti-slaughter, anti-agriculture, anti-horse industry animal rights brigade.

R.T. Fitch in particular has waged a vicious, unprincipled, and unrelenting campaign of libel and slander pointed personally at Sue Wallis for years. At the point when Wallis realized his participation, she refused any further interaction and left the interview.

“There is no point in carrying on any sort of dialog with rabid radicals who have ulterior motives,” says Wallis, “animal rights radicals are not interested in helping horses, if they were, they would be doing what we are doing, and that is collaborating with the international horse world to ensure that all horses, regardless of their circumstances, are handled humanely. Instead, they choose to vilify and attack the honest, hard-working, horse industry families of the U.S. by stealing their opportunity to make a living with animals, and to use misleading emotional rhetoric to fund-raise for their six figure salaries, and their multi-million dollar pension funds, while spending less than 1/2 of 1% of their ill-gotten gains to help a single dog, or cat, let alone a horse.”

Please let your views be known by commenting on, or calling their hotline at 877-428-8255. This host and her listeners need to hear from real horse people, from the tribes whose heritage and values are being co-opted without their support and against their interests by Pickens, by anyone in animal agriculture who is under assault from HSUS, and anyone who respects common decency and the truth. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Western Equestrian captures first regional title

This article actually mentions my daughter Heidi.

State Press

Gathering Calls for Congressional Horse Slaughter Ban

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Posted: March 29, 2012 by R.T. Fitch
by: Pat Raia from the pages of
Children’s Pro-Horse Letter Writing Campaign Deemed Success in DC

Jo-Claire and John Corcoran from EWA, Declan Gregg from Children4Horses and R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation deliver Pro-Horse/Anti-Slaughter Children's letters in Washington ~ photo by Terry Fitch
A New Hampshire boy, toting more than 1,000 letters from other children joined representatives from three equine welfare advocacy groups and a Virginia Congressman in Washington, D.C., this week to urge federal lawmakers to ban the processing of horses for human consumption.
Horse slaughter has not taken place in the United States since 2007, but processing again became possible in November when President Barack Obama signed a federal funding bill that did not contain language specifically denying the USDA funds for horse processing plant inspections. Since then, processing plants have been proposed for Missouri and Oregon, but plants have yet been established.
On March 27 Virginia Congressman Jim Moran, representatives from the Equine Welfare Alliance and the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, and 9-year-old Declan Gregg called on Congress to reinstate the funding ban on USDA horse processing plant inspections. Gregg carried more than 1,000 letters opposing horse process written by children and submitted to Gregg though the Children4Horses campaign launched earlier this year on Gregg’s website. The letters were later submitted to Congress members.
During the press conference Gregg said he and the other children who submitted letters opposed horse processing on humane grounds: “I think horse slaughter is inhumane, cruel, and unnecessary. Horses and all animals should be treated with love and respect.”
Moran, who unsuccessfully attempted to retain the defunding language in the budget bill, expressed food safety concerns specifically presence of chemical substances, such as the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone, horsemeat may contain.
Moran also expressed animal welfare concerns over horse processing, and said that opposition to U.S. horse processing is widespread among Americans.
“When 80% of the American public opposes this practice, congressional leaders have a responsibility to listen to the people,” he said.
In response to the press conference, Wyoming Rep. Sue Wallis, CEO of Unified Equine (the company planning to establish a horse processing plant in Missouri) said that defunding USDA horse processing plant inspections has not prevented U.S. horses from being sent to slaughter. Instead the ban caused those horses to be shipped to Canada and Mexico for processing, she said.
“If (horses) are processed in regulated and inspected facilities inside the U.S. under our Humane Methods of Slaughter laws, they are guaranteed handling with a minimum of stress and an instantaneous end,” Wallis said.
Wallis suggested that processing opponents should consider working “collaboratively with the industry worldwide to find the best practices and the humane handling systems, to ensure that all horses–even those that aren’t somebody’s back yard pet or useful work or breeding animal–are handled appropriately from birth to death.”

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Speak Up for Wild Horses in Nevada, BLM Schedules Tours of Holding Facilities and more news

American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

Take Action: Tell the BLM "No" to Wild Horse Removals
In The Desatoya Mountains Area in Central Nevada


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is combining a wild horse roundup 
with a vegetation- and tree-killing project. The agency refers to this ill-conceived 
proposal as a "Habitat Resiliency, Health, and Restoration Project."  
Our friends at the Western Watershed Project describe it as a  
"massive deforestation and sagebrush/pinyon pine-killing scheme" 
that will also victimize wild horses. Included is the removal of 
450 to 525 horses from within and around the Desatoya Mountains 
Herd Management Area (HMA). Please take a minute to oppose the 
removal of wild horses from the Desatoya HMA and support 
environmentally-sound range management by clicking here or below.

Comments must be received by April 4, 2012.
Please share this alert 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Carson City District-Stillwater Field Office in Nevada is seeking public input for an ill-conceived proposed "Habitat Restoration" project that will not only hurt wild horses, but also will be destructive to the environment. The ten-year plan includes a helicopter roundup of 450 to 525 wild horses in and around the Desatoya Mountains Herd Management Area (HMA) to take place in the summer of 2012 and the continual removal of wild horses via bait/water trapping over the next ten years to keep wild horse population within the artificially-low "Allowable" Management Level (AML) set by the BLM.
The BLM has set the AML for Desatoya Mountains HMA at just 127 to 180 wild horses, while authorizing the annual equivalent of approximately 600 privately-owned cows to graze in the same area.
This action is being proposed under the guise of saving the sage grouse, a ground-dwelling bird that is quickly disappearing due to habitat loss. The major culprit in the sage grouse's demise is livestock grazing, yet the BLM plan calls for no reduction in the number of cows allowed to graze the public lands in this area. Instead, the BLM proposes to continue its dominate-and-destroy approach to public lands management, by removing pinyon pine, juniper trees and sagebrush, as well as constructing additional fencing. The plan also includes the widespread application of chemical herbicides. It's ironic that the BLM is claiming that it will save the sage grouse by eliminating sagebrush -- the very habitat that the birds need for survival. In addition, the pinyon pines that the BLM wants to remove are an important component of the ecosystem, providing food and habitat for wildlife, watershed protection, as well as pine nuts, which can be harvested as an important economic resource.
Please take easy action below to demand that the BLM implement a cost-effective, environmentally-sound and humane alternative to the proposed plan. 


Video prompts animal-cruelty probe Albuquerque, NM

Activists go undercover at livestock auction

Updated: Tuesday, 27 Mar 2012, 7:43 PM MDT
Published : Tuesday, 27 Mar 2012, 7:32 PM MDT
LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) - Undercover video shows what appears to be a horrific case of animal cruelty in Los Lunas.

The abuse allegedly happened at Southwest Livestock. It's an auction house in the city.

Activists with Animals' Angels , a national nonprofit based in Maryland, say they've gotten so many complaints from New Mexicans they decided to check things out for themselves.

The group shot disturbing undercover video on March 10 showing four horses barely clinging to life. The activist group say they requested the animals be humanely euthanized multiple times only to have their requests ignored.

Executive Director Sojna Meadows of Animal's Angels said the dying horses weren't the only ones being abused. She claims there were hundreds of malnourished horses on site, many of them bleeding and suffering from diseases.
"The horses were so thin, I can only describe them as walking death," Meadows said.

After seeing the video, New Mexico's Livestock Board launched a full animal cruelty investigation. They say results should be made public in about two weeks.
The board emphasized it does not take sides on these types of issues until all of the facts have been released.

They also say it's possible the animals where brought to the auction already dying.
In that case Meadows says they should have been euthanized immediately.

A Livestock Board investigator who was present at the March 10 auction has been put on paid leave pending the results of the state's findings. KRQE News 13 has been told he's worked for the board since 2001.

Meanwhile Meadows called this case sickening.
"I've seen a lot of horrible case in the past six years, but this on is really among the worst," she said.

The Livestock Board says this is the first time they've investigated Southwest Livestock. Meadows claims they have been cited by the USDA repeatedly for violations to equine to slaughter regulations.
When KRQE News 13 visited the livestock auction Tuesday the owner declined to meet for an interview.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When Horse Slaughter Comes to Town: Environmental Impact

Tuesday's Horse

Noxious drugs are not only present in the meat intended for human consumption overseas but also in the waste water and sludge produced during processing.
Horse Slaughter Poster by Vivian Grant Farrell
Horse Slaughter Poster by Vivian Grant Farrell. Free to use. Click to enlarge.
HISTORICALLY, the negative environmental impact of horse slaughter plants has been well documented.
In 2007, all three of the foreign owned horse slaughter plants in the United States were shut down under Texas and Illinois state laws. The two Texas based plants, Beltex in Dallas and Dallas Crown in Kaufman, were closed in February when the 5th District court ruled that a 1949 law against selling horse meat was valid and in force. The remaining plant, Cavel International in DeKalb, Illinois, closed in mid-September of the same year under a new state law making horse slaughter illegal.[1]
It was community administrators and local residents who actively petitioned to have horse slaughter plants shut, citing the extreme disregard for the welfare of the people and locales where they existed as well as the merciless suffering of the horses sent to them.
Numerous Violations Plague Communities
All three horse slaughter plants amassed numerous environmental violations and overwhelmed the waste water infrastructures due to dumping of blood, entrails, urine, feces, heads and hooves.
The Dallas Crown horse slaughter facility had been in operation in Kaufman since the late 70′s and from the beginning had caused problems both economically and environmentally. “The slaughterhouse constantly flooded the town’s drinking water with blood and tissue – literally coming out of the taps – and had never complied with city water standards, or paid fines.”[2]
Furthermore, in May 2002, the City noted that another public health hazard “was the vector attraction due to bones and horseflesh falling off your bone trailer” and that “dogs were carrying the bones into the community.”[3]
In fact, in an open letter to state legislators considering pro-horse slaughter resolutions, the town’s mayor at the time, Paula Bacon, referenced Public Works reports regarding effluent and waste water violations “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.”[4]
Beltex was a Texas Corporation with European shareholders that had been slaughtering horses for human consumption for 27 years.
As with Dallas Crown, Beltex had a non-unionized workforce. OSHA records revealed that since the plants’ inception in 1977 until its last inspection in 1997, Beltex had committed 29 violations of which 28 were deemed serious. OSHA records show that an ammonia leak occurred in 1996, but no one (fortunately) died or was permanently disabled. In 2000 the facility “accidentally pumped blood into the creek” and “in 2001, they were notified that waste water was flowing into adjacent properties and into the creek.”[5]
Of particular note, the Sanitation Group of DeKalb, Illinois, where Cavel International was located, identified the incomparable hazard associated with the discharge from horse slaughter facilities.
    “This hazard is uniquely acute for horse slaughter because of the wide range of drugs given to horses that are clearly labeled NOT FOR USE IN HORSES INTENDED FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.”[6]
These noxious drugs are not only present in the meat intended for human consumption overseas but also in the waste water and sludge produced during processing. This runoff has the potential to contaminate down-stream water intakes, including groundwater used for human consumption, and can enter the food chain via sludge distribution on crops.
Unlike the aforementioned, decades old horse slaughter plants in Texas, Cavel International in Illinois was a sparkling new, purpose built facility that re-opened in June, 2004 with a state-of-the-art pre-treatment system.
Additionally, Cavel International had special Industrial Waste Permits that allowed much higher (8 times higher) contamination levels for waste water leaving the slaughter house. But Cavel was still out of compliance, and not just a few times. This facility was in significant non-compliance hundreds of times. In one report, a Cavel employee acknowledges “chunks” from slaughtered horses were oozing out of tanks. This does not include the numerous safety violations documented by the FSIS.[7]
As a final point, these practices and findings are not limited to the US.
In Canada, Natural Valley Farms in Neudorf, Saskatchewan, was shut down by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in 2009 for food safety concerns. NVF went into receivership on September 22, 2008, yet horses continued to be slaughtered at the facility by Velda Group, an international Belgian-based company. Velda was infamous in Illinois for numerous environmental charges and convictions at their Cavel International horse slaughter plant that closed business in September 2007.[8]
    “Blood disposal appears to have been equally problematic for NVF as with other horse slaughter plants. Not only do horses have twice the quantity of blood as cows, but the blood is notoriously difficult to treat. The bacterial agents used in standard cattle digesters fail to provide acceptable discharge levels because of antibiotics often found in horse blood. As a result, pollution follows the horse slaughter industry where ever it goes.”[9]
Former mayor of Kaufman, Paula Bacon, comments “In Canada they have apparently become even more blatant, dumping huge untreated piles of entrails onto open ground and even using a tanker truck to discharge blood and refuse into a local river.”[10]
In any case, the negative environmental impacts and the chronic inability of the facilities to comply with local laws pertaining to waste management and air and water quality far outweigh any benefits.
This quote by Henry Skjerven, an investor and former director of NVF, sums it up: “Natural Valley Farms died the day the decision makers chose to kill horses . . . .”[11]
Environmental issues continue to plague the horse slaughter industry. On December 3, 2010, the Bouvry Exports horse slaughter plant in Fort MacLeod, Alberta closed operations to complete renovations related to sanitation.[12]
[1] Holland, John; Horse Slaughter Trends 2006-2010; Equine Welfare Alliance; ; Feb. 2010.
[2] Testimony of Congressman John E. Sweeney; H.R. 503 – American Horse Slaughter Protection Act; ; Jul. 25, 2006.
[3] Sorg, Lisa; Violations Dog Beltex, Dallas Crown; ; Jun. 19, 2003.
[4] Bacon, Paula; Open letter to state legislatures considering pro-horse slaughter resolutions; Animal Law Coalition; ; Feb. 13, 2009.
[5] Sorg, Lisa (
[6] DeKalb Sanitary District; DeKalb Sanitary District Board meeting Minutes; ; Jan. 18, 2006.
[7] Allen, Laura; Animal Law Coalition; “Sacia introduces new bill to support horse slaughter,” ; ; Jan. 14, 2010.
[8] Holland, John; Canadian Horse Defense Coalition, Summary of Cavel International Violations – Non Compliance and Response; ; undated.
[9] Holland, John; Horse Slaughter Dream a Financial Nightmare; Harnesslink Newsroom; ; May 14, 2009.
[10] Holland, John (
[11] Holland, John (
[12] Press Release; Canadian Horse Defence Coalition; ; Dec. 10, 2010.
“When Horse Slaughter Comes to Town”, Int’l Fund for Horses Special Report; Written and Researched by JANE ALLIN, Edited by VIVIAN GRANT FARRELL.
Download entire document, pdf, 25 pp.
Part 1: Environmental Impact | Part 2: Economic Growth, Employment and Community Welfare | Part 3: Legal Implications | Part 4: Opposition to Horse Slaughter | Part 5: Alternatives to Horse Slaughter | Part 6: Conclusion

US Food and Drug Administration petitioned over horse meat safety

Tuesday's Horse

Packaged Horse Meat
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is being petitioned to prevent former companion, working and competition horses from entering the human food chain.
Front Range Equine Rescue and The Humane Society of the United States say the FDA does not adequately regulate what they describe as potentially toxic meat from these sources.
Their petition says some drugs given to these horses throughout their lives are banned by the FDA because of their risks to humans.
“Using these horses for human consumption creates an unacceptable and illegal public health threat under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act,” the groups said.
They said current FDA rules do not require sufficient testing or documentation to ensure that former companion and other non-livestock horses slaughtered for human food do not contain or have not been administered prohibited substances. Among such prohibited substances is the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone, also known as bute, which has no safe withholding period.
“The ‘killer-buyers’ who acquire these horses typically have no concern or knowledge about the horses’ prior history before shipping them off to inhumane deaths in slaughter facilities,” the groups said in a statement.
“Unlike cattle, pigs, poultry, and other livestock, which are raised on the farm, horses are swept up by a predatory industry from a variety of sources — former racehorses, carriage horses, family ponies, and others which are routinely given drugs and medications not fit for human consumption.
Front Range Equine Rescue president Hilary Wood said: “The slaughter of American horses for meat is an unnecessary and tragic end for these icons of our nation’s history.
“Horses are treated with many different drugs throughout their lives because horse owners don’t expect they could end up as meat.
“Horses often have many uses during their lives, from show rings to trail riding to therapy programs. Their lives should not end with an arduous journey to a terrifying death to be turned into an expensive and potentially toxic dinner.”
The petition requests that the FDA certify all horses and horse meat from American horses as “unqualified” for human consumption.
The groups said such an action would be especially timely, given that in November last year Congress authorized the inspection of horses for slaughter in America, which had been prohibited since 2006.
Businesses looking to start American horse slaughterhouses have been actively promoting horse meat, even though the animals were never intended to be food, the groups said.
“These businesses and their misguided investors are proceeding despite their awareness that virtually every US horse who ends up at slaughter has been exposed to a plethora of dangerous drugs, many of which are specifically outlawed for animals intended for food,” they said.
They argued that the FDA did not adequately regulate the flow of “potentially toxic meat”, despite the human health and animal welfare risks associated with it.
Their petition documents more than 110 examples of drugs and other substances which are or should be prohibited in food-producing horses. It describes the way in which horses die at slaughterhouses, and outlines the environmental problems caused by horse slaughter plants in local communities.
More than 100,000 American horses are sent to slaughter each year, mainly for consumption in Europe and Asia.
# # #

Source: Press Release

The HSUS Offers Reward in Burro Killings on Federal Land


March 20, 2012

The HSUS Offers Reward in Burro Killings on Federal Land

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the death of six wild burros – five of whom were shot and a foal who died when her mother was killed. This reward is in addition to the $2,500 being offered by federal officials.
The Case:  On Tuesday, March 13, rangers found six dead burros within the federal Bureau of Land Management's Lake Pleasant Herd Management Area, northwest of Phoenix in Maricopa County and southern Yavapai County. News reports indicate that other animals may have been shot recently in the area.
Animal Cruelty: Getting the serious attention of law enforcement, prosecutors and the community in cases involving allegations of cruelty to animals is an essential step in protecting the community. The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well documented.  Studies show a correlation between animal cruelty and all manner of other crimes, from narcotics and firearms violations to battery and sexual assault.
“In addition to the obvious callousness of this act, these animals are protected under the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act,” said Kari Nienstedt, Arizona state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “We are hopeful that this reward will bring forward anyone with information about this heinous crime.”
The Investigators: The Bureau of Land Management is investigating. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 1-800-637-9152.
Resources: The HSUS Animal Cruelty Campaign raises public awareness and educates communities about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence while providing a variety of resources to law enforcement agencies, social work professionals, educators, legislators and families. The HSUS offers rewards in animal cruelty cases across the country and works to strengthen laws against animal cruelty. To see information on statistics, trends, laws and animal cruelty categories, go to
Media Contact: Jordan Crump, 301-548-7793,