Saturday, January 30, 2010

Death Toll Rising - Horses Don't Lie

By Katia Louise
Jan 30,2010

There are news stories published nearly every day now about the Federal BLM Round Up of Wild Horses. Due to the efforts of those looking out for the best interest of the horses, more information has been surfacing and both local news stations and mainstream news outlets have been covering the topic more and more. As of Jan 30, the BLM admits to 27 horses killed during the current Calico round up in NV and this ever rising death toll has gotten worldwide attention.

Despite of the publicity and exposure, pro horse advocates are disappointed in the way media is presenting this issue to the public. Advocates worry that important information and facts are being left out, and that this paves the way for those that profit from these cruel and controversial activities. The BLM has made this issue appear as though it's between the BLM and the advocates, but in truth, it's all about what the BLM is doing to the horses.

The horse advocates are looking out for the horses. The BLM is looking out for themselves.

One of the most widely contended aspects of the BLM roundup/ removal of wild horses is the BLM's claim that the horses are starving due to an absence of forage on their assigned range lands. What has proven to be a clear pattern is the governments' creative & selective production of imagery. For example, a couple of pictures have recently surfaced in media reports where nursing mares are depicted. The problem arises when these images depict isolated and rare instances of thin nursing mares. These same mares are then touted by DOI Secretary Salazar and other BLM officials as an accurate example of what they claim to be the poor health and condition of the entire wild horse population.

In speaking from my own firsthand experience as an observer of the Calico round up, what I find concerning is that the number of horses that appear less fat and healthy is actually a mere small fraction of the overall population. Further, these thinner horses are predominantly mares with foals still nursing. When looking at the entire population of horses, it's important to note that their body condition at the time of roundup, as the BLM admittedly reports; is good. And when you look specifically at the remaining population of horses (the stallions, yearlings and mares without foals) from the same HMA's they do not show the so called signs of malnourishment. Further, it should also be pointed out the that it’s a common natural occurrence for most any species living on the land in their natural environment during the dead of winter, while nursing to lose more body weight than other members of their herd. Based on the same, this type of natural weight loss is more appropriately attributed to the foal’s need for nourishment from the mare, rather than the claim that these mares are starving from insufficient forage.

The exposure of the truth has caused the DOI and BLM to step up their misinformation campaigns. If wild horses were truly starving out on the range, the so called excess populations wouldn't be a problem, and the round ups would NOT be necessary. On the other hand if there were such a thing as an excess wild horse problem, then the wild horses would be in fact thriving and doing quite nicely on their own.. Again no need for the BLM to step in and place them on feed lots at taxpayer's expense. And if the BLM truly cared about our wild American horses and they wanted to do the best thing for them, they would leave them out on the open ranges and allow they to transverse their assigned HMA's on their own, rather than stampede them across lava fields with helicopters and removal them permanently.

The BLM is clever to call the round up a gather. They shoot these nursing mares leaving behind orphaned foals and then call that euthanasia. They then spin the death tolls and statistics to bolster their misinformation campaign. What other indiscriminate tactics are being used by the BLM in effort mislead the public?

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Promotion of Criminal Animal Cruelty sweeps the US under the Guise of Euthanasia

Part 1 of a 3 part series
Jan 26, 2010
By Katia Louise

There’s an alarming and aggressive campaign of deception sweeping the country to establish HORSE SLAUGHTER plants nationwide. Illinois State Rep. Jim Sacia wasted no time this year in introducing H.B. 4812, a bill to repeal the state's 2007 ban on slaughtering horses for human consumption. Rep. Sacia's bill, H.B. 4812, would also allow horses to be shipped into the state for slaughter for human consumption, with no certificate of veterinary inspection, contrary to current state law governing horses. In Missouri, state Rep. James Viebrock just introduced a bill, H.B. 1747, that would authorize registration and inspections for commercial horse slaughter for human consumption. South Dakota's legislature has already passed a resolution this session, H.C.R. 1003, calling for the return of horse slaughter to the U.S. “The resolution exhorts Congress to defeat the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, H.R. 503/S.B. 727. A similar resolution is pending in Kentucky, H.C.R. 47. Like the others, it is full of disinformation. These resolutions and bills claim "rising numbers of unwanted and abandoned horses" are the result of the closing of horse slaughter houses in 2007 in the U.S.” – Laura Allen, Animal Law Coalition. For the record, the proponents' claim that there has been a rise in what they call "unwanted" horses simply is NOT true. (More on the subject of so-called "unwanted" horses in Part Two of this special Slaughter Alert report.)

So who is behind these phenomena? …And how are they able to gain such empowerment and momentum despite the overwhelming opposition to this insidious industry? In a nutshell, when you follow the money, it leads you to Ag; otherwise known as the agriculture industry. State Representatives are lobbied by large corporations, associations & wealthy constituents that, together, control a vast network of worker bees, so to speak. Large organizations are created for the purpose of distributing propaganda to mainstream media and beyond. One such organization is under the helm of Wyoming State Rep. Wallis. She's also known as “Slaughterhouse Sue” to many, and she's at it again. This time she is rallying support to open horse slaughter plants in Oregon.

Cult-like slaughter meetings are funded by what some critics call Ag puppets. Otherwise known as the ‘United Organizations of the Horse’ (UOH) and the ‘United Horsemen's Front’ (UHC), they work to promote the inhumane slaughter of American horses in the US for human consumption, and to empower the BLM’s illegal round up & removal of wild horses & burros from public, tribal, and private lands.

The UOH and UHC are linked together with the American Horse Council and the AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners). The UHO is spreading disinformation by enlisting the support and soliciting money from livestock handlers and other hard working people in the equine industry at small town auction houses and saloons. Communities full of unassuming and trusting people are misled by the proponents’ misinformation which is spread until enough supporters successfully pass the next state bill in favor of horse slaughter.

Horse enthusiasts are concerned that, with enough state bills in place, the Ag Lobby leaders and its affiliates (USDA and the Department of Interior) could soon gain enough power to begin slaughtering both domestic and wild horses across the country.

Dr Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, MRCVS, and Veterinarians for Equine Welfare, testified before U.S. representatives during a hearing on the ‘Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act’ that “Horse slaughter has never been considered by veterinary professionals to be a form of euthanasia. Congress and the general public must hear from veterinarians that horse slaughter is not and should not be equated with humane euthanasia. Rather, the slaughtering of horses is a brutal and predatory business that promotes cruelty and neglect.”

Deep pocket foreign and US special interests continue to reap huge profits from this bloody trade of flesh bound Thoroughbreds, Arabians, Mustangs, Quarter Horses, Ponies, Burros and more. All are brutally killed for their meat while American tax payers foot the bill. Every day, thousands of horses are being shipped across state and federal borders to later face gruesome slaughter in Mexico and Canada. The BLM is rounding up thousands of wild horses from across the west, never to be seen again. “There are horses missing, lots and lots of horses missing.” - John Holland, Equine Welfare Alliance. “The BLM is managing horses to extinction.” - Ginger Kathrens, The Cloud Foundation.

Pro-horse advocates urge the general public to look beyond the smoke and mirrors of the slaughter proponents’ campaign. The Ag Lobby is extremely well funded and organized. Findings indicate that a small number of top corporate executives stand to make huge profits, while the workers on the kill-floor are generally people with few choices about where they work like criminals or those illegally in the country.. Local communities are left with hazardous health and environmental conditions which the plant owners ignore. Often referred to as corporate thugs, these deep pocket interests use fear based campaigns to mislead an army of faithful farmers, ranchers and unassuming equine specialists. The result is a nation divided… but it’s a nation of blurred lines.

One of the most popular pro-slaughter claims is that horse owners will lose their right to humanely euthanize their horse, when in fact that is not true. The pending bill (HR503) would make it a crime to slaughter a horse in the U.S. for human consumption, but it doesn’t restrict the right of an owner to humanely euthanize their own horse. Another popular myth used by proponents is that, if horse slaughter is made illegal then the next thing will be to make slaughtering cattle illegal. This misinformation has then been repeated based on fear of an industry wide shut down within the Ag/ Livestock industries. Many in misguided Ag leaders have even gone so far as to rally farmers and other related groups against regular everyday people who care about their animals, by labeling them as radical animal activists and eco-terrorists. What most people don’t know is that horse slaughter proponents are said to be working hard behind closed doors to prepare Americans’ palate for what they hope will become America’s next red meat. . . “Horsemeat, the New Beef”.

The UOH just revealed one of their newest campaign efforts, the development of a nationwide so-called 'Do Not Slaughter' registry. The UOH states that horses would purportedly be checked at slaughter plants and at borders, so that registered owners could retrieve their horses. The UOH does not mention who would be responsible for the required veterinary care to revive the horses that might survive the cruel 24-48 hour transport without food, water or rest. Nor does the UOH explain who would pay for humane transport back to the registered owner.

President of Equine Advocates, Susan Wagner states, “Horse slaughter actually encourages the violation of animal cruelty laws because people who starve their horses or take non weight bearing horses to slaughter auctions, are supposed to be charged with animal cruelty; but instead, they are rewarded, getting paid, and being allowed to sell these animals.”

Most Americans have no idea that the slaughter process begins at the auction. Once a horse enters into the food chain, most animal cruelty protection laws become inapplicable. Even worse, regulations meant to provide a “humane” experience for slaughter-bound equines have a proven record of not being enforced.

WFLF supports The Prevention of Equine Cruelty bills HR503 and S727. “The legislation is pending in both the House and the Senate. It will prohibit the slaughter of American horses for human consumption and end the transport of our American horses to Mexico and Canada for slaughter.” – Debra Lopez, Americans Against Horse Slaughter.

For those left wanting to know a little more about UOH, sitting on their co-founders board is Conrad Burns, who in 2004 pushed through a midnight amendment that legalized the slaughter of America’s wild Mustangs. Also on the UOH board is Frank Bowman of the American Horse Council which claims not to be pro slaughter; however US Lobby reports reveal the Frank Bowman spends quite a bit of money lobbying for slaughter. …So, who is “Slaughterhouse Sue”?

In addition to being the Wyoming State Rep. (R) she is UOH President and CEO.

(Read part two of this report Monday Feb 1, 2010)

Learn more:

Learn more about this while issue through the film "Saving America's Horse A Nation Betrayed" which features the country's most renown equine experts. This is a collaborative effort. Coming 2010!

Saving America’s Horses - A Nation Betrayed

Animal Law Coalition

Veterinarians for Equine Welfare

Americans Against Horse Slaughter

Equine Welfare Alliance

Kaufman Zoning

Link to PDF of this report

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Missouri state Rep. James Viebrock Endorsement of Horse Slaughter

Show MO Legislators Why They Should Oppose H.B. 1747

Missouri state Rep. James Viebrock has introduced a bill, H.B. 1747, that would authorize registration and inspections for commercial horse slaughter for human consumption.

The bill proposes that the Missouri Dept. of Agriculture would register commercial horse slaughter operations and certify "that the parts of horses to be processed are fit for human food, and the processing establishment to be operated complies with ... sanitary standards". All registration and inspection fees collected" would "be paid to the director of agriculture and deposited into the state ‘Horse Meat and Product Fund'". Annual inspection fees would be used "to pay for USDA inspection of horse meat products and horse meat processing facilities."

According to the bill, H.B. 1747, "the [state] director [of Agriculture] shall make all necessary inspections and investigations" and the USDA would also have access "at all reasonable times to any building, room, vehicle, boat, or other premises in which any horse carcass, horse meat, or horse meat food product is processed, packed, transported, sold, exposed, or offered for sale at retail."

The USDA would be free to pay for samples or specimens of the carcass or "product" to determine if there are violations of USDA regulations.

The new law would have requirements for labeling, remedies to protect against adulteration, misbranding, failure to label or brand, or unfitness for human consumption. Places that serve horsemeat would be required to post conspicuous warning signs.

The proposal, of course, is simply another tactic to try to create a market in the U.S. for horse meat or at least pretend there is one with the hope of forcing a return of horse slaughter to this country. This bill is similar to a number of bills and resolutions introduced in 2009 in an effort to defeat the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, H.R. 503/S.B. 727, now pending in Congress and which would make it illegal to "possess..., ship..., transport..., purchase.., sell... deliver..., or receive" in interstate or foreign commerce any horse "with the intent that it is to be slaughtered for human consumption".

Right now, commercial horse slaughter for human consumption is illegal in the U.S. though horses can be transported to other countries, typically Mexico and Canada, for slaughter. Since 2006 Congress has de-funded ante-mortem inspections required to slaughter horses for human consumption. Congress continued the de-funding in the 2010 Appropriations Act, Sec. 744.

In 2007 a federal court rejected an attempt by the USDA to allow horse slaughter operators to pay for the inspections. The USDA is currently not authorized to conduct ante-mortem inspections of horses to be slaughtered for human consumption. Without those inspections, it is illegal under the Federal Meat Inspection Act ("FMIA"), 21 U.S.C. §§601(w)(1), 603, to slaughter horses for human consumption.

If this bill becomes law, it is not clear the USDA would authorize Missouri state inspectors to conduct the required inspections. The funds to pay for the state as well as USDA inspections would come from horse slaughter operators, the same situation in the previous litigation. The judge in that case found the USDA violated the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 706 and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 42 U.S.C. § 4321, et seq., by failing to consider adequately, or, really, at all, the environmental impact of its action in allowing horse slaughter operators to pay for their own inspections.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Wild Horse Remain Under Seige by Government Authorities

Courtesy Wild for Life Foundation (Jan 22, 2010)
The BLM reports that 118 horses taken to the Fallon facility on Wednesday. They intend to ship the remaining horses at the trap sites to Fallon on 1/22/10 and a new location in the Calico HMA will be established. BLM states that approx 30 mares from the Warm Springs HMA range in body condition from a 2.5 to 3.0, but the BLM does not mention the fact that these mares are still nursing their young. An estimated 20 to 25 horses at the facility have received treatment for various injuries or lameness. Other reports are still coming in.

No wind breaks will be constructed for the general population of wild horses now penned inside the new BLM feed lot, though after much pressure from pro horse advocates, the BLM just announced they now intend to build wind breaks for sick & lame animals...

Recently free roaming Calico wild horses adversely impacted as follows: 1,195 REMOVED, 1,074 AT FEED LOT, 30 IN TRAPS, 2 SHOT AT TRAP SITES, 1 DIED DURING STAMPEDE, 1 ESCAPED- CURRENT WHEREABOUTS UNCONFIRMED, SIX DEATHS ATTRIBUTED TO FEED LOT. (Said totals per BLM) *Note that inconsistencies remain as to the true number of horses on site at the Fallon feed lot.

Read the WFLF Report on the Calico Round Up, "The Look in Their Eyes"

From The Cloud Foundation:
Two more horses were killed at the Fallon Facility in conjunction with the Calico roundup on 1/21/10. Based on the posted BLM report: The Cattoors/BLM ran the feet off a colt on Tuesday, let him stand for a day, then made him ride four hours in a trailer to Fallon where he was unloaded and then shot. At least two of his hooves had fallen off. This colt and his family may have been run by helicopter up to 14 miles on Tuesday. We don’t know how fast over rough volcanic rock and terrain this foal was run. Another mare was down in the trailer, arrived at Fallon alive and then died subsequently. No members of the public were allowed to observe on 1/21/10 and no one will be allowed to go to Fallon Facility until Tuesday, Jan. 26th.

This from In Defense of Animals:
It’s time to get public comments in on another large removal of wild horses which is planned by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This time the BLM intends to remove over 500 of the estimated 645 horses living in or near the “Eagle Herd Management Area” in eastern Nevada outside of Ely. While 500 individuals is fewer than the 2,500 horses currently being rounded up and removed from the Calico Complex in northwest Nevada (click here for Calico update), the Eagle roundup is even more ludicrous because it is 125,000 acres larger than Calico, but the government will only allow 100 horses to remain! In Calico, by contrast, 500-900 horses will be left behind in the approximately 500,000-acre public land complex.

The Obama Administration is continuing the Bush Administration policy of targeting wild horses in order to serve special cattle and other industry interests. Under President Obama's oversight, the BLM is actually accelerating the pace of wild horse removals, with 12,000 horses targeted for capture from our public lands in Fiscal Year 2010 alone. The majority of these horses will be sent to government holding facilities, where they will join the 35,000 wild horses already stockpiled at taxpayer expense.

from the Cloud Foundation:
Captured Calico Wild Horses Denied Windbreaks
BLM’s double-standards leave nearly 1000 captured mustangs in the cold
Fallon, NV (January 19, 2010)— 956 wild American mustangs rounded up off public land by helicopters in the past two weeks now stand in a feedlot-style Bureau of Land Management (BLM) contracted holding facility outside of Fallon, Nevada on private land. The new Fallon facility is not equipped with shelter, windbreaks or protection of any kind for the horses. High winds, rain and snow are expected to continue through the end of the week. In Calico, herds can move to sheltered canyons for protection from the harsh winter weather. Yet, in Fallon, they are deprived of adequate protection despite recommendations from wild horse advocates. This is in direct opposition to BLM’s own standards.
“I’m confused by the double standard. Before members of the public are allowed to adopt a wild horse from BLM we must prove we have adequate shelter. Why doesn’t BLM have to meet the same standards?” asks Ann Evans, adopter of three mustangs.
Yesterday, members of the public reported an inhumane lack of windbreaks. No apparent effort has been made to tie canvas tarps on fences to block the howling wind and the anticipated driving snow. On Friday January 15, advocates asked local Nevada BLM staff, Directors and top-level Department of Interior (DOI) under-secretaries to intervene on behalf of the horses by creating wind blocks.

Click here to join the Unified Call for an Immediate Moratorium on Wild Horse & Burro Roundups

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BLM original post re colt's hoofs

BLM Vet report re colt's hoofs