Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wyoming State Representative Under Scrutiny

Wyoming Resident Files Complaint against State Rep. Sue Wallis

Wy. State Rep. Sue WallisCHICAGO - Wyoming resident, Patricia Fazio, Ph.D. has filed a complaint with state officials, requesting an investigation of alleged violations of ethics laws and securities fraud by Wyoming State Rep. Sue Wallis (R-Campbell).

Animal Law Coalition (ALC), Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) and Habitat for Horses Advisory Council (HfHAC) applaud Dr. Fazio and join in the call for authorities to investigate Wallis' activities.

The complaint alleges Rep. Wallis is improperly and even fraudulently abusing her position as a Wyoming legislator. The complaint further alleges that Rep. Wallis not only neglected to recuse herself or disclose her personal financial interest in votes, but that she has actually "sponsored" bills that would materially benefit her or her family.

Wallis has publicly claimed to be forming a business under the name, Unified Equine LLC, which she says will slaughter horses and sell the meat within Wyoming. At the same time, in her capacity as a legislator, she is promoting legislation that would deregulate, promote and favor horse slaughter operations.

Wallis published a web page enticing people to invest in Unified Equine LLC which turned out to be a non-existent entity for months. Also according to the Complaint, the apparent solicitation for investors may have violated other federal and state securities laws.

The fraud on investors may go deeper: Not only is commercial horse slaughter for human consumption illegal in the U.S., as the complaint states, "there is no market in the U.S. for human consumption of horsemeat, nor is there a market for use of horsemeat in pet food". To be a viable business within Wyoming with its population of 544,270, such a facility "would have to ...sell approximately 10,000,000 pounds of horsemeat per year, or 18 pounds for every man, woman and child in the state".

Wallis has also sponsored the "Food Freedom Act", a bill that would eliminate all regulation of food sold directly to the consumer. The bill was dubbed by one health department official as a "fraud".

The bill could allow Wallis' slaughter business to sell contaminated horse meat directly to Wyoming consumers without any form of government oversight, testing or inspection. American horses are not raised for food and are typically administered drugs including carcinogens that, according to the FDA, are prohibited in horsemeat sold as human food.

The deceptively named Food Freedom Act would likely also benefit Wallis' family's business which sells homemade jellies and syrups, among other food goods.

The complaint further calls into question Wallis' use of 501(c)3 charitable designations to solicit funds for her promotion of horse slaughter. Wallis has a number of ever-changing, interrelated organizations and websites that solicit funds for allegedly "charitable" or "educational" purposes. But Wallis' efforts appear to be purely political, focused on passing laws from which she can benefit personally and financially.

It is not clear where donations are actually going, and Dr. Fazio requests an investigation into possible commingling of tax exempt and non-tax exempt funds. Wallis has also openly touted her position as a legislator to solicit funding for pro-horse slaughter interests.

Most recently, Wallis has announced she is holding a pro-horse slaughter "summit" in Las Vegas with a hefty price tag for attendees. She was to announce the winner of a raffle for a new pick-up truck. Then according to the complaint, Wallis announced she may not be able to buy the truck and asked raffle participants if she could just keep the money from ticket sales. According to the complaint, Wallis may be "running an unlicensed lottery, and at worst she has attempted to defraud those who bought the tickets at $100 apiece."

According to the Wyoming Minority Floor Leader Rep. W. Patrick Goggles, the complaint has been referred to the Legislative Service Office for review. Dr. Fazio also requested the Wyoming Attorney General as well as the Secretary of State's ethics disclosure and compliance offices to investigate these allegations.


Go here to send letters to state officials, calling on them to investigate Dr. Fazio's allegations.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

He does it all .. sells them to kill AND starves them.

" This man is a felon, horse thief , kill buyer and animal abuser.THANK YOU all Arkansas Congressmen and Women for enabling this type of behavior with your lack of support for HR 503 and S 727. " (Lisa Griffith)

Horses rescued. Officials documenting neglect, starvation

SALEM — Just how many days or weeks it has been since 80 to 100 horses have been fed in Fulton County is still unclear, but as of this morning “100 bales of Bermuda grass and a half ton of alfalfa high protein cubes” are en route to help save the starving animals.

The rescue got under way this morning after a search warrant was signed by Fulton County District Judge Jim Short Wednesday night giving permission to seize animals, registration papers, or any other papers or items that may contain information.

The warrant was designated for property belonging to Rodney and Bill Kankey.

The move to take the horses began Tuesday after a Fulton County deputy was called to remove a horse off the highway on U.S. 62 between Salem and Viola.

After securing the horse, Deputy Lance Gray found there was no food, no water and one dead horse in the field, prompting him to further investigate possible animal cruelty.

The horses belong to Rodney and Teri Kankey, who live next door to Bill and Charlotte Kankey, the parents of Rodney.

Rodney Kankey, 49, is currently being held in the Fulton County jail on a $250,000 bond not related to the alleged abuse of the animals. He has been incarcerated since Thanksgiving for terroristic threatening and being a felon in possession of a weapon.

Teri Kankey, who is estranged from her husband, attempted to remove the horses from the property, which is owned by her in-laws, Bill and Charlotte Kankey, but was unable to do so, authorities said.

Gray said he advised Bill and Charlotte Kankey of the law on animal cruelty and that he would be contacting the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the Untied States in reference to the horses’ welfare.

This morning the rescue mission got under way.

Arkansas State Director Desiree Bender with HSUS, along with three Missouri officials with the ASPCA met with law enforcement officers at the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office at 8 a.m. before heading to the property about 6.8 miles between Salem and Viola.

Shortly after Gray and Salem Police Chief Albert Roark served Bill Kankey with the warrant, the team began working to secure the property and take a head count of the animals.

According to Roark, Bill Kankey claimed only four of the horses on the property were his.

Bender said the group would begin by counting the horses and assessing needs, which will be an expensive operation, due to the number of animals involved.

The group began counting, photographing and taking notes on the Kankey premises.

The warrant gave access to the home including all storage areas, rooms, attic, basement, outbuildings, barns, trash containers and the surrounding grounds of the residence, and including any and all vehicles and persons present at the scene.

Bonnie Dean, shelter operations manager and veterinarian tech with the ASPCA, said her job would be to check the animals’ medical needs and assess them.

Roark said there would be obvious medical needs, explaining a local veterinarian had suggested they use caution after coming in contact with the animals saying some have been diagnosed with strangles, also known as horse distemper.

A quick count of the lot and barn directly behind Rodney Kankey’s home held approximately 95 horses. All food containers were empty and no water was in sight for those housed in the barn. Some stalls contained only one horses while others held several.

Horses left in the barren field did have access to a pond on the property.

Rodney Kankey, authorities said, is a broker for the horses designated for slaughter.

The rescue team said it would be difficult to find placement for such a large number of horses, but the call would go out nationwide to find homes in an “already over saturated market.”

The team prepared to search and secure the acreage and find the dead horses “piled at the back of the property.”

Roark said he did not know the number of dead horses involved, but they would have to be properly disposed of. Photos of starving and dead horses were also obtained from a concerned citizen.

In addition to the Fulton County charges, Rodney Kankey was recently arrested in Marion County for allegedly stealing a horse and committing other crimes. He posted a $10,000 bond following his arrest. Marion County Sheriff Roger Vickers said Rodney Kankey is charged with felony theft of property, criminal mischief, criminal trespass and harassing communications.

Kankey’s arrest stems from an incident in September when he allegedly trespassed on another person’s property, caused damage to a gated area and then took a horse that did not belong to him.

Currently no charges have been filed in connection with the animals.

Update on this story Here:

ALBERTA Bouvry Temporary Shutdown

Press Release from Canada


Alberta Horse Slaughter Plant Closed for Sanitation Reasons

December 10, 2010 - Westbank, B.C.

The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) has learned that Bouvry Exports horse slaughter plant in Fort MacLeod, Alberta closed operations on December 3rd to complete renovations related to sanitation.

This news is not surprising. It is well documented that horse slaughter operations in Canada and the U.S. have a long history of pollution troubles and violations. Interestingly, it was due to sanitation and food safety concerns that Natural Valley Farms (NVF) in Saskatchewan was closed by the CFIA in December 2008. The now defunct Saskatchewan horse slaughter plant closed its business shortly thereafter. In Texas, the Dallas Crown plant was ordered closed for pollution and sewer violations. The Cavel plant in Illinois had similarly been in violation of its sewer discharge limits before its closure. In Saskatchewan, NVF resorted to illegally dumping thousands of gallons of horse blood onto the Qu'appelle River Valley. Also, during a radio interview, a NVF investor and director admitted that 16 million gallons of raw horse blood was left in a retaining pond upstream from the Qu'Appelle River. "Bug tanks" which contain bacteria to break down horses' blood become ineffective as their blood typically contains antibiotics, which kills off the bacteria. The plant resorted to illegally dumping the blood. Quoting John Holland of the Equine Welfare Alliance: "Pollution follows the horse slaughter industry wherever it goes."

The CHDC was also advised that a European Union audit was carried out at Bouvry Exports at the end of November, however this information has not been verified.

The CHDC again calls on the CFIA and the Minister of Agriculture to put an end to the suffering of horses and close this cruelty-driven and environmentally detrimental industry, and calls on all Member of Parliament to bring Bill C-544 forward in Parliament, to shut down horse slaughter in Canada, once and for all.

DOI Appropriatons

In addition to the information in Laura's analysis for contacting the senate committee, AWHPC has also issued an action alert. You can access the information here:

Pickens' Plan in WSJ

Mustang Lover Roils the Range

Billionaire's Wife Pushes Nevada Sanctuary on U.S. Land; Ranchers Rebel

GOSHUTE VALLEY, Nev.—Nevada cattle ranchers, having long battled the land's harsh elements, now find themselves up against a new force of nature: Madeleine Pickens.

Jim Carlton has the story of why ranchers in Nevada are up in arms over a fence that the wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens wants to erect on her property.

Mrs. Pickens, wife of Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, caused an uproar when she proposed the Bureau of Land Management let her fence off more than 500,000 acres of federal land to create a sanctuary for wild horses near a 14,000-acre ranch she bought in October.

Her proposal for the bureau to designate a "mustang monument" on those acres isn't sitting well in Nevada cattle country, where ranchers worry Mrs. Pickens's plan threatens to force them off the range. Nevada's estimated 450,000 cattle graze mostly on federally owned lands in a practice dating from the 19th century.

The Elko County Commission voted Nov. 3 to oppose Mrs. Pickens's plan. "What we're worried about is if she locks up ranches all over Nevada," said Commissioner Demar Dahl, a rancher.

If the plan went through, "something has got to give, and it will be cattle," said Robin Boies, a 55-year-old local rancher who grazes her cattle on federal land adjacent to her Nevada ranch. Hunters and off-road enthusiasts also object to the plan, saying it could bar them from a popular recreation area to which they have free access now.

Like many ranches in the West, Mrs. Pickens's ranch includes the rights to graze stock on surrounding federal land in return for payments to the government and general upkeep of the land. Her proposed mustang monument would be on these federal lands around her ranch.

Mrs. Pickens says she wants to buy enough other Nevada ranches with grazing rights on federal lands to create sanctuaries for as many as 10,000 horses. "I'm sorry, but there's no putting this back in the bag," she said.

Jim Carlton/The Wall Street Journal

Madeleine Pickens visited U.S. land near her Nevada ranch in November.

Mrs. Pickens has been a frequent visitor to these parts since she began shopping for a ranch in 2008. She often flies from her home in Dallas into nearby Wendover, Nev., in her husband's private Gulfstream 550 jet, then shuttles in by helicopter.

Last month, her rented American Eurostar AS 350 chopper set down in the parking lot of a casino in Wells, Nev., where she stepped out in riding boots, riding pants and a faux-fur jacket. Later that day, accompanied by her dachshund, Tommy, she surveyed sage-covered Nevada landscape as the helicopter banked low over a herd of galloping mustangs.

"Oh, pure joy," Mrs. Pickens said as five mustangs raced below the chopper toward a line of distant mountains. "I'm just glad they're out there."

Mrs. Pickens, 63, says the mustang preserve would be open to the public. And while she says local support would be nice, she says she has backing from the Bureau of Land Management. Bureau spokesman Tom Gorey wouldn't comment on the proposal except to say it was under review. "All the naysayers can nay as much as they want," Mrs. Pickens says.

Mr. Pickens, 82, who has become an apostle for clean power such as wind in recent years, is unwilling to bet against his wife of five years. "I tell you one thing, you get a woman who has made up her mind to do it, and she has money, she'll do it," he said. "You give her an ax and she'll do the chopping."

A century ago, as many as two million mustangs, descendants of domesticated horses, roamed North America. Round-ups and slaughter cut their numbers sharply, to about 34,000 wild horses today. The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act set aside federal land for them.

Bureau of Land Management officials say the horses have no predators in the animal world and can double in population every four years. The agency has removed nearly a quarter-million from the range since 1971, offering most for adoption. There are now nearly 10,000 more than federal land managers think the open range can sustain.

Almost 40,000 captured horses are also being boarded at government expense—prompting the bureau in 2008 to consider euthanizing them to curb costs.

That alarmed Mrs. Pickens, who owned racing horses with a previous husband, the late aviation tycoon Allen Paulson. She says she got out of that business after learning some of her horses ended up in the slaughterhouse. "I would cry at night," she said.

One morning, "I woke up with an epiphany—to buy a ranch and go to the BLM and get grazing rights for the horses," she said. In late 2008, she began meeting with the bureau and looking for ranches in Nevada.

She bought Spruce Mountain Ranch, gaining grazing rights on 540,000 acres of surrounding federal land. Under her plan, that and other sanctuaries would be operated by a nonprofit, Saving America's Mustangs. Mrs. Pickens says she is also in escrow to buy a 4,500-acre ranch along U.S. Route 93, where she hopes to set up a tourism village and conduct mustang tours.

At an Elko commission meeting Nov. 3, which Mrs. and Mr. Pickens attended, attendees lined up to speak out against her plan.

Some locals are supportive, particularly in Wells, which could gain a tourism boost from its location near the sanctuary. "The overall concept I have bought into," Wells Mayor Rusty Tybo told Mrs. Pickens in a meeting Nov. 15.

She nodded, and added: "I don't know how anything bad can come of it. As long as I'm alive, it won't."

Write to Jim Carlton at jim.carlton@wsj.com

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