Horse News

Developing News: GAO Gives Horseback Magazine Blow Back Over Horse Slaughter Leak

Article by Steven Long ~ Editor/Publisher of Horseback Magazine

The Feds Don’t Like It When You Print the Truth

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – When we exposed a leak by the government watchdog agency, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on June 3, 2011 we expected to get blow back. It didn’t take long.

We reported that a GAO spokesperson had confirmed that the report had been leaked, allegedly to former Texas Rep. Charles Stenholm, now a lobbyist for the meat packing industry. The report is allegedly titled The State of Horse Welfare in the United States Since the Cessation of Horse Slaughter in 2007, according to a document sent to Horseback by Senior Public Information Specialist Laura Kopelson. We quoted the document, describing the methodology for the story and named our source.

Horseback Magazine stands by the story.

The response came first thing Monday morning from Chuck Young, Managing Director, Public Affairs, of the agency. “Your report of June 3 entitled “Key Government Report Leaked” is replete with errors and the misstatements of fact.”

“First, it is completely inaccurate when it claims Laura Kopelson confirmed to you that a GAO report had been leaked. Ms. Kopelson did no such thing.”

Kopelson not only confirmed the report had been leaked, she refused to release it to Horseback despite the fact she acknowledged it was already in the hands of others saying, “That’s what we’re hearing.”

Young went on saying, “Second, it claims to provide a title of the report when in fact the title you present is not now, nor has it ever been, the title of the draft report.”

Unfortunately for the GAO’s chief spokesman, that was the title printed on the document released to Horseback Magazine last Friday describing the methodology which was to be used for the study.

Young continued saying, “Third, you say the report was quoted in early January, yet the fact is that report had not even been written at that time.”

In fact, the report was repeatedly mentioned at a poorly attended “Summit of the Horse” event in Las Vegas the first week in January.

Click (HERE) to Read the Rest of the Story at Horseback Magazine

11 replies »

  1. Ladies and gentlemen of the equine welfare truth, justice and tenacity brigade:

    We have their attention!….and they don’t like having to pay attention to us/US!

    Thanks Steve, et al.


  2. Who has the most to gain from the destruction of America’s Wild Horses and Burros? Who has the power and the skill set to see that this report got leaked? Who was implicated as the instigator and co-author of the Burns amendment which stripped America’s wild horses and burros from protection from slaughter? Who is one of the two most powerful Democrats in the United States? Who needs a cattle cartel, and the BLM,. in order to get reelected in his home state? Who does the President need to make sure that his “enemies” can not get their legislation through Congress? Which powerful Washington power broker, unpopular in his own state, needed the President help in his home state before the 2010 election to defeat a previously unknown, inexperienced candidate? What chamber of Congress has demonstrated that it supports the protection of wild horses and burros since 2007? Which chamber of Congress stripped the provision stripping the BLM of its funds for 2011 roundups? Who is the leader of that chamber? To whom did Secretary Ken Salazar write a letter to request his support in getting the Salazar Plan approved by the Senate? Which member of Congress received a check for $135 million dollars from the sale of public lands in Nevada to be spent in his home district signed by Ken Salazar and witnessed by Bob Abbey in September 2009? Who is absolutely furious with Senator Vitter for denying Secretary Ken Salazar a raise?

    Motive, means, opportunity


  3. I am the one who leaked this to Horseback IMMEDIATELY after confirming our worst fears. I have WITNESS’ as to what Laura Kopleson said to me, and I have phone records proving I called THREE TIMES that livid afternooon.

    In addition to calling CHARLIE BOY and a couple of members of Congress on THE HORSES SIDE; I called Steve Long.

    The USA GOV is full of malarky and a bit of BS !

    Horseback is NOT lying !!!!


  4. Angela, thank you so much. Each of us has to work together. I, too, got a “hint”, but I thought it may have been information gathered through the American Horse Council (each state has it’s own chapter, and embarrassingly enough I found Sue Wallis ‘s name on my state’s council page). The American Horse Council has paid longboard in Washington, and they support slaughter. I have no reason to believe otherwise, that is, that the information the person gave came from any particular source. His role is such that it could have come from several reliable sources.

    The American Horse Council needs to be renamed. On the other hand, I had some acquaintances through the rescue league that joined our state organization because they oppose this policy and believe that if enough people who disagree with slaughter join, the direction of the organization could be changed. That is a thought. Wonder if each advocate joined his or her state’s organization.

    Another troubling issue is the approach the Amereican Association of Equine Practioner’s has taken on slaughter. According to the same person I referred to above, they have decided that slaughter is humane. I understand that this is not about horse welfare because horses do not pay their veterinarians. Also, the best paid equine veterinarians are most likely the ones who work with breeders. I have found there horse vets are a varied group. But the whole idea behind AAEP’s labeling of homeless horses as “Unwanted Horses” is quite revealing. If you are in rescue work, you have people whose life circumstances have changed and they can no longer care for their horses.

    Some of these people have few resources. I have been approached several times by people in such circumstances. Unfortunately, our regional area of our league is struggling to raise money to continue to care for the horses we have right now. Good volunteers are also in shorter supply as some people burn out, start families, etc, or, in this economy, work two jobs. Plus, in our region, we had an unusually wet winter and spring, mow we have insufferable heat and humidity, so insects of all types are rampant. Protecting and treating your horse properly from insects and skin disorders requires a large investment in time. I have two mares, both rescues, one a BLM mare I would “Free Willy” if I could. However, she’d be the first in line to go to slaughter if the BLM ever got their hands on her again since they’ve had her twice already.


  5. I have no idea where the longboard came from abode. My I-Pad has an intuitive feature thar constantly rewrites my words. I wrote linguists. The AHC, to my knowledge, is the only organization with paid lobbyists. So they have offices and are hanging gathering information all the time.

    If I were going to investigate this “leak”, I’d try to figure out who has the most to gain from the wheels that are being set in motion right now. One name just won’t go away; the other one is less obvious, but if it is true that the current administration is trying to weaken America’s position in the world as a nation in order to move to a new world order, and one recognizes that some countries, such as Japan has neither the size nor the topography, to raise enough “meat” animals to feed its population, and that some countries do eat horse meat without much thought to the fact that horses are man’s friend and companion, I can see that perhaps there are powers that be who think harvesting horses for human consumption is part of the answer to filling the government projected world wide food crisis. There is no denying that domestic horses are treated with drugs that are harmful to humans. That makes our domestic horses far less attractive the educated consumer and governments of countries who actually care about the health of their people. It means that our wild horses are the perfect commodity. However, from what I have read, the foreign cartels who own the slaughter plants in Mexico and Canada carefully control where the meat in these plants is sold. If there were abattoirs in the US, the USDA could control the market. It is a risk, but it is possible, that this would make our exports make o make us more productive. It could/would improve our GDP numbers, so for those to whom this figure is important because it makes them appear more successful this could be a motivator.

    I am not saying that this definitely going on. But I am searching for a context in which what is happening could make sense. The current wild horse and burro strategy makes no sense in a humane or fiscally responsible way. The Salazar Plan on it’s face makes absolutely no sense at all. His justification that wild horses do not belong in the West, when that is the very place horse evolved for the 54.4 million years begs the question of scientific integrity. The approval the Senate committee on appropriations to give Interior 45 million dollars to purchase land in the Midwest and East with their rich grazing lands makes no sense.

    What else does not make sense? That by sending Bob Abbey to The Summit of the Horse our federal government legitimized Sue Wallis. Sue Wallis is an emotionally vulnerable woman representing a sparsely populated (thus, Recluse is very fitting) district in a relatively sparsely populated state. Even if ever person in her district thought she was great, we are still talking about a minuscule number of people in a state legislature. I am not judging them because they are few and basically rural. I am saying that winning the hearts of her the people in her district is not going to be a big concern of players at the federal level without ties to her state. She is useful to whomever has the real power with an agenda that benefits from the removal of wild horses from our Public Lands and the return of horse slaughter regulated by the USDA (open markets). The fact that former Representative Charles Stenholm had access to this information before the January meeting demonstrates that someone with power, thus access, is supporting this movement.

    I am not into conspiracy theories, and I truly do not know what I believe is true. I just know that from is known, these are possibilities. These are possibilities that explain to those of us for whom the love of a horse is as innate as breathing, what we can not understand in the sense of what is humane, what conserves our country’s natural resources, protects our environment, celebrates our country’s heritage, and uses our tax dollars wisely. It also explains why employees of a federal agency which pays well, has good job security, and a retirement/benefits package has people entering bizarre numbers into a nationally available data base that would not pass a teacher review board for most state’s seventh grade math test. Their repetition of the same failure to adjust dietary needs to the horses they gather causing 100’s of deaths annually. The practice of stampeding horses in the heat of summer is inhumane to any person with any background in equine science. Throwing in heavily pregnant mares and young foals would qualify as animal cruelty in most territory. They and we know these foals will wear their tender hooves off. The foals feet will bleed and bruise as they flea in sheer terror trying to keep up with their mothers. We know this will happen; the BLM knows it will happen; yet, neither the President, nor our elected representatives (some of them have tried) have stopped this humanitarian tragedy. Why?


  6. No Thanks needed (but always nice) It is my calling and Absolutely MY PLEASURE to prove these “officials” LIARS, THEIVES and KILLERS !!!

    THANK YOU ALL for NEVER giving up the fight !!!!


  7. Brenda Lee suew says:
    June 12, 2011 at 8:38 am
    How dare you presume that you know anything at all about how I live my life or how I make my living! The accusations and insults you are flinging around here are bordering on libel and slander in the pures…t sense of the term!

    I raise BEEF for a living. The last time I sold a horse for ANY REASON was more than 10 years ago. I HAVE SEEN the processing plants with my own eyes. The LAWS ARE IN PLACE AND THEY ARE FOLLOWED FOR ALL SPECIES!!!

    Everything we do is 100% donated and at great personal and economic sacrifice because we are protecting our entire livestock culture from people like YOU who, quite frankly would rather believe the trumped up bullshit of fundraisers than to actually do something to help horses or people! As noted before – further disrespectful and false accusations will be summarily deleted.See More
    Yesterday at 9:56am · LikeUnlike · 1 person


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