Sunday, December 21, 2008
TV Station KHOU has done a powerful piece on the USDA cruelty documents that Julie Caramante and Animal's Angels received through her FOIA. It features Steve Long and Julie and it is both powerful and graphic.
Here is a text version off of Texas Cable News
Thousands of U.S. horses slaughtered in Mexico for food
10:56 PM CST on Friday, December 19, 2008
By Brad Woodard / 11 News
Steve Long is a noted author as well as editor of Texas Horse Talk magazine. You can say he knows horses.
Thousands of U.S. horses slaughtered in Mexico
December 19, 2008
“They are the essence of beauty, everything about them, the way they move, the way they talk to each other, their personalities, they’re just magnificent,” he said.
He says that horses are not only deeply woven into the fabric of Texas History, but they are also great icons of the American West.
Still, despite that honor, records show that nearly 50,000 U.S. horses have been transported to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico for slaughter and ultimately destined for the dinner tables in Europe and Japan.
“It’s an obscenity. It’s a horror. It’s something that makes me want to throw up,” said Long.
11 News photo
Records show that nearly 50,000 U.S. horses have been transported to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico for slaughter and ultimately destined for the dinner tables in Europe and Japan.
Believe it or not, Long isn’t talking about the slaughtering practices in Mexico, although he finds them disturbing.
Long is talking about the horse slaughter industry, that until recently, thrived here in Texas and the United States.
“This is the biggest animal rights scandal since the Michael Vick case. This is slaughtergate,” said Long.
In fact, records show that there are two Belgian owned horse slaughtering facilities in the state. He says one of the facilities, Dallas Crowe, is in Kaufman, Texas and that the other facility, Beltex, is located in Fort Worth.
In 2006, 11 News reported that employees at both facilities used captive bolt guns and air guns on the horses instead of knives. That technique involves driving a steel bolt into a the brain of a horse.
Both Texas facilities were forced to close last year. Officials say that the closure came after a federal appeals court upheld a 1949 state law banning horse slaughter for human consumption.
Despite that action the slaughter horse business continues.
Julie Caramante is an animal cruelty investigator for the organization called Animal’s Angels and she often works undercover.
She said that it took her three years to obtain photos that document violations of the transportation of horses taken to Beltex between January and November of 2005.
“I saw horses that were dead in trailers, with their legs ripped off, with their faces smashed in, eyeballs dangling, and these horses, some of them were still alive. They were just standing there,” said Caramante.
Many of the injuries reportedly occurred when the horses were transported on double-decker trailers designed to haul cattle.
The U.S. banned that type of action last year, but there’s a loophole, said Caramante. She says that the double-deckers can still be used to haul horses thousands of miles to feedlots, like the one in Morton, Texas. It’s owned by the Belgian company, Beltex.
“They feed them and get them fattened up. The ones that live go to El Paso and then off to the plant in Mexico,” said Caramante.
While it’s currently illegal to slaughter horses for human consumption in Texas, 11 News has found that at least two states are considering measures that would make it legal.
Those who support horse slaughter say they’d like to see it resume here in the U.S. because of laws that protect horses from cruelty. They say it is a well regulated industry that provided humane euthanasia.
“Such things are laughable. And it would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. U.S. humane laws have done nothing for the horse,” said Long.
E-mail 11 News reporter Brad Woodard
Sunday, December 14, 2008
NCSL supports horse industry, humane horse slaughter
The National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) this weekend adopted a policy that urges Congress to oppose legislation that would restrict the market, transport, processing, or export of horses, to recognize the need for humane horse processing facilities in the U.S. and not to interfere with state efforts to establish facilities in the United States.The passage of the policy provides the authority for NCSL staff in Washington, D.C., to lobby on Capitol Hill as it effectively establishes the position of the states. NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation’s 50 states, its commonwealths and territories.
The Horse Industry Policy received overwhelming majority support at the NCSL annual fall forum in Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 11-13. The policy was co-sponsored by Representative Sue Wallis of Wyoming, and Representative Dave Sigdestad of South Dakota.
Wallis, who is a vice chair of the agriculture and energy standing committee at NCSL, said, “We have received an absolute flood of support from literally every crook and cranny of this nation, and from all walks of life. We had letters of support from Horse Councils nationwide, we heard from horse owners, horse rescue and recovery organizations that are over-whelmed and without options, breed registries, professional rodeo cowboys, horse owners and many, many people who are sincerely concerned about the fate of horses and the equine industry.”
The Math Just Doesn't Work!
Although the U.S. Slaughter Plants are closed, more than 120,000 U.S. Equines were slaughtered week ending 12/6/08.
In 2007, we had over 108,000 U.S. Equines Slaughtered. The plants closing here in the U.S. has not stopped the supply and demand of our horses being slaughtered across our borders for humane consumption overseas. There's no such thing as "unwanted horses".
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
As you may know, President-elect Barack Obama is working to fill key positions in his administration. Two cabinet positions in particular will have a major impact on the treatment of animals -- the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior. It is essential for President-elect Obama to appoint individuals to these positions who take animal welfare seriously and have a demonstrated track record of support for animal protection policies. Please write to President-elect Obama to urge him to appoint animal-friendly individuals to these positions.
With oversight of the Animal Welfare Act and the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, the Secretary of Agriculture is responsible for enforcing a broad range of laws -- including those covering puppy mills, animal slaughter, animal fighting, and food safety. We believe that John Boyd Jr., founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association, and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, would be excellent choices for this post. However, we strongly object to former Representative Charlie Stenholm, who has been extremely hostile to even the most modest animal protection reforms, and has been a paid lobbyist for the factory farming and horse slaughter industries. It would be a disaster for animals if he were to be appointed to this position or any other position of authority over animal welfare matters.
The Secretary of the Interior oversees the enforcement of key wildlife laws, such as the Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and wildlife management practices on hundreds of millions of acres of federal land. We think the best candidates for this position are Representatives Raúl Grijalva and Jay Inslee and former Interior Department Deputy Secretary David Hayes. Conversely, we oppose Representative John Salazar, as he has been hostile to a wide range of animal protection policies, including efforts to halt the trophy hunting of polar bears and to protect wild horses from slaughter. Salazar was even aligned with former Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo in an attempt to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Click here to learn more about these candidates and add your voice to these recommendations.
We hope that President-elect Obama will consider the importance of animal protection when appointing these positions, and that you will join us to express your support for individuals who embrace animal protection as a worthy goal. And don't forget to tell your friends and family to take action, too.
Thank you for all you do for animals.
Sincerely,Wayne PacellePresident & CEOThe Humane Society of the United States
Monday, December 1, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 18, 2008; A01
The unwanted horses seemed destined for death. The wheels had been set in motion to put down about 2,000 healthy mustangs, those in a federally maintained herd of wild horses and burros that no one wanted to adopt.
The Bureau of Land Management knew that euthanasia was a legal alternative, but officials were proceeding slowly, afraid of an intense public outcry. The wild horses had become too expensive to maintain, and cattlemen argued that turning them loose would be a drain on the already scarce grazing lands of the West.
Then yesterday, at a public hearing in Reno, Nev., to discuss the issue, a solution arrived on a white horse, so to speak.
Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire T. Boone Pickens, made known her intentions to adopt not just the doomed wild horses but most or all of the 30,000 horses and burros kept in federal holding pens. Lifelong animal lovers, the Pickenses just a few years ago led the fight to close the last horse slaughterhouse in the United States.
Madeleine Pickens is looking for land in the West that would be an appropriate home for the horses.
She is working with the BLM staff to adopt the horses, said Henri Bisson, the bureau's deputy director, while the agency persuades Congress to shift $20 million in funding to feed and protect the horses now in captivity for another year. As backup to Pickens's offer, he said, two other groups, both animal rescue organizations, have expressed similar interest in adoption. "We are very hopeful that euthanasia won't be necessary this year," he said.
The news that Pickens and others intend to adopt the wild horses and burros was celebrated by animal rights groups, several of which were preparing legal challenges to prevent the government from putting the horses to death.
"Of course, I'm thrilled, obviously, that these horses are getting a reprieve," said Shelley Sawhook, president of the American Horse Defense Fund. "At the same time, we need to address the basic issue of how these animals got in this position in the first place."
Bisson said policymakers have to resolve the conflict between a law that permits euthanasia and a nation that is opposed to it. "This is a situation where we have to have a conversation about what the law requires," he said. "We're hearing from members of Congress they don't think euthanasia is an appropriate solution, but the law says, 'You shall.' " If people don't like what the law says, they need to address it. We hope we will find homes for all of these animals before the year is out and Congress will decide what it wants to do about the law."
Long an American icon and inspiration for song and story, the wild horse has special protection under a 1971 law. The federal statute calls wild horses "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West" that should be "protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death." But the same law also requires the government to achieve "appropriate management levels" of roaming horses so they don't overwhelm federal lands -- and that's the part that has been vexing for bureau officials.
About 33,000 horses still roam wild on federal lands in 10 Western states. About half of those are in Nevada. The federal agency believes the range can accommodate only about 27,000 horses, and each year government-hired cowboys round up 7,000 to 13,000 horses and take them to holding pens in several states.
Right now, there are just over 30,000 horses in holding facilities awaiting adoption. Those 10 or older or those who have not been adopted after three tries can be sold without restriction under 2004 legislation.
Wild horses compete with cattle and wildlife for food and water. Horse advocates say federal officials have made faulty assumptions about the number of horses that can be accommodated on federal land, tilting those findings in favor of cattle interests.
"We're livestock people. We know animals live and die. And we take that as a very normal part of life. We fully realize animal rights people hate that aspect of the livestock industry. We don't particularly seek the euthanization. What we seek is the management of the population," said Jeff Eisenberg, director of federal lands for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, an industry lobbying group.
The federal government has been rounding up wild horses since the 1980s, putting them in holding facilities and offering them for adoption to horse lovers, who promise not to sell them for slaughter. But the roundups became aggressive under the Bush administration. As of June, BLM was holding 30,088 animals, more than triple the 9,807 held in 2001.
Bisson said yesterday that the BLM would limit the roundups next year to about 5,000 horses.
Meanwhile, the pace of adoptions has been falling as the cost of feeding and caring for the wild horses has skyrocketed. The price tag to federal taxpayers for maintaining the horses tripled from $7 million in 2000 to $21 million in 2007. Hay prices for one short-term holding facility in Nevada rose from about $160 per ton in 2007 to almost $300 per ton in 2008, for example.
In a report released last week, the Government Accountability Office called the situation a "crisis" and said the bureau needed to exercise its options, including euthanasia and the practice of selling the wild horses "without restriction," meaning they could be sold for slaughter.
In the first analysis of BLM's wild horse program in 18 years, the GAO found that the agency lacked a coherent nationwide management policy. The GAO recommended that the bureau investigate alternatives to euthanasia and adoption.
Animal rights groups say the government ought to sterilize horses and return them to the wild to live out their lives. In addition, they say, it should offer tax incentives to landowners who allow wild horses to live on private land.
Virginie L. Parant of the American Wild Horses Preservation Campaign, a coalition of about 45 groups, said the BLM does not use a scientifically sound method to estimate the size of horse herds or the number of horses that can be sustained on the range. That makes the roundups arbitrary, she said.
What's more, about 19 million acres of land where wild horses once roamed have been removed from the program, reducing the amount of land available to the horses and increasing their concentration elsewhere.
People on all sides of the issue recognize some fundamental changes are needed.
"It's intractable," Eisenberg said. "The animal rights people put the BLM in a box. We are seeking a balance in the land. Congress doesn't want to put more funding into these holding facilities, especially when times are tight. It's a problem nobody likes."
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Dear Wild Horse Supporters,In this defining moment for America, with what we hope will be an administration favorable to wild horses, we still need to keep up the momentum to save them.
On November 17th the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will meet in Reno and we urge you to attend this meeting if possible!
We expect the board to discuss a BLM proposal to kill some or all of the 33,000 wild horses currently in holding facilities and it would be great to have a large contingent of wild horse supporters there. The BLM board is accepting comments now through November 12th and I ask you to write on behalf of our horses.
You can submit your comments to the Advisory board c/o Ramona DeLorme.We need to make it clear to the BLM that we will not allow them to kill our wild horses. They have continued to round up horses this fall, only increasing the number of horses in holding.
There are 19.4 million acres that have been cleared of all wild horses and it is time that they are returned to their legal homes. Please join me in sending your comments to the BLM Advisory Board and, if you can, please come to the meeting in Reno. I will not be there as I will still be in Massachusetts, but will have a letter read at the meeting by my good friend and friend of wild horses, Kate Riordan. Wild Horse advocate, author and photographer Carol Walker recently witnessed the Sand Wash herd round-up in Western Colorado and returned with these disturbing photos.
One gray mare became stuck under a trailer for over fifteen minutes and horses being loaded had to climb over her. As you can see, the horses are in beautiful condition. Regardless, they lost what they most cherish… their freedom and their families. This is yet another unnecessary and poorly conducted round-up.
Please continue to contact your senators and representatives and ask them to help protect our wild horses. Click here to see Carol’s photos. The Government Accounting Office will soon be releasing their investigative report on the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program. What comes out in that report may have direct implications for the horses. One of our international wild horse supporters, Nadine, recently wrote from Germany: “I can’t imagine America without wild Mustangs, for us they are a symbol of America, they are living legends and wonderful horses. They just belong there.”
We'll continue working to convince BLM to protect rather than destroy an American treasure beloved worldwide.
Happy Trails,Ginger KathrensVolunteer Exective DirectorThe Cloud FoundationPS: Two other events for The Cloud Foundation are Equine Affaire on November 13th-16th in Massachusetts and a special evening presentation I will be making at Denver University on December 5th, click here for more details. Hope to see you at one of these events!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
However, there is something you can do NOW. With the election coming up in November, make sure you elect legislators that will allow this to pass next year. Do your homework, find out where your candidates stand and let your voices be heard on this issue. With the right people in office, we can prevail.
The second thing you can do is to continue to spread awareness about horse slaughter. As we’ve all found out, most Americans still do not even know this exists. The more people that know, the louder the outrage will be.
On a personal note, we want to thank everyone for making such a valiant effort. You all have done the most phenomenal job…….no one could have done more. It is your hard work and perseverance that will make it easier to get this bill introduced very early in the next session.
Growing our membership will ensure that we continue to be a strong presence in the fight to end horse slaughter. We will be releasing details in the near future about new ideas and programs to make AAHS more effective and we’ll keep you updated if there is any news!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
It’s a good day for horses! Please lend your voice and passion to the momentum of the final push to ban horse slaughter.
This is the final push for this Congressional Session to finally end horse slaughter!! If this bill fails, we will have to start all over in January 2009!
H.R. 6598 , the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, passed the House Judiciary Committee today (by a voice vote) and we have very little time to help move this bill through the legislative process. We URGENTLY need to build up the co-sponsorship list of H.R. 6598, which currently has 100 co-sponsors. Time is RUNNING OUT for Members to co-sponsor this bill ! Please click here to see if your U.S. Representative is a co-sponsor of H.R. 6598.
Please contact the Capitol Switchboard [202-224-3121] and ask to be transferred to your Representative. Unsure of who your Representative is? Please visit ( www.hsus.org/leglookup )
Please let your Representative know that you are a constituent and that you want your Representative to co-sponsor H.R. 6598, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act. Call now!
Call until the bill is passed! Together, we can end the slaughter!
Kelley Dupps Grassroots Outreach Coordinator -- Government AffairsThe Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
Shelley and Deb Americans Against Horse Slaughter
Americans Against Horse Slaughter
Spread The Word, Get Involved, Join The Movement
Monday, September 15, 2008
to join them for a National Call In Day
on Monday, September 15th!!
Actress and Animal Advocate, Wendie Malick, recently created
a video urging support for The Conyers-Burto Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 6598) of 2008, which is currently being considered by the House Judiciary Committee and will hopefully be brought to the House floor for a vote in the coming days.Click here to see the video:
We need your help to gain support for this crucial bill,
which will finally prohibit the sale and transport of American horses to barbarically slaughtered for human consumption, including horses being shipped to Mexico and Canada.
1. Please contact your U.S. Representatvie to co-sponsor H.R. 6598 to protect horses. Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121
When you call, you will speak to a staff member who can pass our
message along to your legislator. Remember to be polite and professional, and leave your name and address so it is clear that you are a constituent. You can say:
"Hello, my name is [your name] and I'm calling from [your town] to urge [your Rep.] to co-sponsor H.R. 6598, The Conyers-Burton Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act,to end the slaughter of American horses for human consumption. We must end this cruel practice once and for all. Thank You.
2. HSUS is tracking the impact of your calls. Click here to let them know you called your legislator:
3. Finally, please tell all of your friends and family to call their U.S. Representative today and throughout this week:
Thank you for all you do for animals!
Americans Against Horse Slaughter
Spread The Word, Get Involved, Join The Movement