Thursday, December 2, 2010

Summit of the Horse Alarms Wild Horse Advocates

The letter and articles below are from Madeleine Pickens.

Dear Friends,

I recently read the article below, written by Sue Wallis, a GOP State Rep who is publicly pro-slaughter, and was taken aback on how misleading it was in regards to the wild horse issue. I was inclined to write to Bob Abbey, Director of the BLM, because his name was listed as a speaker at the Summit of the Horse in Las Vegas. At that event, they will be discussing plans to build a horse slaughtering plant in Wyoming, amongst other ways to remove horses. Many advocates, like myself, are very upset that federal legislation prohibiting horse slaughter hasn’t prohibited such inhumane behavior. We need to speak up for our horses. I encourage you read to the very end of this post to make the call yourself.

Very Sincerely,

Madeleine Pickens

Here is the article in favor of the horse slaughtering plant:
US (WY) Wyoming Proceeds with Horse Slaughter Plant
Wyoming proceeds with plans to build state-of-the-art processing plant
By SUE WALLIS, United Organizations of the Horse
Wednesday, September 8, 2010 8:00 AM MDT
Plans are progressing to site a state-of-the-art processing plant designed to humanely slaughter horses in Wyoming.
The Unified Equine LLC plant is only one component of a holistic system designed to provide a solution to the problem of excess domestic horses in the United States.
All horses entering the holistic Unified Equine System will be first evaluated by veterinarians.
If they are in poor condition they will be sent to the Rejuvenation Program for extra feed, care, and supplementation to put them quickly back to good health.
If they are in decent condition and have any prospect for use they will be sent to the Rescue Program which is a collaborative effort with college and
university equine training programs and private horse trainers to train, re-train and market horses.

If they are inappropriate for either slaughter or other aspects of the system such as pregnant mares, colts, yearlings, and weanlings they will be put on
pasture until ready for re-evaluation and placement.
Finally, those horses that are past their useful life, unsound and unable to recover, or dangerous and untrainable will be humanely processed at the Unified Equine facility.
All facilities for the handling of horses, and systems and procedures for the humane killing of horses will be designed by world renowned animal scientist Dr.Temple Grandin and her team at Grandin Livestock Systems. The rest of the facility is being designed by respected contractors in the meat processing industry. Once constructed, the facility will be under constant third-party video monitoring to ensure humane handling and food safety.
All products will be produced under American Meat Institute regulations and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture Meat Inspection department which meets or exceeds USDA requirements for food safety, and all products will be certified as being humanely produced.
Three legal entities will manage and operate the entire system. United Horse-men, a 501c3 nonprofit will oversee the rejuvenation, rescue, and pasture
portions of the Unified Equine System.
A new legal entity, Unified Equine LLC has been set up to operate the meat processing and associated enterprises. The United Organizations of the Horse, a
mutual benefit nonprofit formed for political action will continue, but will not be a part of the Unified Equine System.
Once complete, the processing facility will be capable of humanely processing 200 horses per day for meat and byproducts. Initial product will be primarily
marketed as zoo diet and pet food. This new facility is planned to be sited on property near Gueresey, Wyo.
Unified Equine LLC is finalizing cost estimates and beginning the process of acquiring the necessary financing and permitting that will be required, a
process anticipated to take at least six months. Once construction begins the plant should be operational within six months.
At full capacity the facility will create approximately 100 good paying jobs with competitive benefits in a rural area that is economically depressed. Hiring preferences for construction and operating positions will be given to local workers. Comprehensive training and safety program will be implemented, and all permanent employees will be stock-owning partners in the enterprise.

Here is my letter to Bob Abbey of the BLM in regards to the above article:

December 1, 2010
Mr. Bob Abbey
Director, Bureau of Land Management
Department of the Interior
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. Abbey,
I read with great concern for the program at the upcoming “Summit of the Horse” and that you are noted as one of the speakers. While I recognize that you are obligated to reach out to a wide variety of constituents groups to seek input on the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, the cast of characters attending this event reads more like a who’s who of the pro-slaughter and anti-wild horse community.
It seems that whenever the pro-agriculture groups dangle a dollar in front of individuals or outside groups, they automatically become equine experts, and are first in line to reap the economic benefits of the latest pitch. As a matter of fact, it’s the economics of grazing on public lands that has generated the issue with the overpopulation of wild horses in holding pens and the costs associated with that program. Suggesting giving more money to the pro-agriculture crowd as a solution to the boondoggle is misleading and is sure to fail as it will only create more issues with the Wild Horse and Burro Program. Since the BLM has openly stated that they will not engage in any attempt to euthanize or slaughter wild horses, it is even more interesting that you are participating in a discussion of exactly that issue with the pro-slaughter crowd.
If the “Summit” participants were seriously concerned about what they refer to as the “unwanted” horses driving the demand for slaughter in this country, they would have to look no further than the boutique breeding industry in this country. We are producing somewhere in the range of 250,000 registry horses in this country every year. It is very hard to make the argument that the few thousand new wild horses born each year can match the numbers of breed horses contributing to the overpopulation of horses in this country. The answer to the “unwanted” horse population in this country is to ensure responsible breeding and responsible care, and not driving 10,000 wild horses each year by helicopter into a trap for removal.
One only has to glance at the details of the program and the recurring reference to “feral” horses to understand what the intentions of this group are. I encourage you to read an article that ran in the Reno Gazette Journal recently stating that, “Modern horses evolved here and that’s an adequate reason to consider them a native American species and not ‘invasive’ or ‘introduced feral animals.”Perhaps you could share this conclusion with the participants at the forum.

I appreciated the opportunity to meet with you and others recently to discuss possible solutions to the problems that plague the Wild Horse and Burro Program. I am now engaged in a good faith effort, at a considerable personal cost, to work with BLM personnel in Nevada to develop a new model to keep and manage excess wild horses. As I told you then, leveraging private dollars and creating a pilot program to handle wild horses coming off the ranges in the Western U.S. takes us in a new, positive direction and offers a new vision for an applicable solution. I fear the group gathering at the Summit of the Horse is recycling many of the ideas and actions that have perpetuated the controversial problems we now see in the strategy to gather and hold our wild horses.
I hope you will continue to engage with people of good faith who want to see the Wild Horse and Burro Program managed in a way that all the stakeholders, including the wild horses and their advocates, are content with and will have a say in the final outcome. I am always available if I can be of service in working on this issue for the betterment of all concerned.

Madeleine Pickens


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