Sunday, May 26, 2013

Queen’s love of horses explored in documentary

Queen’s love of horses explored in documentary

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Queen Elizabeth’s enduring love for horses is to be explored in a new documentary to air to Britain on Monday evening.
The Queen with a foal at Sandringham in 1964.
The Queen with a foal at Sandringham in 1964. © Camera Press
The one-hour documentary, The Queen: A Passion for Horses, will air on BBC1 at 9pm.
The Queen may be one of the most recognised individuals in the world, but away from the demands of royal duties, her private passion is for the world of horses.
She even spent part of her recent 87th birthday watching her racehorses train.
The documentary charts the Queen’s enduring relationship with horses and her 65-year career as one of Britain’s leading breeders.
The film, presented by Clare Balding, whose grandfather, father, and brother have all trained the Queen’s horses, gains behind-the-scenes access to the Queen as she pursues her dream to breed the ultimate racehorse.
There is an ancient connection between Royalty and horses. Monarchs have bred horses for hundreds of years, but none with the dedication of the current Queen.
She is one of the most respected breeders in Britain, with a successful track-record of producing world-class race horses. She has bred the winners of more than 1600 races.
Over the course of one spring season – from the births of foals at Sandringham, where every royal thoroughbred is born, to the thrill of race day at Newbury – the film reveals the Queen’s expertise and close personal involvement in producing top-class racehorses, as well as her work to preserve the native pony breeds of Britain.
The documentary is presented by Claire Balding.
The documentary is presented by Claire Balding.
Footage will show the Queen interacting with her newborn foals – she personally names them all – and inspects her horses in training.
Through new interviews with The Princess Royal, Zara Phillips and cousin and childhood friend Margaret Rhodes, coupled with archive footage and photographs, the documentary charts how the young Princess Elizabeth’s fascination with horses grew, and how her passion has been passed down to her daughter and granddaughter.
It includes interviews with stud managers, stud grooms, advisers and trainers, including ‘Horse Whisperer’ Monty Roberts, as well as jockey Hayley Turner, who reveal what it’s like working and racing for the Queen, and how she has often embraced an open-minded approach to training and treatment.
The Queen received her first pony, named Peggy, as a four-year-old.
She still rides whenever she gets the chance.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sen. Landrieu Pushes for Permanent Ban on Horse Slaughter at Horses on the Hill

Facing National Scrutiny, BLM Struggles to Explain Wild Horse Program

Habitat for Horses

ss-130403-wild-horses-17.ss_full“Wild horses are not receiving a fair shake.” Those are the words of a thirty-year Bureau of Land Management (BLM) veteran to NBC News’ senior investigative correspondent, Lisa Myers, as part of hergroundbreaking report, “Horses are wild — but not free.”
The segment is must-see TV. It not only reveals the inside experience of a former BLM official who worked on the program, but it also marks a defining moment in the fight to secure fairer treatment of America’s mustangs by the federal government.
Until recently, the BLM’s wild horse program has operated without accountability, due to a lack of public awareness and political pressure. But over the last four years, the program has slowly started to take on water: the $80 million annual price tag, the fact that three out of five wild horses have been captured and now live in government warehousing, and the sale of 1,700 wild horses to a known kill buyer.
The NBC News report leveraged all of this and more to put the program’s supporters on the defensive. When Myers challenged the head of the program, Joan Guilfoyle, over the justification for the program, Guilfoyle responded that the BLM was trying to maintain a “balanced approach” to public land use.
The former BLM official quickly dismissed this by pointing out, “what really needs to be done is reduce the livestock numbers.” Cattle, after all, outnumber wild horses by 50 to 1 on public lands. As further evidence, NBC pointed to research by our campaign, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), that shows the BLM is allocating more than 80 percent of forage in wild horse habitat areas to privately-owned livestock instead of to federally-protected mustangs.
Myers went on to press the program’s supporters on what they want to do with the nearly 50,000 wild horses in government warehousing. While Guilfoyle claimed that the BLM would not consider slaughter, a rancher interviewed by Myers said flatly, “let them go to [the] slaughter house. What value are they now?”
This view is embraced by many of the program’s supporters — including people who sit on its advisory board — despite opposition from 80 percent of Americans who oppose the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption.
The most damning part of the report came when Myers played footage of wild horses being tortured, injured and killed during helicopter roundups, forcing Guilfoyle to concede, “the incidents we see there are not the way we want animals to be handled.”
This is the kind of journalism that serves the public well, and Myers and her producer, Michael Austin, are to be commended for spending the months of hard work necessary to understand this issue and properly convey it to NBC viewers.
Music legend and environmentalist Carole King, who graciously agreed to be interviewed by NBC at our request, described the BLM’s wild horse roundups as “so offensive because they are so inhumane, so unnecessary and so cruel.”
After watching this story, many citizens agreed. They took to AWHPC’s Facebook page to describe the anguish they felt while watching the NBC story. “It brought tears to my eyes,” wrote one. “I am just heartbroken and outraged,” wrote another.
CONTINUED – Read more and COMMENT at The Huffington Post (Note – posting comments at the Huffington Post page is VERY important. As a news media outlet, the more people who go to their site, the more they will carry stories like this.)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

SFTHH: Horse Hilarity on Video

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Posted: May 5, 2013 by R.T. Fitch in The Force of the Horse
“It’s ‘Feel Good Sunday‘ and what better way to share our equine sense of humor but with a few videos.  We will get you started with several that all of us have seen in the back pasture in one way shape or form and then give you the means to explore for more laughter and chuckles.  Watching the videos will also get you primed for our upcoming week of highlighting key presentations recorded at last weekend’s American Equine Advocate’ Convention.  Each speaker and presenter gives specific tools and information to help build the audience’s tool box to battle against those who wish to bring harm to our American equine, be they wild or domestic so stay tuned, it promises to be an interesting week, indeed.” ~ R.T

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Confusion Reigns Over Opening of Controversial NM Horse Slaughter Plant

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Source: Multiple
“It will open unless Congress restores the ban on horse slaughter that they had in place,”
“Much of the information in these main stream articles is incorrect.  Please call the Secretary’s office, today, and politely request that this atrocity does not take place ~ (202) 720-3631” ~ R.T.
Rick de los Santos speaking with forked tongue to CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker about killing and eating horses (CBS) - May, 2012
Rick de los Santos speaking with forked tongue to CBS News Correspondent Bill Whitaker about killing and eating horses (CBS) – May, 2012
ALBUQUERQUE — The southern New Mexico plant that has been fighting for more than a year for permission to slaughter horses will open soon, unless Congress reinstates a ban on the practice,Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday.
In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Mr. Vilsack said his department was working to make sure the process was handled properly for the opening of what would be the first domestic horseslaughterhouse in six years.
“We are going to do this, and I would imagine that it would be done relatively soon,” he said.
The Valley Meat Company sued the Department of Agriculture last year, asserting that inaction on its application was driven by emotional political debates and that the delays had cost it hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The department reinspected the plant last week.
“It will open unless Congress restores the ban on horse slaughter that they had in place,” Mr. Vilsack said. “If that doesn’t happen, then we are duty bound to do what needs to be done to allow that plant to begin processing.”
The Obama administration opposes horse slaughter. Its recent budget proposal eliminates financing for inspections of horse slaughterhouses, which would effectively reinstate a ban on the practice in which horses are processed for human consumption. Congress eliminated that financing in 2006, which forced a shutdown of domestic slaughter facilities. But Congress reinstated the money in 2011, prompting Valley Meat and a few other businesses around the country to seek permission to open plants.
The debate over whether to return to domestic horse slaughter has divided horse rescue and animal humane groups, ranchers, politicians and Indian tribes.
At issue is whether horses are livestock or pets, and how best to control the nation’s exploding equine population. Supporters of horse slaughter point to a 2011 report from the federal Government Accountability Office that shows horse abuse and abandonment have been increasing since 2006. They say it is better to slaughter the animals in humane, federally regulated plants than have them abandoned to starve across the drought-stricken West or shipped to inhumane plants south of the border.
The number of horses in the United States sent to other countries for slaughter has nearly tripled since 2006. And many humane groups agree that some of the worst abuse occurs in the slaughter pipeline. Many are pushing for both a ban on domestic slaughter as well as a ban on shipping horses to Mexico and Canada.
Mr. Vilsack says the administration understands the concerns and “needs to be more creative” in finding alternative solutions to horse overpopulation.