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.