Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Antelope Roundup Day One- Making a Break for It

X-posting from:


Antelope Day 1- Breaking For Freedom

This dramatic sequence of photos taken by journalist Laura Leigh yesterday show an incredible break for freedom by a young horse being driven into the trap pens by contractors for the Bureau of Land Management. The sequence is about 17 photos and hopefully it conveys the efforts this horse made. The photos of the horse once he has found his freedom are particularly poignant as his herd is still captive. His body is caked in sweat from the entire ordeal and yesterdays temperatures only reached to freezing point.

More reports later from the roundup and the holding corrals

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

State Ban on Horse Slaughter Possible in Massachusetts

MA Residents: Call State Senators to Co-Sponsor Horse Slaughter Ban

horsesMassachusetts state Sen. Stephen Brewer plans to introduce and sponsor the attached bill, Senate Docket 228, to ban horse slaughter for human consumption in Massachusetts.

The bill was drafted by Equine Welfare Alliance and Animal Law Coalition working with the Massachusetts state chapter of Americans Against Horse Slaughter.

If you are a Massachusetts resident, please contact your state senator whom you can find by going to this site: http://www.malegislature.gov/people/findmylegislator Ask your state senator to co-sponsor the bill to ban horse slaughter by contacting Sen. Brewer's aide, Alicia Bandy at Alicia.Bandy@masenate.gov or Phone: 617-722-1540/Fax: 617-722-1078. Do not contact Ms. Bandy yourself; have your state senator contact her. She only wants to hear from state senators interested in co-sponsoring the ban. The deadline for obtaining co-sponsors is Feb. 4, 2011! So there is no time to waste.

While a ban on horse slaughter for human consumption in Massachusetts will not end the slaughter of American horses elsewhere, it will certainly protect horses in Massachusetts and prevent sale and shipment of horses from Massachusetts for slaughter for human consumption. The bill would also prevent buyers from shipping horses for slaughter through the commonwealth. More than anything, this bill will send a message to Congress and the President that Massachusetts supports a federal ban on this arcane and cruel practice of horse slaughter.

Talking Points:

1. Horses are our companions and pets; they helped build this country and still work in the military and law enforcement and, provide entertainment in horse racing, shows and other sports and exhibitions. Horses are not raised for food in the U.S.

2. The slaughter of horses simply cannot be made humane: Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector, told Congress in 2008 that the captive bolt used to slaughter horses is simply not effective. Horses, in particular, are very sensitive about anything coming towards their heads and cannot be restrained as required for effective stunning. Dr. Friedlander stated, "These animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck, they are fully aware they are being vivisected." The Government Accountability Office and dozens of veterinarians and other witnesses have confirmed that ineffective stunning is common and animals are conscious during slaughter.

3. The FDA does not regulate American horsemeat as food because there is no market for it in the U.S. and most importantly, horsemeat is dangerous, if not deadly, for humans to consume. Horses are given all manner of drugs, steroids, de-wormers and ointments throughout their lives. Horses are not tracked and typically may have several owners. A kill buyer has no idea of the veterinary or drug history of a horse taken to slaughter, and many of the most dangerous drugs have no or a very long withdrawal period. A typical drug given routinely to horses like aspirin, Bute, is a carcinogen and can cause aplastic anemia in humans. Bute is banned in all food producing animals and there is no withdrawal period.

4. The availability of slaughter actually increases the numbers of excess horses on the market. Slaughter creates a salvage or secondary market that encourages overbreeding. Banning slaughter would reduce the number of excess horses. Slaughter is not "an alternative" for so called unwanted horses or horses in need. Slaughter is a for profit industry driven by a demand for horsemeat, and has nothing to do with the numbers of excess or unwanted horses. Slaughter actually encourages overbreeding and adds to the problem of horses in need. The USDA has confirmed more than 92% of horses that end up at slaughter are healthy; they are not unwanted, neglected or abused. Horses are in need right now because of the economy and, in fact, slaughter is still available which is further proof that lack of slaughter does not result in excess or unwanted horses. Just the opposite!

Mass.horse slaughter ban.1.2011.pdf

A list of the dead

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why Are We Paying to Kill Our Wild Horses?

photo by Cat Kindsfather

Dear Readers,
Here's a list of 18 wild horses that BLM admits have died at the Indian Lakes wild horse corrals in Fallon, Nevada in just two weeks. Press and public are locked out of Indian Lakes, which is located on a private ranch.

• 9 month old colt was euthanized for a broken leg
• 10 yr died due to spinal/neck injury
• 2 yr died due to spinal/neck injury
• died due to spinal/neck injury
• 10 month old colt was euthanized (down and unable to stand on its own)
• 10 month old colt was euthanized (down and unable to stand on its own)
• 15 yr died reason unknown
• 20 yr died due to spinal/neck injury
• 25 yr was euthanized (down on truck upon arrival body condition 2)
• 2 yr old died due to colic
• Unbranded foal born at facility was euthanized due to club foot
• 2886 1 yr old euthanized due to club foot
• 2876 1 yr old euthanized due to club foot
• 2849 1 yr old euthanized due to club foot
• 2 yr old found dead death cause unknown
• 2 yr old euthanized due to double cryptorchid
• weaned foal died due to upper respiratory infection
• 2457 weaned foal died due to upper respiratory infection

Euthanized is the term used here, but most horses are shot.
To met, these look like round-up and transportation injuries and the odds of 3 mustangs surviving for one year in the wild with "club feet" so debilitating that BLM destroyed them, is hard to believe.

We are paying for this.

Best, Terri

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Anti Slaughter Billboards in Maryland

From CBS Baltimore


Billboards Hope To Save Horses From Being Slaughtered

January 3, 2011 2:52 PM

horse billboard

GLENVILLE, Pa. (WJZ) — At least 100,000 horses each year are taken from the United States to be slaughtered. But a local campaign is hoping to change that.

Andrea Fujii explains how one horse rescue is taking their message to the streets.

Drivers on Leeds Avenue in Baltimore County may have seen the “Stop the Slaughter” billboard. It’s a grassroots effort to stop horses from being slaughtered.

“We believe that the American public does not know that horse slaughter is a very brutal and inhumane practice,” said Jo Deibel, Angel Acres Horse Haven president.

Deibel runs the Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue in Glenville, Pa. and through donations put the billboard up.

“They’re slaughtering them for human consumption. They’re shipped out of the United States to Mexico and Canada to be exported to other countries that eat horse meat,” said Deibel.

Horse advocates say the horses are slaughtered because euthanizing them would taint the meat.

Angel Acres Horse Haven has saved more than 300 former race horses from certain death.

Deibel says she doesn’t know of any Maryland rescues that slaughter, but there are others that do.

“There are groups around the country that are trying to promote horse slaughter as a humane euthanasia; it’s not,” said Deibel.

She says many of the horses have already lived through trauma and should be able to die with dignity.

Deibel hopes the billboards will help.

Angel Acres hopes to put billboards in every state. For more information about Angel Acres, click here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Grandin Speaks at Summit of the Horse, Las Vegas, NV

Pro Horse Slaughter "Summit" Not Happy with Dr. Grandin

Temple Grandin, Ph.D.Temple Grandin, Ph.D. delivered another disappointment to organizers of the misnamed"Summit of the Horse" in Las Vegas yesterday. Dr. Grandin was touted as a "featured speaker" who was said to be designing a horse slaughter facility in Wyoming that would be owned and operated by Wy state Rep. Sue Wallis.

Prior to the "summit", Dr. Grandin told Animal Law Coalition "I have told Sue Wallis that I want no involvement in her business dealings. ...[W]e have done no design work." Dr. Grandin was also quoted by Horseback Magazine as saying Wallis had "misrepresent[ed]" her involvement.

At the "summit" Dr. Grandin told attendees that many people had contacted her and urged her not to attend.

Dr. Grandin was a sobering reminder that this should be about what is best for the horses.

She described herself as "neutral" on the issue of whether to ban horse slaughter for human consumption. And, Dr. Grandin's reluctance to endorse a ban on horse slaughter for human consumption stems from two concerns: 1. She said several times that a "horse's worst nightmare" was to end up at a Mexican slaughterhouse, particularly a municipal abbatoir, where they are repeatedly jabbed with puntilla knives and slaughtered while conscious. 2. Dr. Grandin was skeptical that legislation to close the border and stop export of horses for slaughter for human consumption would be enforceable. She noted that it would be very easy to smuggle horses in closed vehicles or state other reasons for their export, particularly to Mexico.

But Dr. Grandin also told "summit" attendees that only about 20% of animal slaughter facilities operate within acceptable humane guidelines and the rest "slip into bad practices" with a full 10% intentionally treating animals cruelly.

Dr. Grandin said that in auditing slaughter facilities, 95% of the animals, whether they are horses, pigs, cows, etc., must be stunned effectively on the first blow or shot or the facility should be considered to have failed. She also strongly advocated video monitoring, non-slip flooring and high solid sides to prevent the animals from seeing anything. She agreed there are behavioral signs that can indicate when an animal is afraid and steps should be taken to alleviate the fear.

Dr. Grandin made the point that "you manage what you measure" and told attendees slaughter facilities should be audited using criteria such as whether animals are stunned on the first attempt, whether they vocalize which is a sign of fear, whether they slip or fall, how they are handled by employees, etc.

It was not what "summit" attendees wanted to hear. One man, claiming he was speaking on behalf of most people present, said Dr. Grandin's standards to prevent cruelty would be "costly".

But there was no compromise from Dr. Grandin. She pointed out humane euthanasia as an option. She also said people had sent her a number of ways to reduce numbers of excess horses or help horses in need. She then read them to the attendees: birth control including low cost gelding though only one facility currently offers that service, raising awareness about overbreeding, find jobs for older horses, establish a "horsefinder" that like petfinder.com would help owners network to find homes for horses they cannot care for any longer, establish hay banks and allow hay to be harvested on land that the government pays farmers to leave unplanted, allow in place rescue, create horse parks, or impose surcharges on stall fees at tracks and horsebreeding to cover the cost of humane euthanasia.

In effect, the solutions relayed by Dr. Grandin are (1) stop the overbreeding, (2) find ways to care for horses in need.

And the best way to do that? Ban the slaughter of American horses for human consumption. The availability of slaughter creates a salvage or secondary market that encourages the overbreeding. As Dr. Grandin warned, however, any legislation to ban slaughter must be enforceable.

Was "summit" organizer, Wy state Rep. Sue Wallis listening to the high standards for humane treatment that Dr. Grandin would impose on her proposed slaughter facility should it ever be legally and otherwise operational? Unlikely, as Wallis appears to have been busy angrily shoving reporter and horse advocate Simone Netherlands out of the "summit" conference room. The police were called and Netherlands was treated for injuries at a local hospital. Dr. Grandin is lucky to have escaped unscathed given Wallis' treatment of people who

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More CFIA enforcement problems come to light

Inspectors Fear Workers Who Slaughter Horses

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is supposed to enforce regulations about the handling of animals during slaughter. It has come to light, however, that at horse slaughter facilities, inspectors were actually ordered to stay off the kill floors during slaughter.

Why? According to Bob Kingston, president of the Agriculture Union that represents inspectors, out of fear for their safety. Kingston explained, "Anybody could just walk in, grab a rifle, and start shooting. Basically that's the way it was working. I mean, they had no idea whether the person using the firearms was qualified, was stable, or anything else."

Canadian officials fear inspectors will be injured or killed as workers manhandle and fire guns at horses. There may also be concern that inspectors will suffer post traumatic stress from observing such brutal treatment of animals. So they abandoned regulatory oversight of the slaughter process.

Horses in Canada are supposed to be stunned prior to slaughter with a rifle or captive bolt gun. (You may remember the captive bolt gun used by the serial killer in the film, No Country for Old Men.) Investigations have shown the horses are beaten, shocked and shoved during this inherently cruel and inhumane process. Commercial horse slaughter for human consumption is not legal in the U.S., but American horses are still sent to Canada, as well as Mexico, for slaughter.

Regulatory oversight doesn't mean much to a process that is inherently cruel and inhumane. From the moment horses enter the slaughter pipeline, and are transported to slaughter houses, until their deaths,they suffer terribly. Horses are flight animals, very sensitive to unusual noises or movements, especially around their heads and when they are trapped or cornered. It is impossible to hold horses' heads still to stun them effectively as required before slaughter. Imagine their terror as someone tries to stun them with a captive bolt gun. Repeated shots may be required, and it is no secret that, not only in Canada orMexico, but also when horse slaughter occurred in the U.S., horses were still conscious when they were slaughtered.

Indeed, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found in 2004 the most frequent violation noted by inspectors in slaughter houses was ineffective stunning, meaning "in many cases ... a conscious animal reach[ed] slaughter." GAO also noted there had been no effort made to stop the ineffective stunning and the records kept by inspectors were so poor, it was impossible to tell in a followup investigation that there had been any improvement.

The Canadian government's fear for its inspectors' safety during horse slaughter raises questions about what we are doing to ourselves, and our humanity, in allowing this inherently cruel and inhumane practice. Those who slaughter horses have become so desensitized and lacking in empathy in the way they handle the animals that they actually frighten government officials. In abandoning the slaughter process to these desensitized employees, the Canadian government, at least in horse slaughterhouses, has conceded it cannot control them.

A recent study by a University of Windsor criminologist, Amy Fitzgerald, shows a link between slaughterhouses and violent crime. Fitzgerald studied numbers from the FBI crime reporting database, census records and arrest reports from 581 U.S. counties over an 8 year period. She controlled for factors that might be said to account for increases in crime aside from the opening of a slaughterhouse, such as new residents, immigrants and the poor, and an influx of young men. What she found is that the existence of a facility where animals are slaughtered is somehow related to an increase in violent crime, and the more slaughterhouse employees in an area, the higher the crime rate.

The inherent cruelty of horse slaughter is disturbing as much because of what it does to us as human beings, as the fear and painful suffering it inflicts on horses.

Photo credit: jumpinghooves

Laura Allen is the founder of Animal Law Coalition, general counsel for Equine Welfare Alliance and Executive Board member for Saving America's Horses - A Nation Betrayed.