Equine Rescue

Wild Horses & Burros Need Your Voice More Than Ever!

Source: Return to Freedom and endorsed by Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment that would allow the Bureau of Land Management to kill – shoot – healthy, unadopted wild horses and burros!”

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

As infuriating as that is, as saddening as that is – and it is both — we cannot give up.

We’ll return to the House vote in a moment, but first we need you to make a call on behalf of horses to each of your senators TODAY. That’s because on Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee will vote on an amendment to keep a ban on horse slaughter in place.

Please call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 (if you reach a full voicemail, look for district office phone numbers on your senators’ webpages and call them).

Urge your senators to oppose any provision that:

  • allows horse slaughter,
  • allows the Bureau of Land Management to kill wild horses,
  • or removes sale restrictions, opening the door for BLM to sell wild horses to kill buyers.

Remind your senators that proven humane solutions that would enable the management of wild horses and burros on the range have long existed. We do not need to kill national icons.

All of this can be as confusing as it is upsetting. What’s happening is that we’re fighting provisions on parallel tracks, in the House and Senate, which threaten all horses as well as wild horses and burros. To be clear:

The horse slaughter votes are part of the agricultural funding process. In the absence of a total federal ban on horse slaughter, advocates push each year to bar the U.S. Department of Agriculture from using our tax dollars to hire horsemeat inspectors. On July 12, the House Appropriations Committee narrowly rejected this year’s anti-slaughter amendment. If the bill becomes law without it, slaughter plants could reopen in the United States for the first time since 2007. That affects all kinds of horses, domestic and wild, so now we need the Senate to step up and pass an amendment to make sure that does not happen.

Meanwhile, the wild horse votes are part of the interior funding process. As noted above, the same House Appropriations Committee voted to remove language preventing BLM from killing healthy, unadopted wild horses and burros. The amendment passed on a voice vote, meaning individual votes were not recorded. Again, that means that we need to turn up the pressure and ensure our senators stand up for wild horses in the days ahead.

We’ve written that the situation is as precarious for wild horses as it’s been in Return to Freedom’s 19-year history. We wish we were wrong. Alas, today’s vote was still more proof:

Proof that we must keep calling and writing Congress. Proof that we must keep encouraging our friends and family to do the same. Proof that we must keep writing letters to the editor and sharing information on social media, so that others know what’s happening.

The cost of inaction could mean the needless deaths of thousands – even tens of thousands – of wild horses and burros.

We need to push back against propaganda that blames wild horses (never livestock) for range degradation or that falsely claims scores of wild horses are starving and dying – so many that shooting captured wild horses in government corrals or on long-term pastures is held up as a “humane” alternative. We need to push back at the lie that fertility control has been a failure when BLM has never spent more than 3.88% of its budget on PZP.

We need to demand thoughtful nonpartisan leadership that will work with advocates and scientists to create a proud, long-term plan that provides wild horses with a sustainable future on the range.

The American people still have the power to avert a tragedy in the making, but it will take all of us.

Let’s get after it!

22 replies »

  1. Email or Fax this letter
    Dear State Legislator:

    You will soon be asked to vote on … legislation regarding the commercial slaughter of American horses of which you probably have very little firsthand knowledge. No doubt you have heard from lobbyists and organizations who want you to support the practice, but before you do, you should ask yourself why the residents of Texas and Illinois worked so hard to rid their states of their horse slaughter plants. The answer may surprise you.

    As a mayor who lived with this plague in her town for many years, who knows what the horse slaughter industry really is and what it does to a community please allow me to tell you what we experienced. The industry caused significant and long term hardship to my community which was home to Dallas Crown, one of the last three horse slaughter plants in the United States.

    All three plants were foreign-owned, and since the market for horsemeat is entirely foreign, the industry will always be dominated by these foreign interests. The corporations involved in this industry have consistently proven themselves to be the worst possible corporate citizens.
    The Dallas Crown horse slaughtering facility had been in operation in Kaufman since the late 70’s and from the beginning had caused problems both economically and environmentally. I have listed some of the specific issues below.

    I will gladly provide you with detailed reports from my former City Manager, Police Chief, and Public Works Director regarding odor and wastewater effluence violations at the Dallas Crown horse slaughter plant in the City of Kaufman.. The reports reference “decaying meat [which] provides a foul odor and is an attraction for vermin and carrion,” containers conveyed “uncovered and leaking liquids,” there are “significant foul odors during the daily monitoring of the area,” and “Dallas Crown continually neglects to perform within the standards required of them.”

    Therefore, in August of 2005, our City Council decided by unanimous decision to send the Dallas Crown issue to the Board of Adjustments for termination of their non-conforming use status. In March of 2006, the Board of Adjustments voted to order Dallas Crown closed, but the plant was able to tie the enforcement up in the courts until they were finally closed under state law in February of 2007.

    Dallas Crown repeatedly described itself as a “good corporate citizen.” I will be straightforward in asserting that they are the very antithesis of such.
    • Dallas Crown had a very long history of violations to their industrial waste permit, ‘loading’ the capacity of the wastewater treatment plant.
    • Dallas Crown denied the City access to their property for wastewater testing beginning October 1, 2004 until July 6, 2005 , despite requirement by city ordinance, city permit agreement, and court order.
    • City staff reported that a $6 million upgrade to our wastewater treatment plant would be required even though the plant was planned and financed to last through 2015.
    • Odor problems resulting from the outside storage of offal and hides over several days persisted not only in traditionally African-American neighborhood known as “Boggy Bottom”, but at the nearby Presbyterian Hospital , the daycare center, and surrounding areas.
    • Transport of offal and fresh hides on City and state thoroughfares is conducted in leaking containers without covers.
    • City documents reveal an extended history of efforts to have Dallas Crown address various environmental issues. Reports include descriptive language including such as “blood flowing east and west in the ditches from your plant,” “It has been over 45 days [it had been 59 days] and no apparent cleanup has occurred,” “Your system has not improved and subsequently it has gotten a lot worse,” “Words cannot express the seriousness” of recent violations and the “adverse effects on the wastewater treatment plant,” and “Please be sure trailers are secured before leaving your premises to prevent spills,” noting also “bones and blood laying in front of the facility,” problems with bones and parts in neighboring yards and the attraction of “dogs and other animals.”
    • In response to 29 citations for wastewater violations, each accompanied by a potential fine of $2,000, Dallas Crown requested 29 separate jury trials, potentially causing yet another economic strain to the City’s budget. We could, of course, not afford to litigate in order to extract the fines
    • Dallas Crown took 11 months to submit a mandatory “sludge control plan” to assist efficient operation of the wastewater treatment plant though City staff requested it orally and in writing many times.
    • The City Manager advised me that the City would have to spend $70,000 in legal fees because of Dallas Crown problems, which was the entire legal budget for the fiscal year.
    • During this period, Dallas Crown paid property taxes that were less than half of what the City spent on legal fees directly related to Dallas Crown violations.

    • Generally, Dallas Crown has the economic ability to prevail, to exceed the constraints of the City’s budget.
    Dallas Crown had a negative effect on the development of surrounding properties, and a horse slaughter plant is a stigma to the development of our city generally. I have since learned that these problems were mirrored at the other two plants. Fort Worth’s Beltex horse slaughter plant also violated Ft. Worth’s wastewater regulations several times, clogged sewer lines, and both spilled and pumped blood into a nearby creek (San Antonio Current, June 19, 2003 ). Texas State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, whose district includes Beltex, and Rep. Toby Goodman, R-Arlington, fought hard against legislation that would have legalized horse slaughter in Texas in 2003.

    The horse slaughter plant in DeKalb , IL had a similar pattern. It was destroyed by fire in 2002, and rebuilt in 2004. It was charged and fined by the DeKalb Sanitary District almost every month from the reopening until its closing in 2007 under a new state law for consistently exceeding wastewater discharge guidelines. I can provide you with the documentation of those violations. Like Dallas Crown, Cavel refused to pay their fines for years.

    During this time, I learned that an estimated $5 million in Federal funding was being spent annually to support three foreign-owned horse slaughter plants! And when the Dallas Crown tax records were exposed in the city’s legal struggle, we found that they had paid only $5 in federal taxes on a gross income of over $12,000,000!

    Moreover, the parent company of Cavel has since moved its operations to Canada and continued to slaughter American horses. In Canada they have apparently become even more blatant, dumping huge untreated piles of entrails onto open ground and even using a tanker truck to discharge blood and refuse into a local river.

    I have mentioned only the pollution issue, but this is but one negative aspect of horse slaughter. I have subsequently learned of a USDA document containing 900 pages of graphic photos that show the horrors that the horses were subject to. Behind the privacy fences of these plants, trucks arrived continuously and on those trucks was every form of inhumane violation one can imagine from mares birthing foals to horses with eyes dangling from their sockets and legs ripped from their bodies.

    The more I learn about horse slaughter, the more certain I am: There is no justification for horse slaughter in this country. My city was little more than a door mat for a foreign-owned business that drained our resources, thwarted economic development and stigmatized our community. Americans don’t eat horses, and we don’t raise them for human consumption. There is no justification for spending American tax dollars to support this industry at the expense of Americans and our horses.

    Former Mayor Paula Bacon


    • Congressman Chris Stewart Violates U.S.C. Title 18

      PRESS RELEASE (excerpts)
      6 July 2017

      Citizens Against Equine Slaughter has found evidence that the Department of the Interior (DOI), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and at least one Congressman are guilty of violating 923. 18 U.S.C. § 371—Conspiracy to Defraud the United States:
      “The general conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371, creates an offense “[i]f two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose. (emphasis added).”
      Congressman Stewart Reports a 41% increase in WH&B population in less than 5 months – IMPOSSIBLE

      Media Contact:
      Val Cecama-Hogsett


  2. Every member of Congress should have these documents.

    “Additionally, the Team felt that “increased support from public relations and management staff would also be needed to insulate those doing the actual work from the public, media and Congressional scrutiny/criticism.”

    June 11, 2009


    Documents obtained by the Freedom of Information Act:
    BLM Alternative Management Options Draft Plan + Markup

    BLM Implementation Team minutes + markup

    BLM Implementation Team minutes + markup

    Click to access alternativemanagement_optionsblm10_2008_markup.pdf

    Click to access blm_implementation_team_minutes_2008_markup.pdf

    Documents Reveal BLM Secret Plan to Destroy Wild Horses

    Documents obtained from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) via the Freedom of Information Act by a Phoenix-based non-profit, The Conquistador Program, reveal shocking and detailed plans to destroy healthy wild horses in government holding facilities as well as those still remaining in the wild on public lands.

    BLM employees as well as a USDA veterinarian held weekly “Implementation Team” meetings beginning in July of 2008 in which they discussed and developed strategies aimed at ridding BLM of thousands of mustangs. In October they completed a 68 page document entitled “Alternative Management Options”. Tactics included in this document are reminiscent of those used to wipe out Native American tribes in the 1800s.

    The BLM team created scenarios for killing mustangs using barbiturates, gun shots, or captive bolts. Bodies would be disposed of through rendering, burial or incineration. They discussed killing 1200-2000 wild horses per year. The document states that “the general public would be prohibited from viewing euthanasia.” Additionally, the Team felt that “increased support from public relations and management staff would also be needed to insulate those doing the actual work from the public, media and Congressional scrutiny/criticism.”

    “Minutes from these meetings as well as the Draft Plan reveal what amounts to ‘the final solution’ for the American mustang,” states Ginger Kathrens, filmmaker and Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “Despite a huge outcry from the American public last year regarding BLM plans to kill wild horses in holding, the agency is still pressing forward with a plan to destroy our American mustangs both on and off the range.”

    BLM meeting minutes speak for themselves. “Security at facilities and at gathers would need to be increased to combat eco-terrorism. Having the people that are willing to put down healthy horses at gather sites could be a problem. Having vets putting down healthy horses at preparation facility[ies] could also be a problem.” Meeting minutes reveal the psychological toll that employees would pay-“have counseling for employees and contractors that have to euthanize the healthy horses because it is very stressful.”

    The report created an option in which wild horses of all ages could be sold “without limitation”. In other words, horses could be sold directly to killer buyers in unchecked numbers. The Team admitted that “some wild horses will go to slaughter”.

    Team Members formulated ways in which they could circumvent the National Environmental Policy Act, asking “How many (wild horses) could be euthanized during a gather (roundup) without having NEPA?” BLM discussed ways to circumvent the federal carcass disposal law (43 CFR 4730.2). Conversations included how many wild horses could be rendered at the Reno Rendering plant or “disposed of in pits”. The Team concluded that “there will not be large numbers of horses euthanized during gathers or in the field. This is due to state environmental laws.”


  3. Guys, do not stop at calling… Picking up the phone is too easy for them.. just make like if they listen up and then hang up. After you call, fax them… force them to log your correspondence in an official fashion… make them sweat.

    Also, get tweeter, facebook and google accounts and start chasing these folks on social media…. Only the perfect shit storm in the Senate can save the horses now.


  4. I have called all the numbers and also signed all information I can find please find it in your heart to save the equines. Some of the horses and burros can be put in the prison program and sold to the general public as a using anamal. Please vote no slaughter,I know in my heart we can pull together and come up with more solutions. Thank you


  5. Breaking the law, a violation and continual weaking of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 against the wishes of the public on public lands, who also have rights in this matter, drag their lying asses into court.


  6. Duquette has a Senator call button on their lage. Please keep calling right now this is WAR. Every other country is watching. I have it on good authority from slaughter Intel in Canada they are tired of the scenario of American Kill buyers giving them a bad name and throwing them under the bus. They State ” The American kill trade has black marked the Canadian Industry permanently. While intending to increase cash flow and public relations between Canada and AMERICAN kill traders has deteriorated. They have brought unnecessarily horses in unfit disqualifying condition insisting on sales as meat. Our current standards were increased due to a lack of standard basic compliance from American traders. Our plants have developed a stigma of abuse and have been undoubtedly publicly denounced by the American horse slaughter people. We were accustomed to negative feedback from people regarding horses however as we read that horse slaughter claims our plants are inhumane and that are standards are so bad we hope they will leave Canda and not return.” These guys are are in the last push yo get wild horses and reopen because This is the FINAL Horse SLAUGHTER war. THIS IS IT. The stash of wild horses is the FINAL push they have. Get a Senator call button, call call call calll. Be clear, no slaughter. And by the way tell them your a trainer, a showman ,a rider it’s no longer about just being an Advocate they need to hear an Industry the horse Industry doesn’t want this. And last RT you wrote something a few years back on Duquette and their Horse rescue/training facility/slaughter plant next door idea, I found the actual article from Hermiston Oregon please can that post be put back up on this blog so people can understand his odd plan of being the Actual Horse Rescue king and putting others out of business that are legit?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s funny how Rep. Stewart held up a photo from the Wheeler Pass HMA incident back in 2015 to push the “ALL TE WILD HORES R STARVIN!1!1!1!1” claim. I guess all of the other horses and burros in other HMA’s are, in Tom Davis’s own words, too “fat and shiny” for him to use as evidence. Hyperbole at best or an outright lie at worst.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I thought this language was removed a few days ago — so who put it back in, and how? Dark of night yet again? Exposure please.

    Also if this is allowed to happen, anyone voting for such an atrocity should be required to attend the killing of these innocent animals, in public, and on film. The blood on their hands should be visible to everyone, including themselves.

    Atrocious and cowardly.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think they aer all stupid people who have voted to kill healthy animals, I was hoping that this would not happen we worked so hard to bring the truth to the public. Why is it they just want to kill? Not place.?


  10. Since nobody in my state is on the committee, am I correct in thinking the full house and full senate will vote on the legislation as it moves forward? I know elected officials from other states or districts will not accept or will ignore communications from citizens outside their areas.

    If only some of the house and senate will have the final votes, can someone let us know who those people are, and from which states please?


  11. From American Wild Horse Campaign

    Your Senator is on the Appropriations Committee and will cast a critical vote on this amendment. Please check the list below to find your senators and make the call. You can say,”I am your constituent residing in [town and state]. I’m calling to urge Senator [your Senator’s last name] to support the Udall-Graham Amendment in the Agriculture Appropriations bill to protect American horses from slaughter. As a horse lover, I do not want my tax dollars subsidizing this cruel and wasteful treatment of America’s horses. Thank you.”

    Senate Appropriations Members:
    • Alabama: Richard Shelby (202) 224-5744
    • Alaska: Lisa Murkowski (202)-224-6665
    • Arkansas: John Boozman (202) 224-4843
    • California: Dianne Feinstein (202) 224-3841
    • Connecticut: Chris Murphy (202) 224-4041
    • Delaware: Chris Coons (202) 224-5042
    • Florida: Marco Rubio (202) 224-3041
    • Hawaii: Brian Schatz (202) 224-3934
    • Illinois: Richard Durbin (202) 224-2152
    • Kansas: Jerry Moran (202) 224-6521
    • Kentucky: Mitch McConnell (202) 224-2541
    • Louisiana: John Kennedy (202) 228-0447
    • Maine: Susan Collins (202) 224-2523
    • Maryland: Chris Van Hollen (202) 224-4654
    • Mississippi: Thad Cochran (202) 224-5054
    • Missouri: Roy Blunt (202) 224-5721
    • Montana: Steve Daines & Jon Tester (202) 224-2651 & (202) 224-2644
    • New Hampshire: Jeanne Shaheen (202) 224-2841
    • New Mexico: Tom Udall (202) 224-6621
    • North Dakota: John Hoeven (202) 224-2551
    • Oklahoma: James Lankford (202) 224-5754
    • Oregon: Jeff Merkley 202) 224-3753
    • Rhode Island: Jack Reed (202) 224-4642
    • South Carolina: Lindsey Graham (202) 224-5972
    • Tennessee: Lamar Alexander (202) 224-4944
    • Vermont: Patrick Leahy (202) 224-4242
    • Washington: Patty Murray (202) 224-2621
    • West Virginia: Joe Manchin & Shelley Moore Capito (202) 224-3954 & (202) 224-6472
    • Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin 202-224-5653
    After you call, click here to send a quick email.


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