Saturday, November 29, 2014

Breaking News!

Animals' Angels (Facebook)

Breaking News!

We were just informed that Michael Scannell, Director of the Food and Veterinary Office of the EU Commission, announced publicly that the EU Commission plans to STOP all horse meat imports from Mexico and further restrict all horse meat imports from Canada! 

The announcement was made during the recent European Parliament's Intergroup meeting in Brussels where issues regarding horse meat imports from third countries were discussed.

Animals’ Angels is very excited to see this development, we have worked tirelessly together with our EU partners to provide the EU Commission with best information available regarding the horse slaughter industry in Mexico, Canada and the United States, such as the complete lack of traceability, the fraudulent identification paperwork as well as the incredible amount of cruelty involved in the trade. AA’s Swiss partner organization, the Tierschutzbund Zurich, was present at the Intergroup meeting and again showed our investigation videos and reports to representatives of the EU Commission and an international audience.

After the Tierschutzbund Zurich presentation, Michael Scannell announced that the EU Commission was “very close” to imposing a formal ban on all horse meat imports from Mexico. He admitted that the transport conditions were completely unacceptable and that animal welfare concerns had certainly influenced the Commission’s decision.

We will keep you posted on any further development. Should Europe really ban all exports from Mexico, the Mexican plants will lose their main market for horse meat, which will make the exports of US horses to Mexico for slaughter obsolete.

Thank you all for all your incredible support and your tireless efforts on behalf of our horses, without you none of this would have been possible.

You can listen to the entire meeting here:
(Select latest meeting) The announcement of a potential ban is at min 53:00

Animals' Angels on Facebook

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How do Horses Show Affection?

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Original Essay by Franklin Levinson
“It’s ‘Feel Good Sunday’ and there is nothing that warms the soul more than talking about a little ‘horse huggin’.  Keep the faith, my friends.” ~ R.T.
Pele, Harley and R.T.

Horses are extremely affectionate. If you get a chance to see them in the wild they are mutually grooming each other, scratching each other, leaning gently into each other, sharing breath with each other (a very intimate activity done by putting their noses together and sharing the air). These are all manifestations of affection. Mares and their foals are always nuzzling each other and the babies are always rubbing up against their moms. Sometimes they hang their heads over each other’s necks and gently hug with their necks. When a horse gently brings his head even slightly in your direction, it is affection and acknowledgement (unless you are holding a treat in your hand or pocket, then it is probably about the treat). The low, soft ‘nickering’ sounds they make at each other are other ways they show affection. However, love is the great carrot and the great treat. Real, unconditional love is the best form of affection and the greatest gift we can bring to our horses.
On the human end this is usually what occurs: We unconsciously reach into the animals face and want to pet and touch his muzzle (nose). If I reached into someone’s face and petted their nose, it would be rude, thoughtless and disrespectful. We do it to horses all the time. We think because he brings his head to us curiously checking us out that it’s OK to pet his nose. Or if he is sniffing us to investigate and get to know us that they are all right with us touching their faces. They do not have arms and hands and do not touch each other in this manner and, additionally, what we are doing is uninvited. We are touching their faces for us not for them. Most of the time they try to move their heads away from the oncoming hand, but to no avail. They react to the intrusion by moving their heads sideways or up and down. But we do not notice this reaction. We want to pet that soft nose and what we want takes all our attention, not the horse’s reaction to what we are doing. This is unfair and disrespectful to the horse.
When we reach into a horse’s physical space, no matter what, we stop its affection coming back towards us. Horses focus on one thing at a time. They are consciously either giving or receiving input, but not both simultaneously. So if the horse is trying to show us affection (which they really want to do) and we take it as an opportunity to input (touch or pet) them, we immediately stop their attempts at being affectionate towards us. This creates lop sided relationships with humans and horses where the human is always inputting the horse with what they think is affection. The horse, meanwhile, never really gets a chance to show it’s affection to the human. Stand and receive the horse’s affection. Keep your hands and arms down. Let them nuzzle you and gently bring their heads to you. Be still and quiet with your mind and body if you want to join with them. Empathize with the feelings you get from the horse. They live empathetic lives and look for that in their companions. Certainly you can put your arms around your horse and hug him, scratch him or reassuringly stroke him. He will get that you mean to be affectionate. But wait and do it when invited by the horse’s demeanor and body language.
When a herd leader wants to allow affection from another horse, she turns sideways and seemingly ignores that horse (goes about her business of grazing). She allows the other horse to approach her and show acknowledgement and affection. It may not involve actual physical contact. But, rather feelings of acknowledgement and acceptance shared and demonstrated through body gestures, postures and mutual awareness (empathy).
I encourage humans to be more like horses and perhaps understand that less is more with horses. By that I mean we could try not to be so forward with horses. We could try to make our desires requests rather than demands. We can chose to lead like Gandhi; lovingly, firmly and quietly. We could abandon leadership like Mussolini, with his loud, controlling, fear based dictatorship. I can now understand the kind of humans who only want to be with horses. There is no self-serving ego to deal with, nor trickery or dishonesty with the horse. There is not much drama either. The horse is impeccable and that’s a fact. They are honest, no matter what. They have personalities and disorders like we do but not the ego.
When your loved ones are affectionate with you know how it feels. It’s the same with horses. Loving touches are noticeable and stand out more than casual physical acknowledgement like hand shakes and pats on the back. Tune in to how you feel when your horse is showing you attention. Receive the attention/affection and just say ?Good Boy?. There is no need for anything else. You will both understand what has occurred. You will have been mutually affectionate as giving and receiving are actually the same thing.
If you are able to establish a great amount of mutual trust with your horse, this will lead to more affection and a stronger bond. Being a great parent/leader is a wonderful way to show affection for your horse. Being the great Mom or Dad for your horse means you are there for his feelings of safety and trust first and foremost. What kinder and more wonderful way to show affection than attention to another’s sense of well being. What is more affectionate than kindness? What feels more wonderfully loving than kindness? In the face of the most fearful and potentially dangerous horse, kindness is the major component in its rehabilitation (just as with an abused human). Giving your best is affection also. When your horse gives you his all and the best he’s got that is his affection coming straight to you.
I guess I could sum this up by merely saying; if it feels like affection and you are not holding a carrot, it probably is. Don’t try to figure the horse out too much. I think it is better to experience and empathize with how he feels. That is the real key.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Captured mustangs victims of animal cruelty

Straight from the Horse's Heart 

Lind-Larsen will go to trial for animal cruelty charges


After three pretrials and months of delay, Redding resident Lisa Lind-Larsen, 75, will be going to trial to face two charges of animal cruelty after a judge declined her appeal for rehabilitation.
In July, Ms. Lind-Larsen’s mustang horses, Chinook and Cheyenne, were seized after the Department of Agriculture’s animal control division became aware of the animals’ malnourished state.  The horses were shown to have been locked in unsanitary stalls for long periods with insufficient food and contaminated water.
Ms. Lind-Larsen’s appearance in court was preceded by last month’s pretrial closing on an appeal for accelerated rehabilitation, a program offered by some state criminal systems to give offending parties a “second chance” and avoid criminal charges.  Ms. Lind-Larsen did not plead guilty nor was she convicted of any charges. The accelerated rehabilitation would function as a way to bypass a trial. Some programs can last up to two years. A key qualification is that the individual have no prior criminal history.
Ms. Lind-Larsen failed to meet that qualification. She faced a judge and assistant district attorney without any representation as she tried in vain to appeal for accelerated rehabilitation.  Ms. Lind-Larsen has not had an attorney by her side in defense since she parted ways with Stephen Harding on Sept. 17.  The two parted because she “didn’t feel comfortable with his representation.”
Deborah Mabbett, an assistant district attorney with the Judicial District of Danbury, brought to light Ms. Lind-Larsen’s ineligibility for accelerated rehabilitation by citing an outstanding criminal charge.  “Regarding the appeal for accelerated rehabilitation, we find that the defendant is not eligible due to a charge from 1992,” Ms. Mabbett said.
The charge has since been cleared through a probationary program but because the charge still reflected a criminal record, Judge Susan Reynolds dismissed Ms. Lind-Larsen’s appeal.
The case will now go to trial as there is no longer an option for rehabilitation.  The trial means that the courts will find a resolution to the charges against Ms. Lind-Larsen. Following the dismissal, Ms. Mabbett requested on behalf of Ms. Lind-Larsen “the longest continuance that your honor can give,” in order for the defendant to find an attorney and to wait for the outcome of a separate court case involving her horses.  The continuance is a postponement of action until a later date.  The period of waiting will give Ms. Lind-Larsen the time to prepare for trial.
“I am waiting for a decision to come down from another court regarding my horses,” Ms. Lind-Larsen said in seeking a continuance.  The decision concerning the horses is pending a ruling by the Hartford civil suit.
The case will resume on Dec. 2. Until then, the status of Ms. Lind-Larsen’s horses, her defense, and criminal charges against her all remain unresolved.
The mustangs, Chinook and Cheyenne, were once wild horses before being rounded up in Nevada in 2002 and Utah in 2003.  They are currently in the care of the state Department of Agriculture at a facility in Niantic.

Friday, November 14, 2014

An overview of legal actions related to horse slaughter since 2012

Animal Law Coalition

Horses kissingAs part of their First Annual Equine Welfare Report, Equine Welfare Alliance and Animal Law Coalition included the following overview of recent legal and some legislative actions related to horse slaughter:
Horse slaughterhouses attempt to return to US soil
During the past year or more, the legal effort to stop the slaughter of American equines was largely concentrated in the courts and administrative agencies. On November 18, 2011, theenactment of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012, Pub. Law 112-55, restored funding for antemortem inspections, meaning it was legal once again for USDA/FSIS to provide inspections of horses at slaughter facilities before they are slaughtered for human consumption.
These ante mortem inspections are required by the Federal Meat Inspection Act (“FMIA”), 21 U.S.C. §603(a), 21 U.S.C. §601(w)(1). Until that time since 2007 federal appropriations laws prohibited the USDA from using any funds to pay the salaries or expenses of personnel to inspect horses sold for slaughter for human consumption. See, for example, Pub. L. 109-97, §§794, 119 Stat. 2120, 2164. The inspections were, in effect, defunded. Slaughter of equines for human consumption was as a result illegal in the U.S between 2007 and 2011.
Despite the reinstatement of funding for ante mortem equine inspections in 2011, under FMIA, equine slaughter facilities cannot operate without a grant of inspection and continued inspection and oversight by USDA. 21 U.S.C. §603(a). In order to be eligible for federal inspection pursuant to the FMIA, an equine slaughter facility must apply to FSIS for inspection, and FSIS is required in assessing the application to review information regarding the premises, standard operating procedures, and management of waste-streams, including sewage and water. 9 C.F.R. §416.2.
With the reinstatement of funding of ante mortem equine inspections, at least six facilities submitted applications to USDA to receive grants of inspection of horses for slaughter for human consumption:
1. Valley Meat Co. LLC (“Valley Meat”) located in Roswell, New Mexico (On June 28, 2013 FSIS issued a decisional memorandum granting the modified application.)
2. Responsible Transportation of Sigourney, Iowa (Application was granted on July 1, 2013)
3. Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, Missouri
4. American Beef Company/Unified Equine, LLC (“Unified Equine”) of Rockville, Missouri
5. Trail South Meat Processing Co. (“Trail South”) of Woodbury, Tennessee
6. Oklahoma Meat Company of Washington, Oklahoma.
Despite the fact that applications were submitted almost immediately after the FY 2012 Appropriations Act was signed into law on November 18, 2011, no grants of inspection were issued until June 28, 2013. Indeed, on October 12, 2012 Valley Meat filed suit in federal district court, claiming the USDA/FSIS was in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §706 for failing to issue the grant of inspection.
Valley Meat claimed it met all of the requirements for issuance of the grant of inspection, but in the “spring of 2012 USDA altered its stance on this issue due to political and special interest pressure, effectively allowing the issue to become politicized. The[re was]… a marked change in cooperation of USDA with Plaintiff and sudden change in availability of USDA to be able to issue a Grant of Inspection”.
Complaint, Valley Meat v. Vilsack, et al.
The USDA told Valley Meat the “issue of drug residue testing has been referred back to the Congressional Affairs office of USDA in Washington, D.C. …that because horses had not been slaughtered for a number of years that FSIS would have to create new protocols for evaluating drug residue testing programs.” Complaint, Valley Meat v. Vilsack, et al.
Valley Meat claimed it spent over $20,000 fitting its plan for horse slaughter and stopped slaughtering other animals in anticipation of the grant of inspection. Valley Meat claimed that as a result of the USDA’s failure to issue the grant of inspection, it has lost “over hundreds of thousands of dollars”. Id.
Ultimately on September 9, 2013 the case was stayed pending the action discussed infra, that was filed on July 2, 2013 by the Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue and others. But though the Court did not find any wrongdoing by USDA/FSIS and never ordered the agency to issue any grant of inspection, during the pendency of the suit, the USDA did issue the conditional grants of inspections to Valley Meat, Responsible Transportation and later to Rains Natural Meats.
The grants of inspection issued to Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation were conditional and depended on the companies validating their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point plans within 90 days. 9 C.F.R. §§304.3(b), 417.2, and 417.4 But once the plans were validated, the conditional grants would become permanent.
At the same time also on June 28, 2013, FSIS issued Directive 6130.1 regarding
“Ante-Mortem, Postmortem Inspection of Equines and Documentation of Inspection Tasks.” This directive provided instructions to inspection program personnel (IPP) on how to perform inspections. This directive also instructed FSIS Public Health Veterinarians (PHVs) making ante-mortem and postmortem dispositions of equines how to perform residue testing, verify humane handling, verify marking of inspected equine products, and document results.
In the Directive, FSIS “recognizes that most equines presented for slaughter will likely not have been raised for human consumption” and that, therefore, there are “concerns regarding the potential presence of chemical residues from drugs not previously approved for use in all food animals including equine.” In addition to following pre-existing residue testing policies, IPP are instructed to “conduct random residue testing of normal-appearing” horses at “at least the same rate as for show livestock.” IPP are to randomly select, on the slaughter floor from normal-appearing equine[s], “[a] minimum of 4 animals if there are more than 100 animals in the lot.”
Also on June 28, 2013 FSIS denied a petition for rulemaking filed on April 6, 2012 by Front Range Equine Rescue and the Humane Society of the United States.
In this petition, they asked that USDA certify former companion, working, competition and wild horses as “U.S. Condemned” and unfit for human consumption” unless the
slaughterhouse (or its agent) receiving or buying the horse obtains (1) an accurate record of all of
the horse’s prior owners, (2) a record of all drugs, treatments and substances administered to the
horse since birth, and (3) verification that the horse has at no time been exposed to any
substances prohibited for use in animals intended for use as food.”
They requested that “for any horses that do satisfy those three criteria, the FSIS adopt rules and regulations that mandate the testing of the flesh and organs of all such horses going to slaughter. The petition listed more than 110 drugs and other substances commonly administered to horses that are or should be prohibited.
The groups also “request[ed] that the FSIS engage in administrative
rulemaking regarding horses intended for human consumption, in order to prevent against the
risk that consumers of horse meat will have painful or prolonged adverse reactions or drug side
effects, or contract serious, contagious, or fatal diseases, after they have eaten the meat of horses
sent to slaughter, and to ensure that proper controls are in place to prevent horses whose meat
would be adulterated from being slaughtered for food.”
A similar petition was filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), asking the agency to declare these horses and meat produced from them as “unqualified”.
Humane groups sue to stop plants under NEPA
Just a few days later and only one day after the issuance of the grant of inspection to Responsible Transportation, on July 2, 2013 the Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue and other animal welfare organizations and individuals, later joined by Robert Redford and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’ new organization, Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife, filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief in federal district court. The New Mexico Attorney General later intervened in the action on behalf of the state as a plaintiff.
The plaintiffs sought to enjoin USDA/FSIS from conducting ante mortem equine inspections for Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation. The plaintiffs argued the USDA granted inspections without first conducting an environmental impact study as required by National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. §4332(C) and the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 706(2)(A), (C), and (D).
As the Complaint explained;
“Defendants have violated NEPA by failing to prepare an environmental impact statement or an environmental assessment prior to granting inspection… Defendants’ challenged actions authorize the resumption of slaughter of American horses for human consumption after six years without domestic horse slaughter. Defendants have taken this action notwithstanding USDA’s obligations to comply with NEPA, and USDA’s actual knowledge that horse slaughter causes significant environmental harms related specifically to the means and methods of horse slaughter, the potentially toxic nature of the waste generated by this industry, and the fact that horse meat endangers consumers….
Additionally, Defendants have violated NEPA by failing to prepare an environmental impact statement or an environmental assessment prior to adopting and implementing a new residue testing plan applicable to all horse slaughter plants throughout the nation.”
NEPA requires all federal agencies to prepare a “detailed statement” regarding all “major federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.” 42 U.S.C. §4332(C). This statement is referred to as the Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”).
The Complaint explained that regulations implementing NEPA mandate that “[f]ederal agencies shall to the fullest extent possible . . . [u]se the NEPA process to identify and assess the reasonable alternatives to proposed actions that will avoid or minimize adverse effects . . . upon the quality of the human environment,” and “[u]se all practicable means . . . to restore and enhance the quality of the human environment and avoid or minimize any possible adverse effects of their actions upon the quality of the human environment.” 40 C.F.R. §§1500.2(a), (f).
Regulations require the USDA to “integrate the NEPA process with other planning at the earliest possible time to insure that planning and decisions reflect environmental values, to avoid delays later in the process, and to head off potential conflicts.” 40 C.F.R. §1501.2.
“Where an agency is invoking a new inspection mechanism, NEPA review is required before that mechanism can be invoked. ‘NEPA procedures must insure that environmental information is available to public officials and citizens before decisions are made and before actions are taken.’” 40 C.F.R. §1500.1(b).
“In effect, USDA/FSIS proposed to grant inspections for commercial equine slaughter for the first time since 2007 without an environmental assessment of the significant impact on the environment and endangered species.”
“By granting inspection to a horse slaughter plant and by adopting a new residue testing plan to apply to horse slaughter nationwide, USDA has substantively changed its operations by allocating its finite resources to authorize and oversee horse slaughter. This is a major change in policy and practice that has direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on the environment. The grant of inspection to a horse slaughter facility creates a significant change in the status quo because without it, horse slaughterhouses could not legally operate… In addition to the domestic change in status quo from a practical prohibition on horse slaughter since 2006 to now USDA issuing a grant of inspection to domestic horse slaughterhouses, relevant international regulations of horse meat have also changed. The European Union (EU) adopted in 2009 new regulations that will require any imported horse meat to satisfy additional and higher export safety and inspection requirements… USDA has not incorporated any change in policy or inspection requirements to address the adopted EU regulations. Horses slaughtered in the U.S. are exported to EU markets, and U.S. horse meat will have to satisfy these new EU regulations. …USDA needs to revise its inspection procedures to [comply with these new regulations.] This is an additional change in the status quo triggering the requirements of NEPA.”
Also the Complaint pointed out that horse slaughtering produces the following danger to endangered species: “(1) manure, contents of rumen and intestines; (2) edible products, including offal and blood; (3) inedible products such as bones, and hair; (4) fat; and (5) large volumes of wastewater….Most slaughterhouse processes require the use of water, and the pollutants contained in wastewater can impact the environment when the wastewater runoff enters into groundwater, streams, and rivers. Horse slaughtering also requires large amounts of hot water and steam for sterilizing and cleaning. Generating the energy for heating water emits gasses, which contribute to air pollution…. Horse slaughter facilities, with their combination of contaminated by-products and excessive steam generation and the need to discharge massive amounts of wastewater, represent a threat to the environment as well as threatened and endangered species in the area.”
On August 2, 2013 U.S. District Court Judge M. Christina Armijo issued a temporary restraining order enjoining USDA from providing the ante-mortem equine inspections or providing any inspection-related services related to horse slaughter to Valley Meat and Responsible Transportation. These companies were also enjoined from engaging in commercial horse slaughter. On September 20, 2013 upon learning a grant of inspection would be given to Rains Natural Meats, the Court amended the TRO to include that company as well.
But on November 1, 2013 the Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims, thus dissolving the TRO. The plaintiffs appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and on November 4, 2013 the Court granted a temporary stay and injunctive relief that basically continued the terms of the lower court’s TRO. On December 13, 2013, however, the Court vacated the stay and injunction. The plaintiffs’ claims remain pending.

Other efforts to stop the plants
There were other efforts to stop horse slaughter facilities from opening following the 2011 Act authorizing USDA/FSIS to resume providing ante mortem inspections. In 2013 Front Range Equine Rescue and the Humane Society of the United States filed petitions with the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, asking each to declare horse meat “adulterated” and ban its sale within the state.
They filed a petition before the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board, requesting the agency to classify all horses under the New Mexico Food Act, 25-2-1 et seq. that were “formerly companion animals, wild horses, work or sport horses and any other horses without a proven lifetime medical history as unqualified for production of horse meat for human consumption”.
They also requested rulemaking to prevent against risk that “consumers will have painful or prolonged adverse reactions or drug side effects or contract disease after eating meat of horses sent to slaughter and ensure that proper controls are in place to prevent horses whose meat would be adulterated from being slaughtered for food”. Included with the petition was a long list of drugs and other substances given to these horses during their lives.
New Mexico Attorney General joins fight against plants
On December 19, 2013 the New Mexico Attorney General Gary King filed suit on behalf of the state in Santa Fe County against Valley Meat to stop its proposed equine slaughter operations. The suit followed an opinion his office issued that declared horse meat fitting the legal definition of an adulterated food product under the state Food Act may not be manufactured, sold, or delivered anywhere in New Mexico, regardless of where the food is ultimately sold or consumed.
The opinion states, “Based on our examination of the relevant constitutional, statutory and case law authorities, and the information available to us at this time, we conclude horse meat from U.S. horses would fit the legal definition of an adulterated food product under the NM Food Act if the meat came from horses that had been treated with chemical substances that the federal Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has deemed unfit for human consumption. We also conclude that if horse meat were an adulterated food product, the NM Food Act would prohibit its manufacture, sale or delivery.”
In the state action King requested a temporary restraining order to stop the plant from opening. The Complaint cited the serious environmental, health and consumer protection concerns from operation of a horse slaughter facility particularly by a company with a long history of violation of state laws. The Complaint alleged Valley Meat’s proposed horse slaughter facility would violate New Mexico’s Food Act, NMSA 1978 Sections 25-2-1 et seq.; the state Unfair Practices Act, NMSA 1978, Sections 57-12-1, et seq.; and Water Quality Act, NMSA 1978, Section 74-6-5(A) and accompanying regulations.
The court granted the TRO on December 30, 2013 and then a preliminary injunction was issued on January 17, 2013 by District Court Judge Matthew Wilson. The preliminary injunction will remain in effect until the claims have been resolved.
Wastewater discharge permits challenged
Before any plant could open, it would likely be required to obtain a wastewater discharge permit under state or local law. There would also be a routine monitoring process after a permit was issued. Valley Meat requested a permit to operate a discharge lagoon using a plastic liner.
On October 21st and 22nd of 2013, the New Mexico Department of the Environment held a hearing GWB 13-05 (P) in the matter of issuing a discharge permit to Valley Meat in the city of Roswell New Mexico, Chavez County.
The GWQB (Ground Water Quality Bureau), VMC (Valley Meat Company), FRER (Front Range Equine Rescue), Ari Biernoff of the NM AG and John Holland of the Equine Welfare Alliance provided technical testimony. Testimony against the permit centered on the drugs and toxic substances present in horses and the extremely shallow depth of the water table (six to ten feet in many areas), as well as the past violations of both Valley Meats individually and the horse slaughter industry collectively.
On January 7, 2014 hearing officer, Felicia L. Orth, recommended denial of a wastewater discharge permit to Valley Meat “[b]ased upon [its] history of willful disregard for environmental laws”. The officer noted that in just the period between June 3, 2000 and May 24, 2013 Valley Meat has “committed thousands of violations of New Mexico environmental laws”. The final order is still pending.
The administration comes out against horse slaughter
While the litigation and administrative agency actions to stop commercial horse slaughter proceeded, President Barack Obama’s administration recommended in 2013 the defunding once again of ante mortem equine inspections in its USDA FY 2014 budget,
p. 197, Sec. 725:
None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to pay the salaries or expenses of personnel to—(1) inspect horses under section 3 of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 603); (2) inspect horses under section 903 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 1901 note; Public Law 104127); or (3) implement or enforce section 352.19 of title 9, Code of Federal Regulations.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) offered as an amendment to the House of Representatives’ Agriculture Appropriations bill the defunding provision recommended by the administration. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) offered the same amendment to the Senate version of the Agriculture Appropriations bill.
Victoria McCullough, owner of Chesapeake Petroleum, had privately hired Florida State Senator Joseph Abruzzo as a registered lobbyist exclusively dedicated to equine welfare issues. This marked the first time there had been a lobbyist focused exclusively on these issues.
In 2013 Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and Vice President Joseph Biden both took an official position of being opposed to the return of horse slaughter to the US in keeping with the President’s position.
Slaughter inspections again defunded through Omnibus bill
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate approved the inspections defunding amendments that became part of H.R. 3547, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, Division A, Title VII, Sec. 746. The defunding provision is on p. 37 of the 639 page Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014. The Act was signed into law by President Obama on January 17, 2014.
Defunding has a ripple effect
On January 23, 2014 the Missouri Department of Natural Resources denied Rains Natural Meats’ application to modify its state general wastewater operating permit to allow horse slaughter, citing to the newly enacted law once again defunding ante mortem inspections. DNR pointed out that “[b]ecause this federal action effectively prohibits the processing of horses, further evaluation of your application….is unwarranted”.
Earlier a Missouri state judge, Daniel Green, issued a preliminary injunction to prevent DNR from issuing a permit to Rains Natural Meats in a lawsuit brought by horse rescuers and local residents. Rains Natural Meat had failed to request a permit that would allow it to store and dispose of drugs given to equines that are banned in food producing animals and dangerous for human consumption. The plaintiffs produced evidence that these drugs do end up in wastewater. The drugs do not degrade in wastewater treatment facilities or on land.
DNR issued Rains a permit that excluded horse slaughter activities, and Rains appealed. Rains then dismissed the appeal and instead filed the amended application that was ultimately denied on January 23, 2014.
On May 22, 2014 the Senate Appropriations Committee approved by a vote of 18-12 an amendment offered by Sen. Mary Landrieu to continue the defunding of ante mortem equine inspections in the FY 2015 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, S. 2389, Title VII, Sec. 746.
Also, on May 29, 2014 by a vote of 28-22 the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee approved a motion by Rep. Moran to add a provision to the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, to continue to defund ante mortem equine inspections. See p. 76 of the 109 page H. Rept. 113-468 and H.R. 4800, Sec. 741.
The House of Representatives and Senate have as of this writing yet to vote on these measures.
The SAFE Act
The latest federal legislative effort to ban not only horse slaughter in the U.S. but export of American equines for slaughter, the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, (“SAFE Act”), H.R. 1094/S.B. 541, introduced in 2013, remains stalled in committee.
The bill would amend the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. Section 331, by adding provisions declaring equine parts are unsafe as food and prohibiting the “knowing sale or transport of equines or equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for purposes of human consumption”.
Sens. Landrieu and Lindsay Graham (R-SC) are co-sponsors of the Senate version pending in the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The House of Representative sponsor is Rep. Patrick Meehan (D-PA). The House version remains in the Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit.
The text of the SAFE Act contains strong talking points:
(1) horses and other equines are domestic animals that are used primarily for recreation, pleasure, and sport;
(2) horses and other members of the equidae family are not raised for the purpose of human consumption;
(3) equines raised in the United States are frequently treated with drugs, including phenylbutazone, acepromazine, boldenone undecylenate, omeprazole, ketoprofen, xylazine, hyaluronic acid, nitrofurazone, polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, clenbuterol, tolazoline, and ponazuril, which are not approved for use in horses intended for human consumption;
(4) consuming parts of an equine raised in the United States likely poses a serious threat to human health and the public should be protected from these unsafe products; and
(5) the sale and transport of equines for the purpose of processing for human consumption, and the sale and transport of equine parts for human consumption, are economic in nature and substantially affect interstate and foreign commerce.
State legislative efforts to stop slaughter
Equine slaughter for human consumption remains illegal in Texas, Agric. Code §149.001, et seq.; California, Pen Code §598c; Illinois, 225 ILCS 635; Mississippi, Code §75-33-3; and New Jersey, N.J. Stat. §4:22-25.5. In 2013 Oklahoma replaced its 50 year old ban on horse slaughter with a law that would allow horse slaughter in the state as long as the horse meat is then exported for sale elsewhere. 2 OKL. Stat. §6-192. In 2013-2014 more states considered equine slaughter bans – Iowa, SB 2178; New Mexico, NM HB 121; Maine, ME HB 913; New York, A 3905/S 4615, and Maryland, MD HB 1392.

Wild Horses – Photographing the Wyoming Checkerboard Horses in Canon City

Straight from the Horse's Heart

by Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation
The beautiful boys 1-4 years old in pen 3 were curious about us
As many of you know, it was quite a process obtaining permission to photograph the wild horses rounded up last month in Wyoming’s Checkerboard Areas who are now in Canon City Short Term Holding at the prison facility.  However, on Monday, no one could have been more helpful and accommodating than Fran Ackley and Brian Hardin, who spent 4 1/2 hours with us, taking us to every pen, and making sure we could get good angles, tag numbers, and good views of the horses.  They want these horses to go to good homes.
Fran Ackley was an excellent guide

I did my best to photograph as many horses as possible and have their tag numbers visible for people interested in adopting them.  I did not photograph every horse – some were behind other horses, and the sheer number was overwhelming.
You are welcome to download and use the photos for identification purposes and to send to Lona Kossnar, but please respect my copyright and do not use them for anything else without my permission.  You are also welcomed and encouraged to share these with anyone who is interested in adopting a horse or horses.
Beautiful young mares 1-4 years old in pen 21

I have broken the photos down into age groups.
First are the foals and weanlings in this link:
Images 1-5 in pen 13A, images 6-57 are in the two adjoining weanling pens, 36C and 36D, images 146-149 are in pen 23.
Then the young mares, ages 1-4 in this link:
Images 59-93 are in pen 21, images 94-100 are in pen “No Man’s Land”, images 101-125 are in pen 22 and images 126-145 are in pen 25.
Then the young stallions, (soon to be gelded) ages 1-4 in this link:
Images 150-155 are in pen 8B, images 156-225 are in pens 3 and F, images 226-246 are in pen G.
Two stunning weanlings, a dun 9135 and a grulla 9133 in pen 36C

I will be posting the images of the older mares and stallions, 5 and up, when I get to them – should be in the next couple of days, please check back.
You can use the neck tag numbers on the horses for identification purposes.
Some notes about the horses – the 9000 numbers are from Great Divide Basin, the 7000 numbers are from Salt Wells Creek and Adobe Town.  They do not list any horses as being from Adobe Town, but there are Adobe Town horses mixed in with the Salt Wells Creek horses.
These are NOT all the horses brought in during the Checkerboard Roundup.  The other 600+ are at Rock Springs Corrals.  They are not ready for adoption there yet.  There are also about 100 weanlings and yearlings and two year olds from Salt Wells Creek that went to Axtell, Utah’s wild burro facility.
There are no burros in Wyoming, Marjorie, but there are burros at Canon City! Ginger makes a few friends.
Several of us have photos posted of these horses out there, so there is no guarantee that a horse pictured will still be available.  I am not in charge of adoption, I am only the photographer.
The next adoption day event is November 21st (but you can call to adopt at anytime with an approved adoption application). Information about the event, how to find out more about individual horses or to download adoption forms can be found at these links:
Through the Canon City BLM office, the first 150 miles of shipping is FREE!  There are group shipping options as well for folks that are interested in the horses, but live a distance away.  Please contact the BLM office directly for specifics.
Lona Kossnar at (719) 269-8539, or email her at
Please be kind to and patient with Lona – she will have LOTS of folks contacting her and I know she will do her very best to help all of you!
Pam Nickoles was also there photographing and you can view her images here:
( entitled “Canon City BLM Checkerboard Horses”
And Amanda Wilder, who has images on her Facebook page with each horse identified by tag number:
The weather changed just as we were leaving – we had good timing!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

NV Wild Horse Rescued from Sticky Situation

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Source: Reno’s News 4

SPARKS, Nev. ( & KRNV) — One wild horse found herself in a sticky – and smelly – situation on Tuesday.
According to Lyon County officials, wild horse advocates and the Lyon County Technical Large Animal Response Team responded Tuesday afternoon to aVirginia Range wild mare that found her way into the Truckee Meadows Waste Water Treatment Plant on Cleanwater Drive in Sparks.
The mare was found by facility personnel stranded in a waste water settling pond, which contains waste solids. She was apparently in the water for about four hours.
Two of the volunteers trained in both HazMat and large animal rescue were ready to don HazMat suits and go in the gooey material to secure the animal for extrication, when she gave a mighty try and managed to get her front hooves on solid ground. The volunteers were relieved to see the mare pull herself onto solid ground and avoided taking a murky swim.
The volunteers built a decontamination corral and gave the smelly horse a thorough decontamination wash down under the supervision of a facility manger before she was let loose to rejoin her companions.
Ironically, the horse entered the facility during a project in which the fencing was being upgraded to prevent such things as curious horses.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Some Comic Relief

Horsey Humor

Hock – the financial condition of all horse owners.
Stall – what your trailer rig does at rush hour in an unfamiliar city on the way to a big horse show.
A bit – what you have left in your pocket after you’ve been to your favorite tack shop.
Fence – a decorative structure built to provide your horse with something to chew on.
Horse auction – what you think of having after your horse bucks you off.
Pinto – a green coat pattern found on freshly washed light-colored horses left unattended for 2 minutes in a pasture.
Well-mannered – a horse that hasn’t stepped on, bitten or kicked any human for a week.
Rasp – an abrasive metal tool used to remove excess skin from one’s knuckles.
Longeing or lunging – popular training method in which a horse exercises the human by spinning them in circles until dizzy.
Gallop – customary gait a horse chooses when returning back to the barn.
Nicely started – the horse longes but there is not enough health insurance in the world to even think about riding him.
Colic – gastrointestinal distress in people after eating food at horse fairs and shows.
Colt – what your mare gives you when you want a filly.
Easy to load – only takes 3 hours, 4 men, a 50 lb. bag of oats, and a tractor with a loader.
Easy to catch – in a 10 x 10 stall, that is.
Easy rider – rides good in a trailer…not to be confused with “rideable.”
Endurance ride – end result when your horse spooks and runs away with you.
Hives – what you get when you receive the vet bill for your horse.
Hobbles – walking gait of a human after their foot has been stepped on by a horse.
Feed – expensive substance used to manufacture manure.
Dog house – what you are in when you spend too much money on grooming supplies and pretty halters.
Light cribber – we can’t afford to build any more fencing or box stalls for this buzz saw on 4 legs.
3 gaited horse – a horse that trips, stumbles and falls.