Horse Health

International Equine Conference on Equine Welfare and Food Safety

Information provided by the Equine Welfare Alliance

Gathering Plans to Separate Equine Fact from Fiction

Chicago (EWA) – A coalition of animal welfare groups including the Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) and the Animal Law Coalition has announced the first International Equine Conference (IEC) to be held September 26-28 at the Marriott Residence Inn, Old Town Alexandria, Va.

The three day event will feature renowned experts on the welfare and preservation of both domestic and wild equines, legislators and medical experts. Presentations will address many aspects of the field ranging from horse slaughter to wild equine preservation and will include related human and animal health concerns.

“Few subjects have been clouded by so much misinformation as these”, says John Holland of the Equine Welfare Alliance, “We intend to provide a forum where attendees can get a documented, factual understanding of these complex issues.”

Among the many distinguished speakers will be Madeleine Pickens of Saving America’s Mustangs, Senator Mary Landrieu, Congressman Jim Moran, State Senator Dave Wanzenried, Paula Bacon the former mayor of Kaufman, TX, Ann Marini, Ph.D., M.D., Ginger Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation, Michael Blowen of Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Facility, Keith Dane with The Humane Society of the U.S., Lonita Stewart with Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, Katie Fite with Western Watersheds Project and authors Deanne Stillman and Alex Brown. A complete list of the presenters can be viewed at

The conference will also feature two private film screenings for attendees. The sessions are split into horse slaughter, horse industry issues and protections for America’s wild horses and burros as well as in-depth discussions on fertility control.

“With the disinformation campaign being waged by horse slaughter proponents in full swing”, added EWA’s Vicki Tobin, “this is an opportune time to hear from the experts on the dangers to consumers of slaughtering animals that are not raised or regulated as food animals.”

Attendees will also hear a firsthand account of what it is like to live with a horse slaughter plant in your town from Mayor Bacon, and see the documented records of its outrageous pollution. Economics expert Caroline Betts, Ph.D., M.A., will “Demystify” the recent GAO study and explain what it really established and what it did not.

The sponsors and supporters of the conference encourage the public as well as those in the horse industry, to attend and finally hear from the experts the information that separates fact from fiction.

33 replies »

  1. Technically, Janet, the Burns language shouldn’t matter. The EU prohibits all wild equidae meat except zebra meat. If the slaughter thugs followed food safety laws, wild horses are already prohibited from going to slaughter. See third page, third paragraph

    We need to pass S 1176. That’s the only way we are going to end slaughter. As long as we allow horses across the borders, no horse is safe.


    • Question for Vicki or anyone else who can answer this, but I recently received a response from my Representative regarding his votes for wild horses and burros and other equine related issues over the years. In it, he said he supported legislation to essentially nullify the Burns Amendment that seems to have been presented at some time after Congress discovered that it was in the appropriations bill.

      I tried to research this earlier, but could not find enough detail to get a complete picture. What I found was that Senator Byrd had offered up legislation to repeal the slaughter provisions or perhaps the entire amendment—saying he could not imagine why anyone would want to slaughter a beautiful animal like a horse—but the legislation did not get the votes to pass.

      I tried to find something official in the Congressional Record, but I did not know how to research it—no exact dates, no bill numbers, etc. Does anyone have more information?


      • Additional thoughts on the Travesty of the Burns Amendment!

        It DOES matter about the Burns amendment, perhaps not technically within the Slaughter Universe, but in the Universe of Family Band Wisdom. Often the over 10’s have the survival wisdom of the herds. They should be allowed to continue to exist with the herds.

        R.T. I think of your blog as an unending source of inspiration, wisdom, and up to date news. What is more, I think of it as the pot-belly stove at the General Store in the middle of winter, and the village gathering place on long summer evenings. . . a gathering place where all are welcome.


  2. I hope I am not the only one confused about the current horse legislation — there are so many issues to keep up with. Some say pass this, pass that, some way, don’t pass this, don’t pass that!

    Where exactly are we at on all this? Are we still trying to pass the R.O.A.M or is it fatally flawed.


    Also there are other transport bills out there dying on the vine are there not?


    • This might help… I’m tracking all of our legislation that we want passed on my personal website –

      As legislation is introduced, I will add the bill numbers and pertinent info. To date, there has not been anything introduced for our wild ones.

      Another good site is If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to register, vote and comment on our bills. We are holding steady at 75% in support of ending slaughter on S 1176.

      There is also a bill HR 1996 that we DON’T want passed. It is the Government litigation savings act introduced by Lummis in WY. To date, 70% oppose the bill so be sure to vote on that bill as well as the bills listed on my site.

      Popvox is excellent because it gives the demographics of the support and opposition by state and district.


      • Thank you for your summary and description. It comes back to me as memory is jolted! The issues have been put forth and I just need to organize my information and make it a priority!


  3. I think we all need to work for the passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, S.1176, that has been introduced in the Senate. Thurs. I gave Senator Rand Paul ( R-KY) a packet of info on wild horses and horse slaughter. He is very concerned about the budget so maybe we can get him to do something for our wild horses by stressing the millions it is costing to wipe them out. Call D.C. at 202 -224-3121.


  4. Sounds like an excellent conference. I don’t know if I’ll be attending, so I hope that there can be a packet of reference materials available for a certain fee. I think the speakers will say it all. I agree we have a trasnportation bill waiting in the wings, but I am not sure if its still in committee or waiting to come to the floor for a vote. If we were smart we would limit the amount of monies that big business is allowed to give to the Lobbyists. All though the horse industry is
    suffering for the horse owner, there are Demons waiting in the wings to capitalize on this sad state that we are in. They don’t see our horses and other equines and living, breathing and feeling animals, but a means to torture and end their lives in a state less fitting for them.


  5. I think the reason Janet Fergusen and I want the Burn’s Amendment repealed is we want the Sale Authority stopped so our removed captives will no longer be sold to slaughter. I am sure if we get something together and go for this Surely the Community seeking the end of roundups and long term holding will also support the dissolution of the infamous Burn’s Amendment?

    Our wild horses are being sold from these long term holding ranches directly to slaughter. This amendment has created this situation and it could end it if we get it struck down. This is for our captive wild ones. It has only to do with them. Since S 1176 is not passed I feel it is long over due to be rid of the Burn’s amendment. If we had stuck with this a couple years ago we may have succeeded by now. This is VITALLY important in saving captive wild horses from slaughter. This is where people have let the ball drop as we all thought helping the anti slaughter campaign would save the wild ones. So far, not true. This is a separate issue which we should continue to address. We have all been supporting S 1176 while the Burn’s amendment continues to lead our wild ones to slaughter.


    • Actually, wild horses going to slaughter started long before the Burns rider. As I said, wild horses cannot go to slaughter based on EU food safety laws but as we know, this does not stop them. This paper by Valerie James-Patton has documentation dating back to 1994 – long before the Burns rider.

      Click to access A_Slick_in_the_Night_VJP.pdf

      The only way we can stop them is by passing S 1176. Removing the Burns rider will not stop them from going to slaughter. We have to ban horse slaughter to accomplish that.


      • Yes, I know that our wild horses have been going to slaughter steadily, it never ended. The Burn’s amendment seems to have made thousands disappear ‘legally’ in a seemingly discreet manner. We know they are supposed to be protected from this and yet they are being helped to slaughter by this amendment. It is an encouragement that has cost far too many lives. If we can be rid of it I certainly hope the advocacy will help. We are all behind S 1176. Ignoring the Burn’s amendment’s existence is callous on our part. It kills wild horses and says they are no longer wild when they are sold. This is not acceptable to me.


  6. I wonder how “do-able” both issues are:

    banning slaughter (i.e. passing S1176)


    Repeal of the Burns Amendment

    on a scale from 1 to 10?

    If BLM can remove and dispose of the over 10’s from LTH and the roundup pens, it shows a rather hefty hemmorage of free-roaming horses and burros from our Amercian public lands both BLM and other non-BLM herds on public lands.

    As shown, the transporting- over- the- borders- for- horse- slaughter issue addresses all such unlucky horses, domestic as well as the once free-roaming horses and burros of all types. Of those leaving the country for slaughter, there is a staggeringly high percent of healthy domestic-bred and owned horses represented.

    This is clearly an issue of over-breeding more than economic factors (the skew to the younger, healthier population)

    Large horse and vet lobbyists constantly push elected officials to support legislation that would again allow horse slaughter plants to operate legally within US borders.

    If the borders were closed through passage of S1176, the outrage of these lobbyists would create a cacophony and potentially result in re-opening horse slaughtering plants which I do not in any way support.

    IF the Burns Amendment is repealed, and nothing else changes for a long time on the likes of S1176, then the Burns Amendment appeal, alone, would have had a much greater effect on the ability of the free-roaming horses and burros on BLM land to live out their lives.

    I think this is what Mar is trying to point out.


    • This is what I was after when I first came here. I am sorry I dropped the ball on this. As long as we have horses hauled to slaughter the Burn’s amendment helps BLM get rid of the burden of thousands of wild horse captives through Sale Authority and subsequent sale to Kill Buyers. Very direct sale to KB who make up little stories to tell Sally in DC about where the horses are supposedly going.

      For example the slip of BLM tongues last year revealed one of the Sale Authority buyers was wanting to purchase ALL of the adobe Town horses over 10 years in order to plant them on bank repossessed ranches so that Ag. Tax Deferrals could be established for the real estate to help it sell.

      This was a Scheme to Defraud the state of Colorado! This was a ‘buyer above reproach’ according to BLM. This buyer wanted 259 wild horses!!!! This was a Repeat buyer! To put wild horses on ranches to establish a tax deferral. Was this REALLY what was going on? Even if it was what became of all the horses this person had been buying??? Were wild horses being placed all over on private ranches? Isn’t this a little strange? BLM wants fencing and grilled advocates about fencing for Sale Authority horses. Is this man grilled about fencing on each ranch the horses are to be dropped at? Or was this a story to ‘get over’ on BLM asking the one question; “Will you be selling these horses to slaughter?”


      • But if the anti-slaughter bills are passed, the Burns rider is moot. Congress doesn’t seem to want to do anything for the wild horses. As soon as Salazar came out with his Salazoo plan, they droped S 1579 like a hot potato.I haven’t heard of anything in works in the way of legislation for the wild ones.

        I personally would rather see a resolution or legislation introduced that reverts back to the 1971 act as written and intended and require rigid enforcement. It’s a good law and there is no reason to rewrite one. If we can do that, the Burns rider goes away.

        BTW-you may already know this but what Burns did was done at the request of Harry Reid.


      • True, but it has not yet! We want this, of course… but Burn’s could be kicked out and save some lives. That is what I regret… the losses.

        Obama had said he wanted to be rid of riders slipped in with no review. He did throw one out under that Campaign promise, then no more!

        Harry Reid seems to have forgot that Conrad Burns was doing Him the favor on the amendment “to help with a little problem I have” sayeth Harry!

        I like the original FRWH&B Act also. With a fresh application and amendments stripped and real enforcement mandated, it could be a good fit for the future.


      • I’ve always believed the Burn’s garbage was the antithesis to the 1971 Act.

        It was in violation of the Act and in essence, gutted the very protection they were granted. IOW, the Burns poop was illegal because it changed the protections granted in the ACT….can’t have both because they contradict one another.


      • I totally agree, Denise. You can’t have both. BLM favors the amendment and so it ignores the law. That does not work either but they have the upper hand. For now.


      • Agree, Mar. But how many disappear before even getting to the pens? Even with removing the rider, there is no stopping them from selling them. We don’t know how many are in holding and have no way to track horses that go to holding and those that disappear. There should be an on-line database that starts at the round-up. There should be an accounting for every horse removed, deaths, horses moved from one facility to another, etc. The entire program is in such shambles I don’t know how it can even be fixed. It certainly isn’t going to happen with Salazar in office. There are many BLM employees that do not agree with what’s happening but have no voice to change anything. They take orders or lose their jobs.

        At least we have legislation pending to end slaughter. We need to work it hard and do the same, if and when, something is introduced for our wild ones. The whole thing is just disgusting and all roads lead to allowing the slaughter of US horses. They whine about the cost of holding and then keep rounding them up. They are purposely creating a crises and I think we all know what the solution will be. When they say humane euthanasia by AVMA guidelines, that means the captive bolt.

        Speaking of AVMA, they are taking comments on their 2011 euthanasia guidelines through Sept 1. We need them to remove the captive bolt. It is not euthanasia. Euthanasia comes from Greek words meaning good death. The bolt is designed to stun, not kill thus not providing any kind of death, let alone good death. The only acceptable use on horses should be If the horses circulatory system is compromised making humane euthanasia by chemicals not practical and not being able to end the horses life by gun shot. Laura Allen has an article here –


      • Vicki, I just ache to do record keeping on the wild horses. Big Irony! Everything we would do, BLM does Not do!!

        Yes, this is a crises they created and have not the ability to change directions. Government does not slow or stop or change very well. Too much overhead.

        I don’t like this captive bolt info one bit. Euthanasia is not a stun gun.

        My fear is that there will not be enough hay this winter for all the captives and they will get into rough shape and then BLM will want to kill them. Many sources of hay were below normal or unproductive this summer from heat and drought. BLM needs to account for hay stores for this winter and prove to us our captives will be fed and not in danger.


  7. There is A LOT to keep organized. That was one of Wild Horse Annie’s strong suits. She was an EXCELLENT secretary.


    • You said we need a fund to get people there. If someone ‘out here’ West of Denver, has a bus we can pick up people and drive out; $250. round trip, no less than 5 people and we should be able to bring a couple dozen and have money left over for rooms!


      • If everybody started tomorrow, on the Greyhound Bus Lines, they might get to Alexandria by the night before the conference!

        Your bus idea — what about relay drivers, with increasingly larger vehicles? lol
        The first guy leaves their car at garage of the second guy, etc., until one person is hauling everybody into VA…reverse the process on the way back! You have to get yourself to a “stop” on the relay in order to travel with the Equine Express. So that means parking places where vehicles will be safe to be left.


  8. I think I commented way before the rest of the dialogue…it hadn’t started yet. Serious stuff, here. A comprehensive game plan is needed that attacks both the Burns ammendment and the slaughter…both need to go….I think.
    Perhaps something will come from this conference. There are so many wanting to help, but don’t have much experience and not sure of what to do or how to go at it. When we have guidelines to follow and a “to do” list every day, we can start to get REALLY organized.


  9. For the record, I agree with Vickie that our best bet as advocates is to support the SB 1176. Horse slaughter is a horrible fate for any horse whether it has been born in the wild or in captivity. SB1176 would create more protections for both wild and domestic horses. Moreover, we are likely to get more support by educating the public at large on the evils of slaughter for all horses, rather than the particular set of evils that are associated with wild horses.

    Furthermore, SB 1176 is already in committee. It has a strong set of sponsors. Personally, I like the makeup of the committee that will hold hearings on this bill. I think that all horses in the United States will be further head if we support SB 1176 and give it our utmost effort.

    Will it mean that no more US horses will ever be slaughtered? No. But it will make it illegal, and therefore, a lot more difficult to get away with. It will raise the stakes significantly.

    However, he who must not be named running the chamber of secrets (my apologies to J.K. Rowling) is worth watching during the process.


  10. Regarding SB 1579 or the ROAM Act, it did not make it to the Senate until August 2009. It made it through two readings in committe, but its sponsor, Senator Byrd became seriously ill and died that fall. That is what happened to ROAM. it may have died in committee anyway, but it doesn’t help to have the bill’s sponsor die.

    One of the issues I hope is discussed at the conference is alternatives to the BLM as the government’s manager for wild horses. I think we could find sponsors and get the bill passed in the House again, but is this what we want? We have gathered so much information since 2008 when this bill began its legislative journey that demonstrate over and over again that the BLM does not have the best interests of the horses at heart—in fact appears to have no heart at all for the wild ones.

    I don’t have an answer, but I am willing to listen and learn. If we can come to a consensus about this, then we can use the ROAM Act as a model and prepare a preliminary draft for a sponsor.


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