Sunday, August 28, 2011

Infectious Anemia Outbreak Contained. Right.

Of course, we wouldn't want to pretend there might be a problem here in Arkansas. That might shut down the auction houses for a few days, stop the sale of Arkansas horses to kill buyers and make people actually test their horses for the disease.

38 horses fail infection test, are put down

Thirty-eight horses at a ranch north of Clarksville have been euthanized after the discovery of Arkansas’ largest outbreak of equine infectious anemia in more than a decade, the state veterinarian said Thursday.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wild Horses Removed from Long Term Holding and Sold to Texas Kill Buyer

Utah Wild Horse Case

Moves to U.S. Attorney

August 18, 2011

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The case against individuals involved in the transport of Oklahoma based wild horses in the custody of the federal Bureau of Land Management has taken another turn, this time to the office of the United States Attorney in Salt Lake City. The 64 horses were seized from a Utah slaughter kill buyer and impounded August 5 and 6.

“The case documents have been forwarded to the U.S. Attorney’s office for
review,” said an informed source within the agency familiar with the case. “It is our understanding that, given the caseload at the U.S. Attorney’s Office we likely will not see any additional action on this case until mid-September at the earliest.”

All questions regarding 64 wild horses in two separate cases allegedly moved from a holding pasture of theBLM in Oklahoma and seized from a well known slaughter killer buyer were being by the agency spokesmen in Washington to federal law enforcement.

A federal law enforcement source confirmed to Horseback Magazine earlier this mont that the horses were part of the BLM’s program that sells older horses which can’t be trained. The horses did not come from the agency’s adoption program, he said.

The probe centers on the removal and seizure of the horses in Utah by local BLM officials. The FBI has been involved in the case Horseback’s earlier sources said. The questions have been referred to the Salt Lake City office of the Department of Justice.

Multiple individuals are targets of the probe. Department of Transportation registration for a cattle truck shown in video by Salt Lake television station KSL was traced by respected animal welfare investigators Animals Angels to Willard, Utah based DK Ranches owned by alleged longtime killer buyer Dennis Kunz whose transaction records with American slaughterhouses date back to at least 2003.

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LGriffith on August 20, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Can anyone confirm that these horses were taken out of long term holding in Oklahoma and sold to this killer because, if so, that opens up a whole new can of worms and really gives us ammunition to demand that these long term holding pastures be opened up for inspection by advocates.

If they were sale authority horses “accidentally” sold to a kill buyer, I can see the BLM weaseling out of this.

In the meantime, where are these horses being held?

  • admin on August 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Horseback Magazine confirmed the horses were sold out of Oklahoma’s long term holding facilities. Further investigation has confirmed to us that the investigation, now in the hand of the Salt Lake U.S. Attorney’s Office is multi-layered and goes beyond the kill buyer. As you might expect from Horseback, our sources are unimpeachable although for security purposes we cannot reveal them..

    The Editor

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Whose Credit, Whose Blame?

Originally published last year at The

Robert Laurence is retired from teaching at the University of Arkansas School of Law and now looks after equally retired horses near Hindsville, Ark.
Last year I stopped by my neighbors' place to see their new foal. They run a small Quarter Horse operation, and I like seeing the newborns. When I asked about the sale prices for horses, I heard this: "Lousy. If PETA hadn't closed down the killer plants, things would be better."

Ah, PETA. With their plastic shoes and video cameras, they are the people we love to hate. Gotta problem? Blame PETA. However, for the record, the Texas horse slaughter plants were closed by the Tarrant County District Attorney, a Republican, enforcing a decades-old law. Attributing the closures to PETA is like attributing the Defense of Marriage Act to the Taliban--sure, they liked the result, but they are hardly the ones who got it done. As long as members of the horse industry delude themselves into thinking that the slaughterhouses were closed by the animal rights movement, they will never understand why the plants closed.

horse in sunset

The romantic image of the horse is well-ingrained in our culture.

So, who should get the credit--or blame, depending on one's perspective--for the closings? Start with the horse industry itself and its heroic, romantic image of the horse. We do revel in that image, like a mare rolling in a thick patch of clover. (There. I just did it myself.) We sell horses with it. We use it to sell fly masks, tail extenders, and everything in between. We use it to lobby Congress for subsidies and tax breaks. The image is everywhere: Horses as teachers of life's lessons to children; as friends and confidants to "tween" girls; as silent pals to roping boys; as companions into retirement; as gallant warriors and proud athletes. Name another animal that shares Olympic gold with its human.

Hollywood, too, gets some of the credit: Seabiscuit, The Black Stallion, Pilgrim, Soñador, The Pie, Flicka. Sure, the image can be fake; most stallions (and even some mares) are played by geldings. Stallion behavior in reality is R-rated. Sometimes Hollywood plays it straight: When Seabiscuit is sent off to begin his racing career, that’s a foal being separated from his actual mother, and they aren't acting. You might have seen a hundred actual weanings, but the scene is still effective and touching.

Either way, if this romantic image of the horse, and not PETA or another animal rights' organization, is responsible for the closure of the slaughter plants, what’s to be done about it? Maybe a coalition of breed organizations should issue a statement: "Stop all this romantic nonsense about horses. They’re animals. Deal with it." But no, we need the image. Moreover, we believe it … most of us, anyway. Horses are a special kind of livestock, and if somewhere along the line Americans picked up the idea that they shouldn't stand around in feed lots waiting to be slaughtered, we can hardly be surprised, can we?

The industry is discovering that it was one thing to take a neutral position when slaughterhouses were open, but it’s very different to actively advocate for the return of slaughter, in the face of a clientele that is largely repelled by the idea. And the attempt by some pro-slaughter forces to out-PETA PETA, by claiming the slaughter facilities are humane euthanasia centers, is unlikely to work. Without the slaughterhouses, an unwanted horse that was a small asset--the price a killer buyer would pay--becomes a small liability--the price of euthanasia and disposal. Breeders are going to have to leave some mares fallow. "Breed Responsibly" is now as well-meant, and effective, as the "Drink Responsibly" tag line at the bottom of beer ads. But it's a start.

Late in 1999 I was listening to one of those century-in-review shows, and one of the panelists observed, "Who would have thought that after we no longer needed horses to do our work, we'd keep them around just because we like them?" That's it, isn't it? We like them. Simple as that. And that includes people who will never own a horse, nor ever open a magazine like this one. It's that simple fact, not the antics of any animal rights' organization, that stopped the slaughter.

Originally published in the June 2010 issue of The Horse.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Texas feedlot horses starved and then slaughtered

Recently, I was part of a Facebook discussion titled: Slaughter Beats Starvation. I contend that its a false argument and a false choice. It should NEVER be slaughter or starve, for any animal, and those that see the argument in those terms are trying to set the stage for discussion based on a false premise. Ergo .. a waste of time.

Starvation is terrible. Slaughter is terrible. Why not feed the poor horse a bale of hay and quit trying to make a lousy dollar off its last, dying breath.

pele hat

Today's News

Remember the recent report from the EU that revealed drug residues in horses and the falsified paperwork that accompanied the horses?

In the situation with the Texas horses, we now have names attached to the same type of falsified paperwork and another example of how horse slaughter does not prevent cruelty and neglect. How much more evidence do we need?

Here are the latest updates.

State Investigator Confirms Wholesale Flouting of Coggins Documents

Texas Prison Horses Returned to Custody of Slaughter Holding Pen as Sheriff Fails to File Cruelty Charges

Friday, August 12, 2011

FBI Investigates BLM: Sale Authority horses may be going to slaughter

AWHPC Calls for Investigation After 64 BLM Horses Headed to Slaughter Seized

AWHPC is calling for a federal investigation of all wild horses sold by the BLM over the past five years after two truckloads of wild horses headed to slaughter were seized last week.

This latest development calls into question BLM's practice of selling truckloads of horses (for $25 a horse or less) from short- and long-term holding facilities and whether Congress' mandate that no BLM mustangs be sold for commercial slaughter is being upheld. Read more about this important issuehere.