Monday, December 7, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Equine Welfare Alliance
Canadian Horse Defence Coalition
Will American Congress and Canadian Parliament Allow Europeans To Consume Tainted Horse Meat?
CHICAGO, (EWA), – European horses sent to slaughter require a passport that chronicles every drug the horse has received since birth.
Canada and the U.S. do not regulate nor track this information in equines and American horse meat is potentially poisoning European consumers. Worse still, the American government is abetting the process. In 2008, 134,059 American horses were sent to Canada and Mexico for slaughter for consumption in the European Union with no regard as to the drugs they had received.
The EU is now insisting that the countries supplying this meat follow guidelines it issued in April, but it is apparently relying on the US and Canada for enforcement of an affidavit system.
For the past eight years, Congress could have ended the slaughter of American horses for human consumption in Europe. Despite strong bipartisan support, production agriculture has been allowed to stop the bills dead in their tracks preventing a vote on the floor of either one house or another.
On August 25, the Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) and the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) issued a press release questioning the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on how the European Commission (EU) guidelines issued in April would be enforced. The guidelines, issued to “third” countries outlined requirements for equines intended for food production, including a system of identity verification, a prohibition on banned substances and a minimum 6-month withdrawal period for drugs commonly used by American horsemen.
EWA has now learned the EU will accept affidavits from killer buyers and haulers employed by the offshore slaughter industry as proof that animals have passed the quarantine period.
It is inconceivable that the EU is prepared to trust the word of killer buyers and haulers, many with criminal records, to protect the health of European consumers. Currently, there is no mechanism in place to keep these profiteers honest.
The overwhelming majority of North American horses have received toxic wormers, drugs like phenylbutazone (PBZ), the “aspirin” of the horse world and even fertility drugs that can cause miscarriages in women – all banned substances in animals intended for food.
“PBZ is a known carcinogen and can cause aplastic anemia (bone marrow suppression) in humans”, says EWAs Food Safety Subject Matter Expert, Dr. Ann Marini, Ph.D./M.D.
EWA’s Vicki Tobin added, “If these animals were livestock, the USDA would never allow them to enter the food chain in the United States. I don’t understand how our government is allowing Europeans to consume horse meat with banned substances.”
CHDC’s Sinikka Crosland said simply "Drug-free equine meat from these horses is not an attainable goal, and without any enforcement mechanism the proposed system will be totally ineffective.”
This year, a bill to ban the slaughter of American horses for human consumption has been delayed until March to allow the GAO time to study the impact that the closing of the US plants may have had on horse welfare. The study does not even address the tainted meat Europeans will be allowed to consume. The EWA implores Congress to pass the legislation before it (HR 503 and S 727) and stop the export of our work, sport, therapy and companion equines to slaughter.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Equine Welfare Alliance
Equine Welfare Alliance
BLM Forges Forward With Nevada Calico Complex Roundup
CHICAGO, (EWA) – Wild horse advocates from around the US reacted with dismay and outrage Wednesday as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that the Calico Complex round-up of over 2,700 wild horses will proceed on December 28 as planned. Despite receiving over 10,000 public comments on the impending round-up, the BLM turned a tin ear to the public outcry and indicated it will sign a “No Impact” decision. A no impact decision means that the public comments sent to the BLM had absolutely no impact on their decision to move forward with the round-up.
This egregious decision further perpetuates the perception that the BLM is managing the wild herds to extinction. John Holland, EWA President said of the decision:
“The BLM is operating in direct opposition to the very law that they are charged with enforcing (the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act). This outrageous decision makes a mockery of the whole public comment process.”
The decision comes during a perfect storm of public outrage calling for a moratorium on wild horse and burro round-ups. During the past week, the number of organizations and dignitaries supporting the moratorium has grown to 180. Among the recent dignitaries joining the call were, Bill Maher of HBOs hit series, Real Time with Bill Maher, author of Dances with Wolves, Michael Blake, Genesis Award winner of the movie Blinders, Donny Moss, John Paul DeJoria, CEO & Co-Founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems, Jorja Fox, from the hit series CSI, Neal Schon, Multi Platinum Recording Artist and founding member of the rock band Journey, and comedienne Lily Tomlin.
Actor and Social activist, Mariana Tosca, said today "With no oversight and no independent assessment, the Bureau of Land Management is running roughshod over the rights these horses were guaranteed by the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971, reducing herds without any statutory authority to do so.“ Ms. Tosca and Viggo Mortensen were early proponents for the unified call for a moratorium.
Wednesday also marked the deadline for the public to submit comments for the BLM Advisory Board meeting that will be held on Monday, December 7.
The bureau turned a deaf ear to public comment during their last meeting in Washington D.C., cutting short many prominent wild horse advocates as they attempted to address the board. Many of those trying to comment today online reported they were unable to do so because the BLM mailbox was full and not accepting new email.
“We are encouraging the public to attend the meeting and voice their opinion on the blatant mismanagement our wild herds”, said Vicki Tobin, vice president of the EWA.
The only remaining chance for the Calico Complex horses to remain free is a lawsuit filed on behalf of the Calico Complex herds by In Defense of Animals and EWA advisor Craig Downer. The case is scheduled to be heard on December 16th. The EWA is optimistic that the court will find the BLM in violation of the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act as a Colorado court has done previously.
Vicki A Voice for Our Horses
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Vicki Tobin
Equine Welfare Alliance
Equine Welfare Alliance
Mariana Tosca, Viggo Mortensen and Kevin Nealon join the unified call for an immediate moratorium on wild horse and burro round-ups.
“Without a single dissenting vote, the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act was passed by Congress guaranteeing these animals protection from “capture, branding, harassment and death.” – Mariana Tosca
CHICAGO, (EWA) – Acclaimed Actors Mariana Tosca, Christmas in the Clouds, Viggo Mortensen, Lord of the Rings, Appaloosa and Hidalgo and Kevin Nealon, Weeds have added their voice to a growing 150 organizations and dignitaries from America, Canada, the United Kingdom and South Africa asking President Obama and Secretary Salazar to halt the round-ups of America’s wild horses and burros.
The assault on America’s wild horses and burros must be halted until range studies can be performed and a solid plan is established for the management of these magnificent animals that represent our American heritage.
Actor and Social Activist, Mariana Tosca, joined the unified call with the following statement issued to John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance.
“With virtually no oversight, the BLM’s maneuvers are methodically cleansing the land of these animals who have become an inconvenience and impediment to the goals of the ranching, gas and oil industries.
It is the action of arrogance and the lowest instincts of man to place greed above the rights of others and to shape policy to fit private agendas. Millions of head of cattle are grazing on public ranges - public ranges that were designated for these wild horses and burros on land that belongs to American taxpayers, not to private entities.
These horses are connected to this land; their ancestors roamed unfettered on it over a million years ago. They represent the basic principal that our nation was founded on: FREEDOM. These animals are the physical embodiment of all that we as people and as a nation aspire to… liberty and self-determination. And at some level that resonates with each and every one of us. With every BLM round up that is allowed to happen, our heritage is under siege.”
Viggo Mortensen adds, “Thanks to all who have contacted their government representatives on behalf of mustangs, those unique animals that are living symbols of the nation's heritage and character. Your efforts have paid off, prompting Congress to strengthen the protections afforded to wild horses and burros in the United States of America [with the passage of HR 1018].
Mariana Tosca continues, “We have to stop eroding the law that ensures their protection, simply to cater to and placate private entities. America faces a very real risk that the wild horse will go the way of the buffalo, wiped out by a zealous hunt to make room for commercial interests.
Since the BLM is a government agency, with perceived mismanagement and conflict of interest issues, the public has a right to call for an independent audit of the horses in BLM managed short and long term holding facilities, as well as an independent count of the horses remaining on the ranges. The management of our remaining wild horses should be moved to another agency.”
A lawsuit was filed by IDA (In Defense of Animals) on November 23 aimed at halting the removal of over 2,700 horses in the Nevada Calico Complex which is scheduled to start on December 1.
Additional information on the unified call for a moratorium is available on the Equine Welfare Alliance and The Cloud Foundation websites.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
November 18, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Holland
Equine Welfare Alliance
The Cloud Foundation
Unified Call for an Immediate Moratorium on Wild Horse & Burro Roundups
CHICAGO, (EWA) – On November 18, 2009, American Citizens and partners in Canada, the United Kingdom and South Africa, delivered the following letter to the President, Congress and the Department of the Interior.
A Unified Call for an Immediate Moratorium on Wild Horse & Burro Roundups
And a humane, fiscally responsible plan for preserving and protecting the iconic,
free-roaming wild horses and burros of the American West
President Obama, Members of Congress and the Department of the Interior:
We, the undersigned, request major changes to the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro program. This must begin with an immediate moratorium on all roundups. While we agree that the program is in dire need of reform, and we applaud your Administration's commitment to avoid BLM’s suggested mass-killing of horses, the plan outlined in October by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar raises numerous concerns. These include:
· Perpetuating the flawed assumption that wild horses and burros are overpopulating their Western ranges. In reality, the BLM has no accurate current inventory of the 37,000 wild horses and burros it claims remain on public lands. Independent analysis of BLM’s own numbers reveal there may be only 15,000 wild horses remaining on public lands.
· Continuing the mass removal of wild horses and burros from their rightful Western ranges: The BLM intends to spend over $30 million in Fiscal Year 2010 to capture more than 12,000 wild horses and burros. This stockpiling of horses continues even as an astounding 32,000 are already being held in government holding facilities at enormous taxpayer expense.
· Scapegoating wild horses and burros for range deterioration even though they comprise only a tiny fraction of animals and wildlife grazing our public lands. Far greater damage is caused by privately-owned livestock, which outnumber the horses more than 100 to 1.
· Moving wild horses and burros east off their Western homelands to “sanctuaries” in the east and Midwest at an initial cost of $96 million creates significant health concerns if animals adapted to western landscapes are managed on wet ground and rich grasses.
Removing tens of thousands of horses and burros from their legally-designated Western ranges and moving them into government-run facilities subverts the intent of the 1971 Wild Free-roaming Horse and Burro Act, which mandated that horses be preserved “where presently found.” A 2009 DC district court case held that “Congress did not authorize BLM to “manage” the wild horses and burros by corralling them for private maintenance or long-term care as non-wild free-roaming animals off the public lands.”
We appreciate your Administration's recognition of the horses’ value as an ecotourism resource. However, the display of captive, non-reproducing herds in eastern pastures renders them little more than zoo exhibits, further discounting the contribution to our history and the future of the American West.
We believe that workable solutions to create a healthy “multiple use” of public rangelands, protect the ecological balance of all wildlife, and preserve America's wild horses and burros in their rightful, legally protected home can be achieved. We are calling on the Obama Administration to reform the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Management Program.
We ask that you reverse the current course and immediately take the following actions:
1) Place a moratorium on all roundups until accurate and independent assessments of population numbers and range conditions are made available and a final, long-term solution is formalized.
2) Restore protections included in the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Update existing laws that protect wild horses by reopening certain public lands to the mustangs and burros, thus decreasing the number in captivity. Return healthy wild horses and burros in holding to all available acres of public land designated primarily for their use in 1971. If these lands are not available, equivalent and appropriate western public lands should be added in their place.
3) Support federal grazing permit buybacks. Reduce livestock grazing and reanalyze appropriate management levels for herd management areas to allow for self-sustaining, genetically-viable herds to exist in the west.
4) Conduct Congressional hearings regarding the mismanagement of our wild herds and further investigate the inability of BLM to correct the shortcomings of the program as audited by the Government Accountability Office’s 1990, 1991 and 2008 reports.
Supported by the undersigned on November 16, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
The home stretch for thoroughbreds is a good place to be when they are on the track, but once their racing days are done it can be a very different story.
The arrest of local breeder Ernie Paragallo this year led us to do a little digging and what we found may surprise you. Thoroughbreds in their prime are fit, well cared for and treated like celebrities, but by the young age of six or seven, many go from being revered to being rejected and they end up at the biggest public horse auction east of the Mississippi -- the so-called killer sale in New Holland, Pennsylvania.
According to rescue groups attending the auctions, every Monday an average of 250 horses pass through the sale.
Up to 40 percent are purchased by so-called kill buyers and taken to slaughter so their meat can be sold for human consumption in Europe and Asia.
As for the slaughter itself -- it's not a pretty process.
"Well, the horses are slaughtered using what they call a captive bolt. This bolt is designed by law to use one hit between the eyes to stun the horse and render it unconscious, that's what's supposed to happen," says Susan Hamlin, New York State Legislative Director of the Equine Welfare Alliance.
"Many of them are not unconscious, many of them are just unable to move momentarily and many of them wake up fully awake, fully able to feel pain, fully aware of what's going on as they're hung upside down and their throats, the carotid artery, is cut to bleed out on the floor," adds Hamlin.
According to The Humane Society of the United States, 20 perecnt of the thoroughbreds born in the United States end up this way -- even some of the greats.
Ferdinand, the 1987 Kentucky Derby winner, was unable to perform as a stud. So he was slaughtered in Japan in 2002.
Slaughter is also a reality for some of the horses you see racing at Saratoga.
"Unfortunately it is and we're working hard to stop that," said thoroughbred owner John Hendrickson of Marylou Whitney Stables.
"We had one that was a half-brother to Birdstone, named Cviano, and somebody from a rescue operation called us and said, 'Do you know this horse had fallen through the claiming ranks and is about to be slaughtered, and we said we'll buy it and we'll pay you double," adds Hendrickson.
Trainer Nick Zito and his wife Kim got a similar call. A rescue group found their former horse, Little Cliff, on his way to slaughter.
"It was kind of a miracle too because he could have wound up ... and that would have been a catastrophe cause a lot of people knew his name," said Zito.
But why should we care? We slaughter chickens and cattle for food. Why are horses different?
"We don't sell horse meat in the grocery stores here in the United States. They're not in our food chain," says Kim Zito.
"It's never been in our food chain, ever. I'm talking about even in the Depression days or even when people stood on line, you know, ever. It's just something that we don't do," according to Nick Zito.
There is a movement to stop the slaughter, but it's not meeting with much success in Washington.
More on that in tomorrow's report.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
August 6, 2009
Undercover Investigation Underscores USDA-documented Brutality
30 month long investigation proves worst-case scenario is ongoing
A thirty month long investigation into the plight of horses who have been sold for slaughter has revealed the worst levels of inhumane treatment. The abuse and neglect of these horses, sometimes referred to as "kill horses," was uncovered during the investigation and is consistent with findings and photographs contained in a 906 page document released by the USDA last year.
The investigation and report by Animals' Angels, a Maryland based animal welfare
organization, confirmed that injuries and inhumane treatment documented by the USDA during 2005 continue. Both USDA and Animals' Angels (AA) documents show horses severely injured, left medically untreated, ill, trampled to death and worse on their way to and at slaughter.
Executive Director of Animals' Angels, Sonja Meadows said their investigations quickly revealed that, "Both government records and our report show that being on U.S.soil was not then and is not now the slightest guarantee of humane treatment."
The slaughter of horses in the U.S., which stopped with plant closures in 2007, continues in Canada and Mexico. Groups advocating the slaughter of American horses have called for the reopening of U.S. horse slaughter plants, saying horses are better protected by U.S. humane laws than by laws in Canada and Mexico. However, during the 30 month long investigation that included repeated visits to auctions, feedlots and slaughter plants, AA investigators concluded abuse and inhumane treatment are inherent to the horse slaughter industry.
"It takes inhumane treatment to make the economics work," said Meadows. "We found the cruelty starts well before horses arrive at the slaughter plant."
The AA report documents available veterinary care withheld from horses severely injured or near death. Undercover investigators were routinely told, 'That horse is going to slaughter anyway,' or the horses are 'just passing through.'
Treatment of horses designated for slaughter ranged from beating horses and jabbing them in the eyes, to using a cable winch to drag downed horses with a wire wrapped around a back leg. Investigators observed horses being injured or killed after being forced into dangerously crowded pens where they were kicked or trampled. Others were found frozen to the ground after overnight temperatures dropped well below freezing. Young and small horses, as well as horses injured or weak were trampled to death in trailers crowded with 40 horses. Workers failed to separate stallions, ensuring fierce fighting in close quarters during transport.
Making conditions worse is the issue of stolen horses, according to Debi Metcalfe, founder of Stolen Horse International, Inc., a non profit that operates www.NetPosse.com, a horse theft recovery network that averages 80,000 unique visitors per month. "We have dealt with cases where horses were stolen," said Metcalf. "We later found out that these innocent pets had been slaughtered."
At both Canadian and Mexican slaughter plants investigators discovered horses left in bloody "kill boxes", used to restrain horses as they are being killed, during lunch breaks. According to the report, the horses were "shaking violently as if [they] might fall down." Plant management told investigators the horses 'aren't bothered by it.'
AA investigators documented injured and dead horses at every stop along the horse slaughter pipeline. At feedlots and export pens horses had no food and water troughs were empty. An export facility veterinarian informed investigators horses too weak for transport would be left behind to die in the pens.
"The public has been duped into thinking horse slaughter has ended, but it just moved a few hours further down the road," Meadows pointed out. "It hasn't somehow changed it into something it is not. It is the same terrible suffering it was in 2005."
"By the time the horse finally stands in the kill box at the slaughter plant, it is often not the worst thing that has happened to it since this dreadful journey began," said Meadows
For a copy of the investigative report, click here.
For the PR WEB PRESS RELEASE, click her.
To review the USDA documents, click here.
What can you do?
Please urge your representatives and senators to support the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act H.R.503 / S.727!
Animals' Angels is a 501 (c)(3) non profit organization incorporated in Maryland with fulltime investigators working in the United States and Canada. We work with law enforcement and government agencies to end animal cruelty and to improve conditions for farm animals. We are in the field every week, trailing livestock trucks, visiting markets, collecting stations and slaughter plants.
Animals' Angels USA
For further information on horse slaughter investigations, go to
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
by Jerry Finch and R.T. Fitch
So out of the clear blue sky the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) decides to round up the small, yet internationally famous, wild horse herd in the Pryor Mountains, MT while the public screams stop and they refuse to listen. We think that there is something that does not smell, or taste, just quite right, here.
It would be a real stretch of imagination for us to question the integrity of a government agency, like the BLM, simply because it has repeatedly violated federal law, laughed at our law makers and thumbed it’s nose at the will of the American people while failing to live up to one of it’s prime directives; that of protecting our national treasure, our publicly owned wild horses on publicly owned land.
No, we wouldn’t do that.
Nor would we cast aspersions on a company that holds the rights to explore for uranium throughout the Pryor Mountains because it’s parent company is owned and operated through a convoluted trail that points to a middle eastern firm with dubious connections where the company officers/advisors are already in trouble with world-wide trade commissions for stock scams and multiple other violations of law.
Gosh, the thought never entered our minds.
But we do raise our eyebrows at the fact that when this uranium mining company begins to make sounds that it may want to conduct aerial seismographic surveys over the Pryor Mountains the BLM suddenly deems it necessary to round up all of the wild horses in the area for an alleged much needed gather, something that they have not done in over a decade (the American public is banned from their public land during the round-up, something to hide?). And why, because of over grazing and the horses, allegedly, are suffering for it. All of this in light of the fact that it has been graphically documented that the horses are in good health, the area is not over grazed and the BLM’s own studies are riddled with multiple errors and if challenged in a court of law could be found to be illegal.
Yes, we do have a problem with this, and so should you.
So let’s step behind the bar, mix-up this entire concoction up and see what we come up with. Yum yum, we bet it tastes pretty special to some people but to others it will have a distinctive odor about it.
First, let’s mix in one part BLM, the agency that is charged with protecting our wild horses yet indiscriminately decides to conduct deadly stampedes to corral and then sell them off for next to nothing to killer buyers who truck them down to the brutal slaughter houses in Mexico where they can make a ten-fold profit; tasty little morsel, there. (Let’s ignore the fact that they now have over 30,000 wild horses confined and living in pens that they wanted to kill, last year, yet they continue to gather more)
The next step is to pour in equal amounts of a company called Skyline Uranium Corp. formerly known as Uranium Mining & Exploration Projects that is owned by a parent company referred to as Fortress Financial Group, Inc. which engages in issuing prepaid debit and credit cards and was formerly known as the Great West Gold Inc. which itself was recently acquired by Moneyworx, Inc. through a reverse merger transaction while the company officers work on the staff of one of the biggest law firm/companies in all of the United Arab Emirates. Phew, did you catch all that?
Now pour in a generous amount of the U.S. Federally owned Pryor Mountains, formerly rich in uranium and gold , and shake vigorously.
Don’t forget to crush in some tree hugging do-gooders, strain out a few wild horses and garnish it with just a slice of bribery and then pour this concoction over a heaping pile of ice cold elected officials, wow…what a drink; a true recipe for collusion and corruption. One that is already in the glass and being toasted by the covert, limited parties involved. Mighty tasty, eh?
Now we are not postulating, here, that imbibing of this beverage is either right or wrong; but we do think that because you, the American public, is paying for the bar tab you should at least be aware of what you are paying for, it’s only fair.
If this tastes good to you, then pull up a stool, take a sip and lose your soul.
If it smells like horse poop to you, and it should, pick up the phone, hammer on the key board and let your opinion be known. Maybe it’s time to swear off the booze of collusion/corruption and get back on the wagon of proper ethics. Such a move will not only be good for your mental health and pocketbook but it will save the lives of thousands of wild horses living on your land, land that belongs to the American public.
Push the glass away, and make a stand. The horses are counting on it.
Keep your change, the tip is on us.
Jerry Finch – Founder/President of Habitat for Horses, writer
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