Media Update: Horse Slaughter Debate Comes to PBS/NPR Radio on Friday

Horse Slaughter for Food
“Sound Off with Sasha”
On Public Broadcasting
Fridays at 12 Noon ET, on WGCU*WMKO 90.1*91.7 FM
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Natural Product?

Horses are an important part of our history…We built a Nation on their back…conquered and tilled the land with them, fought and won wars with them, created the first postal and transportation system with them.  —   Are we now going to slaughter them for foreign consumption?
            Discussing the plight of horses and the legislation regarding horse slaughter, are:
  • Madeleine Pickens,  Philanthropist Businesswoman, dedicated to protect wild Mustangs, by creating an eco-sanctuary that would be good for horses, taxpayers, and a boost for tourism in Nevada
  • Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, taking a leading role in animal protection, and law reform that  targeting inhumane practices
  • R.T. Fitch, Co-founder and President of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation and the author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart: A Spiritual Ride through Love, Loss and Hope
  • Rep. Sue Wallis, Wyoming State Legislator, a proponent and advocate for Horse Slaughter plants, that will end unnecessary pain and suffering for abandoned, starving horses, being processed under the U.S. Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.  The plants will create jobs, and increase revenue for the community. She estimates between 120,000 to 200,000 horses will be killed annually for human consumption .
We invite your questions and comments:
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Gathering Calls for Congressional Horse Slaughter Ban

by: Pat Raia from the pages of

Children’s Pro-Horse Letter Writing Campaign Deemed Success in DC

Jo-Claire and John Corcoran from EWA, Declan Gregg from Children4Horses and R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation deliver Pro-Horse/Anti-Slaughter Children's letters in Washington ~ photo by Terry Fitch

A New Hampshire boy, toting more than 1,000 letters from other children joined representatives from three equine welfare advocacy groups and a Virginia Congressman in Washington, D.C., this week to urge federal lawmakers to ban the processing of horses for human consumption.

Horse slaughter has not taken place in the United States since 2007, but processing again became possible in November when President Barack Obama signed a federal funding bill that did not contain language specifically denying the USDA funds for horse processing plant inspections. Since then, processing plants have been proposed for Missouri and Oregon, but plants have yet been established.

On March 27 Virginia Congressman Jim Moran, representatives from the Equine Welfare Alliance and the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, and 9-year-old Declan Gregg called on Congress to reinstate the funding ban on USDA horse processing plant inspections. Gregg carried more than 1,000 letters opposing horse process written by children and submitted to Gregg though the Children4Horses campaign launched earlier this year on Gregg’s website. The letters were later submitted to Congress members.

During the press conference Gregg said he and the other children who submitted letters opposed horse processing on humane grounds: “I think horse slaughter is inhumane, cruel, and unnecessary. Horses and all animals should be treated with love and respect.”

Moran, who unsuccessfully attempted to retain the defunding language in the budget bill, expressed food safety concerns specifically presence of chemical substances, such as the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone, horsemeat may contain.

Moran also expressed animal welfare concerns over horse processing, and said that opposition to U.S. horse processing is widespread among Americans.

“When 80% of the American public opposes this practice, congressional leaders have a responsibility to listen to the people,” he said.

In response to the press conference, Wyoming Rep. Sue Wallis, CEO of Unified Equine (the company planning to establish a horse processing plant in Missouri) said that defunding USDA horse processing plant inspections has not prevented U.S. horses from being sent to slaughter. Instead the ban caused those horses to be shipped to Canada and Mexico for processing, she said.

“If (horses) are processed in regulated and inspected facilities inside the U.S. under our Humane Methods of Slaughter laws, they are guaranteed handling with a minimum of stress and an instantaneous end,” Wallis said.

Wallis suggested that processing opponents should consider working “collaboratively with the industry worldwide to find the best practices and the humane handling systems, to ensure that all horses–even those that aren’t somebody’s back yard pet or useful work or breeding animal–are handled appropriately from birth to death.”

BLM Seeks Bids for New Type of Contracts to Remove Protected Wild Horses for Replacement with Private Cattle on Pubic Lands

Public lands held by the National Forest Servi...

Public lands held by the National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management in the Western US. Data from (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unedited Press release from the Bureau of Land Management,
Release Date: 03/28/12
Contact: Heather Emmons, 775-861-6594

BLM Seeks Bids for New Type of Contracts for Wild Horse and Burro Management

As part of its responsibility to manage and protect wild horses and burros, the Bureau of Land Management, in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service (FS), is soliciting bids for several contracts that will help manage wild horses and burros located across the western United States.  The contracts are for a new bait trapping method that is intended to relieve areas of excess wild horses and burros where helicopter drive trapping is not an effective method.  The bids are the first of their kind, in that they involve six zones across the West, with a potential for multiple contractors simultaneously bait trapping animals over an extended period of time.

Bait trapping is not a new method of gathering animals for the BLM; it has been implemented in areas where timeliness is not an issue, as bait trapping usually occurs over several weeks or months, and in locations where BLM personnel can easily monitor the progress from their duty locations.  Many times it occurs in areas where water is already scarce and the animals are lured by the water provided, or in areas where a helicopter cannot easily move the animals out of densely wooded areas.  Bait trapping involves capturing wild horses and burros by setting up panels and using food, water, salt or sexual attraction (a mare in heat) to lure animals into a trap.  Allowing contractors to execute the bait trapping over lengthy amounts of time in a variety of locations simultaneously, however, is a new strategy for the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.

“The BLM is committed to continuously improving its management of wild horses and burros,” said BLM Wild Horse and Burro Division Chief Joan Guilfoyle.  “Deploying this new method of bait trapping enhances our ability to gather animals more effectively in certain areas of the West, while minimizing the impact to the animals.”

The concept of the contract is not to capture large numbers of wild horses and burros in a short period of time, but rather to capture smaller numbers over a long period of time.  A benefit is that it reduces the impact to the BLM’s holding facilities—instead of large horse gathers with hundreds or thousands of animals entering the facilities at one time, this type of management involves very small amounts of animals trickling into facilities over a longer period of time.  Each contract is from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013, with an option for four additional one-year periods.

The work consists of the capture, care and transportation of wild horses and /or burros from Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.  It requires work to be accomplished in a safe and humane manner during all phases of the operation, including capture, handling and transport.  The contract is not set up for holding wild horses and burros for any length of time, but to have the wild horses and burros shipped to BLM facilities as soon as possible.  The contracts involve setting up a trap, capturing wild horses and burros and shipping them to the BLM preparation facilities.  The capture, care and handling must be completed by those who are knowledgeable and experienced about the behavior and trapping of equines.

The zones are determined by the location of FS territories, BLM herd management areas and proximity to BLM preparation facilities.  The goal is to employ contractors who live around the area where the wild horses and burros are located, so that they have short travel times from one trap area to another or to the BLM facility.  There can be more than one contract per zone and one contractor can bid on more than one zone.

The BLM’s bidding requirements are posted in solicitation L12PS00229, the details of which are available at  To obtain the solicitation: (1) click on “Search Public Opportunities”; (2) under Search Criteria, select “Reference Number”; (3) put in the solicitation number (L12PS00229); and (4) click “Search” and the solicitation information will appear.  The solicitation form describes what to submit and where to send it.  Applicants must be registered at to be considered for a contract award.

The BLM and FS manage wild horses and burros as part of their overall multiple-use missions.  Under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM and FS manage and protect these living symbols of the Western spirit while ensuring that population levels are in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses.

To make sure that healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands, the BLM must remove thousands of animals from the range each year to control the size of herds, which have virtually no predators and can double in population every four years.  The current free-roaming population of BLM-managed wild horses and burros is 38,500, which exceeds by nearly 12,000 the number determined by the BLM to be the appropriate management level.  Off the range, there are more than 47,000 wild horses and burros cared for in either short-term corrals or long-term pastures.   All these animals, whether on or off the range, are protected by the BLM under the 1971 law.

For a map of proposed bait-trap zones, visit