Horse News

“Unwanted Horse” Producer Pfizer Sponsors Teleconference to Promote Compromised GAO Report

Press Release from The Equine Welfare Alliance

Smell of Scandal in the Air

Chicago (EWA) – A long overdue Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the effect of closing the US horse slaughter plants is scheduled for release on Wednesday, June 22. Although the report’s contents are to be kept confidential until released,  slaughter supporters have been indicating for months that they were leaked the report and have now orchestrated an “Unwanted Horse” teleconference late in the day of the release presumably to promote the report’s findings.

The teleconference, called “Ask a Vet” is being presented by The Horse, the magazine of the American Veterinary Medical Association, a long term supporter of horse slaughter, and features veterinarian Tom Lenz the former Chair of the American Horse Council‘s “Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC)”. The UHC, supposedly founded to propose solutions to the excess horse problem, has instead concentrated on promoting the phrase “unwanted horse” to take the focus off of over production, which slaughter actually encourages, and imply slaughter horses are somehow unusable except as meat.

Pfizer Pharmaceuticals sponsoring a teleconference on solutions to the “unwanted horse” problem is beyond brazen. Pfizer owns Wythe Pharmaceuticals, the producer of a line of hormone replacement therapy drugs made from pregnant mare urine and is one of the largest producers of excess, poorly bred and untrained foals in North America.

Every year, Wythe contracts farms to breed tens of thousands of mares so that their urine can be collected to make the drugs. Not only does this process create thousands of excess foals, the drug was found to have devastating health effects on women during a 2002 study by the National Institutes of Health. The company responded by diluting the drug and renaming it.

Viewed as a tactic to stall legislation to ban horse slaughter, the report was requested by Congressional Senate members opposing a ban in the 111th Congress (2009-2010). Slaughter opponents point out that the closings did not reduce the number of American horses being slaughtered, and therefore could not have affected the horse industry. USDA statistics show the same numbers of horses being bought for slaughter at US auctions now as before the closings, with the only difference being where they are slaughtered.

It was a rude surprise when horse slaughter lobbyist Charles Stenholm spoke at a January conference to promote horse slaughter and strongly hinted that the report would be good for their position. This was followed in a letter sent to all members of Congress by slaughter promoter, Sue Wallis, in which she begged members to delay any votes until the GAO report was released.

When Steve Long, editor of Horseback Magazine, inquired to the GAO about the leak, he was told they were aware the report had leaked, but that he could not see it until the June 22nd. This was almost immediately followed by a denial of the leak from a higher official.

Long told EWA, “It was astonishing that the top press flak at GAO was so unsophisticated he denied his own spokesperson confirmed there was a leak. Generally Washington spokesmen are much more savvy than that and know many reporters tape interviews.”

Executives of the EWA and Animal Law Coalition provided information to the GAO lead investigator Terry Horner, but when rumors of the leaks emerged, EWA’s John Holland found Horner had effectively disappeared. “Email to Mr. Horner went unanswered, and when I tried to call his office I was given a message that he would be unavailable until June. In June calls resulted in a message that the number was unassigned even though it was still in the directory”, said Holland.

The GAO has maintained a reputation for independence and fairness, making the leaking of the report and the implied bias of those who prepared it a potential scandal.

24 replies »

  1. I don’t know the laws that govern this level of government (are there any??) Is this leak illegal similar to insider trading? To me it amounts to the very same financial possibilities that insider trading gives. The dark side are able to have back room talks where they too can spread the contents of the report while we flounder in the dark guessing what is in the report.

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  2. Time to boycott Pfizer Pharmaceuticals!

    I was deeply involved with the Premarin issue and there is a movie titled Look Into Their Eyes, You Have a Choie…….Horses Don’t.

    This video esposed the tragic story of the mares and their foals.

    This was produced by United Animal Nations, http://www.uan.org

    This video needs to be posted and shared .

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      • Honestly, wouldn’t the world be a better place WITHOUT 62 year old men, driving around in classic cars trolling the highways and byways with a 72 hour erection?

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      • Now be careful you could go blind on this stuff, just kidding. This company should faze out the estrogen crap when soy plant can be adapted to do the job better without the side effects.

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      • And you don’t own a classic car do you?

        Maybe your this guy’, maybe not because this bonehead (pardon the pun) doesn’t seem to realize that he has 4×4 on that truck:

        http://www.viagra.com/viagra-tv-commercial.aspx

        The blogs, even COTH and mustang car clubs are having a field day with this one. Very funny stuff.

        If the link doesn’t work, just go to the Pfizer viagra website (www.viagra.com) and click on latest commercials “Stuck”….so many jokes, so little time.

        And you realize I was joking with that first reply…right?

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  3. I’ve actually seen how bad GAO can be watching parties involved in an investigation unrelated to ag, equines, etc. And talk about dragging the process out! After a while it seemed that the GAO had one mission: they were told to do everything possible to get findings on some people that were following regs thereby cutting certain special interests (gov’t and private sector) out of the contract and turf control “gravy train. GAO never won, but the pain and hell they caused went on for many, many months. Then they’d come back 12-18 months later….in the meantime they’d throw IGs and other audits at these people. It was depressing, costly and outrageous.

    Sorry, but GAO AND internal/external IGs AND Dept of Justice have fallen off my “high regard for intergrity” horizon.

    This mess smells and looks even worse. Can anyone say, Conflict Of Interest”?

    God help the equines.

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    • Haven’t they though! I’m beginning to wonder if there is anything on the up and up in our govt. anymore.

      I formally requested an investigation of leaks to be used to influence legislation. So far, nothing, and I don’t expect anything. I just HAD to try.

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  4. And I’m sure that Pfizer is working with the horse killers to make drugs that will be acceptable for the horse slaughter regulations. Do we really think they are not trying to get around our argument of toxic meat? I’m guessing not! They need an outlet for their castoffs and horse slaughter is their way to make some money back on them. We need to do more now why we still can.

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  5. The studies that have to be done to prove a drug is safe for a species of meat animal are extremely costly. I can’t see Pfizer going to the expense of proving a drug safe for horse meat, unless they are going to profit from all the horse owners who would then opt for that drug so their horses would be eligible for slaughter. Don’t see that happening any time soon.

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    • Diana,
      Thanks, that sound plausible but I still would put nothing past them. I know it takes a lot to get drugs out to the public but it sure makes me nervous when I see animal drug makers making deals with the “DEVIL”.

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  6. The Prempro and Premarin issue totally made me sick. There were two gals in California that spent their time saving the horses that were a result of this torture. They took some of
    the mares and foals. She put an email out and was bringing 76 Appy mares in foal and I just happened to read her website. She had no idea where she was going to put them, but
    knew she was going to save them. I called the Appaloosa Horse Club and they were wonderful. They took all the info from me and within a matter of hrs put an email blast out. At the end of the day all mares had prospective homes. A friend of mine called me and sent me a copy of email. These mares and their babies were saved.However, other mares and foals not so. I just can’t stand to think about what we do to these lovely creatures. When I went to my doctor, I asked her if she prescribed either of the above. When I gave her the documentation regarding the products, she was appaulled and she was going to pass this on to some of her other collegues. Its sad that as educated as they are, they have no idea how or where some of these products are made. She assured me that this is something that she did not want her patients taking. In fact, she thanked me. The plant sources are 100% better. The GAO issue in my way of thinking is definitely a CONFLICT OF INTEREST. When it involves anything other than the horses, people are quick to file complaints and
    arrest people. Whe all need to keep contacting these agencies and complain about the
    way they are doing business.

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  7. You know, it really doesn’t much matter if PMU production is in Canada or America. The fact that it’s still around, period, is the problem!! I already went through menopause, & I dealt with it, naturally, just like my grandmother & all the women before her time did. Women from long ago must have been a lot stronger & tougher than women today, they managed without hormone replacement, because they didn’t have it, they didn’t miss it! When I first heard about this, I was mortified, appalled, & sick to my stomach, then, I got mad!! I would rather die than to use something so vile, that causes so much pain, discomfort, suffering & death, to so many innocent, helpless horses. Since these are among the places that cause so many “unwanted, excess” horses, why aren’t they being shut down, EVERYWHERE!! THEY are contributing to this “problem”, they are causing it along with countless other greedy, irresponsible breeders, corporations, etc., etc. They ALL need to be out of “business”, permanently!! And, America, as well as other countries, should have more equine shelters, not just sanctuaries, available, to help these animals either find new homes, or have a safe place to retire, in peace!!

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  8. I just got off the phone with GAO. I was asked what laws or policies were violated. I asked them to send me a copy of their policies and related laws. At one point, I just said, “I do not know if any policies were violated; however, at the very least, there are ethical questions involved. The voice said, ” but how does that affect the company?”. The company, I thought then asked,”which company? Her reply was the GAO. I responded that I thought the impact on the company could be significant because the public relies on the GAO for fair, unbiased information, and if someone with GAO is aligned with someone in the pro-slaughter movement, it would appear that GAO has compromised it’s standing with the public.

    I was asked a number of detailed questions as I should have been for making the report. If you decide to pursue this avenue regarding the leaked document, have your facts and sources together.

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  9. Also regarding the antislaughter legislation in the Senate, I think it would be most helpful if we all called, faxed, or emailed our Senators and asked them to sign on as co-sponsors of this bill. The American Horse Council and other segments of Ag agencies are pro-slaughter. So our Senators will get some push from states where equine industries are big. I have read that there are already 16 co-sponsors of this bill. It would be a very powerful statement for our equine friends, both wild and domestic, if our senators stood up for this legislation. Indeed, it might take something like this to get the bill through the Senate.

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    • There is a new site connected to Washington Watch called POPVOX where everyone can go to speak their mind about bills, etc. S. 1176 is trending high, and WE are ahead 71% to 29%! Here is the link http://pvox.co/RCNE8q

      You can also leave a comment that will be sent on to your Senators if you want it to. You can also get a widget for your webpage. Let’s make SURE we stay on top!

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  10. Some of you don’t really know the facts about Premarin. I had a partial thyroidectomy and must replace by medication. I have NO choice. The only stable medication for this problem is Premarin. The others are too unstable. They might be fine for some conditions, but NOT if you have a thyroidectomy or partial. It isn’t the medication that is the problem here, it is the treatment of the horses.

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    • Actually, Premarin IS dangerous for people with estrogen driven ovarian cancer, or those at risk. But, if that;s what you have to have, it certainly isn’t your fault. Sure wish they would come up with something that didn’t involve horses – or any other animal as far at that goes.

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  11. Since Lenz left the Unwanted Horse Coalition, there has been less about slaughter and greater focus on prevention. To the organization’s credit, they have given grants to rescues to hold free gelding clinics, I know two were held late last year in my area alone. While it has an unfortunate name, what I have seen from the organization is a reduction of breeding focus this past year. Not that I’m defending previous positions the organization has held, but so far, it’s the only organization I’ve seen that has been helping to fund these clinics which are a step in the right direction.

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  12. GAO is incredibly biased and the conflict of interest just destroys their credibility. If they ever had any. Independent research has simply fallen off the face of the earth. If we had independent research it would cut through the crap like an axe. This is entrenched government. These people need to be put out to pasture. Agency hiring could be a blessing to us all if the deck was not always stacked in one direction or another. Ethics were so important until the 90s and then they staggered and fell out of favor. Ethical conduct is not wanted in government management. Does it cost too much? I think so. Cutting corners and making do from the inside doesn’t cut it with us. In the long run the messes we see created from the conflicts of interest and the unethical behavior cost us more than a good unbiased, independent study would have. It is all out of whack. Re-hire government. Get the managers gone and start over. They are ruining this country with non-science and poor performance standards. This is another shameful product that was doomed before it began.

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