Review: ‘Saving America’s Horses’ is a Disturbing Documentary

By Gary Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times

“…a revealing, disturbing look at how political and corporate forces have seemingly undermined the freedom and safety of our nation’s equine population.”

The documentary “Saving America’s Horses: A Nation Betrayed” unpacks the complex and, what may be for many, under-the-radar issue of the inhumane slaughter of wild and domestic horses (and burros) chiefly for human consumption abroad.

Writer-director Katia Louise (the lifelong horsewoman also produced and narrated) has crafted a revealing, disturbing look at how political and corporate forces have seemingly undermined the freedom and safety of our nation’s equine population. Tens of thousands of horses are said to be rounded up each year by the Bureau of Land Management, largely from public rangelands.

From agenda-driven congressmen and federal agencies to deep-pocketed special interest groups and sporting organizations, there’s been, the filmmaker forcefully contends, a multi-layered conspiracy — fueled by a parade of misinformation — against the survival and proliferation of horses. The beneficiaries: the horse racing trade, the cattle industry and meat sellers, plus a cross-section of lawmakers and politicos.

Louise utilizes an eclectic blend of new, archival and undercover footage documenting the ill-treatment of our country’s horses and other related controversies (beware: there are some grisly images).

The film also includes a wide mix of in-person and audio-only interviews with such equine advocates as actors Paul Sorvino, Linda GrayTippi Hedren and Ken Wahl, “Dances with Wolves” author Michael Blake and singer Willie Nelson, as well as a vital array of Native American voices.

Click (HERE) to visit the LA Times and to Comment

Wild Horse “Tell-All” Film to Air on Documentary Channel

“Wild Horses & Renegades” will premiere Sunday, July 1 (8 pm ET/PT), on Documentary Channel with an encore airing at 11pm ET/8 pm PT!  Other special encores include Friday, July 13 (8 pm ET) and again the same night at 11 pm ET

With the American mustang crisis in the news worldwide, award-winning filmmaker, James Anaquad-Kleinert brings his star- studded environmental film, “Wild Horses & Renegades” to National attention.   In the film, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Viggo Mortensen, Raoul Trujillo, Daryl Hannah and Dances with Wolves author Michael Blake join with former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) to highlight how the great symbol of the American West is being purposefully driven to extinction by a corrupt Bureau of Land Management. The documentary captures the corporate benefits of wild horse roundups, including clearing land for Uranium mining claims, oil and gas pipelines and corporate cattle grazing. As Jim Baca (former Director of the Bureau of Land Management) states in “Wild Horses & Renegades,” “Our Public Lands are run by the oil, mining and livestock industries and it’s their way or the highway.”

“If the public could view what’s being done to wild horses, the public would stand up and take action. This is just not a film about America’s Wild Horses this is a film about what is happening to America itself!” says Michael Blake, author of Dances with Wolves.

In Wild Horses & Renegades,” Anaquad-Kleinert weaves shocking footage of actual roundups with the story of a horse named Traveler and his journey from a strong stallion on the range to a broken inmate at a Bureau of Land Management processing center in Canon City, Colorado. Shot in high definition, this filmʼs incredible aesthetics contrast with the mismanagement of our last wild public lands.  Americans of diverse ethnic backgrounds are interviewed in the film and the common thread is one of passion, freedom and liberty when people speak of the wild horse.

“Wild Horses & Renegades” exposes how millions of taxpayer dollars are being used to corral the few remaining American wild horses, which are then underfed, forced into inhumane and diseased living conditions, and sold for adoption or to Mexican slaughterhouses for human consumption. The Bureau of Land Management estimates it has over 40,000 wild horses in holding facilities, costing taxpayers $120,000 a day.

“I adopted a wild horse named Voodoo, who had been rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management and adopted out to a killer buyer. The man like many or most killer buyers, played a cruel game of acquiring horses and betting that he could sell them to slaughter before he had to feed them. But the problem did not begin with the killer buyer. It began with the Bureau of Land Management,” says Willie Nelson.

Director James Anaquad-Kleinert is the lead plaintiff in a recently-filed federal lawsuit challenging the 2011 Disappointment Valley, Colorado, roundup based on violations of the 1971 Free Roaming Wild Horse & Burro Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the U.S. Constitution.  Kleinert v. Salazar is a rare opportunity to create new environmental law, stop the violence of roundups, and save the American wild horse from cruel and inhumane treatment, and ultimate extinction.  Anaquad-Kleinert is offering the film as a tool to spark support for an executive order ending Bureau of Land Management wild horse roundups and an a congressional investigation into the Department of the Interior.

  • That Department of Interior/BLM suspend all roundups and return healthy horses currently in short- and long-term government holding facilities to the millions of available acres on Herd Areas and Herd Management Areas that BLM has zeroed-out.
  • Co-sponsor if they haven’t already, and pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 (S. 1176, H.R.2966)

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:S.1176: and http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.2966:

Implementation of in-the-wild management, which would keep wild horses on the range and save taxpayers millions annually by avoiding the mass removal and stockpiling of wild horses in government holding facilities.

Documentary Channel is primarily available through satellite television services DISH Network (Channel 197) and DIRECTV (Channel 267). 

About James Anaquad-Kleinert

Always ready to tackle challenges, James Anaquad-Kleinert, the former World Cup competitor in aerial freestyle skiing, has been hailed for both his high action winter sports films and his in-depth environmental films with a strong Native American element. Anaquad-Kleinert produces from his company, Moving Cloud Productions based in Telluride, Colorado (www.movingcloud.com). Other works include “The Edge of Telluride” and “Spirit Riders,” an award-winning documentary that showed in part on HBO.com (www.spiritridersmovie.com).

Festivals, awards and honors for “Wild Horses & Renegades” include:

  • International Wild Life Film Festival
    • Awards for excellence
    • Special Mention in Investigative Journalism, Cinematography and Music/Sound Editing
  • Top 10 list of movies for 2011 published by Blogcritics.org.
  • ITN Film Festival, New York, NY
For more information visit www.theamericanwildhorse.com

Actress Bo Derek joins Sen. Mary Landrieu to push for ban on horse slaughter

By Bruce Alpert, Times-Picayune

Big Names Push Against Anti-Horse Agenda

Actress Bo Derek speaks about the importance of passing Sen. Mary Landrieu's American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, which would prohibit the inhumane killing of American horses for human consumption. Photo by Matthew D. R. Lehner, Office of Sen. Mary Landrieu

Washington - Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., brought some celebrity power to the Capitol Wednesday to build support for her legislation that would prohibit inhumane killing of American horses for food. Actress Bo Derek, best known for the 1979 romantic comedy,”10,” and speaking for the Animal Welfare Institute, pushed for passage of the bill. So did Amy Nelson, singer Willie Nelson’s daughter, and Raelyn Nelson, his granddaughter, saying they were speaking on Nelson’s behalf and his love for horses.

Landrieu’s American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act would also stop the transport of horses across the border to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

“We must continue to open people’s eyes about this appalling practice that is so often hidden from the public,” Derek said at a news conference, surrounded by Landrieu, other lawmakers and citizen lobbyists.

In November 2011, Congress opted not to renew a ban on funding federal inspectors at horse slaughter plants in the United States and Landrieu and other lawmakers opposed to the practice worry it will spur a return to what they say is brutal treatment of horses.

“There are viable, affordable alternatives to slaughter,” Landrieu said. “When a horse is old, sick, or can no longer be productive, its owner should provide humane euthanasia.

“Ninety percent of all horses that die each year are humanely euthanized and/or safely disposed of – this additional 10 percent is not a burden,” Landrieu said. “Horse owners will buy some of these horses and horse rescue organizations will take others. Brutal slaughter is not an appropriate alternative.”

Amy Nelson and Raelyn Nelson issued a statement on behalf of Willie Nelson “We ride horses in America, we don’t eat them. Slaughter is not humane euthanasia. It is not a responsible end of life option for any horse.”

Also speaking was Lorenzo Borghese from ABC’s “The Bachelor.”

“There may be no more special relationship than the one we have with horses,” Borghese said. “The love and loyalty horses have shown people shows no bounds – they have won wars for us, carried us west and built this great country, and have served as companions for our children and our disabled.”

Amateur Wild Horse Photographer Picked as Finalist in Photo Contest

By R.T. Fitch ~ President of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Terry Fitch Photos Selected for Finalists in Equine Photography Competition

"Peaceful Moment" by Terry Fitch

Once again I am proud to report that my wife, Terry, has several photos that have been selected by the nominating committee  of the Equine Ideal: Winter 2012 Photography Contest as finalists in their annual online competition.  In the past she has won honors for a head shot of a rescued horse (click HERE) as we, with Habitat for Horses, released him at Willie Nelson’s ranch on his first day of adopted bliss.  Last year she won ribbons (click HERE) for a shot of the famed wild horses of the Pryor Mountains and this year she is up for ribbons on two different head shots of our very own Pele who was rescued from a slaughter auction through the efforts of Habitat for Horses.  Pele is half quarter horse and from the neck up he is pure wild mustang, we can see the beauty that heralds back to his wild roots as he glides across our pastures in play.

There are many other fine photos entered in this equine photograph contest, including another by Terry, but should you care to support her please click http://www.equinephotocontest.com/peopleschoice.asp and hit the link (Go to Amateur Category) in the bottom of the text box.  Terry’s two “Head Study” shots are currently on row ten halfway down the page and being that awards are a sheer matter of numbers (votes) we are concentrating on the photo, pictured here, Peaceful Moment…which for fun loving Pele is a rare moment, indeed.  If you would like to vote for Terry’s work please note that at the top of the page is a drop down menu that says “Your choice” which would be Peaceful Momentand to that right of that is a spot to enter your email address, simply for a verification response and to ensure that people do not vote more than once from a single email address.  Voting ends at midnight this upcoming Sunday, the 18th of March.I thank you for your support and assistance for if there was ever a time for something positive and happy to twinkle or sparkle in Terry’s life, now would be that time.

Keep the Faith.

Barbi Twins: Famous for… Equine Advocacy

Posted by Jordan Schaul from Nat Geo‘s News Watch

Celebrity Friends of SFTHH Give It All for the Horses

Sia and Shane Barbi

Shane and Sia Barbi–the bodacious and perhaps outrageous, world famous pin-up girls from the 90′s–have pretty much given up show business. They never did take themselves seriously nor were they seeking a life of fame and wealth.

They are, however, well aware of the power of celebrity.

To know them they are quite shy, humble, and share a self-deprecating sense of humor that makes them most approachable, if you can find them. As reclusive and private as they are, they have dedicated their lives to animal welfare causes and anti-cruelty advocacy. In fact, that is all they do now.

Along with Shane’s husband, Ken Wahl, they have championed many animal causes and most recently teamed up with Willie Nelson to oppose lifting the ban on horse slaughter.  To no avail the six-year-old ban was lifted last December.

personally remain neutral on the issue. As a strong advocate of zoos and zoo animal welfare, I’m aware that zoo animals are some of the largest consumers of horse meat. Hence, I defer to zoo nutritionists and veterinarians on appropriate meat sources for zoo carnivores (carnivorans) and raptors.  Some zoos choose to feed horse meat and others have or are shifting to a beef diet.

The Barbi twins and I agree to disagree on a lot of issues, but I certainly commend them for doing their homework.   They vehemently oppose horse slaughter on the grounds that horses weren’t bred for human consumption.  I did not ask them to comment on zoo animal consumption of horse meat, but I pretty much know where they stand.

The Barbi twins assert that “horses were bred and domesticated to be companion animals like a dog or cat. They also served as working animals on farms, and provided transport for people. They also risked their lives in wartime.”

They are adamantly opposed to both slaughter and wild horse round-ups, considering both activities to be blatant forms of animal cruelty.  Sia said that “The helicopter round-ups spook the horses so they end up badly injured or trampled to death. Pregnant horses may even abort foals in these stampedes.  And the remaining horses often die from hunger, thirst, or overcrowding in holding pens.”

Shane added that “most importantly, we are vegans mostly because there is no such thing as humane slaughter–that is an oxymoron.”

Again, we agree to disagree, but I applaud them for their passion and ambition to really study the issues.

Today, they are more known for their activism then they are for their work in front of the camera, perhaps, drawing a whole new demographic of fans.  Along with Willie Nelson, they continue to fight for horse welfare and support the equine and companion animal initiatives of the Animal Welfare Institute.

Shane and Sia are former equestrians, but they have given up the hobby to focus on equine welfare and rescue and other animal causes from wildlife issues to companion animal concerns.

Wild Horse Advocate’s Photo Snares First Place

Terry Fitch Takes People’s Choice Award 2 Years Running

"Dueling Band Stallions ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Houston, (SFTHH) – Hundreds of entries representing 15 countries and 45 states were entered in the eighth annual online equine photography contest sponsored by the Equine Photographers Network, making this the most competitive contest to date with an incredible array of outstanding equine images.

Coming in with a first place ribbon was wild horse advocate Terry Fitch’s photograph of “Dueling Band Stallions” capturing the top honors for the People’s Choice Amateur award.  The photo was actually placed in fourth position by the judges in the category of “Extreme Action” but public demand and interest rocketed it to a solid first in “People’s Choice”.  Dueling Band Stallions was shot last year in the Pryor Mountains of Montana where Fitch was visiting the herd of wild horse stallion “Cloud” made famous by Emmy award winning cinematographer Ginger Kathrens.

“I humbly thank all of the kind folks who voted for that shot”, stated Fitch, “but I am not the winner, the horses are.  The whole reason for entering that picture was to help draw attention and interest to the plight of our national icons, the wild horse.”

Fitch and her husband R.T., author and volunteer Executive Director of Habitat for Horses Advisory Council, initiated several law suits against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) last year over the agency’s controversial practice of “zeroing out” federally protected wild horse herds.  Likewise, the Fitches are familiar faces at the BLM’s contractor driven wild horse roundups.

“We witness for the horses with our cameras”, commented Fitch, “When we are present and documenting at the roundups we feel that the BLM and their contractors are on better behavior and the horses are treated better.  Not that they are treated well, just better”, she added.

"Last Jump" ~ photo by Terry Fitch

The Fitch’s recently returned from witnessing the early end of the BLM’s Antelope Complex roundup in northeast Nevada and last month R.T. addressed the BLM advisory board in Phoenix, AZ regarding their mismanagement of America’s wild horses.

Terry Fitch’s photography is no stranger to the Equine Photographers Network; in the same contest, last year, Fitch won first place in the same division for her shot of a horse rescued by Habitat for Horses and adopted by Willie Nelson called “First Bite

This year Fitch also garnered an “Honorable Mention” in the “Performance” category with her mainstream shot entitled, “Final Jump”.

As an amateur, Fitch’s work is consistently highlighted in Horseback Magazine and TrueCOWBOY Magazine.

How To Be An Effective Advocate For Wild Horses

by Suzanne Moore of the Golden Days Blog

“We have a special treat for you today: Our good friends at the Willie Nelson Peace Research Institute posted this very fine article written by our good friend and active equine advocate, Suzanne Moore.  If you have hung around SFTHH much and shared a Wrangler Iced Tea with us  you know that Ms. Suzanne can keep up with the best of them.  So it is with great honor and a tip of my straw hat that I introduce Suzanne – R.T.”

For the Newcomers

Equine Advocate Suzanne Moore

Actually, I’m fairly new to the wild horse situation myself. Due to my personal experiences, stopping horse slaughter was always my passion. I’ve never lived far enough west for wild horses to be a common topic of conversation, and I have never seen a wild herd. But when I heard those rumors about sending captive wild horses to slaughter, I decided I needed to investigate.

If you already know about horses, so much the better, because so many people these days have never even SEEN a live horse, so they can easily be misled by the massive disinformation campaign that the anti-horse people have mounted. You need to be able to set them straight.

Knowing the ins and outs of the slaughter debate will help too because it’s become a big part of the wild horse problems. The MOST important thing is learning what’s REALLY happening with the wild horses – and there’s a lot to learn.

You need to get the background on the horses, the advocates – many of whom have been looking after “their” herds for 15-20 years - and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is the department that was charged with caring for the wild horse herds when the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act was passed in 1971.

There is a LOT of history – and politics – in this complex situation. You need to familiarize yourself with all of this because one of the most important things we can do day today is fight the  disinformation by commenting on articles in the press, by telling your Senators and Representatives the truth.

But, before you can do this, you have to know what the truth IS. You can get it from these sites. There are MANY others, but these are the ones that I know and trust. When you are researching this, keep in mind that you can’t believe everything you find on the Internet!

The Cloud Foundation
American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

Animal Welfare Institute

Habitat for Horses

International Society of the Protection of Mustangs and Burros
Equine Welfare Alliance
Society for Animal Protective Legislation
In Defense of Animals
American Herds

This last one, American Herds, has a lot of well researched historical background.

The first thing we MUST have is a moratorium on the roundups. There is a lawsuit pending, but Judge Friedman won’t be making his final decision before late May. We need an independent investigation of the BLM, an accurate count of how many horses are really out there on the range because no one really knows, certainly not the BLM.

This is what we’re lobbying DC for. We’re calling and writing to our Congress people daily. Also President Obama, but we’ve heard absolutely nothing from him although he campaigned on protecting the wild horses.

Some of the disinformation mongers continue to claim that we are asking for an end to the roundups and NO management for the herds in the future. I guess it’s one of those cases where the idea is that if you repeat something enough times, it will become true. These anti-horse people don’t seem to know what the word “moratorium” means – or at least they pretend they don’t.

We just want the frantic pace of the roundups to stop until the lawsuit is settled and we can get an independent, accurate count of the number of horses still in the wild.

The numbers given out by the BLM don’t “add up,” – and it seems they NEVER did. If the latest roundup in the Calico Complex in Nevada doesn’t prove this beyond a reasonable doubt, I don’t know what could.

So get up to speed on the facts, call and write your Senators and Representatives, and refute the disinformation that’s out there. Some of it is so incredible it would be funny except the situation for the horses is so dire.

And don’t let people brand you an “animal rights wacko radical who lives in an Eastern metropolis and has never even SEEN a horse.” Because that’s the mantra. Some folks seem to think everyone who cares about animal suffering belongs to PETA and lives on the East Coast (though what THAT  has to do with anything beats me), is willing to use violence and wants to force everyone to become a vegan.

The anti-horse people use this tactic to frighten the uninformed. It’s far from the truth. Personally, I’m not a radical or a vegan and the majority of the folks I’ve met in this campaign – and in the fight against horse slaughter – aren’t either.

Well, that MUST be enough! If anyone wants to ask me anything, you have my email and my blog. Others on the links I posted can probably answer better than I can, but feel free to contact me anytime.

This is the latest piece of news: BLM envisions tri-state mega complex for wild horses. I don’t quite know what it means, if anything, but it’s certainly different from anything the BLM has ever suggested before.
See ya later!

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