Horse News

Politics & Ranching Interests Will Overshadow Art at the 2016 Equus Film Festival

Guest OpEd by Susan Wagner, President, Equine Advocates

“Why did the organizers of the Equus Film Festival allow such a huge horse slaughter proponent who chairs and helps fund a pro-horse slaughter organization come on as its main sponsor?”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

For a horse lover, film buff and native New Yorker like myself, what better experience could there possibly be than to see movies about horses at a film festival in one of the greatest cities in the world?

After all, New York is home to the world-renowned Tribeca Film Festival, as well as many others presented throughout the state, including the Chatham and Woodstock Film Festivals. All are celebrations of the art of film making and premier many future award-winning movies before they are in general release.

Sadly, the Equus Film Festival which runs from November 17th to November 20th in New York City has proven that it is clearly not in the same league with the others I mentioned or with the majority of film festivals that take place throughout the U.S. and Canada every year.

I and many other horse and film lovers will be boycotting this event for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the 2016 Equus Film Festival is being sponsored by the pro-horse slaughter, pro-puppy mill and anti-animal lobbying group, Protect the Harvest.

The chairman and founder of Protect the Harvest is oilman and rancher, Forrest Lucas, owner of Lucas Oil. He recently said of his group, “…we’re out here organized…” and “…we need to get horse slaughter back.”

President-Elect Donald Trump has Lucas on his short list for Secretary of the Interior. According to Politico, that prospect is being strongly condemned by environmental activists as well as animal advocates.

It seems Lucas has become involved in film to help promote his pro-horse slaughter/anti-animal agendas, as in his world, it appears that animals are definitely not sentient beings. Politico also reported that Lucas financed and produced a film called, “The Dog Lover,” which the news agency said, “…portrays dog breeders and puppy mills as being unfairly targeted by animal rights groups. The movie was backed by Protect the Harvest.”

Lucas also funded the new Sharon Stone feature film, “Running Wild” which will premier at the festival. The film has been widely criticized by horse advocates as it is being promoted by “horse slaughter pushers” intent on rebuilding equine slaughterhouses all across America. One of them is Dave Duquette, a close colleague of the late Wyoming state representative, “Slaughterhouse Sue” Wallis who dedicated her life to bringing horse slaughter back to the U.S. Duquette and Lucas are allies with the same deadly agenda for horses. Duquette was photographed on the set of “Running Wild,” posing for pictures with its star, Sharon Stone.

If Lucas gets into any position of power, horse slaughter will surely be back in this country with a vengeance. As Interior Secretary, he would oversee the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and America’s remaining wild horse and burro herds. He could condemn the 44,000 captured wild horses being held in long-term holding facilities to death. (These animals should be released back on the range.) Earlier this year, all except one member of the BLM Advisory Board voted to kill the horses but strong public outcry prevented that from happening and forced the agency to change course.

Why did the organizers of the Equus Film Festival allow such a huge horse slaughter proponent who chairs and helps fund a pro-horse slaughter organization come on as its main sponsor? With all the great companies out there that fund film festivals and the arts, how and why was Protect the Harvest given the opportunity to invade an animal-loving city like New York, using this film festival to further its pro-horse slaughter agenda?

What the Equus Film Festival organizers have done is extremely unfair to the legitimate filmmakers who worked long and hard to get their films ready for this event. Instead of this being an upbeat celebration of the Horse and serious discussion of equine issues, it will be marred by a pro-horse slaughter theme.

New York City is no place for this kind of politically-biased “film festival.” I’m staying home and watching “Black Beauty” instead.

17 replies »

  1. The Film Festival is Directly linked to Dave Duquette via Protect the Harvest who will be set up there. They will propaganda. Please read this item of brainwashing lunicy as well. They are attempting to infiltrate new arenas to support horse slaughter. Someone should have a Booth with the SAFE ACT on it RIGHT NEXT TO THEM!!!!!


    • If theres anyone who can and time to put up SAFE ACT support signs and can get approval this late its needs to be there. In fat SAFE ACT signs brochures and people Need to be at Every major function. Weve been missing prime opportunities to spread the truth. ANYONE?


      • Oh And I have a Promotional Idea forustamgs er Wild Horses. A Brochure AND billboards should be printed that advertise Wild Horses can DO ANYTHING A quarter Horse can Do! Some positive publicity for wild ones. Those who talk the talk we need it in print for Adopters to see! Tshirts etc. I thought about this for A very long time. I think a positive campaign is Required. Oh and Sue Humphries while your trolling without typing comments be very aware we know your reading this.


      • I don’t know who the organizers are of this event but they seemed very naive to the anger voiced by horse advocates on their facebook page. If they were truly informed about all things equine then they would have known about who is against all things equine. Well the good news is maybe the carriage horse activitists can leave the carriage horse drivers alone while this is going on to give them a well-needed, peaceful respite of their antics. And Mustangs can do everything a Quarter Horse can do and MORE! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Daves been Advertising his part in the Protect The Harvest shading of the Equine Film Festival for 2 months. Its been something they spoke forebodingly last year. I posted it somewhere. Regardless they have been proudly talking of the film festi al allowing perversion. Bet Lucas has money invested in the Festival for good measure as well. You have to eagle eye all their posts because they talk about their upcoming events of deception openly and in contant contact. Likewise supporters against horse slaughter Need booths at these festivals and events. We need representation publicly.


  2. Looks like a copyright lawsuit may be in order. The film title “Running Wild” documents the wild horse rescue efforts of Dayton Hyde. We screened it in our little town a few years ago now:

    I’m also thinking if this is a pro-slaughter film festival, they should feature some of the video taken from inside kill operations so folks really get a full perspective on how the domestic horse industry and slaughter industry intertwine. Anything less has to be taken as propaganda.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For YEARS members of Protect the Harvest talked BS about wild horse and burro advocates and now they expect us to be stupid enough to believe that they want to work with us to the betterment of these animals? I’m convinced that members of PtH and other pro-slaughter org’s are attempting to hijack the equine advocacy movement by inserting their “Trojan horse” into activist-run events, selling their Kool-Aid to well-meaning individuals who are unaware of their hidden agenda. The enemy is organized. What about us? We NEED a game plan now more than ever. I remember when advocates from different organizations would come together and host press conferences. We should get back to doing that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Right as we speak the 2017 Appropriations Bill is being devised to include a Foundation to take over much of the operations of the WH&B department. This Foundation is being written and managed by “Protect the Harvest” and rep Bishop in Utah. They are just setting themselves up for the change over. What a nightmare for all who have worked so hard to get the Right people to care and oversea the program.


    • Congress mandated management of wild horses and burros to the BLM and USFS in 1971. It would seem any change of such designation would also require an act of Congress, not something found in an appropriations bill. At a minimum if management may be contracted out, this will (and should) be an competitive process with RFPs etc. as is standard. A private foundation isn’t likely to even be a legal contractor for managing the public’s resources. Can you provide credible sources for your information please, including bill numbers, sponsors, co-sponsors etc.?


      • Can you provide credible sources for your information please, including bill numbers, sponsors, co-sponsors etc.? Claims this is happening, and that it is happening through back doors, only whips up hysteria without helping anyone learn what the truth is and decide what they may or may not want to do about it.


  5. Time to start showing and circulating this film again. It got excellent reviews at independent film festivals.

    “Filmmaker Stephanie Martin wins prize at 2013 Palm Springs International ShortFest for her film ‘Wild Horses’ and is now eligible for an Oscar nomination.”

    Wild Horses tells the story of Mills, an established photographer, who returns to her native Nevada following an urgent call from her grandmother informing her that a band of wild horses close to their hearts, faces government roundup.
    Cruelty, courage, love and memory collide as two generations of women bear witness to the brutality common to wild horse roundups in the American West.
    In this story, that spans one day, Mills is exposed to a complex issue and follows hear heart, choosing to ignore the consequences.

    Wild Horses have long been a symbol of our Western heritage. At the beginning of the 20th century, more than two million wild horses roamed the American West. Today, there are more wild horses in captivity than there are in the wild. Thousands of horses are sent to Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses every year. As you read, the roundups continue and dozens of herds are being forever removed from their lands.
    In 1971 The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was enacted to halt the disappearance of these iconic animals from public lands in the American West. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was entrusted to oversee their management. Claiming damage to the range, the BLM has removed hundreds of thousands of horses from public lands with evident designs to benefit the extractive and the livestock industries, which are in constant need of more land for exploitation. In the midst of this scramble for land and money are the nation’s wild horses. They have no powerful lobbyists in Washington to aid them in their struggle for survival.
    We can change the course of events before these majestic animals are mismanaged into extinction. Wild Horses seeks to add another voice to the cause for the preservation of the Mustangs. For close to a decade, Stephanie Martin has wanted to make a movie that draws attention to this issue. Wild Horses is as much a cry for the preservation of wild horses as it is about the moments in our lives where we discover what’s really important and make decisions that change everything. We wish to share this film with those who want to fight for the defense of wild horses. Our goal is to shed light on the issue of roundups, keep horses in the wild, and contribute to their lasting protection.


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