Pay No Attention to the Elephants

Guest Op-Ed by Vicki Tobin ~ Vice President of the Equine Welfare Alliance

Who is the REAL Guest of Honor at the Summit of the Horse?

When obvious truth is being ignored, it is frequently referred to as the elephant in the room. As the slaughter issue reaches the boiling point, as expected, the elephants in the room are waiting to be recognized.

Wallis/Duquette have a very, very large guest at their "Slaughterfest"

The upcoming “Summit of the Horse” is an exemplary example of elephants in the room. A group of people are assembling to “take the reins back” and provide solutions. That is truly mission impossible because they would have to acknowledge that they are the cause.

They would have to acknowledge that to control the horse population, it must be done at the source; not on the back-end. If slaughter controlled the population, we wouldn’t still be discussing it after decades of slaughter.

The disinformation that will be rehashed at the “Summit” has been disproven tenfold but they charge forward repeating their mantra of illogical talking points. The most illogical claim is that the horse industry tanked because the US horse slaughter plants closed. It makes a good sound bite but there is the pesky little fact that slaughter never ended – a minor detail that is needed for the closures to have an impact.

They call the wild horses “feral” and the slaughter horses “unwanted” to denigrate them. They complain about the cost of wild horses in holding but completely ignore the hundreds of millions of dollars shelled out by taxpayers to subsidize privately owned livestock on public lands.

The elephants are growing in number. There is scientific data on drugs in US horses, scientific evidence on wild horses as native species and their DNA. There are studies on the relationship between neglect and horse slaughter and GAO studies on the livestock (not wild horses) decimating the ranges. Acknowledging those elephants would expose the disinformation.

The ten ton elephant that will be sitting in the middle of the “Summit” is food safety. There is no getting around the fact that US horses are not raised as food animals. The racing industry alone would be brought to its knees without the routine drugs given to race horses to maintain them at peak performance. The “Summit” folks can call them livestock but that doesn’t make them food animals.

Food safety is not something the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Union (EU) take lightly. Food safety in our country is becoming a hot button with consumers. Food recalls are on the rise and on November 30, 2010, the senate passed a sweeping reform to food safety laws. When signed into law by the president, the FDA will have the authority to recall food. This is a clear message that we must ensure the food being produced is safe for humans to consume.

Throughout my professional career as processes were changed, positions lost to automation or numerous reorganizations, I constantly heard, change is your friend; embrace change. Today, those words ring true in modern society, especially with those that don’t move forward with societal changes. Every business in the US has changed operating models and cut back on production to survive in this difficult economy to match supply with demand.

The folks attending the “Summit” want do business the way they’ve always done business and dare anyone to ask them to change. They oppose every welfare bill that would improve conditions for animals, refuse to acknowledge over breeding that feeds the slaughter pipeline and defend the cruelty exposed in undercover investigations. The beef lobby went as far to introduce legislation to exempt factory farms from Emission regulations (HR 1438). Enter the elephant known as accountability for one’s actions.

To arrive at solutions, you must bring opposing parties to the table no matter how polarized each side has become. A solution or compromise cannot emerge without discussing all factors surrounding the issue. If both sides aren’t at the table, you are doing nothing more than promoting one side’s agenda.

In reality, the “Summit” is going to be an extremely small segment of the horse industry coming together who benefit from the slaughter of horses. Breeders that breed dozens of horses for that one special horse, cattle ranchers that have been duped into believing that banning slaughter will lead to banning slaughter of food animals and others that are paid to have an opinion and support the highest bidder. It’s not about the horses or their welfare as evidenced by a session for the sole purpose of bashing and outwitting organizations such as HSUS by a man so radical that he is frequently hushed at meetings he attends. Ah, the pot calling the kettle black!

Not one speaker was invited to represent or even acknowledge the elephants. Instead, the meeting will be held while slaughter supporters ignore, tip-toe around or trip over them.

It’s not hard to guess what the outcome of the “Summit” will be. The solution will be to have Temple Grandin design a “humane” slaughter plant. This plant will slaughter all the cast offs from the breeders so they can continue to over breed and Sue Wallis will ask that all wild horses are removed from public lands and slaughtered. The fact that the EU prohibits all wild equidae meat except zebra meat (page 3, third paragraph) and that US horses have no production records, is of no consequence to slaughter supporters.

When the “Summit” recaps the meeting, let’s hope they don’t insult everyone’s intelligence by declaring they have unanimous concurrence from the horse community on their misguided and ill conceived “solutions”.

 

Equine Welfare Alliance is an umbrella organization representing over 125 organizations and hundreds of individuals across the United States and several countries worldwide.

36 comments on “Pay No Attention to the Elephants

  1. Applauseapplauseapplause!!!!

    SPLENDID article!

    Ms. Tobin, you are the Mistress of the Pithy Phrase and the Logical Conclusion. Truer words were never spoken. I’m in awe.

    Drat & damn; anything else would be faint praise. Suffice it to say I am glad you’re on OUR side!

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  2. Great work. I just don’t want this meeting to take place at all! This is a disgrace! If this must happen, then I would love to see all the seedy under bellied work of the BLM exposed and have them implode due to their lies and deceit.

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  3. If slaughter were humane, it would be called euthanasia.

    slaughter |ˈslôtər|
    noun
    the killing of animals for food.
    • the killing of a large number of animals in a cruel or violent way; massacre

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    • The important thing to remember here is that the definition of horse slaughter is, straight out of the dictionary: Horse slaughter is the practice of slaughtering horses for meat.

      It’s not about putting horses down it’s all about eating them. And I will say again, I do NOT eat my friends.

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      • Agree, just making a point that even Temple Grandin can’t make slaughter humane no matter how many dog and pony shows they trot her out to.

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  4. Thank YOU Mr. Fitch! I have thought of this analogy many a time while pondering these horrible people. Except I am reminded of the DEAD elephant in the room. The one the dysfunctional family steps over and refuses to acknowledge exists. They smell it, they see it, they KNOW it is there. It is filling up the room in all sorts of manner, but they REFUSE to talk about it.”Let’s ALL just pretend that EVERYTHING IS O.K”. Except THIS doesn’t sustain them for very long. Sooner or later, for them to be a functional group of people, they MUST recognize the ELEPHANT. And then go about cleaning up the mess. Let’s hope the elephant will stink up their room too. Maybe, just maybe, they will see the REALITY of their evil business. IT STINKS!!

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    • Hi Pamela;

      This article is pure, vintage Vicki Tobin, VP of the Equine Welfare Alliance and one heck of a “voice of reason”. Although, this IS a SFTHH exclusive.

      Thanks Vicki!!

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  5. WE ARE OVERDUE AND NEED TO BE PROACTIVE IN THE PROTECTION OF OUR ANIMALS. WE HAVE BECOME A THROW AWAY SOCIETY. I DON’T BELIEVE IN THIS CONCEPT. WE MUST BRING BACK APPRECIATION FOR OUR SPECIES AND THE MOST INTELLIGENT FORMS MUST BE PROTECTED AT ALL COST.
    DNA, RNA, HELIX, GENOMES ARE IMPORTANT. PRESERVING OUR SPECIES, OUR ANIMAL SPECIES IS VITAL TO EVERYONE. WE PASS DOWN GENE POOLS IN ALL SPECIES. SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.
    PROTECT OUR GENE POOLS AT ALL COSTS. HUMAN, HORSES, ALL ANIMALS. BASIC BIOLOGY AND MICROBIOLOGY CONCEPTS.
    I WILL NOT EAT HORSE MEAT. THEY ARE MY FRIENDS. MAYBE WE WILL TEACH PEOPLE TO BECOME VEGETARIANS. BOYCOTT MEAT PERIOD. WHO REALLY NEEDS IT ANYWAY?. ALL HYPE. MAN AND WOMAN LIVED ON VEGGIES AND FRUITS. WE CAN DO IT AGAIN AND WE WOULD BE HEALTHIER FOR IT. THANK GOODNESS FOR THE ELEPHANTS, I LOVE EM. PUT MORE IN THE ROOM, LETS PUT HORSES OF EVERY KIND AND REALLY STINK UP THE ROOM WITH EVERYONE THERE, HA. STOP HORSE SLAUGHTER AND ROUND UPS. FIGHTING EVERYDAY FOR OUR HORSES AND OTHER ANIMALS FREEDOM FROM ABUSE. GOD BLESS THE PEOPLE THAT MAKE HUGE DECISIONS AND PRAY FOR THEIR SOULS TO CHANGE THEIR SPIRITS AND MAKE THEM BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE TRAUMA AND TURMOIL THEY HAVE CAUSED TO OUR ANIMALS.
    ABUSE AND SLAUGHTER WILL NOT BE TOLERATED, NEVER, NEVER ON MY FARM AND IN MY WORLD. NEVER. I AM A TRUE WARRIOR, HORSE WARRIOR, ANIMAL WARRIOR. CALLING ON OUR ARMY OF WARRIORS, STAND UP AN BE COUNTED.,NOW. THANK YOU ALL OUT THERE, LETS DO OUR JOB NOW. PROTECT THE INNOCENT, FIGHT ABUSE AND LOVE FREEDOM FOR OUR ANIMALS, GOD BLESS EACH ONE OF THEM.

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  6. Wild and domestic horse parks located in every county for all americans to use, Wild viewing/family camping, surrender/adoption center, volunteers as well as thousands of jobs created as well as cure for obesity, HORSE HEAL PEOPLE, we all need this, lets not allow the government who is a conflict of intrests with r horses, horses give people life, love and hope in these very depressed and recessed times, please dont let r horses fall between the cracks during the holidays, it is a perfect time for the BLM to make its move to send r horse across r boarders to Canada, Mexico and shipped to Japan to be for a inhumane slaughter, We need to protests more now to save r tax paid for horses before 60 thousand r sent to thier deaths. horses4health, horses4exercise, horses4healing, horses4hope, horses4love, horse4specialneeds. We have alternatives for r USA horses WE MUST NOT STOP THE FIGHT AND GIVE THEM A VOICE NOW!!!!!!! KIMBERLY MILLER

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  7. I hope that this and all the other pertinent articles on this blog are sent to the Associates Press, et al. This is the kind of information that needs to be circulated widely, and not just used for ‘singing to the choir’.

    Does anyone know Temple Grandin’s email address? She needs to go to the ‘Scummit’ well informed about the feelings of those who disagree with those who have hired her to speak at their ‘event’. She may have no idea that not everyone is playing on the Death Team.

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  8. Animals Are Not Things
    A View on Animal Welfare Based on Neurological Complexity
    Dr. Temple Grandin
    Associate Professor
    Colorado State University
    Dept. of Animal Sciences
    Fort Collins, CO 80523-1171
    Paper presented at a discussion on whether or not animals should be property, with Marc Hauser, Dept. of Psychology, Harvard University, 2002.

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  9. In a lecture given at an international beef producers symposium:

    Grandin suggested producers visualize what city friends and guests would think of their individual animal-handling practices. If it wouldn’t meet the outside observer’s approval, it should be discontinued.

    “If you’re not proud of it, stop it,” said Grandin.

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    • From everything I’ve read about Ms. Grandin, she is simultaneously able to understand the animal’s point of view AND resolve that with human needs (i.e., what beef cattle are bred for).
      I don’t think she’s taking a political or emotional ‘stand’ on this issue so much as offering her unusual perspective and educated view on animal husbandry and humane killing. Her efforts on behalf of cattle were to make the end of their lives as free from fear as possible.
      But I’m fairly certain she might find a Cattoor roundup a less than tasteful experience.

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      • I suspect that if people were forced to slaughter meat for their own consumption — or at least watch it being done — we’d have far fewer meat eaters in our country.
        There are conscientious farmers out there who raise and slaughter humanely (or as humanely as it can be done, I should say) but these ethical folks are few and far between. Industrially grown/slaughtered animals have a rough time — no matter what Ms. Grandin might recommend.
        Great piece by Vickie!
        Keep up the good work ev everyone!!

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  10. This is by far one of the best releases yet. All, make a copy of it and send to your Congressmen/woman and Senators. It gives some of the best arguements to stop all this nonsense to bring back horse slaughter in just one well written article. This should be enough for those signed up to cancel and cancel this stupid one sided, same old horse hating summit.

    And Vicki didn’t even say anythng about the conflict of interest that Slaughterhouse Sue has with this issue and her State Representative position. I wonder why those in her district keep letting her take off from her job of representating them in the State Capital, She is very busy drumming up business that puts money in her own pocket not those in Wyoming. They must all be hibernating for the winter, spring, summer and fall!

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  11. Please say a prayer for the 500 head of horses going to auction in fallon today. Some on the FOB site are saying these are wild horses the BLM recently captured.WWW.fallonlivestock.com/specialsales.php

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  12. Please say a prayer for the 500 head of horses going to auction in fallon today. Some on the FOB site are saying these are wild horses the BLM recently captured.WWW.fallonlivestock.com/specialsales.php

    Certainly sounds like our Mustangs!!! Mares, foals and stallions not even halter broken.

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    • something wonkie about the horses at fallon, they are wild horses, maybe from the contractors thanksgiving poaching?

      This is just crazy, can the blm contractor helicoptor scare wild horses onto the checkerboard of private land and then call them feral and poach them for his own profit sale at fallon? who is getting the money from fallon from that sale?

      read a report of the BLM pulling a gun on a rancher/private land owner? 2nd or third hand info so its not a fact. yet.

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  13. During questions and answers someone ask any of those big ranch breeders, how many mares on their ranch?

    HOW MANY FOALS PER YEAR from their ranch?

    not registered cause everyone knows quarterhorse breeders never register the thousands unmarked/unbranded-they dump at the cheap horse auctions.

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  14. AMERICA cant take care of its people at this time. So why r people so greedy they need to over breed thier horse for quick cash.STOP the overbreeding of r wild and domestic horses, stop the mismanagement of r wild musangs we want managed herds not overbred sold out the back door for cash in someones pocket. for horsemeat, that is not what 1971 Annie act was put in place for.
    STOP all the ranchers from breeding unwanted horses for cash.
    STOP all the private individuals from breeding horses
    BAN Horse racing in america and all other animal racing for that matter
    NATIONAL AND STATE WILD AND DOMESTIC HORSE PARKS,SURRENDER AND ADOPTION CENTERS THROUGH OUT USA FOR ALL TO USE.
    PUT A BAN ON BREEDING UNTIL ALL THE ANIMALS ACROSS AMERICA HAVE HOMES, IT NOT THAT HARD WE KNOW WHAT CREATES THIS MESS WE R NOT IDIOTS.
    ITS ALL ABOUT MONEY AND GREED AND CORRUPTION, STOP THE SLAUGHTER NOW. HORSES R LOVE FOR ALL OF US, WE ALL NEED THAT NOW. HORSES FOR HEALTH AND WELLNESS

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  15. EXCELLENT article!! Once again you have awed us with your talent with words of truth/facts. You are truly a wonderment, Vicki !

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  16. Thank you! I just find it amazing that no matter what the truth, they spin it. I remember a while back after the EU regs were announced and Wallis started on her slaughter plant quest that when questioned on the production records she stated something to the effect that the abandoned horses most likely had little vet care so it was okay to slaughter them. No, Sue. It’s not okay. You have to be able to prove they have not had any substances banned by the EU and FDA. Banned is banned. Period. Those are the rules and if you don’t want to follow them, then you have no business opening a slaughter plant. You need a passport system to track them from birth or they are not food animals. A handful of horses that may be substance free are not going to support the cost of a horse slaughter plant. She just doesn’t get it. When they’re raised for other purposes, they are not food animals. I sent her an email and asked her if she can’t find the owners of the “abandoned” horses to prosecute them for the crime of abandonment, how is she going to certify the horse is drug free? As expected, no response.

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    • And Sue is talking about feeding these horses to school kids. Yeah, like THAT’S going to go over well. Some kids freak out and refuse to use glue because rendered animals (including horses) are in it. Just wait until there’s a slab of horse flesh on their plates in school. Entire trays of food would get dumped. Parents would complain. The USDA would get called in to check on food safety. Schools will be sued. What FUN!
      I can see it now, “Hey kids, no worries. This came from a sick, dying horse in the next county over. Yummy, huh?!” Or “This is what happens to the horses that come in last place. Bon appetit!”
      OK. I’m off my sarcastic soap box now. 🙂

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    • Yeah, I know. All the horse eaters dodge the question about contaminated meat. I asked SS Wallis about that once too. Like you, I got no answer. I think they must be totally out of touch with reality to think they can ignore this issue and it will just go away or something. Amazing!

      Like

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