Thursday, January 30, 2014

A message from EWAs president, John Holland re: defunding inspections for horse slaughter

Equine Welfare Alliance

Hi Folks,

This is part three concerning the omnibus bill. Part one, as many of you have discerned, was our optimistic New Year's message hinting at good things ahead, and part two was the announcement of the defunding language in the omnibus budget and how it got there.

These developments have led to the question of how long this will stop slaughter houses from returning to the US. I will attempt to explain the answer to that question. Like most things in Washington, the answer is a bit convoluted. However, I think it is safe to say it will stop their return for at least two years and here is why.

Budgets are, as we all know, a one-year affair that begins October 1st. The process is supposed to start with the President's budget, which is broken into 12 separate budgets (such as the Agriculture Budget), which in turn go to the various appropriations committees to be amended.

These budgets are then supposed to go to the floor of their respective houses for a vote. Following their passage in the Senate and House, the resulting budgets are supposed to go to a conference committee to hammer out differences, and then back to the House and Senate for a final vote.

But if there is one consistent theme in Congress, it is that they almost never do things the way they are supposed to. According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress has passed a full budget only three times in the past 26 years! Most years they pass a CR for all or most individual budgets.

Last year, the agriculture budgets got through the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, but neither reached their respective floors for a vote. Both budgets had defunding language, as did the President's budget. The budget for other departments didn't even get that far.

A CR, or Continuing Resolution, is merely a way of keeping spending at the same level (or at some multiple of the current level) for an additional period. The duration can be from a day to as much as the remainder of the current budget year.

An omnibus budget is yet another way for Congress to shortcut its budgeting process. This fiscal year, we got a series of short CRs, followed by an omnibus budget.

Since the omnibus was based on the bipartisan budget "framework" agreement reached a month earlier, and since that agreement was for two years, we can be sure that the 2015 budget will be a one-year CR.

Now it gets kind of ironic. The late Sue Wallis, Dave Duquette and even Charlie Stenholm had speculated publicly, and no doubt prayed, that there would be a CR for 2014. That would have continued the funding for inspections from the previous 2012 and 2013 budgets.

However there is something call an "anomaly" that can be added to a CR to place a restriction on certain funds. Since nobody was sure the omnibus would pass, a CR was indeed prepared and tucked away to keep the government funded the rest of the year if the omnibus blew up.

That CR contained an anomaly that prohibited any funds from being used for horse slaughter inspections. So had they been forced to use the CR, it would have had the same outcome (defunding). We knew this well before the budget deal was struck, and actually expected that is the way things would go.

And why is this important going forward? It is important because it was none other than Secretary Vilsack who signed off on the anomaly. That explains why Victoria wanted to thank him. It also means that it will be virtually impossible for the pro-slaughter camp to accomplish a removal of the defunding language for the 2015 budget CR.

So the plants are locked out for two years and probably more. And that is the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would have said.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Honoring Garnet Pasquale & Spring Mountain Alliance tonight

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Times for this Wednesday night show are:
7:00 pm PST … 8:00 pm MST … 9:00 pm CST … 10:00 pm EST
Listen Live Here!
R.T. Fitch and I are dedicating this show to honor wild horse & burro warrior Garnet Pasquale, and to talk about her favorite subject, the Spring Mountain Alliance.  If you knew Garnet and have a memory to share, please call in during the second hour of the show.  (Please don’t call in with questions or about other subjects tonight.  This is a tribute to Garnet.)
Call in # 917-388-4520
The shows will be archived, so you can listen anytime.
Garnet Pasquale was fiery, feisty and fierce about saving wild horses & burros from extinction. She spent countless hours working on their behalf, especially the wild horses near Las Vegas, NV, with the Spring Mountain Alliance.  Garnet was a loyal friend to the wild horses & burros, and a great friend to many advocates who were lucky enough to know her.  With much love, this show is dedicated to our dear friend, Garnet.
In Loving Memory of Garnet Pasquale
In Loving Memory of Garnet Pasquale
This radio show is co-hosted by Debbie Coffey, Director of Wild Horse Affairs at Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Marti Oakley, PPJ Gazette. This series of radio shows will feature upcoming guests including Elizabeth Lovegrove of Wild Horses Kimberly in Australia, who will talk about the recent aerial culling of 7,000 brumbies (Australia’s “feral”/wild horses).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Breaking News: Slaughter Activist Sue Wallis Dead at 56

Horseback Magazine

Sue Wallace copy 2 inchHOUSTON, (Horseback) – Pro-horse slaughter activist Wyoming State Rep. Sue Wallis is dead. The 56-year old state representative from rural Recluse died of thus far undisclosed causes. More as details emerge. Follow coverage at Horseback Magazine.

An Angel for the Wild Horses and Burros

[I knew Garnet. She will be sorely missed.]

Run free, Garnet.

Straight from the Horse's Heart

A testimonial by R.T. Fitch ~ president/co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
In Loving Memory of Garnet Pasquale
In Loving Memory of Garnet Pasquale
Thanks to many for the photos of Garnet
The day started out as many others; up early, check email, write for the blog, hay the horses, let out the dog, feed the cats, make a pot of coffee, chat with Terry to plan the day…it was a typical Monday morning until an email popped up on the computer screen with the subject line; “Garnet is in Trouble”, all bets were then off.
Long time wild horse and burro advocate, Garnet Pasquale born June 19th 1945, carried her fight for the safety of the horses across the bridge, yesterday, January 27th, 2014.  A shock to many of us as respectable and proper Garnet did not make her physical struggles public nor did she draw upon public sentiment for sympathy and support.
My heart is heavy with the loss of a friend, a sister in the fight and someone who was known to kick me in the ass when I got out of line.  Just typing these words causes my eyes to blur with tears but another part of me knows that Garnet was too strong, too dedicated and too loving to go quietly into the night; she still walks amongst us and gives us strength.
Garnet set the standard, she raised the bar on being an advocate and she put her money where her mouth was…she is my idol.  No drama, no whining, no BS, it was all about the horses or nothing at all, we are blessed for having known her.
Many thanks to Arlene Gawne and the members of America’s Wild Horse Advocates for being there for Garnet and for carrying our parting messages to her before she crossed the bridge.  Thanks and blessings to her family for accepting our presence during the passing of Garnet’s spirit…and to Garnet, I leave you with these words:
“Garnet, you have been a mentor and teacher to me.  When I have stepped out of line you have been like a big sister who has whipped her little brother back into place, and I have always listened.  You have done so much, as a leader, to help the horses and your current struggle only empowers me further to see our mutual fight come to a favorable conclusion.
I am in this war because I made a promise to a horse who crossed the bridge, now I make the same pledge to you;  We will NOT give up or step aside from the battle to save our wild equines from extinction nor will we rest until horse slaughter is forever banished from this great land.  I pledge to you, Garnet, that I will never, ever, deviate from our mutual objective.
And above all, Garnet…please rest assured that many, many of us love you dearly.  I am sorry that I am not there to hold your hand, but I hold you in my heart and will forever do so.  I love you Garnet…please keep me between the white lines, I will be counting on you to continue to do so well into the future when we will ultimately meet again.  The thought of you being there, working for the horses and waiting for me brings great comfort.  We love you Garnet.”

Monday, January 27, 2014

ed being very naughty

Nobody was hurt during this.

Young horse’s cruel death in Utah leads to calls for tougher laws

Tuesday's Horse

While Elsa had been eating and standing with the help of a sling just hours earlier, there were a number of problems that could have led to her death. Facebook image.
Elsa standing and eating with the help of a sling. Her ordeal finally overwhelmed her, and she died at the weekend.
LADD EGAN reports:
KUTV (Jan. 22, 2014) — An animal cruelty case in Southern Utah involving a young horse dying after being found frozen to the ground has garnered nationwide attention and calls for Utah to enhance its laws to protect horses.
“We want the law to change,” said Ginger Grimes, founder of the Dust Devil Ranch Sanctuary for Horses in Iron County. “We’re not going to let it rest.”
Animal control officers rescued the emaciated filly and her mother from the backyard of a home in Enoch City on Jan. 2 and took them to the nearby horse sanctuary.
“This is absolutely one of the worst cases in my career,” said animal control officer Chris Johnson.
The sanctuary named the 21-month-old filly “Elsa” and the 10-year-old mare “Anna.” Volunteers worked around the clock to nurse them back to health. But it soon became clear that Elsa would not make it. She died on Jan. 18.
“We did everything we could possibly do,” Grimes said, adding that Elsa died surrounded by her caregivers. “It was silent and she took her last breath.”
Enoch police charged the owner of the horse with animal cruelty, a class “B” misdemeanor. As news of Elsa’s death spread on social media, many have called for tougher felony charges saying the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.
“He didn’t feed this horse; it’s blatant,” Grimes said. “It’s not like he had to go 25 miles away to feed it.”
Enoch’s police chief says his department understands demands for stiffer charges and says the case has been upsetting for his department as well.
“We want to see justice served just as much as anybody else,” Chief Jackson Ames said. “But we can’t go above and beyond what the law allows either.”
Ames said Utah’s laws on animal cruelty do not classify horses as companion animals, making it so that enhanced charges and penalties are not available in this case.
“No animal should have to go through this experience and suffer like it did,” Chief Ames said. “If people want to champion this cause and try and get the law changed, I encourage that.”
The Daily Mail reports that a ranch dog named Dingo never left the filly’s side. The dog was still present when Elsa died at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The filly’s mother, named Anna, is recovering well, and was brought in to spend one last moment with Elsa.
Sanctuary founder Ginger Grimes said a “body imprint where you can see every hair strand” remains where Elsa lay for “quite some time”.
The sanctuary is working with animal advocacy groups and the Iron County Sheriff’s Office to spread word to horse owners that if they are struggling to afford caring for their horses, help is available.
Please take the following action:
Utah Residents
– If you are a Utah resident, please contact your State Representative and Senator.
:: Find Your State Representative —
:: Find Your State Senator —
– Write also to Sen. Wayne Niederhauser, President of the Utah State Senate.
:: He has an email webform here.
– No matter where you reside, please contact the Office of the Utah State Attorney General’s Office and the Governor of Utah.
    Office of the Attorney General,
    Sean D. Reyes
    Utah State Capitol Complex
    350 North State Street Suite 230
    Salt Lake City, UT 84114-2320
    Governor Gary R. Herbert
    Utah State Capitol Complex
    350 North State Street, Suite 200
    PO Box 142220
    Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2220
Express your feelings about the abuse and death of Elsa, the Utah filly starved and left to die outside, found frozen to the ground.
1. Ask the Attorney General to work with State legislators to strengthen equine protection laws so that the punishment fits the crime and acts as a deterrent.
2. Ask the Attorney General to establish an animal cruelty database. This is very important information for law enforcement and not just for animals. People who commit acts of violence and murder often have a history of animal abuse.
3. Repeat to the Governor of Utah.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Happy Birthday, Horsemeat Scandal

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Source: By Eve Mitchell as published in

“…if you’re going to buy heavily processed foods you need to know this stuff –”

Horsemeat on a bunIt’s been a year since we were first told the beef we buy in the EU may actually be horsemeat, but we still don’t really know what happened, how far it spread, who is responsible, or how they will be called to account for themselves.
We’ve seen a smattering of arrests, notably the September 2013 arrests of eight managers of the French company Spanghero on charges of aggravated fraud and mislabelling of food products. French authorities say they “knowingly sold” 750 tonnes of horsemeat mislabelled as beef. Around two-thirds of this went to French firm Comigel’s Luxembourg subsidiary Tavola and found its way into some 4.5 million products that were then sold again to 28 companies operating in13 European countries. This may be the source of the tainted Findus “beef” lasagne (100% horsemeat) found on UK supermarket shelves.
Sound complicated? It is, but if you’re going to buy heavily processed foods you need to know this stuff – unless you’re happy to just pinch your nose and swallow.
Justice is elusive. Accused of netting some €500,000 over six months of fraud(£425,000 or US$681,000), Spanghero had been stripped of its operating license in February 2013. It then closed in June, changed managers, sacked nearly 60% of its workforce, renamed itself La Lauragaise, refinanced and was trading again by the end of July – protesting its “innocence” all the way. Then came the arrests in September. The company’s new tagline “Saveurs des terroirs” (“The flavours of the land”, with heavy overtones of traditional cultural quality) feels like a bad joke.
Flagship arrests, while welcome, are not enough. Supermarkets sold us this stuff but are not feeling the heat. The UK Parliamentary inquiry into the affair quizzed supermarket bosses, pointing out to Tesco that it is “notorious” for rejecting misshapen apples but somehow managed to miss the fact that products labelled beef were actually up to 29% horse. The Tesco representative attempted to blame consumers, saying the company does what they want, but this didn’t wash with the committee, which retorted, “You obviously don’t [do what your customers want] on horse.”
The inquiry pressed that if beef is trading at a premium to horse, and with “unscrupulous people out there, as obviously there are,” surely supermarkets should watch cheaper products more closely. Tesco said each of its suppliers is scrutinised with the same ”rigour” (Tesco does one DNA test per year at each meat production site). Horsemeat was still being found in Tesco products as late as June, but as the Food Standards Agency only reports results over 1%, for all we know horsemeat is still masquerading as beef all over the place. At this stage it isn’t in anybody’s interest to say differently, and consumers have to take what they can get.
Supermarkets sell UK shoppers 80% of our food, so when they fail us, it is a big deal. Tesco pleads innocence, saying its supplier used unapproved suppliers further down the chain. The Committee’s July 2013 report concluding its inquiry said while some retailers may have been misled, the big ones “need to ‘up their game’”, and the costs should rest on companies, not consumers. The inquiry concluded, “Retailers and meat processors should have been more vigilant against the risk of deliberate adulteration,” instead of taking everything “on trust”. The Committee continued, “We are dismayed at the slow pace of investigations and would like assurance that prosecutions will be mounted where there is evidence of fraud or other illegal activity.” That was in July 2013.
So what has the UK Government done? Testifying before the inquiry in January 2013 Minister for Agriculture and Food David Heath MP announced a wide-ranging review of the crisis, but the report was kicked into the long grass and is not due before an unnamed point in 2014, with actual action who knows when after that. Meanwhile the inquiry heard the Government is proposing to decriminalise food labelling violations amid a declining number of public analysts and labs able to carry out food testing and budget cuts to the local authorities responsible for food testing.
UK Secretary of State for Food and Farming Owen Paterson said of the horsemeat scandal: “I think we came out of it very strongly.” On addressing the scandal he said, “Firstly we are bound by the rules of the European market,” although this is a notable departure from his feelings in other areas (Paterson calls Europe’s rules on GM food “medieval” and compares them to “witchcraft”). The annual review of his departmentshowed that fewer than a third of his staff have confidence in managerial decision making and fewer than a quarter think their management have a clear vision of the future. They are not alone.
Some say all this is proof that “Big Retail has government in an armlock”. It sure feels like they have shoppers under the other arm.
On 14 January 2014 the European Parliament passed a motion on food fraud that “deplores” that it has never been an EU enforcement priority and reiterates that “the retail sector has a special responsibility to guarantee the integrity of food products”. With supermarkets claiming innocence and the UK Government playing “hurry up and wait,” maybe the EU can force some action on our behalf.

Click (HERE) to comment directly at

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Getting Horses off the Menu

Getting Horses off the Menu

January 21, 2014

Photo by Jennifer Kunz

With President Obama signing a comprehensive federal spending bill for 2014 on Friday that includes language barring horse slaughter for human consumption in the U.S., we can take comfort that slaughter plants about to start chewing up horses in Iowa, Missouri, and New Mexico won’t get that chance, at least for the foreseeable future. The Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue, with a timely intervention from former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and actor Robert Redford, held them off in the courts until the Congress and the President took final action on the spending bill last week. Not since 2007 have slaughter plants been killing horses for human consumption on U.S. soil., and we’re pleased to see that ban extended.

While this was a hard-fought and important victory, it is incomplete. American horses are still going to slaughter, in Canada and Mexico, and that should trouble every horse advocate. Most of these horses are perfectly healthy, and not a single one of them was raised for human consumption.

These horses travel a long, zigzagging route to get on the dinner plates of a relatively small number of consumers in Belgium, France, Italy, and Japan. Horsemeat isn’t a staple in any of these countries.

Last week, Humane Society International renewed calls for the European Union to issue a moratorium on the import and sale of North American horsemeat following the adoption of a strong and wide-ranging European Parliament report entitled, ‘The food crisis, fraud in the food chain and the control thereof.” The European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) has repeatedly expressed concern about American horses going over the border because of concerns about the validity of the vendor statements about the animals and the substances administered to them throughout their lives. The Parliamentary report urges both the “Commission and Member States to act on the findings of FVO audits with regard to fraudulent medical treatment records of animals destined for slaughter for export to the EU, and to exclude meat and other animal products from third countries, which cannot be guaranteed to be compliant with EU food safety requirements from being placed on the EU market.”

The horsemeat trade is a cruel one, and it is unsafe for consumers because these animals were not raised for food. During their lives on the race track, in the pleasure barn, or on a farm or somewhere else, they’ve typically been dosed with substances unfit for human consumption.

And what of our values about animals? We wouldn’t gather up dogs from random sources and send them to slaughter because a small group of foreign consumers want to eat their meat. We wouldn’t start slaughtering retired laboratory chimps and other captive primates in the U.S. because we could make a profit by selling to some bush meat consumers. We are not going to allow a few Americans to start killing whales because a few people have a taste for humpback or beluga. There’s more that governs human behavior than appetite alone.

And the notion that we should be slaughtering American horses is either historically inconsistent, or simply ungrateful. Not only have we Americans almost exclusively steered clear of eating horses for food during our 200 or so year history, but we’ve cherished their role in helping us settle the nation, in carrying us into battle, entertaining us with the speed and their gait, delighting us as companions, and conducting work that added value to our economy and helped us earn a livelihood.

How miserable now to treat them as a cheap commodity, valued principally as some ephemeral side dish for people living on other continents.

Action items: European authorities should clamp down on the trade, since there’s no way to track the drugs that went into horses in America, during the years prior to slaughter. And the Congress should build on its de-fund provision by banning live exports of horses for human consumption. The Safeguard American Food Exports Act, H.R. 1094 / S. 541, introduced this year by U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., does exactly that, helping horses avoid a pitiful fate and forbidding the sale of toxic meat. Please make sure to take action on this issue by contacting your member of Congress, asking them to support the SAFE act


Sunday, January 19, 2014

An Equine Thanksgiving in January

Straight from the Horse's Heart

OpEd by R.T. Fitch ~ president/co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

An Open Letter to the Advocacy

Thank you from our herd to yours!!
Thank you from our herd to yours!!
During the course of the week we constantly comb the internet for not only the very latest equine related news but also for something good, uplifting and encouraging to be able to share with you on our “Feel Good Sundays”.
I, for one, believe that we need at least one day of rest, one day to step back and a brief moment of peace away from the clatter and noise of the fight.  We need that day to recharge, regroup and reaffirm and there is no better day than Sunday to do that.
So today, I really did not have to look too far for good news, it pretty much fell into our laps and we can freely feel good, this day…and it’s pretty simple;
American horses will not be cruelly slaughtered for human consumption on American soil this year…done deal, full stop.  Rejoice.
All of the efforts of the sick, twisted and perverted throw-backs have been for naught.  They have lost, just as they always have and always will because they are the dank, dark minority and the brightness of the light will always over-wash them; they are in every sense of the word, LOSERS.
I will not darken the day by giving my opinion and abject analysis of those who live only to murder, maim and torture but be assured that they are a very unhappy lot, this day, as they have spent years with their mouths wide open only to find that orifice currently filled with their own boots.
But although we celebrate this great victory, the trucks still cross the border to our south and north with American horses both domestic and wild destined to lose their precious lives for no good reason other than to pad someone’s wallet.
Our work is not done, we have much to do…but today, make a toast.  A toast to each and every person who made a call, sent a fax, signed a petition, held a sign, attended a rally or simply told their neighbor about the plight of the American equine, to all of those people…I salute.
Each and every one of you are a bright light, a positive influence and a power to be reckoned with…I salute.
My hat is off, my bald spot is exposed and I raise my glass to each and every one of you…I salute.
Thank you, from the horses, for being you…I salute.
You are the best.
SALUTE and Keep the Faith.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Equine Advocates Thanks Great Americans for Ending Horse Slaughter in the U.S.

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Press Release from Equine Advocates

“Victoria McCullough announced at our first American Equine Summit in 2012 that she would take on the challenge of endinghorse slaughter in the U.S…”

CHATHAM, N.Y., Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Equine Advocateswould like thank these key players in expediting the end of horse slaughter in the United States:
  • Victoria McCullough, horsewoman and head of Chesapeake Petroleum
  • Vice President Joseph Biden
  • Florida State Senator Joseph Abruzzo
A huge, huge thank you to Victoria McCullough, FL State Senator Joe Abruzzo and Vice President Joe Biden. No matter what you read, they drove this effort from the starting gate to the finish line.
A huge, huge thank you to Victoria McCullough, FL State Senator Joe Abruzzo and
Vice President Joe Biden. No matter what you read, they drove this effort from the starting gate to the finish line.
It is because of their tireless and dedicated efforts that horse slaughterhouses will be prevented from opening in the U.S. once Congress passes the “Omnibus” bill by this weekend. The last time horses were slaughtered in the United States was in 2007 when Congress defunded the practice and three existing plants closed.
“Victoria McCullough announced at our first American Equine Summit in 2012 that she would take on the challenge of ending horse slaughter in the U.S.,” said Equine Advocates President, Susan Wagner.  “She took the lead from the experts speaking at the Summit, each of whom had invaluable information and experience, and helped contribute to the resolution of this hard-fought issue. She used her own funding and dedicated countless hours to get this done.”
McCullough used the data and documentation presented by John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance; Paula Bacon, former Mayor of Kaufman, TX; renowned equine veterinarian Dr. Kraig Kulikowski; Caroline Betts, PhD, professor of economics at USC and others. Much of the necessary documentation was there, combined with Dr. Ann Marini’s brilliant study on the potentially dangerous effects the drug Phenylbutazone can have on people who eat horse meat, and subsequent studies including Holland’s scathing analysis of the misinformation in the 2011 GAO Report (#11-228).
Said Wagner, “That GAO Report was like a fixed race.”
While horse slaughter is opposed by more than 80% of Americans, the GAO Report claimed it was necessary for reasons which have been soundly refuted by Holland’s study and other experts.
“This is the first major hurdle that needed to happen so that a complete federal ban on horse slaughter can now be passed,” Wagner added. “We are grateful to Vice President Joe Biden, along with the support of congressional leaders, for adding the defunding language to the Omnibus bill. Robert Redford also needs to be thanked because he has been actively involved since he first signed the Voter Card for the passage of the California Initiative banning horse slaughter back in 1998. His support through the years has had a tremendous impact on this issue. I know I speak for most Americans when I say that horse slaughter is wrong and has no place in our culture.”
The focus now moves to passing a federal ban on the transport of equines across U.S. borders into Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

The Difference Between Regular People and Horse People