Horse News

Opinion: Thoughts on “Summit of the Horse”

by Bonnie Kohleriter, Equine Welfare Alliance contributing writer

Smoke, Mirrors and a Taste for Horse Meat

The legacy desired by Sue Wallis and Dave Duquette

The goal of this conference stated “The sole purpose …convene the horse industry…bring together different perspectives…find pragmatic, sustainable, economically viable solutions for horses both domestic and wild.”

A look at the objectives and sponsors of the hosting organization, United Horsemen, of this conference infers this is a group of horse people united around a common goal. Yet if one were to look closely at the sponsors of this conference one would see all groups are not primarily involved with horses.

Of the so called “Gold Buckle Sponsors” only 3 out of 9 are primarily involved with horses. Of the “Silver Spur Sponsors” 11 out of 19 and of the “Bronze Concho Sponsors” 2 out of 6 are involved mainly with horses. Of the 34 total sponsor groups listed, less than half or 16 are involved primarily with horses as a livelihood. Most other groups are cattle ranchers and farmers.

Then again the sole purpose is “…to bring together different perspectives…Solutions for horse. We expect the Summit to be packed with dialogue…Best interest of the horses at its core.”

One only has to look at the agenda to realize Day 1 is to establish the problem of excess horses. Day 2 is to promote and consider the facets of the slaughter, and Day 3 is to identify opponents of slaughter and strategies for combating them.

Different perspectives to the solution of excess horses are not considered. In fact, every attempt is made to exclude different perspectives being on the table. Previously identified people with ideas different than slaughter are excluded from the conference or are forcibly removed even though they demonstrate no evidence of being disruptive to the conference.

The conference allows for almost no dialogue following the presentations…no comments or question and answer periods.

Those with views other than slaughter are discredited (PP 22 and 23 of the agenda). “They are not concerned with animal welfare but with animal rights. They believe humans and animals are equal. Animal ownership is slavery. Animals should not be used “for any use.” and there should be “extensive” regulations of animal husbandry.”

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is discredited. They “deceive” the public. They give only ½ of 1% of their donations to the care and welfare of animals. A full page add is devoted to quotes made by Wayne Pacelle back in the early 1990s, taken out of context and designed to bash him. Wayne is the President and CEO of the HSUS.

Then the attendees are told what to do with the press. It is called, “Reputation Management Tips”:  “The media are here to tell our story. Know the main message about the Summit of the Horse and incorporate it into EVERY RESPONSE that you can. We are speaking with a unified voice for horses and horse people are statements in the agenda given to the conferees. ”

An agenda advocating slaughter and negating anti-slaughter, limiting dialogue, disallowing alternative solutions to be presented, discrediting the reputation of those with other views, and attempted controlling of the press is not consistent with the stated purpose of the Summit…Different perspectives?…Dialogue?

The organization sponsoring this event, United Horsemen, first of all, does not represent united horsemen. One has only to look at the media coverage and displays outside the conference to know horsemen are not united with the group.

Then the United Horsemen claim to be a 501(c)(3) educational and charitable organization that implements “humane” and realistic solutions. This is fallacious advertising. Is transporting the sick, the old, the injured and disabled, the weakened from neglect and abuse, and the young thousands and thousands of miles to a slaughter plant “humane?”

“Charitable” implies an activity or donation designed to help the ill, poor, or helpless. Where is the charitable in this organization?  And “education” implies the imparting of knowledge, but real education provides for the exchange of dialogue between teacher and learner and for an openness to multiple ideas and solutions for complex problems. This conference, in my opinion, did not provide education but carefully crafted propaganda leading to support for Sue Wallis’s bison, cattle, and horse slaughter plant in which she will be the executive director.

Registration at this conference was dubious in character for the United Horsemen Organization. When registering, we were told there are two ways to register. 1) If you belong to an organization, you can pay $400. Or 2) you can pay $25 for a membership and $100 for registration. Which would you choose?  On receipt of paying the $125 shows as a “Donation” on your receipt. This is not a donation. This is a required membership and registration fee if you want to attend the conference. One wonders if the fees will be used for lobbying and legislative purposes as “See how many support the government refunding of inspections for slaughterhouse horsemeat.”

Deceptive  naming of themselves, “UNITED HORSEMEN”, misrepresenting the execution of their purpose, promoting propaganda rather than charity and education,  and calling membership and registration fees a donation in a seeming misuse of a 501(c)(3). When an organization has to use deception and message control to such an extent, it seems to me that “something just ain’t right.”

6 replies »

  1. The names they use are nothing more than classic examples of ‘bait and switch’. Poop by any other name still stinks.


  2. Confuse the public is probably not too hard to do now days. Environmental groups working for the environment have always had the problem of the opposition taking their good name and using it in a opposing way.
    Did a little “googling” and look how many bison/buffalo ranchers are in Wyoming.

    It is pretty obvious that our wild and domestic horses better have all the supporters they/we can get in the national media and in DC.


  3. There was one sponsor/booth/participant that I have a really hard time wrapping my mind around and that was “Willing Servants Horse Rescue” of Hamilton Montana. In fact Wallis liked so much Willing Servants’ gushy newsletter to its “supporters” (I wonder if they know their donations are going to an organization that supports horse slaughter?) extolling the virtues of the Summit that Wallis printed it on the United Horsemen website.

    Also should point out – there is another more reputable and much older social service organization called United Horsemen that shouldn’t be confused with the Wallis/Duquette organization of the same name and nearly same web address.


  4. I really thought this was a well put together summary of the Horse Slaughter Summit. The Summit was at first supposed to be for all those wanting to help horses. But soon we found that many anti-slaughter speakers were turned down and one could see by the list of horse haters that only certain people would be allowed at the event. It was just one big lie and Slaughterhouse Sue hopes to get funds from it for her blood thirsty business. I didn’t know that a State Rep was allowed to make legislation for self profit. I guess things are different in Wyoming. I feel sorry for the good people of Wyoming. They are kind of like the people of Illinois who suffer from the reputation of the politics of the corrupt who buy their way into office and steal from the taxpayers who are misslead by their campaigns. Then don’t have the where to to say they made a mistake and then just vote the same low life back in. I hope people start to wake up and realize they need to do some research on things, made easy by the internet, and make sure their vote is really for the person who best represents their morals and best interests. Not something that Wallis is doing for the small town of Recluse.


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