Monday, September 20, 2010
September 17, 2010By Nell Walton Who is Sue Wallis and Why Should I Care? Part III in a Series
Rep. Sue Wallis at the Tennessee State Legislature In a membership communication distributed on January 30, the United Organizations of the Horse (a Wyoming based lobbying group whose mission is to open a horse slaughter facility in Wyoming – referred to as the UOH) applauded the financial support of various organizations and spoke of the attendance of Rep. Sue Wallis and David Duquette at the Simon Bucking Stock Sale in Oklahoma City, OK. Rep. Wallis is an elected state legislator from Wyoming, as well as Executive Director of the UOH, and Mr. Duquette is the President of the nonprofit 501 (c)(3) affiliate of the UOH, the United Horseman’s Front. The Simon Bucking Stock Sale is operated by Joe Simon Enterprises of Lakeville, MN.
In August of 2009, this same Joe Simon (aka Roy Joseph Simon) was found to have committed multiple violations of the Commercial Transportation of Equines for Slaughter Act (CTESA). The Act, part of the 1996 Farm Bill, is intended to assure that equines being transported for slaughter are not subjected to unsafe and inhumane conditions during shipment. Any owner/shipper that commercially transports more than 20 equines a year to a slaughter facility must comply with this law. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is charged with overseeing CTESA compliance. Among other things these regulations dictate that:
stallions and other aggressive horses must be separated from the rest of the shipment
adequate food, water, and rest should be provided to slaughter-bound horses six hours prior to being loaded onto a vehicle
horses should not be confined in a vehicle longer than 24 hours without food and water
An owner/shipper certificate must accompany the shipment (this contains details about the shipper and receiver as well as statement verifying that the horse is fit to travel. Horses must also be supplied with a “backtag” – a tag supplied by the USDA that sticks to the back of the horse)
adequate floor space must be provided for the horses during shipment
In the decision issued by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) that heard Simon’s case, it was recorded that Simon said he had been in business for over 30 years and estimated that he or his business transported approximately 3600 horses a year for slaughter. Mr. Simon was charged with numerous violations of the Act, ranging from minor paperwork irregularities, to more serious violations; including findings that during transport a horse severed an artery so severely that that blood was visibly running from the trailer (no vet was called, as required by regulations) and another horse sustained multiple fractures of a hind leg and no veterinarian was called, even though the driver attested to the horses “acting up” in the trailer (the horse was so seriously injured it was was euthanized immediately at the slaughterhouse upon arrival.)
In the course of the decision the ALJ commented:
“… I am somewhat puzzled why Complainant (the USDA) let such a large number of violations accumulate before issuing a complaint against Respondent (Simon). Given the importance of the regulations, strongly emphasized by the testimony of Dr. Cordes (Dr. Timothy Cordes, veterinarian and witness for the USDA) and by Complainant’s briefs, it is surprising that years (emphasis added) elapsed between the commission of some violations and the issuance of the complaint. The earliest violations were alleged to have occurred in August 2003, with the first serious violation occurring in November 2004, yet the complaint was not issued until May 2007. Respondent testified, without dispute, that he has not been cited for any further violations since the issuance of the complaint in this case, indicating that waiting for the accumulation of 42 alleged violations before the issuance of a complaint rather than prosecuting promptly is not fully consistent with either the remedial or deterrent aims of the Agency. Thus, Dr. Cordes statement that Respondent had far more violations than any other owner/shipper who had gone to hearing, is necessarily weighed against the fact that it is highly likely that there would have been far fewer violations if APHIS (USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) had taken action when the first violations were discovered.”
When reviewing multiple cases that were adjudicated by the ALJs having jurisdiction over CTESA prosecutions, it was found that this delay in bringing action against violators of the CTESA HAS BEEN THE RULE, rather than the exception for many years. In ruling after ruling, various ALJs expressed their frustration and incredulity that years passed before any formal complaints were filed against horse slaughter shippers, even those with the most serious and heinous of violations. And, the judges were especially frustrated because as these cases were presented as first offenses, they were limited in the amount of penalties they could assign in their decisions.
IT IS ALSO OF INTEREST TO NOTE THAT CURRENT DECISIONS SHOW THAT MOST OF THE VIOLATIONS OCCURRED WHEN HORSE SLAUGHTER WAS LEGAL IN THE UNITED STATES.
On April 30, 2010, an editorial was run in www.trib.com, which criticized the UOH’s plans to build a horse slaughter plant in Wyoming. That same day, the UOH released a press release in response. In this release Rep. Wallis said:
“Under the current situation, the only horses that have any value whatsoever are those that are big enough, healthy enough, and close enough to a border to be worth the trucking to Canada and Mexico where they are slaughtered under systems and circumstances we cannot control or regulate. We feel it is far better to do this under US regulation and in situations where we can monitor it…”
Clearly, according to the USDA’s own enforcement action documentation, there IS very little enforcement or monitoring of conditions of horses shipped for slaughter, and severe violations are allowed to continue for years before any actions are taken to enforce the regulations, and, when enforcement is attempted the damages issued are hardly in line with the number and severity of violations. One cannot help but wonder if the USDA does such a poor job of overseeing something as basic as transport, what are its capabilities and priorities as far as overseeing a equine slaughter facility? Plus, the USDA has a difficult time just keeping up with basic safety of the current food supply (as is evident by the nearly monthly news reports of various food-born illnesses affecting large numbers of Americans).
Rep. Wallis went on to say:
“…We cannot let this (or any public expression of misinformation, outright lies, and exaggerations) go unanswered.….You all understand that if we lose this battle over the hearts and minds of the pet owning public, that our entire animal agriculture and horse based livelihoods are lost….If you want to drive change, you have to get out of the back of the truck. That is what we are trying to do. Animal rights organizations like HSUS/PETA create problems, inflame problems, and make money off of problems…we solve problems, and create value out of good solutions. ….”
Rep. Wallis goes onto urge UOH membership to “become an advocate for animal agriculture and for the rightful place of horses within that framework. … Don’t let misinformation go unchecked. .. most of these people are true horse lovers who consider their horses as pets, and who are being emotionally manipulated by animal rights ideologues who have a much darker agenda…..”
In some of her “talking points” Rep. Wallis makes the following assertions:
Without the option of slaughter, and using the meat to feed hungry animals or hungry people, those who can no longer afford to keep a horse, and cannot sell it, have literally no option…you can’t bury a 1,000 lb horse in the back yard like a cat or a dog…..Contrast that viewpoint with the total waste of at least 200,000 horse carcasses per year which, if euthanized with lethal drugs, become no more than a colossal disposal problem with toxic carcasses that cannot even be buried because of fear that it will leach into groundwater.
Actually, in most states it is perfectly legal to bury a horse on an owner’s property, and this method is what most horse-owners utilize when they lose an animal. There is no research or studies to indicate that there is groundwater contamination from the burying of chemically euthanized horses. The American Veterinary Medical Association does say that any chemically euthanized horse carcasses that are left unburied could be toxic to birds and predatory species.
Some Americans always have and always will eat horse meat. It is what filled the bellies of our soldiers who won World War II, and kept the families here at home fed throughout the 1940s when there was a shortage of all other meat…
Multiple polls indicate differently. In a variety of polls conducted since 1993, anywhere from 57-89% of Americans have stated that they feel horse slaughter is cruel and inhumane, and the eating of horse meat abhorrent.
One billion people on the planet today rarely get enough to eat, and another billion do not get enough protein and nutrients for health. Ten million children a year die of starvation. From a moral standpoint, can we afford to put any viable protein source off limits?
Currently, as horse meat cannot be transported state to state (the USDA has no operating budget for meat inspectors at horse slaughter facilities) it is hard to understand the even basic feasibility of Rep. Wallis’ argument; unless, of course, there are 10 million children dying of starvation in Wyoming.
Because of the closure of the US slaughter plants in the US in 2007 by state action in Illinois and Texas, the entire horse industry from top to bottom has been deeply affected. What was a 1.2 Billion dollar industry supporting 460,000 full-time direct jobs, and another 1.6 million indirect jobs has been cut in half. There has been a loss of a minimum of 500,000 direct and indirect jobs, and horses that were worth $1,000 are now worthless, horses once worth $2,500 are lucky to bring $750, horses that would have sold for $85,000 to $100,000 are now being liquidated for $10,000 each.
None of these figures could be independently verified and Rep. Wallis did not quote her source. In fact, according to a detailed study done by the Animal Law Coalition, horse slaughter numbers began declining in 1993 and the number of horses slaughtered has been relatively flat and stable (approximately 100,000 per year) since 1997, so the only accurate correlation in regards to economic impact is the number of direct jobs lost when the two slaughter plant facilities in Illinois and Texas closed in 2007.
…The ultimate goal of animal rightists, which is a very, very radical and idealogic agenda, is to end all human use of animals and to eliminate all domestic animals which is to many of us a gross perversion of the moral and ethical underpinnings of our society, not to mention a dangerous, unhealthy, and unnatural way of being.
As no sources or facts were associated with this statement, it must be assumed that this is Rep. Wallis’ own personal opinion.
In a recent article by Chelsea Good, published in Kansas Stockman, Ms. Good attempts to make the case that horse abandonment and neglect has increased dramatically in the United States since the closure of the slaughter plants in 2007:
The American Quarter Horse Association, American Veterinary Medical Association and many animal agriculture groups opposed the forced (horse slaughter) plant closings, claiming there would be an increase in horse abandonment. Since 2007, horse prices have plummeted to the point where many cannot even be given away. The web site wwww.amillionhorses.com tracks print, television and radio news reports about horse neglect and abandonment. Prior to 2007, stories numbered less than 35 a year. In 2008, the group tracked 310 stories. Reports increased 400% from 2008 to 2009, when 1,241 stories detailing neglect and abandonment of horses were published online.
However, again, the argument that slaughterhouse plant closings have increased the incidence of horse abandonment and neglect, does not even pass a basic common sense test, as the numbers of horses slaughtered has remained essentially the same since 1997. It is highly more likely that since 2007, basic market economics have come into play, i.e. the supply has exceeded the demand for horses, due to the world-wide recession and (perhaps) overbreeding of horses. Additionally, the information Ms. Good cites from the website www.amillionhorses.com could not be verified or even located.
So, as one steps through the various position statements and information being distributed by the UOH and Rep. Wallis, it is clear that very little of it is fact-based – most is just hyperbole and rhetoric designed to inflame the UOH membership and people who make their living from livestock and poultry, and manipulate them into helping the UOH push forth its own agenda. And, upon close examination that agenda becomes painfully clear.
One obvious clue can be found in the UOH’s old website under FAQs. On this web page, Rep. Wallis responds to an email she has received from “Sandra I” (location unknown):
“Dear Ms Wallis–maybe I am being naive, but wonder how it is that an elected Federal member of the House, can also be a lobbyist at the same time… I hope to hear from you, as I am curious re this issue. Sandra I.”
Rep. Wallis response included the following statement:
“First of all, I am a State Representative, not a Federal one. I represent a very rural area, and one small town, in Campbell County. In my state, serving in the Legislature is a small, small part of my livelihood. The most we are ever in session in any one year is 40 days. I make my living as a rancher……….” (emphasis added)
In this response, Rep. Wallis fails to address this most pertinent question in regards to the ethics of a legislator also being a lobbyist, and sponsoring legislative bills that promote her own enterprises.
In fact, an analysis of the UOH supporters shows that only a small percentage of the UOH membership is actually from Wyoming (one supporter being Jim Schwartz, the Director of the Wyoming Livestock Board). Most are from other parts of the country, and, Dave Duquette, president of the UOH’s nonprofit affiliate resides and runs a business in Oregon.
It is hard to fathom how the people of Wyoming, nor the powers-that-be that oversee Wyoming legislative ethics stand for this.
As an exercise in impartiality let’s remove horse slaughter issue from the scenario, and replace it with a hypothetical casino project in a hypothetical state. State Rep. Jane Doe decides she wants a casino. There had been a similar situation in neighboring Nevada, where a state legislator had sponsored a successful bill to have a casino built on state property (he was the President of corporation that owned the casino, and profited from it, along with his out-of-state backers). The casino had operated for a number of years. However, it had recently been closed, due to public outcry over corruption in the state legislature.
Despite the controversy surrounding the Nevada casino, Rep. Doe sponsors a bill for her casino, clearly stating her casino will be different than the Nevada casino, hers will be a “fair, family friendly” casino, which will be much better for the gamblers and their families. Rep. Doe says the casino will provide thousands of jobs, and ancillary income to her state, although no facts or studies are used to illustrate how this will work exactly. She finds an individual from another state that is willing to become president of a tax-exempt nonprofit “affiliate” of her casino project. Plans are made for him to operate a “nature park and dude ranch” on the casino grounds, that will be solely dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating abused and neglected children. She uses this as a selling feature to the State Legislature (never mind the fact that the president of this nonprofit has absolutely no experience in rescuing and rehabilitating abused and neglected children, he has had several chilren though, so therefore he is an expert). She also forms a tax-exempt nonprofit lobbying group mainly consisting of out-of-state backers to not only invest in the casino and give Rep. Doe’s activities financial support, but they also work out deals to ship in gamblers from their various states, so that they will have the opportunity to gamble at a “fair, family friendly” casino. Rep. Doe and her out-of-state backers form a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) to handle the income of their “fair, family friendly” casino; exact details on how much of this income will actually make it into Rep. Doe State’s coffers remains undiscussed. Nevertheless, the Governor of Rep. Doe’s state and the State Legislature nod wisely in agreement that Rep. Doe has an excellent plan to help the people of her state and said casino project is approved lickety-split with little to no input from these same people.
Well, as they say, its good work if you can get it.
For more information:
Friday, September 17, 2010
September 15, 2010
PO Box 1056 Westminster, MD 21158
Last month Animal's Angels returned to the Shipshewana Auction in Indiana, a follow-up to our September 2009 visit. Many of you will remember our documentation of inadequate & cruel treatment of animals by auction employees, and especially the video footage of "Richard" kicking and beating an animal martial-arts style for several minutes. In addition to "Richard" we found the pens dangerously overcrowded with horses in sustained episodes of loud fighting, water and food troughs empty, and handling of the animals unreasonably brutal with many in very poor condition.
In a word, conditions last year were miserable.
Read the investigative report...
After that investigation, Animals' Angels filed complaints with auction owners, local law enforcement, the State Veterinarian, the Livestock Marketing Association and the House Agricultural Committee. The employee "Richard" was fired. All other employees were trained in humane handling practices.
Keith Lambright, an owner of Shipshewana Auction Inc. apologized publicly for the actions of his employee saying, "Shipshewana Auction supports the proper and ethical treatment of animals and in no way tolerates the mistreatment of any animal that enters our facility. Once again, we apologize..." AA Investigators returned last month to see if conditions had improved and if the auction owners had been true to their word.
The Livestock Auction
The morning of the Livestock Auction was already 83 degrees, hot and humid as investigators arrived. The pens were very overcrowded with approximately 300 head of cattle to be sold, mostly Holstein dairy cows. Hopes of improved conditions began to evaporate as investigators also observed that none of the pens contained water or food. Investigators noticed one pen appeared to be designated a "slow pen," a possible improvement if done properly, holding 32 cows that had arrived limping, emaciated or otherwise compromised. A "slow pen" would more likely keep these animals from being trampled than if they were in the regular pens. Several regular pens were extremely overcrowded and as the day went on many of the cows showed signs of heat stress with panting and foaming at the mouth. From one pen a Black Angus bull with a broken left front leg was brought into the alley. Auction employees struggled with the unwilling bull, running him up and around the alleys on three legs to a distant pen. It was soon apparent that Shipshewana's use of the "slow pen" was a way of concentrating the sickest and lowest priced cows in one area, and not a way of protecting or providing care. No water was ever provided here or in any of the pens. Several cows were down and groaning, one with shallow breathing and another panting heavily. Workers walked past these noticeably suffering animals many times without stopping or providing water, though Indiana law clearly states that withholding care is neglect and illegal. Some were emaciated, some stood holding one leg up, trying to move on the remaining three - a condition which should have made them unfit for transport since they were likely to become downers and trampled.
Another cow that appeared to have been dead for some time was also in the pen. The horse did not appear to be sick or injured. No water was in the pen. Many empty pens containing no dead animals were available.
The Horse Auction
Investigators arrived early to observe horses being unloaded. No water was in any of the pens as with the livestock auction. Another very bad day for the animals at Shipshewana soon started when a trailer with Michigan plates backed up to the loading dock. The horse inside the trailer was completely down. After several minutes of activity not visible to investigators, the horse hobbled out of the trailer. Her right front leg appeared to be broken and she was in poor physical condition, though alert and compliant. Despite her condition, an auction employee tagged her for sale and took her to an empty pen.
She collapsed within minutes, lying flat out on her side for the next hour. Someone who auction employees identified as the veterinarian arrived, briefly looked at the horse and shocked investigators as they heard him tell a worker to get the horse up. Her leg dangled oddly. Investigators had fully expected the vet would euthanize her where she lay. After an agonizing struggle, she was standing, and investigators were further shocked to see the veterinarian and the auction worker begin pushing the horse down a long aisle, all the way to an exit pen. The horse was
in obvious acute distress. An auction visitor watching from nearby said, "Oh, no! What are they doing to her? Can't they see how much the horse is hurting!" Enormous effort by both men was required to push and drag her because she was not moving on her own. Mr. Lambright, an owner of the auction, came, looked at the horse and seemed upset that his employees had unloaded the horse at his facility. A few minutes later, the trailer with Michigan plates pulled up. To the utter horror and anger of investigators, Mr. Lambright and the vet then forced the suffering horse out of the pen and pushed her into the trailer.
One of AA's investigators confronted Mr. Lambright but he denied all responsibility for the horse and responded by saying, "Ain't my problem. You take it up with the owner!" The investigator did not mince words in speaking to the owner who agreed to have the horse euthanized immediately.
Shortly thereafter the "loose" horse sale started. Shipshewana does not take horses that are designated as slaughter horses to the arena. Instead, the kill buyers gather in the pen area in the back and the horses are sold within minutes. The vet joined the kill buyers here, making fun of horses in poor condition and joking about one horse that was blind in both eyes. Eventually he also joined in the bidding with the kill buyers. Jeron Gold, owner of "Roping J Ranch" and one of the nations main slaughter buyers, purchased many of the horses going through the sale.
Read the full investigative report...
What can you do?
AA is left with multiple concerns about the Shipshewana Auction. While we noted that the overall auction employees' handling of animals had improved (Long pointed wooden sticks were not used to poke animals; the use of paddles and whistling was done well, and no animals were observed being carried by tails or ears;no beating & hitting of animals), it does not 'make up for' or lessen the concerns raised by this investigation.
Despite Mr. Keith Lambright's talk about the "proper and ethical treatment of animals," the improper and unethical treatment of animals was rampant. The issues are grave, involving neglect, abuse and violations of animal cruelty laws and AVMA policy. Animals' Angels is exploring several avenues by which we can respond most effectively. Tourism is Big Business in Shipshewana - Shipshewana's economic engine and the most important industry in the region. In our December 2009 Newsletter, AA noted the area's attraction to half a million tourists annually, "visitors seeking a bucolic step back into the 'good old days'....[and that] tourism industry would likely suffer if visitors discovered their gentle refuge is in fact rife with brutalities that continue at the Shipshewana auction."
Shipshewana offers antique malls, specialty shops, furniture making by one of the largest Amish communities in the country, a water park, hotels, and much more. Shipshewana draws visitors from a 150-mile radius, including Chicago.
Of special interest - the same people who own the Shipshewana auction, the Lambright brothers, also own the "largest flea market in the Midwest," a restaurant, a 154-room hotel, a conference center, an RV park and a $3/day, 500+ car parking lot
AA plans to meet with the auction owners about last month's investigation. It would help make the meeting more productive if Shipshewana merchants and officials have heard from you, the concerned public. We feel that any of the following message content, conveyed with complete courtesy, would be effective in helping to gain the cooperation of auction owners:
I and my family have come to enjoy our many visits to Shipshewana (if this is something you can say) for business and for pleasure. Mayfest and the Fall Crafters Fair coming up next month are especially fun. We have had concerns about the treatment of animals at the auctions but we were relieved when we read that after one incident, Keith Lambright, an owner of Shipshewana Auction Inc. had all his people trained to handle animals humanely and said publicly he supports the proper and ethical treatment of animals. But, even though Mr. Lambright said the auction, "will not tolerate the mistreatment of any animal that enters the facility," bad things are still happening to animals at the Shipshewana Auction:
In August a horse with an apparent broken leg entered the facility. Accepted at the auction and instead of being properly euthanized on the spot, this mare was severely mistreated. She arrived laying in the bottom of a trailer.Extremely stressed and suffering, she was put into a pen and she laid out flat on the ground. Later they forced her to rise again and moved her from pen to pen. Then Mr. Lambright himself assisted in loading her into a trailer that took her away.
Downer cows were not given care or even water- water was not provided in any of the pens at either the livestock or the horse auction! A bull with an apparent broken leg was at the auction-Failure to provide care, including water and food, is neglect and illegal in Indiana (Indiana Code 35-46-3-7) Also, employees used a stun gun repeatedly on downer cows to get them loaded onto a truck going to the slaughter plant- we worry what this says about the safety of our food supply, as well as the humane treatment of animals.
Under the circumstances, with the way animals are treated at the Shipshewana Horse & Livestock Auction, we no longer wish to make Shipshewana a
destination, nor can we recommend that our friends do. Other places with offerings similar to Shipshewana, but without the animal cruelty issues are much more attractive.
We are contacting you hoping that the local community will do whatever is necessary to make things right so that we are able to return to your otherwise family-friendly community.
Northeast Indiana Fund (economic development)
Shipshewana Town Manager
Shipshewana Retail Merchants Association Phone/Fax (260) 768-7589 firstname.lastname@example.org
Indiana Office of Tourism Development
LaGrange County Economic DevelopmentKeith Gillenwaterphone: 260-499-4994 email@example.com
JoDee Hooley: Group Marketing jodee@LaGrangeCountyCVB.org
(800) 254-8090 Shipshewana Fall Crafters Fair
UPCOMING Oct 7-9phone 260/768-4008
Please contact some or all of the above organizations. By raising their concerns, you will help animals receive humane treatment. Forwarding to friends and family, especially to anyone living within a 150 mile radius of Shipshewana, Indiana, will add a firm boost to these efforts.
As always, thank you for helping us be there with the animals !
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The United Horseman's Front is listed at as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit charitable corporation under category "Animal related / (Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs))" established in 2009. Dave Duquette, owner of Duquette Quarter Horses in Hermiston, OR, is the president. The United Horsemen's Front was registered as a nonprofit corporation in Oregon in November of 2008.
The US Internal Revenue Service defines a 501(c)(3) charitable organization as follows:
To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates....The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, and no part of a section 501(c)(3) organization's net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. ...
However, despite exhaustive research, there apparently has been no reported or recorded evidence that the United Horsemen's Front has participated in any equine rescues or rehabilitations to date.
During the course of the research, the activities of the group were in fact found to be exceedingly puzzling, especially when reviewed in light of the above mission statement.
In July 2009, during an interview with Michelle Brence of the Oregonian, Duquette said:
"... he (Duquette) used to average $300,000 in annual horse sales, with most fetching $10,000 to $15,000. "Now I'm lucky to sell two or three horses a year," he said. "A horse I could get $20,000 out of in the last few years, I probably couldn't get $5,000 out of now."
Ms. Brence also reported that:
"...the Duquettes and others have formed advocacy groups to push a proposal they're calling the H.O.R.S.E. Act of 2009 (short for Humane and Optimal Restoration and Sustainability of Equines) to reinstate USDA inspections. Horse meat could be exported to China, Mexico, France, Italy and other countries where it's consumed by people. ... But Dave Duquette, who lobbied for the proposal in Washington, D.C., last month, remains confident. "Everybody we talked to was very supportive of it," he said. "There are a lot of Republicans that will be on board, but there are a lot of Democrats that will be on board, too."
Absolutely no indication or discussion of how the United Horsemen's Front is fulfilling its nonprofit mission of animal protection, humane treatment and welfare.
It seems that much of the energy of both the United Horsemen's Front, and the United Organizations of the Horse is far more focused on other issues. In many press releases the United Horsemen's Front and the UOH make the following statement:
"The UOH seeks to unify all like-minded equine associations and individuals in support of its mission-to promote the humane care and management of horses, and the continued viability of the equine community in the United States of America."
As no clear definition is given of who and what exactly makes up "like-minded equine associations and individuals," one must attempt to make deductions as to who these groups and individuals might be from some of Mr. Duquette's (and Rep. Sue Wallis') public statements.
For example, in an exchange on the United Horsemen's Front Facebook fan page
(R.T. Fitch is a blogger at http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=omaglqdab&et=1103686005163&s=152&e=001vB_Jp7o2suWujbUMXozLaspboaryxkPtx0x8-odPSmOLys84eV7do8wZB8gBRK9CeWNaKZLEWoSl2eQAPUaorjXypDmhaYfuySmqiQ3rEqCgUbLDZElMew== who has been extremely critical of Mr. Duquette and Rep. Wallis. The A.R. abbreviation stands for animal rights.)
Mr. Duquette also spends much of his energies repeatedly criticizing Wayne Pacelle, CEO and President of the Human Society of the United States (HSUS), which seems odd, given Duquette himself is the president of a group dedicated to animal protection and welfare. However, the United Horsemen's Front and the UOH have their own particular interpretation of what the HSUS and other animal welfare groups' true mission is:
"The animal rights radical agenda (NOT to be confused with legitimate and responsible animal welfare proponents, which we all are) offers no solution except pushing for what is essentially a welfare entitlement program for animals-Medicaid and food stamps for horses so that every old, dangerous, unsound, unusable horse is maintained at public expense for the rest of their 25 to 30 year average life span. What they propose will create a mechanism to shovel taxpayer dollars directly into the pockets of animal rights organizations (HSUS/PETA) so they can continue to pay six figure salaries and put more of their budget into pension plans than to actually help any animals. Last year HSUS spent less than 1/2 of 1% of their almost $100 Million dollar budget on direct animal care http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=omaglqdab&et=1103686005163&s=152&e=001vB_Jp7o2suVZ_rnx5v-45-S_SHDrexeMhx5TK7ZWZ4X58HlTMyRoN_p-LE1lOag6Sshwulxlat3DulvW6aqYFa2NkfaOMSfLDLG0QjXtjpAXjDz7OebAqQ== ..." (from a UOH press release in April)
No sources are given as to how one can apply for Medicaid and food stamps for horses (unfortunately). And, the accusation in regards to the HSUS budget expenditures cannot be verified on any charity research website (Charity Navigator, Guidestar), nor the website listed in the press release.
So, in light of these statements, one can only gather that "like-minded equine associations and individuals" consist of those that do not challenge Mr. Duquette's or Rep. Wallis' "facts", plans or behavior in any fashion whatsoever.
Rep. Wallis is up for re-election on November 11, (after winning the Republican primary in her district by only 177 votes).
It is beyond disturbing that on August 30, of this year, Mr. Duquette, president of a 501(c)(3) charitable organization specifically forbidden under Federal law in participating in any campaign activity for or against political candidates, was listed by the Wyoming Elections Commission as the Chairman of the United Organizations of the Horse Political Action Fund
Rep. Wallis is, of course, the Executive Director of the UOH.
This series will conclude with a final article on the questionable relationship the UOH has with horse slaughter buyers and a recap and review of the facts.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
"We will probably work up to the point where we're killing 20 horses a day."
September 13, 2010By Nell Walton
Who is Sue Wallis and Why Should I Care?
The statement in the headline was made to a reporter from the Wyoming Tribune Eagle in late April of this year, by Wyoming State Representative Sue Wallis of Recluse, WY.
On March 9, Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal signed into law a bill that enables the Wyoming Livestock Board to send stray, unwanted or feral horses to slaughter. Prior to this legislation, the Board could only send such horses to public sale. This bill (http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2010/Enroll/HB0122.pdf), was introduced into the Wyoming House on February 11, 2010 by Rep. Sue Wallis, and was signed into law less than 30 days later.
Even more troublesome is the fact that Rep. Wallis is also the Executive Director of the United Organizations of the Horse (UOH), which is diligently working towards the development of a horse slaughter plant in Wyoming. The UOH website states that it is a "mutual benefit nonprofit organized primarily to work in the political arena and is registered in Wyoming" (i.e. a lobbying group). The Wyoming Secretary of State's records show that the UOH was incorporated in November of 2009. According to a press release on April 24, 2010, the UOH is also negotiating to take over ownership of the Cheyenne Stockyards facility which currently belongs to the Wyoming Livestock Board. Plans are to turn it into an "intake and rejuvenation" facility for stray, feral or otherwise unwanted horses, where they can be evaluated for usefulness, health, and other criteria (i.e. adherence to federal regulation in regards to slaughter). If a horse fails this triage, it will be sent to the UOH slaughter facility.
So, we have the following scenario:
Rep. Wallis is a Wyoming elected state representative
Rep. Wallis is also the executive director of a lobbying group, whose purpose is to promote horse slaughter in the State of Wyoming
Rep. Wallis was also the sponsor of a Wyoming HB 122, which enables the Wyoming
Livestock Board to send stray or feral horses to slaughter
Rep. Wallis' bill HB 122 was brought to session and signed into law in less than 30 days time, with little to no time for public comment, according to the recordU
Under Wyoming legislative ethics law (W.S. 9-13-106), very clear distinctions are made as to conflicts of interest for state legislators, and, states that any legislator "...shall not make an official decision...if the
Also, under "Organizational Structure," on the UOH's web page it lists two other affiliated corporations: 1) The United Horsemen's Front, which categorizes itself as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charitable organization and 2) Unified Equine LLC - "a Wyoming limited liability company under which all humane horse processing and related businesses are operated."
However, Unified Equine, LLC does not stand up to scrutiny. The Wyoming Secretary of State currently does not have a Unified Equine, LLC listed as either an active or inactive corporation in the State of Wyoming, and it would be of interest to see if such an organization has or will have Rep. Wallis as a paid employee. The United Horseman's Front is listed at www.guidestar.org as a nonprofit corporation under category "Animal related / (Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs))" as a 501(c)(3) charitable group established in 2009. It's President is Dave Duquette, owner of Duquette Quarter Horses in Hermiston, OR.
......... Mr. Duquette and his organization will be further addressed in tomorrow's edition.More information:
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