Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bad Economy Bad Times For NW Pa. Cats

GERRY WEISS, Erie Times-News ERIE, Pa. (AP) ¯ There is reverence in this room.For the difficult task performed. For each cat or dog, treated with calming compassion until the very end.

The euthanasia room, tucked away inside the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania, has little in it. The walls are bare and painted light purple. An examination table is placed near the middle.

A staff member, wearing long rubber gloves, removes the animal from one of the clinic's cages and carries it into this room.Another worker often apologizes to the cat or dog, and then injects it with a dose of Sodium pentathol.

The animal is dead within three or four seconds.But on Thursday at the Humane Society, one animal was followed by another, and another, and another.

Officials said 20 cats were euthanized that day, 15 of which were healthy and at the shelter for less than two weeks.

Euthanasia, predominantly of cats, is soaring at area animal shelters — a crisis, officials say, brought on by a drop in adoptions and a sharp rise in drop-offs of stray and abandoned cats that local clinics are calling an epidemic.

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Please spay and neuter your cats..

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Real Fix for Retired Racehorses

The Real Fix For Racehorses - It should start on the front end...before racing begins. This is an excellent article written by a central PA riding instructor for the Pennsylvania Equestrian.
The Real Fix for Retired Racehorses

by Bob Wood, Special to Pennsylvania Equestrian - August 2010

“Racehorse Retirees Face Happier Futures” was a recent headline in the Pennsylvania Equestrian. The report of 200 racehorses saved yearly by this recent effort is a positive rescue direction. The sad truth is that the vast number of raced Thoroughbreds have no future. As great as 200 saved a year sounds, it's a drop in the bucket of abandoned Thoroughbred racehorses. Furthermore, this kind of positive news often takes the focus off the true scale of the problem.

Having retrained many TB racehorses over many years, I feel the rescue/adoption solution has never and will never address the vast number of horses raced and discarded. The practical answer to this problem is to deal with the challenge of a second career before their racing days begin, not afterward. The focus must be on the underlying first causes of their unadoptability, because there will never be enough rescue stalls to provide more than a token post-career solution. We therefore must increase their adoptability to the average person wanting to own a horse by making them easier to retrain after racing.

An inventory of the racehorse skills set reveals a horse that knows how to run fast, turn left, and stop within a half mile or so. They scare the average potential horse owner to death. Their fundamental lack of early basic training makes them unusable as riding horses later in their lives. They do not know how to stand still when mounted, they are unfamiliar with the full weight of a rider in the saddle, or the feel of a rider's leg against their barrel. Most are, as a result, ticklish when they are first mounted with a riding saddle, if you can mount them at all in any conventional sense. They end up in a second career job market with no real marketable skills, and often with the additional handicap of a minor injury, a mental scar like cribbing or weaving, or manners that few average riders can endure. All this could be made easier after race retirement, if time were taken at the beginning of their training to build the foundation of a second career skill set when they are most open to learning.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Will the US Congress Fund the Export of Poisoned Horse Meat?

NCSL passes resolution to lobby for reinstatement of funding for USDA horse inspections

The following press release was issued in response to the resolution passed by NCSL. A copy of the release from Sue Wallis is posted below this release.

July 31, 2010



Vicki Tobin

Valerie James-Patton

Lobby Group Will Urge Congress to Fund Export of Tainted Horse Meat

CHICAGO, (EWA) - The National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) has passed a resolution calling for the reinstatement of USDA inspectors for horse meat.

The NCSL is a non-governmental lobbyist organization which serves the nation's 50 states legislators to advocate and lobby for the interests of states before Congress and federal agencies. The resolutions NCSL passes are not binding and merely allow them to lobby on behalf of the states.

Representative Sue Wallis (WY) who is vice chair of the NCSL's Agriculture and Energy Committee, went on record asking that she be allowed to slaughter horses to feed Wyoming children, the poor and prison inmates without having the meat federally inspected for consumer safety. The Wyoming livestock board responded quickly by stating in no uncertain terms that "horse slaughter is not an option."

The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) strongly opposes the misuse of tax payer dollars to fund inspections for an industry that is not needed or wanted by the overwhelming majority of Americans.

US horses are not raised as food animals and as such, receive numerous substances on a routine basis that are prohibited for use in food animals. Our country does not track horses and has no mechanism to remove horses from the food chain that have received prohibited substances.

Horse owners were vehemently opposed last year at an attempt to implement NAIS, a national tracking system. Considering that less than two percent of the horse population ends up on slaughter trucks and represents only three cents on every $100 earned by the horse industry, the cost of implementing a national tracking system to accommodate an insignificant percentage of horses makes absolutely no fiscal sense.

In the NCSL release, as with most pro horse slaughter communications, there is no mention of the known drug issue in American horses. "It is a travesty that legislators would even consider reinstating inspections knowing that there is no way to guarantee consumer food safety" said EWA's Valerie James-Patton.

A recent survey of horse owners by the publication, The Horse, revealed that 96% of horse owners give their horses at least one of the banned substances on a regular basis. A peer reviewed scientific study by Drs. Marini, Dodman and Blondeau that was published in the scientific journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, revealed 100% of the slaughtered Thoroughbreds traced in the study had received the carcinogen phenylbutazone. It should be noted that these tainted horses were shipped to the European Union for human consumption while the USDA was supposedly inspecting the horse meat. Another study in CA of Thoroughbreds revealed a 99% usage.

"Instead of wasting valuable legislator's time on this nonsense," commented EWA's Vicki Tobin, "a better use of time and donations by these pro horse slaughter groups would be to address why excess horses continue to be produced every year and start working on solutions. Continuing to slaughter the victims of irresponsible breeders and owners, is only going to perpetuate the problem, not correct it."


Equine Welfare Alliance is a dues free, umbrella organization with over 120 member organizations. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.


NCSL Release
July 31, 2010

Sue Wallis
307 680 8515 cell
307 685 8248 ranch

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) adopts new policy resolution calling for USDA inspection of horse meat.

The policy resolution was passed at the annual Legislative Summit held in Louisville, Kentucky on July 25-28, 2010. The policy was first reviewed and passed by the Agriculture and Energy Committee, and then passed at the Business Meeting of the 45 states in attendance. Policies which receive a super majority vote of more than 3/4 of the states attending give NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. the authority to lobby Congress on behalf of the position of the states.
USDA ante-and post mortem inspections are mandatory if an animal is to be sold as meat, and the animal must be slaughtered in a USDA-inspected facility. Federal appropriations law contains a prohibition on allowing federal dollars to be spent on salaries for inspectors who inspect horses before or after slaughter, making it impossible for operations that want to process horse meat within their borders to market this meat. Inspectors also cannot respond to a voluntary, fee-based inspection request to inspect horse meat. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) believes that these provisions unduly restrict states' action regarding horse slaughtering facilities within their borders. Therefore, NCSL calls upon Congress to remove these restrictions in existing law, and not insert similar provisions in subsequent appropriations bills or other legislative vehicles.

The closing of horse slaughter facilities in America has decimated the equine industry, and has curtailed the ability of states and tribes to control the numbers of excess and abandoned horses on their lands. Documented reports indicate an increase of 400% in the number of starved, abandoned, and neglected horses between 2008 and 2009 alone. This has resulted in unprecedented state budget increases and taxpayer costs at a time when states cannot afford unnecessary expense. It has severely impacted the livestock industry as a whole, and by eliminating the salvage value of horses has significantly reduced the market value of all horses. The loss of markets for horse meat for pet food, for the maintenance of zoo animals, and for byproducts has greatly impacted these sectors. The loss of horse products for export has eliminated more than $42 million dollars of direct income for an already struggling sector of the livestock industry, not to mention millions of dollars in indirect costs because of the loss of value of individual animals. Given the current state of the horse processing industry, it is particularly important that the federal government not restrict access to inspection.


Stolen Horse International


The face of death

The face of death
#396, A kind, gentle Thoroughbred

All that is left

All that is left
I will never forget him...I promise. I am so sorry, #396...I don't even have a name for you...

Why would you take my life? Am I a food source animal?

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