Update: Cloud at the Crossroads

written by Ginger Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation

“With most eyes turned upon the Kentucky Derby, this day, what better way to wash your mind and soul out than to receive an eloquent update on the current condition of America’s true face and voice for our beloved Wild Horses, Cloud, the enduring Stallion of the Pryor Mountains.

If not for Cloud and Ginger Kathrens I would not be writing to you, here.  Both of them changed the course of our lives, I include my bride Terry, years ago with their combined stories on the painful plight of our wild horses and burros who struggle to stay and live free on their rightful range.  I will be forever grateful.

But while others are watching the abuse of equine youngsters on the racetrack, today, take a few moments out and refresh yourself with what horses truly are and should forever be…free.  Thanks Ginger.” ~ R.T.


Ginger:

My cell phone rings and I look at the name of the caller. It’s Jared Bybee, BLM wild horse manager for the Pryor herd. “Hi Jared,” I answer cheerfully. His voice is calm and measured. “The darting crew saw Cloud yesterday shuffling down Sykes Ridge Road alone.”  Everything after this is a bit of a blur. I remember Jared saying that Cloud is “all beat up and looks thin.” I tell Jared that I’m planning on coming up in a few days. He pauses, and from the tone of his voice, I sense he fears I may arrive too late.

photo courtesy of The Cloud Foundation

photo courtesy of The Cloud Foundation

Linda Hanick, our Facebook manager and Paula Todd-King, our director of communications decide to go with me. Along with our loyal companion, Quinn, we leave Colorado early, hoping to get up on Tillett Ridge while it is still light enough to glass over onto Sykes. If we can spot Cloud, this will give us a clue where to begin our search. The chilly wind whips around us as we start glassing with our binoculars, hoping to see a flash of white…(Continued)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story

11th Hour for Arizona’s Wild Burros

OpEd by Marjorie Farabee ~Director of Wild Burro Affairs at Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Time is short; comments must be received by 5pm May 2, 2015 at BLM_AZ_KFOweb.@blm.gov or cbenson@blm.gov

The burros have never had it easy with our government agencies. The fox is guarding the hen house when it comes to protections for this nation’s icons of our pioneering past. They are symbols of our culture and living natural icons of our pioneering history. Yet, our own governmental agency which is tasked with protecting our wild burros and horses, because of this important connection to our past, is cavalierly managing them to extinction without remorse.

photo by Marjorie Farabee of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Marjorie Farabee of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Black Mountain HMA is presently 1.1 million acres, but if developers of wind, gas, and agriculture have their way this HMA will soon be reduced and all the wildlife living on it will suffer. In the BLM count of 2013 the burro population came to just over 700 animals, yet they would have us believe that the population has grown to a whopping 1600-1800 burros in one short year and a half. This means even the jacks are having twins and they are all immortal.

Recently, Simone Netherlands, representing Respect4Horses (R4H), and myself, representing Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF), joined up to attend both scoping meetings being held by the BLM in Kingman and Bullhead City, AZ.  The BLM’s presentation of damage caused by wild burros was lacking in scientific data or actual observation from reputable studies.  They simply showed a photo zeroed in on a small area that would have some plants which were grazed or damaged.  This was their “proof” that wild burros were damaging the desert.  When the HMA was set up in 1974 there were over 2000 burros living easily on this land. Now, the number allowed has been reduced to a mere 478 burros for this vast HMA. Meanwhile cattle are grazed with well over 5000 acknowledged as grazing on the land. At the scoping meetings held by the BLM at both Bullhead City and Kingman the public was told the entire HMA was degraded by burros. Of course, no cattle were mentioned as being detrimental. In fact, I had to pry an acknowledgement that cattle were even present on the HMA out of the BLM representative.  Roger Oyler then answered questions I had about the mapping.  He confirmed that the ruling in WY concerning wild horses on checkerboard land gave them the right to remove the checker boarded areas from the Black Mountain HMA.  He further explained the yellow area west of Kingman, called Golden Valley, will also be taken from the HMA. Neither he nor Chad Benson would give us the targeted number of burros in their sites for removal from the Black Mountain HMA.

At these meetings the public was not allowed to ask questions in an open forum.  We were asked to walk up to individual representatives of the BLM and ask our questions privately thus denying the attending public access to the concerns raised by the question, or the answers provided.  The public would have been saddened to learn that the BLM is planning to not only reduce the number of wild burros by an unspecified amount, they are planning to reduce the size of the HMA as well.  Another issue brought up was the burros crossing 95 in Bullhead City.  The area where they are crossing is still legally a part of the Black Mountain HA and provides direct access to the Colorado River which is an important water source for the burros and all other wildlife in the area. (That 10-mile strip is STILL legally designated (by 1971 Congress) for wild horses and burro. It is still HA (Herd Area) land. “Wild horses and burros are supposed to be treated as “components of the public lands”. 16 U.S.C. § 1333(a) The law is clear that “wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death” and entitled to roam free on public lands where they were living at the time the Act was passed in 1971. 16 U.S.C. § 1331 These legally protected areas are known as “herd areas,” and are defined as “the geographic area identified as having been used by a herd as its habitat in 1971.” 43 C.F.R. § 4700.0-5(d).”  – Animal Law Coalition (available online) Rather than provide passage over or under the HWY they have decided to zero out the burros in the area.  These provisions could have been made when the roadways were under construction.  Now, resulting collisions with burros are providing an excuse for their removal from the area.  Moreover, “There is no authority for BLM’s “herd management areas” under WFRHBA. The BLM has authorized itself to divide herd areas into “herd management areas“, something not authorized by WFRHBA. 43 CFR 4710.3-1. In this way, with no statutory authority at all, BLM has limited wild horses and burros’ access to thousands of acres that were historically their herd areas. This is done without thought about the horses’ seasonal migration patterns or available resources. The BLM then removes wild horses and burros from the artificially created “herd management areas” on the basis there is insufficient forage, water or habitat! BLM also targets them for removal if they cross the artificial boundaries into their original herd areas.”- Animal Law Coalition (available online)

As we delve deeper into the reasons for the inflated new burro numbers and safety accusations toward the burros we are finding reports about wind development with several projects in the works and others moving through the approval process.  Other contributors are proposed agricultural development which along with wind development will further deplete already depleted water resources.  It is important to note, that the Black Mountain HMA boasts the largest population of bighorn sheep in the nation.  In fact, it is well documented that the hunting clubs have long wanted burros removed from habitat where bighorn sheep reside, citing resource conflicts as their reason for wanting them removed.  http://www.sierraclub.org/policy/wildlife/feral-animals

As we traveled hundreds of miles through the Black Mountain HMA exploring, what we saw was a beautiful desert full of life and forage. Burros were scarce, but friends in the area will continue to dig into the fitness of the range for me while WHFF continues its investigation into the real reason large sections of the HMA are about to be stripped away from these mountain canaries. What a lovely song I heard as I stayed during the night listening to the burros call each other through the mountains. Each voice was different and ethereal as the sound echoed through the mountain.  It was magical. It saddens me to know that their song may soon be quiet and never heard again if special interests get their way. My history and culture are worth fighting for, and these burros deserve to be considered as a part of these lands now and forever more. They earned it.

Thank you for helping the burros stay free!

Comments must be received by 5pm May 2, 2015 at BLM_AZ_KFOweb.@blm.gov or cbenson@blm.gov

For additional information you can contact:

Marjorie Farabee at 281-235-5288

and

Simone Netherlands at 928-308-6718

Urgent Alert: BLM Places Black Mountain Wild Burros at Risk

Issued by Simone Netherlands of Respect4Horses

photo by Simone Netherlands

photo by Simone Netherlands

The BLM Colorado River District is planning to remove a large number of wild burros (they did not specify how many) in the Black Mountain HMA and also reduce the size of the Black Mountain HMA (they didn’t specify precisely how much or where) and also remove 30 burros close to Bullhead City that are considered a public safety hazard.  Earlier in April the BLM held a presentation in Bullhead City and Kingman, AZ.  They showed some slides of chewed down grass, without proving that it was the burros, who caused that, or where in the HMA this occurs or how large of an area is affected since this HMA is 1.1 million acres. There is very little information available online about this HMA. There is only one wild horse and burro specialist for the entire Colorado River district (he manages 6 HMA’s by himself), his name is Chad Benson, who was also the person presenting the information at the meeting and to whom public comments should be addressed.

Marjorie Farrabee of Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Simone Netherlands of Respect4Horses were present at these meetings and did a 2 day drive through study throughout the Black Mountain HMA. They report:

“We could not discover any part of the land that looked remotely over-used, as a matter of fact we found the desert in lush green condition everywhere we went.  With the exception of the tame burros in the town of Oatman, AZ, there were very few burros to be found, we only saw 4 wild burros in 2 days.  We speculated  that even a hundred thousand  burros wouldn’t be able to chew down the 2 million acres if they tried.  In the middle of the HMA lies the historic town of Oatman where the burros have become tame and are now the main source of attraction. For the rest the HMA is an enormously grand and desolate mountainous landscape that is not used for much else other than a few mining operations. Looking at the empty landscape (no human development) as far as the eye could reach, it was very hard for us to understand how the burros could be bothering anyone here. All the local people we talked to had a great appreciation for the burros and were against any removals.”
photo by Simone Netherlands

photo by Simone Netherlands

The burros that live along the Colorado River are the ones slated for removal immediately.  We found that the reason those burros are crossing the road is quite self -explanatory. They have been cut off from their main water source, the Colorado River, so they have to choose, risk getting killed on the road, or die of dehydration.  Originally their HMA included a ten mile strip of the Colorado river, which was later simply excluded from the HMA, therefore currently they are considered “outside the HMA”.  Many bighorn sheep have also been hit on the same road trying to survive as well as the burros and we are quite sure many other species as well, because the road runs right in between the river and the rest of the desert-habitat.  Our suggestion is to solve the problem, not by removing the burros, but by building an underpass under highway 95.  The river is the life source for many other species that live in the hot desert as well as the burros.

We would like for the BLM to take into consideration that a species that is below ten thousand nationwide should be carefully protected at a safe herd size in the areas where they are still thriving and where they are not bothering anyone. We believe that in 1996 the AML of 478 animals was decided without any scientific evidence and as such the numbers should not be adjusted to an AML that is unreasonable for 2 million acres of land where very little human development exists.

If you want to do something to help these wild burros, please write a comment today. We need a very  large amount of comments please everyone, the wild burros are already at a scary low number nationwide.

Please write to Chad Benson cbenson@blm.gov and also BLM_AZ_KFOweb.@blm.gov

Comment period ends at 5 pm on May 2nd 2015. Thank you for caring and thank you for sharing.

Judy Batker and Julie Wilson of Equitarian Initiative (veterinarians helping working equids in developing nations) on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 4/29/15)

painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesday (*SM) , April 29, 2015

6:30 pm PST … 7:30 pm MST … 8:30 pm CST … 9:30 pm EST

Listen to the live show (Here!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

This is a 1 hour show.  Call in with questions during the 2nd half hour.  

Call in # (917) 388-4520 and then press 1 if you want to ask a question (please hold until we can take your call).

_____________________________________________

It is estimated that there are 100 million working equids in the developing world.  A working equid is defined as a horse, mule or donkey that is used primarily for family income, agriculture and/or transportation.

Our guests tonight are veterinarians Judy Batker (Board member), and Julie Wilson (co-founder and Pres.) of Equitarian Initiative, a non-profit organization with a mission to provide veterinary care for hard-working horses, donkeys and mules in poor and rural areas of developing nations.  They also provide education to caretakers about health and nutrition.  Lameness, lack of hoof care, ticks, respiratory illnesses, sores and lack of nutrition are some of the issues for working equids around the world.

Day1-300x270

Costa Rica 2013 (photos: Equitarian Initiative)

Ticks-300x246

A huge number of ticks between the hindlegs and under the tail of one of the horses

 

Judy Batker, DVM, recently went to Haiti, where she goes once or twice a year, to provide veterinary care to donkeys and horses.  Judy also travels to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota each summer to work with members of the Lakota tribe.  Judy owns a veterinary practice in Wisconsin.

Julie Wilson, DVM, organized and led the 2012 Equitarian Project in Honduras in partnership with World Horse Welfare, and served 2 years with Veterinarians Without Borders, 6 years as a director of Heifer International and 3 years as a director of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.  She and her husband Tracy Turner, a veterinary surgeon, live in Stillwater, Minnesota.

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

________________________________________

Continue reading

WILD HORSES TRAPPED IN A WASTELAND WITH NO WIND OR SHELTER BREAKS AND INADEQUATE WATER

By Jetara Séhart of LoveWildHorses.org

“The horses are suffering at the BLM PVC, Nevada facility now and soon temperatures will rise…”

photo by Patty Bumgarner

photo by Patty Bumgarner

Approximately, three years ago in Reno, Nevada, The Bureau Of Land Management held a workshop to discuss whether horses held within their facilities required shelter, or not to survive. The introduction of this workshop, stemmed to appease public outrage surrounding the BLM facility located near Burning Mans’ land and near Reno, the Palomino Valley Center, in Nevada and stemmed from the photographic evidence of wild horses, dying and suffering in extreme heat with no way to escape searing hot, deadly desert Sun’s rays, held behind bars in the BLM facility.

Sunday, Patty Bumgarner, Nevada citizen and wild horse photographer visited the Palomino Valley Center and what she witnessed was heart wrenching.

Bumgarner, watched many horses coughing and noticed still only one water trough is provided in each open, that holds 70-100’s of horses. She also reports, the temporary 3 small trial shelters, were removed last October and no shelters are any where in site. The BLM PVC facility operates on a skeleton crew and the manager, is difficult, at best to reach and refers inquiries to provide aid for the horses to D.C., but when advocates call D.C. to request aid for horses, no aid, comes for them. On the weekends there is no staff present, to over see the welfare of the 2,000 wild horses and burros, held in the BLM cages.

Bumgarner, noted the BLM sends a few people on the weekend to only feed the horses once and throws the grass hay directly, onto the ground (where manure is present and mud, which could cause colic) and the heightened feeders are stacked off to the side and no longer used.

The access to water, is only made easy for dominant horses at this facility, creating suffering and health concern for the less dominant horses, who cannot access drinking water, when needed. This facility three years ago was asked to provide shelter, wind breaks and more water troughs, but still they have not been provided.

photo by Patty Bumgarner

photo by Patty Bumgarner

Bumgarner witnessed a horse drinking extremely dirty still water, left over from the storms of Thursday until early Saturday morning last week.

The horses are suffering at the BLM PVC, Nevada facility now and soon temperatures will rise, today temperatures in this area reached 85 degrees and in the triple digits, again daily survival in these pens will become difficult, if this facility does not soon erect need wind breaks and shelters.

Not even the foals, or sick horses are now provided shelter or respite from stinging painful debris laden high winds.

Further concern for the horses at this facility is rising, as many horses held here, now have been marked with a large unsightly hip freeze numeric brand, which indicates they may be sold without authority. Also, it appears many horses have been moved from this facility.

Questions are being asked, Where have the wild horses now gone? Why is it so difficult to receive aid for the wild horses to prevent their suffering and many deaths, within the BLM pens?

Thirty one public demonstrations were held, this past Saturday April 25th, across the nation, including three awareness marches in Australia, England and Sweden. Demonstrators are expressing public concern and calling for the Department of Interior, Representatives in the Senate, Congress and Government Executive Branches to step in and act, to apply solutions immediately, to save the last of America’s native wild horses and burros, before my legacy horses are forever lost.

Awareness at the protests highlighted, to provide emergency aid, shelter, wind breaks and more needed water troughs for the 58,000 wild horses and burros living in horrid concentration camp-like (unsafe), tax funded, Bureau of Land Management facilities and to increase protections, for the now threatened, under 20,000 free roaming wild horses and burros, remaining upon, Western public lands, to remain safe and free and to close U.S. borders to horse slaughter.

The underlying life threatening urgency is exasperated, for the wild horses and burros, is largely due to the fact, that U.S. borders, today remain open, for Americas wild and domestic equines to be exported to slaughter, after three failed attempts, any BLM captive wild horse and burro may be sold without authority, by the truck load, opening the door for kill buyers to obtain and profit from the gruesome and inhumane horse slaughter trade, such as occurred in the Tom Davies incident, in which 1,700 BLM trapped wild horses, were later slaughtered.

The BLM received at least annually $55,000,000. to run the wild horse and burro holding facilities and at least $120,000,000 this past year, but what the American people desire is to preserve not harass, harm or cause death, nor to further decimate and ultimately wipe the wild horses entirely from the magnificent Western landscape.

One solution lies in truly enacting sharing of our public lands in order for the wild horses and burros to survive.

 
What you can do:
Join the movement to Love Wild Horses:
Please Call and write the Department of Of Interior, President Obama, Vice President Biden, the Governor of all Western States 
and request immediate address :
 
 I. To restore America’s wild horse herds to true protection, today (stop all wild horse and burro removals) 
 
II.To provide immediate EMERGENCY aid for the 58,000 BLM captive wild horses: erect needed shelter, wind breaks and to provide more water troughs, or to return (relocate) these wild horses and burros to our public land to the 25 ( now zeroed out of all wild horses and burros) BLM vast acreage “Herd Management Areas”, where they may have a chance to survive.
 
III. To Close U.S. borders to Horse Slaughter

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret

Source: Cowspiracy.com

Official Trailer

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today – and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it.

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged.

As Andersen approaches leaders in the environmental movement, he increasingly uncovers what appears to be an intentional refusal to discuss the issue of animal agriculture, while industry whistleblowers and watchdogs warn him of the risks to his freedom and even his life if he dares to persist.

As eye-opening as Blackfish and as inspiring as An Inconvenient Truth, this shocking yet humorous documentary reveals the absolutely devastating environmental impact large-scale factory farming has on our planet, and offers a path to global sustainability for a growing population.

cowspiracy“There is a link from a screener floating around the internet and in good faith, I did not insert it, here, out of respect for the producers of this documentary.  Instead, I went to their website and purchased the documentary for one dollar and received the email, below, hence my refusal to post the link but instead recommend that our readers follow my lead as we are a group with ethics and morals…even though the ones we fight are bereft of such virtues. Keep the faith.” ~ R.T.

Thank you so much for purchasing our film. Please be aware that this digital download is intended for home viewing only. Uploading, file sharing, burning, copying, selling or otherwise distributing the film in any form compromises our licensing agreements with distributors and would put us in a tough spot legally. Thanks for understanding!

Viral Video: For the Love of a Foal

It’s ‘Feel Good Sunday’ and today’s installment was actually on the TV show, Today.  A young lady, Sunny Bayne, proclaims that it is the best day of her life when a little foal is so overwhelmed with her presence that he just collapses on top of her and they both enjoy some loving time in a rare and special Force of the Horse moment.  Enjoy!” ~ R.T.

Sunny: “Just want to take a moment to say THANK YOU to everyone at the Today Show! The producers, writers, bloggers, everyone that works there. You ALL are fantastic and I appreciate you!I’m amazed at how this video, one minute of pure bliss touched so many hearts, not only across America but the WORLD! Thanks Hoda Kodt and Kathy Lee for showing it and being so awesome! Oh, and side note… I LOVE that you all are chillin with your wine! Haha makes me giggle. Where’s my glass? wink emoticon ‪#‎thanksamerica‬ ‪#‎todayshow‬ ‪#‎sunnyandadorablebabyhorse‬ ‪#‎hodakodt‬ ‪#‎kathylee‬ ‪#‎bliss‬ ‪#‎inawe‬ ‪#‎speechless‬ I LOVE YOU WORLD!!!!!!!!!”

12 Year Old Instrumental in Introduction of Anti-Horse Slaughter Bill

Source: Children 4 Horses

photo courtesy of Children 4 Horses

photo courtesy of Children 4 Horses

U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, R-NH, joined U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-IL, on April 22, 2015, to introduce the bipartisan SAFE Act – Safeguard American Food Exports Act – of 2015 to address the inhumane and dangerous process of transporting horses outside of the United States for human consumption.

“For centuries, horses have embodied the spirit of American freedom and pride. To that end, horses are not raised for food – permitting their transportation for the purposes of being slaughtered for human consumption is not consistent with our values and results in a dangerously toxic product. My bipartisan bill seeks to prevent and end the inhumane and dangerous process of transporting thousands of horses a year for food.”

The issue of horse slaughter was brought to Congressman Guinta’s attention in the 112th Congress when 12-year-old Declan Gregg, an advocate against horse slaughter and constituent of New Hampshire’s First Congressional District, met with him to raise awareness of the issue and urge for change to protect American horses.

I am so honored to have been here in DC with Congressman Guinta for this awesome moment! It’s been really cool to be a part of introducing the bill and seeing how the legislative process works. It’s truly an honor to be here, help walk the bill down to Congress, and get to see the impact my work has made.

Thank you Congressman Frank Guinta (NH), Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL), Congressman Vern Buchanan (FL), and Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM), for sponsoring this important bill and standing up for America’s horses!! And thank you to the 41 original cosponsors of the SAFE Act, for standing up for America’s horses too!!

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES and ask them to cosponsor the SAFE Act and to support other pro-horse legislation. Horse slaughter has been defunded in the US, but every day, American horses are still being shipped and slaughtered in Canada and Mexico. SLAUGHTER IS NOT HUMANE EUTHANASIA and it is not an answer.

I will fight until we have won for the horses!!” ~Declan, Founder of Children 4 Horses

To find your Congressman/woman and their contact information, use this link: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

3 CA Men Arrested for Shooting Wild Burros

BY PETER SUROWSKI from The Press Enterprise

Three men were arrested on suspicion of shooting at the wild burros that are known for roaming the hills of Moreno Valley.

Wild Burros in BLM holding ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild Burros in BLM holding ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Eduardo Loza, 19, and Joel Rodriguez, 21, both of Lenox, were booked into jail on suspicion of attempted animal cruelty, discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manner and conspiracy to commit a felony, according to a Riverside County sheriff’s news release and jail records.

Anthony Robert Holquin, 19, was booked on suspicion of the same three felony charges plus being a felon with a firearm and presenting false identification to a police officer, jail records show. He told police his name was Jonhy Fabela, according to the news release.

All three were booked into different jails, in Riverside, French Valley and Banning. Bail was set at $5,000 for each.

Witnesses reported seeing three men shooting at the animals about 12:50 p.m. Saturday, April 18, in the 9700 block of Sunnybrook Drive, the release said.

Deputies showed up and found the three suspects and a gun. They also found physical evidence that a gun was fired, though they found no indication that any of the animals was injured, the release said.

After interviewing the suspects and witnesses, deputies arrested the trio, the release said.

The incident is under investigation and anybody with information was asked to call the sheriff’s Moreno Valley station at 951-486-6700.

Federal Legislation Introduced to Prohibit Slaughter of American Equines

Source: Multiple

“This bipartisan bill seeks to prevent and end the inhumane and dangerous process of transporting thousands of horses a year for food.”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

On April 22nd, 2015, federal lawmakers introduced legislation to prevent the establishment of horse slaughter operations within the U.S., end the current export of American horses and donkeys for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 1942, was introduced by Reps. Frank Guinta (R-N.H.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.).

Last year, more than 140,000 American horses, donkeys and mules were slaughtered for human consumption in foreign countries. The animals often suffer long journeys to slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico without adequate food, water or rest. At the slaughterhouse, horses are  brutally forced into a “kill box” and shot in the head with a captive bolt gun in an attempt to stun them before slaughter—a process that can be inaccurate due to the biology and nature of equines and result in animals sustaining repeated blows or remaining conscious during the kill process.

For centuries, horses have embodied the spirit of American freedom and pride,” said Rep. Guinta. “To that end, horses are not raised for food – permitting their transportation for the purposes of being slaughtered for human consumption is not consistent with our values and results in a dangerously toxic product.  This bipartisan bill seeks to prevent and end the inhumane and dangerous process of transporting thousands of horses a year for food.”

Horses sent to slaughter are often subject to appalling, brutal treatment,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “We must fight those practices. The SAFE Act of 2015 will ensure that these majestic animals are treated with the respect they deserve.”

“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is an absolute travesty that must be stopped,” said Rep. Buchanan.  “This bipartisan measure will finally put an end to this barbaric practice.”

Horse slaughter is an inhumane practice that causes great pain and distress to the animals, and poses numerous environmental and food safety concerns,” said Rep. Lujan Grisham. “The vast majority of my constituents oppose horse slaughter. I’m proud to support the SAFE Act to ban this cruelty once and for all.”

The SAFE Act would also protect consumers from dangerous American equine meat, which can be toxic to humans due to the unregulated administration of drugs to horses. Because horses and donkeys are not raised for food, they are routinely given hundreds of toxic drugs and chemical treatments over their lifetimes that are prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption. Those drugs, although safe for horses, are potentially toxic to humans if consumed. In December 2014, the European Union announced its suspension of imports of horse meat from Mexico after a scathing audit of EU-certified Mexican horse slaughter plants, which kill tens of thousands of American horses each year. Additionally, the discovery of horse meat in beef products in Europe shocked consumers and raised concerns about the potential impact on American food industries.

The concerned American public is encouraged to contact their U.S. representatives and urge them to cosponsor the SAFE Act in order to protect America’s horses and overall consumer health from horse slaughter.