BLM Double-Talk Targets CO West Douglas Wild Horses, Again.

The few remaining wild horses in Colorado just can’t catch a break.  For years we fought via lawsuits to stop the assault and efforts of the BLM to zero out the few horses in the area (in favor of cattle and extraction interests).  But even after they managed to decimate the herd and break apart the families of wild horses, last year, they still launch propaganda and a mush-mash of bogus numbers and misstatements to ramp up ire towards the equines while they contradict themselves through-out this mainstream media mouthpiece.  It is all truly unbelievable…if we, as advocates, pushed forward such tripe and BS we would be flogged and assailed by the powers that manipulate the press to the point that we would never be relevant again.

False News at it’s finest, or should we say lowest?” ~ R.T.

Unedited story by By Gary Harmon as published on The Daily Sentinel

Wild horse herd reduced a year ago is already growing again

A mare watches as she and her foal walk through the sagebrush in the Texas Mountain area west of Colorado Highway 139 south of Rangely in August 2015.

A mare watches as she and her foal walk through the sagebrush in the Texas Mountain area west of Colorado Highway 139 south of Rangely in August 2015.

A year after the Bureau of Land Management removed 167 horses from the lands around Texas Mountain west of Colorado Highway 139, the herd has grown, possibly to as many as 212 horses.

The agency conducted a horse gather in September 2015 for the 167 horses, an effort that left about 200 horses in the 128,000-acre West Douglas Herd Area, which is not managed for horses.

BLM officials conducted a count five months later using a helicopter and made a direct count of 177 individual horses.

Factoring in reproduction brings the estimate to 212 horses on land that the BLM deems suitable for a maximum of 30 horses.

“If anything it’s probably an underestimate,” BLM spokesman David Boyd said. “In country like West Douglas, you probably don’t see them all.”

In theory, there ought not be any horses in the rugged West Douglas area for the lack of summer range in the rough-and-tumble territory, but the lack of predators for wild horses leaves man to deal with their populations.

The natural predators of horses — dire wolves, short-faced bears, American lions — all died out in the Eocene Epoch, which ended 39 million years ago, along with the horses of that time. Once horses were reintroduced to North America, there were no predators to control their populations.

“What’s controlled these wild horse populations has been people all along,” Boyd said. Wild horses “are not part of this natural ecosystem.”

No more gathers are scheduled in the West Douglas areas, but the BLM hopes eventually to gather all the wild horses in the West Douglas Herd Area, along with an estimated 100 outside any territory associated with wild horses, and place them in the 161,300-acre Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area.

“We want to bring the population inside the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area to within the population range of 135 to 235,” Boyd said.

Piceance-East Douglas is now estimated to have 458 wild horses.

West Douglas and Piceance East Douglas are separated by Colorado Highway 139, and more significantly, miles of fencing along the roadway. Wild horses won’t jump fences, which means the horses won’t leave West Douglas without human help.

To keep the existing herd on the Piceance-East Douglas area, the BLM plans to reconstruct nearly a mile of four-strand barbed wire near Duck Creek to keep the herd inside and to redevelop a spring on the north side of the management area to provide a reliable source of water in wet and dry years.

Action Alert from Equine Advocates

Please Sign our Petition Appealing to President Obama to End Horse Slaughter

Dear Friends,

Right now, we have once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stop the brutal slaughter of America’s wild and domestic equines by appealing directly to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to end this unspeakable practice before they leave office as part of their legacy. A few minutes of your time could be the difference between life or death for hundreds of thousands of horses annually. Our horses need you to be their voice in Washington. Time is of the essence. We are asking that you please Sign Our Petition.

During the tiny window of time known as “lame duck,” outgoing presidents have the ability to take special executive actions after their successors are elected — Presidential Pardons, Executive Orders, etc. The Obama Administration has already proven to be equine-friendly, and we need 100,000 signatures to present our petition to Obama and Biden after Election Day.

Rock legend Tom Petty and his wife, Dana, have signed the petition and shared it on the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Facebook Page. Music icons Billy Joel and Graham Nash have also signed.

Will you join us and add your signature to END HORSE SLAUGHTER?

In addition to signing it yourself, please share this petition far and wide with your family, friends and colleagues.  

Thank you for your compassion and action. Together we can make a difference!


Susan Wagner, President  
Equine Advocates

In the Race for the Presidency, America’s Horses Could be the Biggest Losers

by Susan Wagner, President & Founder, Equine Advocates

“Both major Presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have announced some disturbing appointments…”

All of the progress that has been made since the last horse slaughterhouse operating in the U.S. closed in 2007 is in danger of being reversed. This is why we are now urgently and respectfully calling on President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to end horse slaughter before they leave office with a special action, i.e. an executive order or a federal policy change that would accomplish that goal. We are asking you to “sign our petition” in order to reach them and have your voices heard.

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Both major Presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have announced some disturbing appointments. Secretary Clinton has had an excellent voting record on animal issues over the years and is on the record as opposing horse slaughter which is why her choice of former Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar to head her Transition Team is mystifying. Salazar is ranked by many as one of the worst Interior Secretaries in American History (along with Albert Fall, James Watt and Gail Norton). He was a huge proponent of horse slaughter long before he was appointed to that post in 2009. In 2013, he resigned as Interior Secretary under questionable circumstances. It was revealed that under Salazar’s watch, Tom Davis, a known horse dealer and rancher, bought 1,794 Wild BLM Mustangs for just $10 apiece and sold them for slaughter in Mexico. We believe having Ken Salazar in any position of power would be a continued threat to the safety and protection of America’s wild and domestic equines. Please read this article that appeared in the Washington Times:

In addition, Salazar’s agenda to “industrialize” the West and America’s Public Lands amplifies the threat to America’s remaining wild horse and burro herds. We believe the damage he did while he was in office continues to have detrimental and dangerous effects on the wildlife and the land. We implore Secretary Clinton to please reconsider her appointment of Ken Salazar to her administration if she wins the election.

Donald Trump has no voting record as he has never held office before. However, his choice of proposed individuals to serve on his “Agricultural Advisory Committee,” if elected, reads like a  Who’s Who of horse slaughter supporters.  The list is so disturbing that there would be no doubt that the return of horse slaughter to the U.S. would just be a matter of time. It includes:

  • Forrest Lucas, oilman (Lucas Oil) and rancher – His political action committee (PAC), Protect the Harvest is, in our opinion, the most dangerous anti-horse/anti-animal/pro-puppy mill PAC in the nation. He said of his PAC, “…we’re out here organized…” and “…we need to get horse slaughter back.” Lucas was also named to Trump’s short list for Interior Secretary which would be a complete disaster for this country:

  • Mary Fallin, Governor of Oklahoma had signed a bill to legalize horse slaughter in her state.
  • Bob Goodlatte, Congressman from Virginia and former chair of the House Agriculture Committee, has been a major force in blocking legislation to ban horse slaughter for years and a supporter in bringing it back to the U.S.

For a complete list of Trump’s proposed Agricultural Advisory Committee members, click here:

In addition, Trump has former Georgia Congressman, Jack Kingston as one of his advisers and also as a media spokesperson. Kingston was a member of the infamous 2011 Congressional Conference Committee that voted 3-1 (along with Senator Ray Blunt and former Senator Herb Kohl) to return horse slaughter to the U.S. They based their votes on the special interest-driven Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report #11-228 on Horse Slaughter. John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance successfully proved that the GAO Report was, in fact, fraudulent:

Clearly, most Americans want to see an end to horse slaughter, but these candidates have selected individuals who we believe, if given the opportunity, would move to slaughter horses with no regard or consideration for the will of the vast majority of Americans on this issue.

The dangerous agendas of some lawmakers to quickly rebuild horse slaughterhouses in this country to satisfy special interests in the horse and ranching industries is a real threat. This goes hand-in-hand with how the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is now operating. At the most recent BLM Advisory Board Meeting, the the majority of its members voted to exterminate the 44,000 captured Wild Horses and Burros being held in long-term holding facilities. As outrageous and horrific as this sounds, we need to keep in mind that the Advisory Board has no power in the final decision. However, it is also probable that their votes reflect the desired agenda of the BLM with respect to these horses.

John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance said, “We believed right from the beginning that the use of all that stimulus money to gather so many horses was the BLM intentionally creating a crisis so they could force this decision later!”

Update: The news of how this Advisory Board voted sparked a tremendous public outcry and as a result, the BLM has since decided not to follow the advice of the majority of its members and will not kill these 44,000 wild equines. It should be noted that the one lone vote on the BLM Advisory Board against killing them was Ginger Kathrens, the Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation.

Unless we move forward and truly bring an end to horse slaughter, it is likely to return to our soil. The vast majority of Americans want it banned just as they also want our wild horse and burro herds preserved, protected and humanely managed.

Many horse advocates are supporting the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, better known as The S.A.F.E. Act (S1214/H.R. 1942). This bill needs to be amended before we can support it. There are no effective enforcement provisions in it.

The S.A.F.E. Act, if it becomes law, could easily be circumvented based on some of the language in it including the phrase, “…the knowing sale or transport of equines…” Killer buyers and those sending equines to slaughter are unlikely to admit their true intentions. Why give them an out if they get caught to say that they did not know? We would like to know who wrote this bill and why they chose to write it this way. Decide for yourself. Here is the language for The S.A.F.E. Act:

We actually have all the ammunition we need to win the horse slaughter war.  A ground-breaking study published in Elsevier in 2010 clearly documented the dangerous health risks for people who eat the meat of horses that have been treated with the common drug, Phenylbutazone (or “Bute,” for short). This is proof that all of us can present to our lawmakers and the media as strong arguments to stop the return of horse slaughter to the U.S. Bute was important to use in this study because unlike some other drugs, it never leaves the body of the animal. Bute puts those consuming it at risk for a variety of cancers and blood diseases.

It is important to note that Bute is just one among numerous injectable, oral and topical drugs given to equines that has the disclaimer on the packaging, “Not intended for horses bred for human consumption.

NO EQUINE is bred for human consumption in this country!

Here is a link to that important landmark study:

Further evidence is documented in the hundreds of articles and lawsuits that resulted from the shocking Horse Meat Food Fraud Scandal that gripped Europe in 2013 and now appears to be a threat once again. In addition, there is the 2015 Chapman University Study (also published by Elsevier) proving the unsavory discovery of horse meat and additional meats other than beef present in some chopped meat products in the American food supply. Given the lack of DNA species testing in this country, the presence of horse meat in our food supply may be more prevalent than believed.

Here is a link to the 2015 Chapman University Study:

In December of 2014, the European Union (EU) banned the import of horse meat products from Mexico because most of the equines slaughtered there came from the U.S. and therefore are not safe for human consumption. (NOTE: The same U.S.-bred equines make up the majority of equines slaughtered in Canada for export to Europe and Japan, but inexplicably no such ban was placed on horse meat from Canada by the EU.) However, investigations indicate that there has been little to no decrease in the number of U.S.-bred equines being slaughtered in Mexico since the European ban took effect in January of 2015.

Where is all of this horse meat ending up if it’s not going to Europe or other identified markets? Investigators believe that some horse meat from Mexico is making its way into the American food supply. Food fraud is rampant all over the world. This country is not exempt.

Why is the slaughter of America’s equines tolerated? Ultimately, we are talking about morals and ethics. Horse slaughter is primarily used by special interests as a garbage disposal for those too greedy, callous and indifferent to take responsibility for the equines under their care.  How can we justify sending tens of thousands of equines across our borders into Mexico and Canada every year for people in other countries to eat knowing their meat is unfit for human consumption? The answer is simple:  There is no justification!

One reason I haven’t mentioned the extreme cruelty involved in horse slaughter is because of some sage comments made by philanthropist and horsewoman, Victoria McCullough, whom we honored in 2014:

“I believe that science is what will win for horses on the Hill – not cruelty. We’re inundated and desensitized to it. Cruelty is running over America – in our children, in our animals, in our education system – We are not accountable! But I learned that in order to win with the government it has to be intellectual and scientific.  I have to leave my emotions behind completely. I can’t take them with me. But they live with me every day.”

Thanks to Victoria’s efforts, Vice President Joe Biden attached language to the $1.1 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 which President Obama signed into law to continue the defunding of horse meat inspectors in the U.S.

“We cannot win the border closure without defund because it’s a pyramid,” she said. “You have to defund horse slaughter in the U.S. first in order to have legality. There’s an issue. What are we really slaughtering and for whom? The arrogance and the lack of accountability are outrageous. And the liability does not disappear.”

Here is more information about the importance of what Vice President Biden accomplished for America’s horses in 2014:

We believe a remedy exists which would not involve a bill that needs to be passed or Congressional approval. Human Health and Food Safety, as outlined in this piece, are key to a federal ban.

Since both President Obama and Vice President Biden are acutely aware of all the dangers and risks associated with slaughtering horses for food, not to mention the liability factor, it could be a really wonderful and important part of the Obama/Biden legacy to end this unspeakable and un-American practice through a special action to ban horse slaughter and remove equines from the food chain.

Consequently, we need to start respectfully and earnestly imploring President Obama and Vice President Biden to take action before they leave office. Let them know how dire this situation truly is and how years of progress will evaporate if something is not done immediately. They know how most Americans feel about this. They saw the tremendous outcry against killing those 44,000 wild BLM horses and burros. We look to them to save America’s wild and domestic equines from slaughter!

As they say, there is strength in numbers, so please start by taking the time to sign our petition which is an appeal to be sent to both President Obama and Vice President Biden asking them to take action to ban horse slaughter before they leave office. To sign the petition, please see the list of What You Can Do below this article. (Note: Please also take the time to send a hand-written letter to each of them. Their mailing addresses are also provided below.)

If Obama and Biden do not act before the end of their administration, the fate of our horses will be placed in the hands of the next president. Now is the time for all of us to act. It is urgent that we act.


  • Please sign our petition appealing to both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to take action in banning horse slaughter entirely – both in the U.S., as well as stopping the transport of live equines from the U.S. across our borders into Mexico and Canada for slaughter or to any other country for that purpose. Please be sure to forward the petition and share it far and wide. We need a big and enthusiastic response in order for it to make a difference. We need to gather 100,000 signatures by Election Day to present to them. That number of signatures would ensure that both the President and V.P. would see the petition.
  • Please write a handwritten letter to both President Obama and Vice President Biden asking them to take steps to ban horse slaughter before they leave office. You have plenty of ammunition to use in the way of scientific studies, documentation and good arguments as provided in this article. Please use them, in addition to more abundant data now readily available online to back up any other points you wish to make. Please address separate letters to the President and V.P. Mail your letters to them in care of:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

This is a shot that is well worth taking. We owe it to our horses to try.

Together we can make a difference!

Thank you!

Susan Wagner, President
Equine Advocates

Click (HERE) To visit Equine Advocates

What This Heartbreaking Picture of Wild Horses Running for Their Lives Has to Do With Your Burger

Story by as published in OneGreenPlanet

This picture by the Wild Horse Freedom Federation reveals the heartbreaking reality of roundups.  

BLM chasing protected mustangs from the air ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM chasing protected mustangs from the air ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Animal agriculture certainly takes an enormous toll on our planet. It consumes around 70 percent of the Earth’s freshwater supplies, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions while other organizations like the Worldwatch Institute have estimated it could be as much as 51 percent. Not only that but it also occupies around 50 percent of the world’s land. This destructive industry is also having a devastating impact on wildlife. In the U.S. alone, livestock grazing impacts 14 percent of threatened or endangered animals, but some of the most frequent victims of livestock expansion are the wild horses.

In the U.S., wild horses have been particularly hard hit by the meat industry’s demand for more land on which to raise cattle. In recent years, The Bureau of Land Management‘s (BLM) practice of “rounding up” horses using cruel helicopter-driven chases has drawn widespread criticism from animal advocates and concerned members of the public, who know how this traumatic practice impacts animals.

The BLM has continuously maintained that the roundups are “necessary and justified,” with Joan Guilfoyle, head of the Wild Horse and Burro Program, insisting that the numbers of wild horses on U.S. land doubles every year and that the herds must be thinned out to preserve ecological balance. She said, “If we stopped gathering animals, the population would continue to grow and grow and the rangelands would continue to be overgrazed.”

However, as Suzanne Roy – director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaignpointed out: “The reality is that there are a small number of wild horses out there, fewer than 32,000, and there are millions of cattle and sheep. We don’t have an overpopulation of wild horses. We have an overpopulation of livestock on our public lands.”…

…Once the horses have been captured, they are often sent to live in captivity or put up for auction (where most end up being sold for meat). The separation of families, friends, and even mothers and babies is a routine occurrence. There have also been a number of recorded cases of BLM contractors selling the horses to slaughterhouses. It is an unspeakable tragedy that wild horses – the animals traditionally regarded as an emblem of freedom, beauty, and grace – are being subjected to this treatment.

However, by leaving meat off your plate, you can take a stand against this outrageous practice. With a lower demand for meat, less land will be required for cattle ranching, and fewer wild horses will suffer. To learn more, read some of the articles below:

Image Source: Wild Horse Freedom Federation/Facebook

To read this article in it’s entirety click (HERE)

President Obama and the horse mask person: An investigation involving data and charts

of the Washington Post

Tongue-in-cheek mid-week break from the norm

Prez and Horseman

President Obama was in Denver on Tuesday and met a person wearing a horse head mask. This is obviously a pivotal moment for the country and the world, but with such an occasion comes a bevy of questions: What does it all mean? From whence did the horse mask person come? How often does such a thing occur?

As with anything, these thorny issues cannot be resolved with words alone. We must give ourselves over to the comfort of data and numbers, knowing that only through these avenues can we find salvation and providence.

So, onto the charts.

First, we tried to break down the historic nature of this meeting. How often have U.S. presidents met people wearing horse head masks? We looked back at the data from the late 18th century through the present day. This is what we found:

horse mask graph

Okay, so that tells us about how often this happened throughout the history of this country having presidents. But what if we want to look at this from the perspective of how many people have held that office? This infographic gives us a better idea of how rare it is for a U.S. president to meet a person in a horse head mask…(CONTINUED)

Horse Slaughter Attorney Taunts President Obama

Sources: Multiple – this rendition from (less headlines) The Kansas City Star

Barrister for Failed Horse Slaughterhouse Issues Anti-Obama Rhetoric

Could become a friend of the horses?

Could become a friend of the horses?

SANTA FE, N.M. — Animal protection advocates applauded President Barack Obama on Tuesday for proposing to continue a federal funding ban that’s blocking the resumption of commercial horse slaughter in the U.S.

The president and Congress agreed earlier this year to withhold money through September for Agriculture Department inspections necessary for slaughterhouses to process horse meat for human consumption.

The president’s budget calls for the funding prohibition to remain in place through the end of the next budget year in September 2015.

“Wasting tax dollars on the cruelty of horse slaughter makes no sense, and we urge Congress to once again adopt this provision,” said Nancy Perry, a senior vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The ban on inspection funding derailed a New Mexico company’s plan to slaughter horses to export the meat to overseas consumers.

Blair Dunn, a lawyer for Valley Meat in Roswell and Rains Natural Meats in Missouri, said the “president’s budget is not law and certainly not the end of the story.”

“Amid the other problems with the president’s budget and the midterm elections it is unwise to assume that this provision will remain in the budget in its final form,” Dunn said in a statement.

After Congress initially eliminated inspection funding, the last U.S. horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007. Plants in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa unsuccessfully sought to resume horse slaughtering when federal money was restored in 2011.

Click (HERE) to comment directly at the Star


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Animal -Welfare Lawyer: Horse Slaughter Suit is now ‘MOOT’

By Josh Long as published in Food Product Design

USDA is prohibited from inspecting facilities for horse slaughter throughout the remainder of the government’s fiscal year 2014

Attorney Bruce Wagman (center) at the 2012 International Equine Conference with clients R.T. and Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Albuquerque, N.M.—An annual budget signed by President Obama has rendered “moot” a lawsuit challenging horse slaughter, a lawyer representing animal-rights groups said.

A provision in the $1.1 trillion budget prevents the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from carrying out inspections for horse slaughter. Obama signed the bill on Jan. 17.

Last year, a federal district court judge dismissed a lawsuit that challenged horse slaughter. Front Range Equine Rescue, The Humane Society of the United States and others filed an appeal that remains pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

“We basically don’t think the court has jurisdiction over the case anymore,” said Bruce Wagman, who represents appellants in the case.

Wagman, a San Francisco-based lawyer with Schiff Hardin LLP, cited the absence of an “active controversy” because there is “no possibility of horse slaughter.” Courts have no authority to hear a case that meets the legal definition of mootness.

“We are going to file something in the next couple of weeks,” Wagman said.

Although he didn’t provide specifics, it’s plausible the appellants will seek to dismiss the lawsuit because the alleged harm—the slaughtering of horses in the United States—is theoretical. USDA is prohibited from inspecting facilities for horse slaughter throughout the remainder of the government’s fiscal year 2014 ending Sept. 30.

Facilities in New Mexico and Missouri had been seeking to slaughter horses for human consumption, although they faced state administrative and legal hurdles as well.

Holly Gann, horse slaughter campaign manager for The Humane Society of the United States, said her organization is calling on Congress to enact a permanent ban on the practice. Such legislation (Safeguard American Food Exports Act) was introduced last year in the House and Senate.

The bills also would end the practice of exporting American horses for slaughter outside the United States, Gann noted. She said more than 160,000 horses were sent to Canada and Mexico in 2012 to be slaughtered.

A. Blair Dunn, a lawyer representing two facilities that have been seeking the green light to slaughter horses—Valley Meat Co. in New Mexico and Rains Natural Meats in Missouri—has said the companies would look into filing a lawsuit that the funding ban violates provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement, The Associated Press reported earlier this month.

Wagman characterized such a proposal as a “crazy idea”.

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Missouri DNR Denies Horse Slaughter Permit

Effort to Slaughter Horses in Missouri Effectively Killed

Quest to kill Equines quelled

Quest to kill Equines quelled

Clearly noting federal budget restrictions, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources HAS turned down the permit request from Rains to butcher American horses for consumption by elite foreign interests.

The DNR said in a letter Thursday to David Rains, owner of Rains Natural Meats in Gallatin, that the agency has denied Rains’ permit request for his proposed horse slaughter operation because the new federal budget withheld funding for required federal inspections of equine slaughter facilities.

On January 4, 2014, the Rains Natural Meats Company of Missouri quietly filed a motion to dismiss their appeal with the Missouri Environmental Department, which had issued the Company a discharge permit that excluded equines.

The motion to dismiss was initially precieved as an end to the company’s application for a permit to slaughter companion horses for human consumption overseas but proved only to be a false start for celebration by equine and animal welfare advocates; Thursday’s DNR denial puts the final nail in the Rains horse slaughter coffin.

The resumption of commercial horse slaughter in the U.S. was effectively blocked last week when President Barack Obama signed a budget measure that stops the U.S. Department of Agriculture from spending money for inspections necessary for slaughterhouses to ship horse meat interstate and export it.  Horse meat is not commercially sold in the United States.

Independent surveys indicate that over 80% of American citizens consider the slaughter of American horses to be abhorrent and objectionable.

Rains didn’t immediately return news agency calls seeking comment Thursday.

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President Signs Budget Bill Saving Americans from Potential Horse Meat Apocalypse

2014: No Horse Slaughter in the United States

The specter of commercial horse slaughter returning to the U.S. was dealt a death blow Friday as President Barack Obama signed a budget measure that withholds funds for required federal inspections of horse slaughter operations.

Toxic horse meat contamination entered the European human food chain one year ago this month and EU authorities are still attempting to deal with the fall-out.  Horse meat was found in everything from Ikea meatballs to Taco Bell burritos and it is hoped that none of these tainted products made it to the United States where the commercial slaughter of horses for food is now rendered as illegal.

The verbiage for the defunding appears on page 89 of the 1582-page Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014:


In a nutshell that means several things; the government is forbidden from paying for the inspection of horses under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and it also cannot implement or enforce section 352.19 of title 9 of the Code of Federal Regulations. That section says “an official establishment that wishes to slaughter horses can apply for voluntary ante-mortem inspection.”

That means anybody wanting to slaughter a horse and sell its drug laden flesh to U.S. consumers is just flat out of luck.

The president’s action came as a New Mexico judge granted a preliminary injunction against a Roswell NM company from moving forward with its plans to start slaughtering horses.

A ruling by state District Judge Matthew Wilson will keep alive a lawsuit by Attorney General Gary King, who’s seeking to permanently block horse slaughter in New Mexico. The lawsuit, if won, could serve as a possible insurance plan in case the federal government provides inspection funding in the future.

“This is the first major hurdle that needed to happen so that a complete federal ban on horse slaughter can now be passed,” said Equine Advocates President, Susan Wagner, “I know I speak for most Americans when I say that horse slaughter is wrong and has no place in our culture.”

“A clear and certain message has been sent by our Law Makers to the miniscule few who want to butcher American horses for an over-seas market,” added R.T. Fitch, president of Wild Horse Freedom Federation, “simply stated, ‘We don’t want your predatory business on American soil!'”

The bi-partisan-sponsored provision to withhold horse slaughter inspection funding was approved by both the House and Senate Ag Appropriations Committees prior to the approval of the president.

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Signs of Hope for the West’s Wild Horses?

Source: By Kerry Drake as published at

“The BLM has failed in its mission 100 percent, on purpose,”

Ken Salazar may not have totally destroyed the Wild Horse and Burro Management Program while he was head of the Interior Department, but he made an already terrible situation far worse.

Now advocates for the animals hope a change at the top leads to some positive changes in a program they believe has been a disaster since it was created by Congress in 1971.

Cloud and family after release from BLM capture in 2009 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Cloud and family after release from BLM capture in 2009 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Ginger Kathrens, a filmmaker who has spent the past 19 years documenting the activities of the Pryor Mountain wild horse herd in Wyoming and Montana, said Salazar was a rancher who viewed the animals as pests and implemented policies that treated them as such.

He left office dodging questions about the sale of 1,700 wild horses to one of his Colorado neighbors, who had them slaughtered. The matter is still under investigation.

Under Salazar, the program’s budget more than doubled while most of its efforts failed miserably. The agency now spends 60 percent of the program budget on expenses related to the more than 50,000 horses it rounded up.

The rest is spent “managing” the remaining 38,000 wild horses left roaming the West. But as a damning report issued in June by the National Academy of Sciences noted, that estimate is nothing but a guess.

Kathrens, who lives on a ranch in Westcliffe, Colo., said BLM has just wanted to see wild horses gone, literally managed to extinction. Jeannine Stallings, a long-time animal advocate in Cheyenne, agrees.

“The BLM has failed in its mission 100 percent, on purpose,” Stallings charged.

Stallings, 83, has watched the agency for years. When I interviewed her about the wild horse program in 1987, she said the agency had ignored its studies “because they didn’t get the results they wanted.”

Wearing a yellow T-shirt that proclaims, “Americans Don’t Eat Horses,” Stallings said while she voted for Barack Obama twice and considers him a good president, “He certainly hasn’t been a friend to wild horses.”

Why should anything be different now?

Kathrens said that Sally Jewell, the new secretary of Interior appointed by Obama, doesn’t have the personal animosity toward wild horses that Salazar had.

“She brings with her a love of the wild and open spaces,” she explained. “If she appoints people to key positions who agree with her … things could change.”

Time will tell if Jewell is able to n or even wants to n change the program’s direction, but in the meantime, the lives of thousands of wild horses are at risk here and in nine other Western states.

“In Wyoming, we have a tragedy in the making,” Kathrens said, referring to BLM’s plan to “zero out” the Rock Springs herd on private land.

That will mean taking all of the horses off public land as well. The animals would be rounded up and moved to Salt Wells and Adobe Town in the Red Desert, where forage is scarce.

The Rock Springs herd has become a great tourist attraction, she noted, but under BLM’s plan, people would no longer have access to see the horses.

Kathrens has likely done more than anyone else to raise the public’s awareness of the multitude of problems facing America’s wild horses. She has produced three films for PBS’s “Nature” series, focusing on the Pryor Mountain herd and in particular the life of Cloud, a wild pale palomino stallion.

Stallings said Cloud has been rounded up several times up by BLM but always freed.

“They could never take Cloud off the range,” she said. “They know the public just wouldn’t stand for it.”

The nonprofit Cloud Foundation started by Kathrens is dedicated to preventing the extinction of Cloud’s herd through education, media events and public involvement. It is also dedicated to protecting other wild horse herds on public lands, especially isolated herds with unique characteristics and historical significance.

For years, BLM has defended its management program and maintained that the roundups are necessary. But some former BLM officials are now decrying what the agency is doing.

What should happen to the 50,000 wild horses being kept in pens by the feds? Kathrens said the obvious solution is to “take some of the 24 million acres of public land where the herds have been ‘zeroed out’ and put them back on the range.”

Her fear, though, is that the agency will surreptitiously get rid of the animals by selling them to be slaughtered when the public isn’t paying attention.

Stallings shares her concern.

“The fact is that BLM is winning and we’re losing,” she said. “Things have always been bad, but it’s much worse today, and it’s going to take a national outcry (for things to improve). I just hope it doesn’t end in a horrendous, final tragedy.”

Thanks to Stallings, Kathrens and other animal advocates’ abilities to stir up the public, wild horses have not disappeared from the range yet.

But they’ve been right about these issues for decades and are still largely ignored by the federal government. It’s time someone in charge seriously listens to them, and I hope Jewell is the one who does.

Veteran Wyoming journalist Kerry Drake is the editor-in-chief of The Casper Citizen, a nonprofit, online community newspaper.

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