Overview of the American Equine Summit

Story by  as posted on Huffington Post Green

Pro-Horse Proponents Prove Their Point Against Horse Slaughter

Issues and initiatives covered at the 2012 American Equine Summit this past weekend at a horse welfare education center in Chatham, NY, ranged from developing a tactical agenda to persuading Congress to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, to Paula Bacon’s recounting of her successful effort to shut down the Dallas Crown horse slaughterhouse when she was mayor of Kaufman, Texas. Over 100 horse advocates convened, coming from as far as California and Texas, to as close as the next hamlet over.

The stories — most had heard similar before — were accompanied by documenting photographs and videos. In a single photograph or video, the claim that captive-bolt horse slaughter is humane is refuted. In fact, the most conclusive photos (please heed warnings, photos and videos are graphic) were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and were taken at American slaughterhouses prior to their closure in 2007. (Federal legislation was passed and signed in November 2011 that enables the reopening of horse slaughterhouses in the United States.)

Much time during the two days was spent examining the allegations of horse slaughter proponents — that the conditions for horses in America have declined since domestic slaughter was banned, because a surplus of horses has resulted, they claim. In fact, roughly the same number of horses have been exported annually to Canada and Mexico for slaughter that were being slaughtered prior to the shutdown of domestic slaughterhouses. Unfortunately for American, Canadian and Mexican horses, the big-ag industries of horse slaughter in Canada and Mexico are as inhumane as in the U.S..

John Holland of the Equine Welfare Alliance, using public data, plotted the number of horses going to slaughter (spanning years including both domestic and cross-border), reported cases of horse abuse and the unemployment rate. Looking at the following chart, the relationship between horse abuse and unemployment in this snapshot of the American heartland of Illinois is clear.

Paula Bacon, the fifth-generation, former mayor of Kaufman, TX, where Dallas Crown operated for over 20 years, outlined the harm that the slaughterhouse inflicted upon her community, including serial environmental violations, litigiousness, no overall contribution to the tax-base and a booming crime rate. In 2006, when the Dallas Crown slaughterhouse was in full swing the crime rate was 331.8 per 100,000 residents, in 2007 when the plant shut down the rate was 314.6, in 2008 with no slaughterhouse operating in the community, the rate was 173.3; the crime rate has decreased slightly since then.

Rock impresario and Live Nation chief Ron Delsener and former Congressman John Sweeney called the assembled group to take the issue to Congress in an organized and funded manner. Just like the “Big Ag” backed opposition to the federal ban of horse slaughter, a constant presence in the halls of Congress will eventually bring the slaughter prevention legislation to a vote in both houses.

The front man for the pro-slaughter lobby is 70-year-old, former Texas Congressman Charles Stenholm, who is now a Senior Policy Advisor at the Washington D.C. lobbying and law firm Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC, that describes its sphere of influence, “At OFW Law, we have daily contact with agencies throughout the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Our attorneys and Senior Policy Advisors have worked with officials in, and have themselves served at, the highest levels of the Department.”

Talking about his work in returning domestic horse slaughter, Stenholm was quoted on April 2, 2012, at length in the Abilene Reporter News, outlining that he is “currently working with the Appropriations Committee to make sure they keep a rider off new farm policy…”

To counter the entrenched relationships that Stenholm and his ilk access in Congress, participants at the American Equine Summit agreed that there are challenges ahead. On their side is the knowledge that a recent independent poll confirmed that the majority of Americans are against the slaughter of horses for human consumption.

A February 2012 statement from the ASPCA says:

The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced in a newly released poll conducted by Lake Research Partners that 80 percent of American voters are opposed to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption. The nationwide survey reveals that Americans oppose horse slaughter overwhelmingly regardless of their gender, political affiliation, whether they live in an urban or rural area, or their geographic location. Further, it confirms that a vast majority of horse owners are also against the slaughtering of our nation’s equines.

Now, the challenge is to induce Congress to listen to the will of its constituents, rather than the dulcet tones of agri-industry contributors loosening the purse strings of their campaign coffers.

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  1. Excellent effort, everyone!

    Now, why does OUR side have this info and the nincompoops at GAO NOT include it in the pile of poop that they got paid by us/US by request of stallers in Congress??????

    Bought and paid for weenies (btw…GAO got paid 2x’s….taxpayers AND special interests…how many will leave GAO and get industry or legislative jobs?????).


  2. Today I watched Up with Chris Heyes on MSNBC. The first half may be boring, but the second half was about civil disobedience, Tim DeChristopher and “pink slime”.

    I will see if the show is up on the net yet, but in the meantime, everyone needs to read Mr DeChristopher’s speech to the judge at his sentencing. Remember this is about public lands, BLM, civil disobedience and the corrupt auction process that is probably at the heart of our wild equines’ problems and murder. Yes, it is long. Read more of DeChristopher’s situation on google or at the link here:


    This guy and his supporters and orgs are fighting the very same thing we are. The corruption is STAGGERING and involves the Koch wieners, err Brothers to boot. It is the process of these corrupt auctions that are killing our wildlife and waters.


    • Thanks for this very informative comment. I will try to watch it later this weekend. I have been so disheartened over the equine slaughter issue. If this issue gets turned around in favor of our horses and our land then some of my faith in the American public will be restored for sure. Thank all of you who have had the time and resources to partake in reversing this crime against our land, and most of all the beautiful, majestic animals that call it home.


      • Thank you for your kind comments. The link I posted is Mr DeChristopher’s allowed statement at his sentencing. That is available on the link/net site I provided. You can read it anytime. But it will take time and I’ve had to read and reread it several times.

        Remember this is a gross example of the lies, deception and deceit that is BLM, DOI, the government and how important civil disobedience is. BTW, supporters came up with the 1 mil+ dollars to pay for the leases at auction he won. I can’t tell in a short post how sick this system is (especially the Kochs).

        I will try to find the show on MSNBC that is viewable. In the meantime, read his statement. Learn about the charges and extreme punishment the government…OUR GOVERNMENT handed out to him, but not to the price fixing the Koch’s did or other auction bidders that couldn’t cough up the cash….they walked away free……sick, just sick.


    • Denise, that was worth every second spent reading the long statement. It proves how low our government has sunk. To send Tim DeC.. to jail for two years for attrending an auction that was later deemed illegal, and sentencing him for actually bidding, while the big corporations who were trying to buy OUR public land for a pittance went scott free is just horrendous. Last I read Tim had been moved from his low security holding place to a strict small cell like prison at the request of an “un-named Congressman.”


      • Pretty disgusting, isn’t it?

        And Slaughterczar cancelled or voided many of the winning bids at that auction and the crooks got a freebie do-over.

        Remember, these leases are what is driving off our wild equines, checkerboarding their lands and the sucking up of water rights.


      • Fortunately enough supporters raised enough noise, that Tim has been moved back to minimum security. It’s a chess game folks and we MUST MAKE ENOUGH NOISE to get the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act PASSED.


    • I’m so glad you discovered Tim DeChristopher, Denise. He is a true American hero!

      His case is a perfect example, as you say, of what we are up against: pillaging, looting, polluting of our land, air, water, and wildlife, and of every citizen’s ability to exercise his freedom and legal rights.

      I was dismayed when Tim’s case got so little mainstream press coverage before, during and after his sentencing. But there were a few excellent op-eds, which I collected, and they include:

      ~ http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-yarrow-oil-leases-20110726,0,7950599.story

      ~ by the incredible Chris Hedges: http://www.truth-out.org/hero-didnt-stand-chance/1308576124

      Yes, please, Denise, let us know when the MSNBC show is posted. Thank you!


  3. What’s more dangerous than a rotten, crooked politician? One that retires and becomes a lobbyist. One would think that at age 70, someone would start thinking a little less about money and power and a little more about making the world a better place. But what do I know?


    • What’s worse than a rotten, crooked politician? A rotten, corrupted, special interest government.

      That means there are many more rotten politicians that can pool their power based on payout, profit and reward versus representing the greater good and citizens in that democracy.


  4. It’s about time Mr Stemholm left the dance. He is 70 years old, wouldn’t he like to do something more with his life than see our Magnificient Horses go to slaughter? Great summit, I wish I could have attended. Too bad one of these summits could not be held in the Chicago area. It seems the midwest is central to everyone. However, Washington, D.C. is the hub of all our political actions. Its time to have a MASS RALLY, I haven’t heard anything about the Million Horse March which I thought was to take place in July,. I for one would like to be a part of this, but last minute arragements are sometimes too hard..Please post if anyone knows any more about this. I cherish all the Legislators who are Champions for our Equine Friends..However, there are always those low life Legislators who do their dirty work in the late of the night and out of sight of the other Legislators. I think they should pass something in Congress that would totally negate things like this that our done without the others knowledge..However, I don’t understand why the fellow who voted against leaving the language out did not spill the beans. At least he had the decency to vote No. It appears to be just a game to many Congressional Members while it jeopardizes the lives of our horses that we love.


    • I’m sure everyone’s head is nodding in agreement at your comments, Gail.

      In my previous comment, I forgot to thank everyone who participated in the Chatham, NY, conference, including former NY Congressman John Sweeney. I remember when he was the sponsor of our bills that attempted to shut down this wretched industry. It’s heartening that we still have legislators in D.C. who dare defend our equines — Rep. Moran being a stellar example.


  5. The slaughter of the horses is a way of continuing to avoid accepting moral responsibility for the lives of these magnificent animals. I explain in biological detail in my book The Wild Horse Conspiracy just why the captive bolt method of killing these animals doesn’t work and results in excruciating deaths. This is available on http://www.amazon.com Happy Easter everyone!


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