Double-Decker Horse Transport Bill Introduced

Story By Pat Raia as published in TheHorse

Introduced March 24, S 850 would amend Title 49 of the U.S. Code to “prohibit the transportation of horses in interstate transportation in a motor vehicle containing two or more levels, stacked one on top of one another.”

Picture courtesy of

Picture courtesy of

A bill that would outlaw the transport of horses in double-decker trailers has been reintroduced into the U.S. Senate by Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk. The bill stems from a 2007 incident involving the crash of a double-decker trailer carrying Belgian Draft horses crashed near Wadsworth, Illinois.

In October 2007, a semi-truck hauling 59 Belgians in a double-decker trailer from Indiana to Minnesota overturned, resulting in 17 horses’ deaths. The surviving 42 horses were placed in the care of the Hooved Animal Rescue and Protection Society (HARPS), in Barrington, Illinois, and later in adoptive homes.

Subsequently, a dozen states either banned the use of double-decker trailers for horse transport or took steps to further regulate double-decker trailer use. In 2007, the USDA banned the use of double-deck trailers to transport horses to slaughter. However, no federal legislation banning the use of double-deck trailers for general horse transport has been passed.

Introduced March 24, S 850 would amend Title 49 of the U.S. Code to “prohibit the transportation of horses in interstate transportation in a motor vehicle containing two or more levels, stacked one on top of one another.”

Under the proposed legislation, violators could face civil penalties of at least $100, but not more than $500 for each violation. The legislation also contains a separate violation for each horse that in transported or caused to be transported in a double-deck trailer as described.

Kirk sponsored similar legislation in previous congresses, including S 1281 in 2011.

Meanwhile, S 850 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for review. The legislation remains pending.

Utah owner of malnourished horse pleads guilty to animal cruelty, sentenced to jail

SOURCE:  Salt Lake Tribune


(Elsa, about 1 1/2 years old, was found frozen to the ground in a patch of mud in Enoch and died two weeks later in January 2014. Courtesy photo)

He will serve jail time on weekends so he can keep job.

The man who owned a malnourished horse dubbed Elsa — that died in January 2014, two weeks after being found frozen to a patch of mud in Iron County — was sentenced Tuesday to 30 days in jail.

Sonn Kent Berrett, 39, of Enoch, was sentenced immediately after pleading guilty to two class B misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

In exchange for Berrett’s pleas, prosecutors dismissed two counts of failure to vaccinate and two counts of failure to license an animal.

In addition to the jail time, Iron County Justice Court Judge Margaret Miller ordered Berrett, as part of an 18-month probation, to pay a $1,246 fine and not possess any animals.

The Independent of southern Utah reported that Barrett will serve his time on weekends, beginning April 11, so he can maintain his employment at Southern Utah University.

The Independent also reported that the judge left open the amount restitution Berrett must pay, which would include veterinarian fees that were accrued for care of Elsa and her mother, along with costs associated with their rescue.

The 1½-year-old filly was hypothermic and nearly dead when passersby discovered her and her starving, abandoned mother Jan. 2, according to Ginger Grimes, of Dust Devil Ranch Sanctuary for Horses near Cedar City.

The sanctuary took in the horses and named them after the characters from “Frozen” — Elsa’s mother was called Anna.

Elsa should have weighed 700 to 800 pounds, but the ranch found her at only 400 pounds. She was put under 24-hour surveillance and was bouncing back the second week of January. Though the staff initially had to lift the horse’s head to get her into a sitting position to drink, she grew stronger and was eventually standing and rubbing noses with her mother.

But Elsa died Jan. 18.


Blaze at horse rescue leaves land, fences burned to ashes

SOURCE:  The Grand Island Independent

55158edea8f49.image   DIRECTOR OF DOUBLE R HORSE RESCUE Jami Salter strokes her black horse, Bella, while a horse named Rosie watches. Salter adopted both horses after they came into her rescue program, which has found new homes for 400 neglected and abused horses over the years. The rescue operation recently lost fencing and grazing pastures in a March 16 grass fire.  (photo:  Jessica Kokesh, Kearney Hub)

RIVERDALE — Jami and Joshua Salter were just days away from moving into their newly constructed home on 235th Road north of Riverdale when a March 16 grass fire ate up 500 acres in that area.

Firefighters from seven departments battled the blaze for more than six hours, fighting against high winds and dry conditions to put it out.  The fire came within 100 yards of the Salters’ home, and Jami Salter said she was worried her family would lose the house before they’d even lived in it.

“I was terrified,” Salter said of the fire.  “You don’t have time to think until it’s over and done with.”

Firefighters stayed late through the night, putting out hot spots, and Salter provided water bottles and Hot Tamales candy as they worked.

“I’m very thankful for the firefighters.  They held the line and saved all the houses down the line.  I can’t give them enough praise,” she said.

A little more than a week later, the smell of smoke still lingers in the air on the property and ash-blackened hills dominate the view from the Salters’ west-facing windows.  Though their house escaped the blaze unscathed, the couple lost 15 of their 20 acres of pasture and a mile of fence line, which is a big blow to Salter’s horse rescue operation.

Salter is the director of Double R Horse Rescue, a nonprofit organization that takes in abused, abandoned and neglected horses from across Nebraska and neighboring states and works to find them loving, forever homes. Salter had 18 horses in residence when the fire started, and neighbors helped her round the animals up so they could get to safety.

“We got lucky that no animals were hurt in the process,” she said. “Everything was safe. It was a blessing.”

Their land also was used as a staging ground for the fire departments and a portion of pasture was turned up by farmers using tractors with discs. That portion will have to be replanted.

Salter said the fire will set her operation back a few months, and she won’t be able to take in any more horses until the fence gets repaired.  Some of her horses are being temporarily fostered by neighbors.

Double R Horse Rescue adopts out around 100 horses a year, Salter said, and has re-homed more than 400 altogether.  She often spends several months working with an individual horse, nursing it back to health and paying for vet expenses; some of the horses stay with her for years.  She does this in addition to her job as a 911 dispatcher for Buffalo County.

The cost of repairing the fence and buying feed to supplement the lost grazing land is an estimated $8,000.  Salter has started a GoFundMe campaign to help offset the costs.

“It’ll take time,” Salter said of getting the horse rescue back on its feet.  “Hopefully, when the grass comes back, it’ll be nice and green. There are some blessings in disguise.  It’s a setback, but we’ll overcome it.”

For more information about the horse rescue, visit

‘Brian? What sort of a name is that for a horse?’

By as published in/on The

“Today our ‘Feel Good Sunday’ post deals with the naming or renaming a horse or an animal companion.  Terry and I have always subscribed to the principle that when we adopt a critter, their name comes with them.  (Hence huge MOOSE who I may have called Dozer or Tank)  But things changed several months ago when Terry brought in a male cat that had been living in the woods on our property. (He is fixed, now, and has had cosmetic surgery to repair a damaged eye)  When I came home from a month overseas, and this is when cats, dogs and animals usually find their way into our home, Terry introduced me to her latest rescue; a 15 lb male cat that she named Rusty.  Rusty?

The Tankster

The Tankster

What kind of a name is that for a male cat that lives in a house of female cats?  So I was granted a hall pass and allowed to RENAME him…TANK.  And he is all of that, my buddy when I am home laying between my legs in the easy chair; we two dudes hang out and prove that size does matter.  So both he and I are glad to have changed his name…but when it comes to a horse, that is a matter of another color.

(Remember, this story comes from the UK and the home of Monty Python so it is a tad tongue-in-cheek)  Keep the faith!  ~ R.T.

Last month, Brian briefly became the most infamous animal in Britain

“Why the long face, Brian?” I ask my interviewee.

He snorts and gives me a dirty look.

But that’s because he is a horse, annoyed that I haven’t brought him a Polo mint, and getting a bit fed up with being the centre of attention.

Last month, Brian briefly became the most infamous animal in Britain, and The Stables Equestrian Centre in Bedfordshire was inundated with requests to meet him from as far afield as Australia.

Harry Wallop pictured with Brian (David Rose/Telegraph)

It was not his impressive physique that caused a stir. He is a rather magnificent Shire-cross, 17.2 hands tall, with a powerful kick, as I discovered when I visited him this week.

No, the problem was what he was called.

When Harry met Brian: the concept of renaming horses is an ancient cavalry tradition (David Rose)

Brian is a perfectly decent name, but one so mundane that it verges on the comical. There have never been kings, popes or prime ministers called Brian. Monty Python chose it at the least likely moniker for a Messiah.

This came to a head when Brian was sent to the Thames Valley Police mounted section on a six week trial. The police declared that his name would be changed if he passed his probation period. Brian would be scrapped and replaced with a “more fitting name” relating to war or a deity.

The current stable of TVP horses are called Samson, Caesar, Pagan, Mallory, Albert, Trojan, Odin, Thor and Luna. Brian may have ancient Irish and Norman roots but it was considered not martial enough.

Jo Samuel-Blackstock, 39, Brian’s owner, told me: “If you are stood in a football riot, and you’re trying to push the crowd back, you can’t say ‘come on, Brian’ or ‘come on Dobbin’. They want something that sounds hard or authoritative. That’s what Thames Valley said — they needed a strong name. Like Hercules.”

The Brians of the world were appalled and petitions (naturally) were started.

Brian had not been named by Samuel-Blackstock; she bought him from a dealer and it was the name on his pet passport. “I was always told it was bad luck to change a horse’s name,” she says.

The row – which involved the Thames Valley Police having to put out a statement denying they had ever said Brian was a “sissy’s” name — shed light on Britain’s strange relationship with animals. And the even stranger way they go about naming their horses.

As it happened, Brian failed his police exam and he had to return to his stables with his tail, literally and metaphorically, between his legs.

When I visit, Dan Barnes, a local three-day eventer, is riding Brian to see if the horse can cut it as a show jumper.

“He’s a Brian,” Barnes says categorically. He too thinks it is bad luck to change a name, “however silly it is”.

He should know. He often has to ride a horse called Butterfly Twinkle.

“Was it named by an over-excited 6-year-old girl?” I ask.

“No, that’s what makes it worse. It was done by some lads. Can you imagine stepping into the ring and being announced as Dan Barnes on Butterfly Twinkle?”

The humiliation.

Samuel-Blackstock is only half joking when she suggests Brian’s putative name change might be partly the reason why he couldn’t cut it with the police. That and having to stay in the TVP stables surrounded by tower blocks. “He’s a country boy. I can’t see him being a Hercules in Milton Keynes. Deep down it might have disturbed him emotionally. He is Brian. Through and through.”

But despite what she, Barnes and most of the horse world think about changing names, it is an almost universal practice in police forces.

There may have been a drastic reduction in mounted policing, but there are still 12 police forces that keep horses. And, according to Daily Telegraph research, of the 252 animals in operation, just the eight kept by South Wales have kept their names, which might explain why its stable contains Max, Charlie and George…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story

Heidi Hopkins of HSUS: PZP on wild burros? I’ve got a question for you

whb.Par.48283.Image.-1.-1.1 (photo: BLM)

When I read a Letter to the Editor (below) written by Heidi Hopkins of HSUS, I almost had a conniption fit (whatever that is, I almost had one).  She asks “Why isn’t fertility control being used on wild burros?”

Fertility control shouldn’t be used on wild burros because there are hardly any left on our public lands.  On the BLM’s most recent “Herd Area and Herd Management Area Statistics” report, the BLM claimed there were only 8,394 burros in the entire U.S.

We all know that the BLM exaggerates its numbers by doubling or tripling the true number, so there may, in reality, only be 4,000 or fewer wild burros.  But even if there were 8,394 wild burros, 5,000 adults are the minimum number needed to preserve them.  Why suggest using fertility control on wild burros that are at such a low population level that they could be considered endangered?

You stated below that the BLM in Billings, Montana (Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range) said they’re “on the cusp of nearly eliminating the need for wild horse removals due to the use of PZP.”

The BLM established an Appropriate Management Level (AML) of only 90- 120 wild horses on the Pryors, excluding current year foals.  (Dr. Gus Cothran has stated that 120-150 BREEDING AGE ADULTS are needed for a viable herd.)  So, maybe there won’t be roundups, but the BLM is on the cusp of another way to get rid of wild horses & burros: minimally reproducing herds and non reproducing herds.

And I have a question for you.

Why isn’t the HSUS sending out e-mails to their members and writing letters to the Editor demanding an Amendment to ALL BLM Resource Management Plans to make sure wild horse and burro AMLs are set to viable herd levels (120-150 BREEDING AGE ADULTS)?  HSUS should move forward with this.    -   Debbie


Heidi Hopkins:  Why isn’t fertility control being used on wild burros?


The Bureau of Land Management should start using fertility control on wild burro herds right away (“Our View: BLM should trade in burro roundups for fertility control,” Mar. 23).

Fertility control, specifically porcine zona pellucida, is being used on various wild horses throughout the country and has proven effective. In fact, in a press release issued last week the BLM field office in Billings, Montana announced they are “on the cusp of nearly eliminating the need for wild horse removals due to the use of PZP.”

So why not use this same technology on wild burros? The Humane Society of the United States has proposed to the BLM a large-scale fertility control research project on wild burros and has stepped forward with funding through The Platero Project, a grant awarded to The HSUS to assist with the cost of the work. In the meantime, the burros have been busy reproducing.

Wild burros are extremely well adapted to the harsh desert environment and deserve to live their life out on the range where they have been for the past 200 years. BLM’s typical management actions of gather, remove and adopt are not sustainable.

There are currently over 800 formerly wild burros in holding awaiting adoption already. BLM should move forward with fertility control.

Heidi Hopkins

Ice age people hunted horse and camel 13,300 years ago



Bones of a prehistoric horse found near a Canadian reservoir points to evidence that humans migrated to North America earlier than previously thought, according to a new study published today. Credit: Michael Waters

by Mike Waters

New research shows that prehistoric Ice-Age people hunted horse and camel 13,300 years ago in North America, much earlier than previously believed, according to a team of researchers led by a Texas A&M University anthropologist.

Mike Waters, who heads the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M, and colleagues from the University of Calgary and Aarhus University in Denmark have had their work published in the current issue of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Waters and the research team examined the skeletal remains of seven horses and one found in an area called Wally’s Beach, located about 80 miles south of Calgary in Canada. The rolling prairies of Central Canada were home to numerous types of animals early sought thousands of years ago. These animals were killed in a small area close to a spot where they could ford the river, Waters says.

Radiocarbon dating of the remains shows that they were killed 13,300 years ago, at least 300 years earlier than hunters were previously believed to have been in the region.

“Our study shows that these early hunters were in this area long before Clovis inhabited the region, which were once thought to be the first hunters in this part of the world,” Waters explains.

“This study adds more information about the earliest inhabitants of North America and the role human hunters played in the extinction of large mammals at the end of the last Ice-Age,” Waters says.

Ice age people hunted horse and camel 13,300 years ago

Core tool associated with the camel. Credit: Michael Waters

The team found only simple core tools and flakes at the site that were used to disarticulate the carcasses. No spear points were associated with the kill sites.

Read more at:

Dutch meat trader at center of horse scandal faces five years in jail


willy-selten-horse-meat-trader-560x390  Willy Selten gives an interview to local broadcaster Omroep

The Dutch trader accused of contaminating beef with horse meat should be jailed for five years, the public prosecution department said on the opening day of his trial in Den Bosch. Willy Selten is accused of mixing over 300,000 kilos of horse into products which were labelled as pure beef.  His company was at the centre of the horse meat scandal which hit the European food sector two years ago.

Selten is charged with selling horse to meat processing firms which had ordered beef and false accounting. In one case he supplied horse to a snack food maker in Oss even though beef had been ordered. Selten admits making mistakes but denies that he deliberately committed fraud, using horse meat in order to earn more money. The public prosecution department claims Selten was a ‘master of deception’. ‘He misled everyone – his personnel, the regulator and the consumer,’ public prosecutor Ingeborg Koopmans told the court. ‘He abused the trust of consumers and damaged the reputation of the Dutch meat industry.’ The contamination of beef products with horse led to Europe-wide recalls of meat products.


Forbes Billionaires Top US Welfare Ranchers List

“Wait until you see who is on this list!  (Hint, the list includes a big mining company.)  Another great article by Vickery Eckhoff.”  –  Debbie

SOURCE:  The Daily Pitchfork

They’re mega-rich, powerful and on public assistance. [Part IV of an ongoing series on ranchers in the media]

Guess who’s fleecing U.S. taxpayers over nearly one billion dollars in public grazing subsidies?

Americans love ranchers: Gritty ranchers, mom-and-pop ranchers, renegade ranchers — especially those who raise livestock on the vast open prairies of the West through hard work and rugged independence. But there’s another side to the ever-popular rancher mythology— a side the media doesn’t cover and the public never sees.

The Koch brothers, Ted Turner, the Hilton family and nine other powerful ranchers share an uncommon privilege: giant public subsidies, unknown to U.S. taxpayers. It’s the other side of the Cliven Bundy story, the other side of the Wright brothers saga—the bronc-riding, ranching family at the center of the New York Times photographic essay published March 11, 2015. It’s also the other side of the ongoing news feed in which ranchers work to remove wild horses from public lands.

That “other side” of those stories is the federal grazing program that enables the Wrights to run their livestock on public lands for cheap; allows ranchers to have thousands of protected wild horses removed from public lands at public expense. It’s also the program that earned Bundy the title of welfare rancher.

Bundy didn’t earn it by failing to pay his grazing fees, though. The welfare rancher label applies to all ranchers who hold permits to graze the vast public spaces of the West, both delinquent and not. It includes the Wright brothers; the ranchers in Iron and Beaver counties in Utah complaining that wild horses eat too much; and 21,000 others.

They are all welfare ranchers subsidized by US taxpayers, and you know who are the biggest welfare ranchers of all, grazing livestock across hundreds of millions of acres of public grass and forest land, all assisted by public subsidies paid for by US taxpayers?

Billionaires appearing on Forbes rich lists

The .01 percenters are the nation’s biggest welfare ranchers, according to numerous environmental and policy groups; and it’s time they brought some attention to themselves and the federal grazing program they’re exploiting to the tune of an annual estimated one billion dollars in taxpayer subsidies while causing long-term damage to one of the public’s most treasured assets.


Scientific Fraud Infests Fish & Wildlife Service Top Ranks

News on another Department of the Interior agency.



Whistleblower Hearing Traces Corruption and Retaliation Back to Director’s Door


FWS Director Dan Ashe

Posted on Feb 25, 2015

Washington, DC —An explosive whistleblower hearing transcript paints a vivid picture of rampant scientific misconduct, callous reprisal and systemic mendacity within the upper echelons of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) which posted the full texts today. The transcript also illustrates how a highly-touted agency Scientific Integrity Policy has become a tool for just the opposite..

This whistleblower case is striking because it involves a high-level manager rather than a field biologist; Gary Mowad is a 28-year FWS veteran and former Deputy Director for law enforcement. For the past few years, Mowad had been the FWS Texas Administrator for the Ecological Services Division, handling a parade of thorny endangered species and natural resource issues arising out of the Lone Star State..

The hearing took place because Mowad challenged being placed on an open-ended “detail” causing him to leave Austin for Albuquerque for a position with no apparent duties. The reassignment followed his reporting a number of scientific integrity concerns, including what he termed a blatantly political decision by the FWS hierarchy to reverse the staff recommendation that the dune sagebrush lizard, with habitat in the heart of Texas oil country, be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

In an August 18, 2014 hearing before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, testimony indicated:.
•Widespread scientific fraud, such as using models to classify paved parking lots as endangered species habitat, is facilitated by top FWS officials to accommodate a network of politically connected consultants called the “Texas mafia;”
•Within hours after Mowad’s disclosure to the FWS Scientific Integrity Officer, it was relayed to top headquarters officials, and he was ordered to vacate his office. An arrangement to end Mowad’s exile was personally quashed by FWS Director Dan Ashe; and
•The Whistleblower Ombudsman for Interior’s Office of Inspector General testified that “Months of pointed discussions and stern warnings…have not resulted in any formal and permanent action” to discipline managers guilty of misconduct or protect whistleblowers from further retaliation.

Mowad’s case quickly settled after MSPB Judge Mary Ann Garvey summarized what she had heard by saying “it appears that the history of the Fish and Wildlife, and specifically …Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle, [Deputy Director Rowan] Gould, and Ashe is that whistleblowing retaliation is tolerated or even condoned. Apparently someone got promoted or something good happened to them after they retaliated.”.

“Political skewing of science in today’s Fish & Wildlife Service is just as rife and blatant as it was during the darkest days of the Bush years,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, whose organization represented other FWS scientists working in the Southwest Region under Tuggle. “The Service’s entrenched culture of corruption persists with the full knowledge and blessing of Director Dan Ashe.”.  READ MORE AT PEER.ORG/news


Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation & Sean Paton, founder of BICEPS Bonaire, on the endangered donkeys of Bonaire, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., March 25th)


Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , March 25, 2015

5:00 pm PST … 6:00 pm MST … 7:00 pm CST … 8:00 pm EST

Listen Live (Here!)

This is a 1 hour show.


 Our guests tonight will be MARJORIE FARABEE, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, the Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (home of TMR Rescue) and founder of Wild Burro Protection League.  Marjorie spent 6 weeks (2 trips) investigating the donkeys of Bonaire.  SEAN PATON, a freelance writer and journalist, radio host (Forum Antilles) and active environmentalist, who lived on Bonaire for 12 years, is founder of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) BICEPS BONAIRE (Bonaire Island Coastal & Environmental Protection Society) and BICEPS WORLDWIDE.


Marjorie Farabee


Sean Paton

Tonight’s radio show will be hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation


To contact us:, or call 320-281-0585