The Lives of More Than 45,000 Wild Horses Are Still at Risk as Congress Waits for the Bureau of Land Management’s Plan


by Carol J. Walker, Director Of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

I want to personally thank all of you who called, emailed, faxed, wrote and met with your Senators and Representatives on behalf of our wild horses and burros before the Spending Bill was passed last week.  Congress did maintain protections for wild horses and burros BUT they demanded that the Bureau of Land Management, who is tasked with managing and protecting wild horse and burros on our public lands submit a “comprehensive plan and any corresponding legislative proposals” within 30 days.

Why is this a reason for concern?  Because the very language of the directive to the BLM points at drastic measure.  “the failure to address these problems is irresponsible and will result in irreparable damage to the landscape and the welfare of the animals protected.”

This leaves the door wide open for the BLM to recommend killing (this is NOT “euthanasia”) the 45,000 wild horses and burros in holding as well as the 45,000 still on our public lands who are deemed “excess”and allowing the BLM to to remove protections from wild horses and burros that are in captivity and transfer them to federal, state, and local agencies, send them overseas and put them in “partnerships” that are not in their best interests.  All of these alternatives will expose them to possibly being shipped to slaughter.

Wild Horses and Burros need to be humanely managed on the range, while wild and free on our public lands. Destroying them to pander to the Cattleman’s Association is not the solution.  We are concerned that once the report is delivered to Congress before the end of April that the BLM could start killing and transferring wild horses and burros very quickly.

Please continue to follow our alerts and posts and requests for action during this very crucial time.

To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation and our work to keep wild horses and burros wild and free on our public lands visit

Donate Here:

Great news in the 2018 Budget: America’s wild and domestic equines will be saved from slaughter and destruction


Thanks to all of YOU for making the many phone calls, sending faxes letters and visiting with your Congressional representatives. 

The language for the Omnibus Spending Bill has been released and it contains provisions against horse slaughter and protections for America’s wild horses and burros!

While none of this will be official until both Houses of Congress vote on the bill, it is being reported that the votes to pass it with this language are there.

When passed, horse meat inspectors will remain defunded so that no horse slaughterhouses can open and operate in the U.S. Wild horses and burros will be protected from execution by the BLM and they will not be permitted to be sold “without limitation,” which means slaughter.

Much work still needs to be done.  Language that threatens the horses is in the 2019 Budget.  We need to pass a federal horse slaughter ban and the round-ups of wild horses and burros need to end and the captive ones need to be released back on the range..But at least for now, life and hope have triumphed over death and destruction.

Please be sure to send an email of thanks to Congressional Representatives who helped to save domestic and wild equines and defund horse meat inspectors.


Wild Horse Freedom Federation Celebrates National Day of the Horse

Open Letter from Wild Horse Freedom Federation

In 2004, Congress designated December 13th as National Day of the Horse and today, December 13th 2017, the Board of Directors of Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) celebrate by encouraging fellow Americans to take special note of the contribution of horses and burros to the history, development and character of the United States of America.  Our wild horses and burros are living monuments to this evolution and so eloquently embody the spirit of the freedom that we United States citizens all hold so dear.

There have been recent mitochondrial studies of the ancient horse called Equus lambei, which once populated North America and allegedly died out more than 11,000 years ago, indicating that it is genetically equivalent to what we know as the modern, wild and domesticated horses of today.  Archeological discovery of fossils validate this hypothesis, which indicates that E. caballus is a native species and its evolutionary origin is North America.

“With the current tangle of politics and jumbled federal legislation we have never been as fearful for the future fate of our wild equines as we are today,” says R.T. Fitch co-founder and president of WHFF, “we need every American to make it crystal clear to their federal representatives that our native wild horses and burros need to stay in the wild, free and unfettered, making both humane and good business sense.”

We ask you to join us in both celebrating and protecting the God given right to freedom, also approved by the U.S. Congress, for wild horses and burros to remain free with their families on their rightful range for generations to come.

Support Wild Horse Freedom Federation as we put people between wild equines and extinction.

Exclusive: Wild Horse and Wild Burro Good News and Bad News from Twin Peaks HMA

Exclusive report from “Grandma” Gregg, Environmental Researcher and Jesica Johnston, B.A., M.A in Biology and Environmental Planning

“The forage has grown back from last summer’s fire and there is an abundance of food…”

DSC06304_zps35963a14 (1)Last weekend several experienced wildlife observers with binoculars and long-distance camera lens thoroughly combed 77 miles of the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area (HMA) and found only 27 wild horses and 5 wild burros.  Is this good news or bad news?  This is good news for those few wild horses and burros that remain on their legally designated land, but bad news for the Twin Peaks HMA as a whole.  The forage has grown back from last summer’s fire and there is an abundance of food as was obvious by the condition of the few vigorous and healthy wild horses and burros that were observed, but this is still a small and discouraging number of wild horses and burros. This survey is consistent with previous surveys and documentation supporting the impacts of an enormous and devastating roundup in 2010. There seems to be few remaining wild horses and burros in the Twin Peaks HMA. In our two days of ground observation the BLM’s mantra of the term “excess” was on our minds as we traveled numerous miles; most of which had no wild horses or burros or even signs of wild horses and burros.  This public land is set aside by Congress principally for wild horses and burros, but there are very few that remain since the roundup of 2010.  It is hard to believe when the BLM says there are 1,750 out here again…

Click (HERE) for the entire independent observers’ summary report and many photos.

There has been no further official round-up announcement for Twin Peaks since last fall’s after the Rush Fire Environmental Assessment was published by BLM stating that they were going to capture and remove all but about six-hundred wild horses and burros. It is unknown at this time when this capture has been rescheduled for but in the meantime BLM did an aerial population survey in April of this year and stated there were 1,750 wild horses and burros on the Twin Peaks HMA.  This data was FOIA’d and although that number was written on the aerial log, they only photographed 460. They had two photographers in the helicopter and per their map a very thorough coverage of the HMA was done, but they only physically photographed 460 wild horses and burros.  Even though we paid with our tax money for four BLM employees and the cost of the helicopter to document the actual population of wild horses and burros … they did not. Over the four days in flight only 26% of the wild horses and burros that were “counted” were photographed.

In fact there were far more photos taken of coyotes, elk, antelope, and other landscape features than of wild horses and burros. Although there was ample opportunity, this left 1.290 wild horses and burros that they “counted” undocumented with photos during the census flight.  Why? The aerial census over the four days clearly fails to sufficiently document BLM’s stated wild horse and burro population.

In the meantime, this Thursday will be an important day for the future of the Twin Peaks HMA and all wild horses and burros. This is the first time in the history of the Wild Horse Act that an Appeals Court will determine whether the BLM’s interpretation of the Act is consistent with Congress’s intent to protect these living symbols of the West over 40 years ago.

The 2010 Twin Peaks roundup resulted in the permanent removal of more than 1,500 wild horses and 160 burros from the range. As of August 2012, 977 of the wild horses and burros removed from the range were still in “holding” and hundreds more have died or been sold by BLM to “questionable” buyers and they cannot be accounted for. The BLM failed to consider data regarding ecological resources in the herd management area, and also illegally harassed and captured horses that were not even considered “excess” by BLM’s own standards. Don’t miss this important hearing – please fill the courtroom and show your support for the Twin Peaks wild horses and burros. They need you there…

What: Appeal Hearing for the Twin Peaks Wild Horses and Burros
When:  Thursday, August 29, 2 pm – please arrive no later than 1:30 pm
Where:  Ninth Circuit Courthouse, 125 South Grand Ave., Pasadena

Click (HERE) to download complete report

Revival of Horse Slaughter to Cost Taxpayers

Horse Slaughter Plants Come with Hefty Price Tag

Photo by Terry Fitch

Last week while you weren’t looking Congress and the president did something the vast majority of Americans oppose. The president signed an omnibus-spending bill approved by Congress that makes it legal to slaughter horses in the United States once again. Polls show more than 70 percent of Americans oppose horse slaughter and few if any eat horse meat. Given the fact we are divided politically by a gap the size of the Grand Canyon, recognize that a 70 percent majority is an unheard of amount of backing.

But wait, it gets worse. The reintroduction of horse slaughter plants in the United States comes with a hefty price tag, much of which goes to line the pockets of people in other countries who own these dens of incalculable abuse. The way it works is that ever since 2005, there has been a section of the Agriculture appropriations bill that de-funds (to wit, bars the expenditure of taxpayers’ dollars on) a program for the USDA to inspect foreign-owned horse plants. Now that the de-funding law has been deleted, supporters of the grisly, completely inhumane process of horse slaughter will go back to lobbying Congress for millions of dollars annually to run the inspection program. Without inspection, it is illegal to transport horsemeat across state lines. Once they succeed, horse slaughter will resume here.

Let’s forget for the moment that candidate Barack Obama in 2008 pledged to keep the ban on horse slaughter permanent (another promise to voters reneged?) Let’s forget, too, that American horses are not bred or raised for consumption. Let’s forget that the few countries where horsemeat is consumed (France, Belgium and Japan among them) are ignoring the outright cruelty to horses that raises the hackles of right-thinking Americans. The simple question is: do we want our tax dollars spent to inspect horses who were slaughtered in incredibly cruel fashion (a bolt through the forehead that doesn’t kill them immediately) so foreign owners of slaughter plants can profit? In the midst of a recession when other crucial programs such as Medicare and education are suffering deep cuts, the answer is a resounding, “no.”

Supporters of horse slaughter say the reintroduction of slaughter plants in the U.S. will create jobs. An article in the Desert Independent in Blythe, Calif., this month noted, “Horse slaughter plants operating until 2007…never created a total of more than 178 jobs.” The kind of jobs they do create are of dubious economic value to the individuals who take them and to the communities where slaughter plants are located.

The Independent quotes Paula Bacon, former mayor of Kaufman, Texas, where a horse slaughter facility operated for years as saying, “Horse slaughter means very few, very low wage jobs, meaning workers and their families overtaxed local resources like the hospitals and government services. This so called business brought in virtually no tax revenues and local governments incurred substantial enforcement costs in trying to regulate these facilities. The standard of living dropped during the time horse slaughter facilities operated. Having a horse slaughter facility drove away good businesses.”

Studies have shown that when slaughter plants are opened in rural areas, violent crime quickly rises. Think about it. Horses are sometimes cut into pieces while still alive and screaming. What kind of person would accept the minimum wage to engage in this horrific behavior? The question answers itself.

Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., sponsored the de-funding amendment in the House version of the Agriculture Appropriations bill. He said he regrets voting for the overall bill (which did not include the de-funding language) but felt compelled to do so, to keep the government operating. He said the only alternative is to assure passage of a permanent ban on horse slaughter, which he and other compassionate members of Congress are working to do. Let’s wish them success.

(Bonnie Erbe is a TV host and writes this column for Scripps Howard News Service. E-mail bonnieerbe(at)

Click (HERE) to Read Bonnie’s Article and Comment

Congressional Conference Committee Appropriations Bill Would Require Taxpayers to Subsidize Foreign Horse Meat Industry

Equine welfare organizations denounce the agricultural  appropriations bill that if passed, would make equine slaughter for human consumption legal again in the US  and dump horsemeat that is unfit and unsafe on foreign markets

Washington, D.C. – Last night, November 14, 2011, a Congressional Conference Committee tasked with reconciling differing House and Senate versions of the FY 2012 consolidated appropriations for Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science and Transportation, issued a report failing to recommend de-funding of inspections of equines for slaughter for human consumption. This means for the first time since 2006, and in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, Americans would be required to subsidize a foreign owned industry that exports horsemeat served as a delicacy in fine restaurants in some European and other countries.

Americans don’t consume horsemeat. Polls have consistently revealed over 70% of Americans oppose horse slaughter. “It is outrageous,” says Vicki Tobin, vice president of Illinois-based Equine Welfare Alliance, “that American taxpayers would be required to subsidize foreign owned businesses that Americans oppose and that produces meat from animals that are not raised for food”.

Simone Netherlands, founder of Respect4Horses, added, “In this time when the focus of Congress is supposedly on reducing spending and creating jobs it is a ludicrous measure to spend tax dollars in order to reinstate an inherently cruel predatory business, from which Americans stand to gain nothing. Horse slaughter plants operating until 2007 have never created a total of more than 178 jobs.”

And, they are not good jobs, according to Paula Bacon, former mayor of Kaufman, Texas where a horse slaughter facility operated for years. “Horse slaughter means very few, very low wage jobs, meaning workers and their families overtaxed local resources like the hospitals and government services. This so called business brought in virtually no tax revenues and local governments incurred substantial enforcement costs in trying to regulate these facilities. The standard of living dropped during the time horse slaughter facilities operated. Having a horse slaughter facility drove away good businesses.” Equine slaughter has also been found to increase and abet horse theft in areas where facilities are located or horses are held for transport to slaughter.

In addition, American horses are not raised, fed and medicated within the FDA and European Union guidelines established for food animals, making them unfit and unsafe for human consumption. Equines are given many drugs banned in food animals such as pain killers, steroids, de-wormers and ointments throughout their lives.

A 2010 study in the Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal showed a drug given routinely to equines like aspirin, phenylbutazone or Bute, is a carcinogen and can cause aplastic anemia in humans. It has no withdrawal period. The FDA bans bute in all food producing animals because of this serious danger to human health. The recent EU FVO reports on U.S. equines exported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter show banned drug residues and falsified drug affidavits. (

The unsubstantiated claims of pro horse slaughter legislators such as Jack Kingston (Georgia) are that it will solve neglect and abandonment. All we have to do is look at Canada to confirm that this erroneous. They have had the same increases in neglect cases as we have here in the US. The often talked about GAO report states: We cannot rule out the effect of the economy. The demographic of people who hang on to their horses in spite of their inability to care for them, is the kind of demographic that does not want to send their horses to slaughter, therefore horse slaughter is not a solution for that demographic. One could argue that horse slaughter in fact makes people afraid to sell their horses to anyone for fear of them ending up in the slaughter pipeline. Even Kentucky Derby winners such as Ferdinand have ended up on someone’s dinner plate in a foreign country.

“In fact, it creates the problems it claims to solve,” says R.T. Fitch, co-founder and President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation “As a convenient and lucrative means of disposal, Horse slaughter has created an over-population problem of horses, by enabling irresponsible breeding, and encouraging a quick turn around and dumping of horses. Very much like the housing market and the banking industry, the horse breeding industry is self destructing by saturating the market and horse slaughter is the bail out”.

Equine Slaughter is a grave risk to public health, it is inherently inhumane and it causes the very problems it claims to solve. It is fiscally irresponsible for Congress even to consider re-funding these inspections.  The focus should be on stopping the risk altogether by ending the export of American equines for slaughter for human consumption.

“After all, there is a large market for dog and cat meat as well in China and Japan, does that mean that American tax payers should foot the bill to pay for the USDA to start inspecting dog and cat meat?” asks Richard “Kudo” Couto, founder of Animal Recovery Mission.

These equine welfare groups ask Congress to de-fund horse inspections and also protect the welfare of American equines by taking immediate action to pass the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011:

Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA)

Respect4Horses (R4H)

Animal Law Coalition (ALC)

Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF)

The Cloud Foundation (TCF)

Animal Recovery Mission (ARM)

Americans Against Horse Slaughter (AAHS)

The Celebrate the Horse Network  (CTHN)

Animals’ Angels (AA)


Independent Report Details BLM’s Failed Math in Mismanaging Wild Horse and Burro Program

Report compiled by Cindy MacDonald, Carla Bowers and Leslie Peeples

House Increases Funding For Failed Program Riddled With Controversy –
Senate Poised To Seal The Deal – Can They Be Swayed?

The out-of-control direction the BLM is taking the Wild Horse & Burro Program spells the imminent extinction of America’s wild and free-roaming iconic herds in the West.

The Senate will vote sometime this week or next on whether to approve the House appropriations bill to increase funding for the DOI/BLM Wild Horse & Burro Program. If Congress wants to reduce spending, it can be done here and now. The requested additional $12M can be eliminated immediately and the $18M costs for FY11 roundups and processing can be redirected to actual reform of this acknowledged broken Program.

In July 2010, Congress members sent a letter urging the BLM to refrain from any further
action or roundups until the Program failings were remedied and a clear new plan was in
place. Yet last week, the House did an about face and awarded the BLM an additional $12M through a Continuing Resolution (CR). According to the GAO, the BLM WH&B Program has been moving in a fiscally unsustainable direction and yet, this Program was one of the few awarded a full funding increase. Additional provisions were slipped in the bill that will have long-term detrimental impacts on the herds and will be very difficult to reverse if enacted.

Though the WH&B Program has been widely acknowledged as reaching critical levels of concern, curiously the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies failed to meet and mark up the FY11 DOI Budget Bill in 2010, according to public records and inquiries of staff. Thus, the WH&B Program was never even discussed.

Historically, reports on the Program have been government-generated and influenced, have consistently whitewashed the issues and have misled Congress, the most recent being the “Independent Designated Observer Pilot Program Final Report October 2010” and the “DOI OIG Report on the BLM WH&B Program, C-IS-BLM-0018-2010 December 2010”.

To offset the obvious lack of credible checks and balances or oversight of the Program, an independent Report to Congress was recently released in late November 2010. This Report exposes the blatant misrepresentations and deceptions occurring within the DOI/BLM WH&B Program utilizing the BLM’s own documents and data. The Report is meant to truthfully inform Congress about the gross discrepancies uncovered before the Senate commits to further funding that perpetuates the ongoing abuses within the Program.

Refer to Report to Congress: “Refuting FY2011 Budget Justifications & Request to Defund
Roundups & Removals Through Appropriations For FY2011 & FY2012

Click (HERE) to Download Report

THE U.S. Equine Advocacy Letter to Nancy Pelosi

The Signed Letter promoted by Respect4Horses, EWA and Animal Law Coalition

How Did We Ever Get Here?

Guest Op-Ed by Vicki Tobin ~ Vice President of The Equine Welfare Alliance

The famous words of Mahatma Gandhi ring truer today than ever before. “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Where it all began, pre-BLMThroughout US history we have progressed and prospered as a nation. Until now. We seem to have forgotten our roots and are moving backwards. We have forgotten the basics of life and how we became a leading nation. One of the most visible declines in our country is our treatment of animals, in particular, our equines.

We have organizations that claim to be for horse welfare and then take their tax deductible donations to lobby (excuse me, their websites claim that they educate legislators) for the demise of horses. It wasn’t enough with the domestic horses but now they want to slaughter the wild horses. They want to slaughter our American heritage.

Mr. Salazar and Mr. Abbey, we are paying your salary. Without our tax dollars, you wouldn’t be employed. That makes you employees of the taxpayers. Since when do employees not have to answer to their employers? Our tax dollars fund the wild horse and burro program. The wild horses are owned by the American people. We pay for them and we deserve to be heard and listened to.

Why are all the round-ups now being conducted on private land? We are paying for the round-ups and should be able to observe our tax dollars at work. We already foot the bill for over two hundred millions of acres of public land so why are you wasting more of our money by using private land? What don’t you want us to see?

The tax paying American citizens passed a law in 1971 that states you are to manage the wild horses and burros, not exterminate them. We do not want our tax dollars going to a PR firm that is trying to make you look warm and fuzzy while you are removing horses by the thousands. We are not paying your salaries so you can give us bogus numbers that change every time you speak. We want accurate reports. We want numbers that can be validated.  If you can’t do that, don’t you think it’s time to put on the brakes until you can?

We pay hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidize livestock grazing on public lands. And yet, when we ask for the number of livestock vs. horses in the herd areas, we are given dozens of websites to click through, told to call individual local offices and can never find the information. Why isn’t there a map that depicts every herd area, the number of the wildlife and the number of livestock? If you don’t have that at your fingertips, how are you managing the ranges?

Even if we accept your numbers that keep changing of anywhere between 32,000 – 38,000 horses still on the range, help us understand how that is over populated compared to millions of livestock? If the ranges can’t sustain the horses, how can it sustain millions of livestock?

Sorro, only days old and neglected by BLM after Calico death roundup - Sorro destroyed by BLM ~ Photo by Laura Leigh

How did you arrive at 2 deaths at Calico? You reported 7 deaths at the trap site, 39 aborted foals, 111 at the facility and 3 foals (that we know of) that were lost when the mares had to be euthanized giving birth. On my calculator that totals to 160.

The BLM claimed at the last meeting that the livestock fees don’t cover the cost of EISs and blamed Congress for setting the fees. Are you trying to tell us that Congress just pulls a number out of the air without input from the DOI and BLM?

Why is it that you begged Congress for more money for horses in holding pens and then used it to remove more horses but you can’t ask for an increase in fees so you can assess the ranges before renewing or issuing new livestock leases?

We are asked for input and then ignored. Thousands and thousands of comments and always the same answer; no impact. Equine advocates have been screaming for years to appoint someone to the board that is not biased and knowledgeable on wild horses. And what do you do, appoint more cattle ranchers. We get the message. We understand a middle finger salute when we see one.

The final straw was inviting a state representative to the December meeting that is an embarrassment to this country. We are fighting for the survival of America’s wild horses and burros and you invite someone that wants to slaughter anything with four legs that moves. Even the moderator couldn’t stop her rambling at the last meeting. We are not going to allow our heritage to be destroyed and eaten.

How did we get here and what has happened to our country?

What an embarrassment that Canada had to introduce legislation to ban horse slaughter for human consumption because our government continues to let horses flow over the borders that are not safe for human consumption. Why is our government allowing foreign industries to slaughter our non-food animals?

Change? Change? We don't need no stinkin change!

Our horses are not raised as food animals. We have no tracking system and no way to remove horses that have received prohibited substances. What a message we are sending to the rest of the world on consumer food safety because of the few that refuse to take responsibility for their equines and a government that won’t take action.

I would like to thank you and the state representative for one thing, you have united equine advocates as we have never been before. We are going to continue our fight to end horse slaughter and to reinstate protections for our wild horses and burros.

Animal advocates from across the country rallied behind Obama and a new government. Change. Oh, we got change alright but not what we expected…

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Lobby Group Will Urge Congress to Fund Export of Tainted Horse Meat

Urgent Press Release from The Equine Welfare Alliance

CHICAGO, (EWA) – The National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) has passed a resolution calling for the reinstatement of USDA inspectors for horse meat.

The NCSL is a non-governmental lobbyist organization which serves the nation’s 50 states legislators to advocate and lobby for the interests of states before Congress and federal agencies. The resolutions NCSL passes are not binding and merely allow them to lobby on behalf of the states.

Representative Sue Wallis (WY) who is vice chair of the NCSL’s Agriculture and Energy Committee, went on record asking that she be allowed to slaughter horses to feed Wyoming children, the poor and prison inmates without having the meat federally inspected for consumer safety. The Wyoming livestock board responded quickly by stating in no uncertain terms that “horse slaughter is not an option.”

The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) strongly opposes the misuse of tax payer dollars to fund inspections for an industry that is not needed or wanted by the overwhelming majority of Americans.

US horses are not raised as food animals and as such, receive numerous substances on a routine basis that are prohibited for use in food animals. Our country does not track horses and has no mechanism to remove horses from the food chain that have received prohibited substances.

Horse owners were vehemently opposed last year at an attempt to implement NAIS, a national tracking system. Considering that less than two percent of the horse population ends up on slaughter trucks and represents only three cents on every $100 earned by the horse industry, the cost of implementing a national tracking system to accommodate an insignificant percentage of horses makes absolutely no fiscal sense.

In the NCSL release, as with most pro horse slaughter communications, there is no mention of the known drug issue in American horses. “It is a travesty that legislators would even consider reinstating inspections knowing that there is no way to guarantee consumer food safety” said EWA’s Valerie James-Patton.

A recent survey of horse owners by the publication, The Horse, revealed that 96% of horse owners give their horses at least one of the banned substances on a regular basis. A peer reviewed scientific study by Drs. Marini, Dodman and Blondeau that was published in the scientific journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, revealed 100% of the slaughtered Thoroughbreds traced in the study had received the carcinogen phenylbutazone. It should be noted that these tainted horses were shipped to the European Union for human consumption while the USDA was supposedly inspecting the horse meat. Another study in CA of Thoroughbreds revealed a 99% usage.

“Instead of wasting valuable legislator’s time on this nonsense,” commented EWA’s Vicki Tobin, “a better use of time and donations by these pro horse slaughter groups would be to address why excess horses continue to be produced every year and start working on solutions. Continuing to slaughter the victims of irresponsible breeders and owners, is only going to perpetuate the problem, not correct it.”

Equine Welfare Alliance is a dues free, umbrella organization with over 120 member organizations. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.


National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) adopts new policy resolution calling for USDA inspection of horse meat.

The policy resolution was passed at the annual Legislative Summit held in Louisville, Kentucky on July 25-28, 2010. The policy was first reviewed and passed by the Agriculture and Energy Committee, and then passed at the Business Meeting of the 45 states in attendance. Policies which receive a super majority vote of more than 3/4 of the states attending give NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. the authority to lobby Congress on behalf of the position of the states.

USDA ante-and post mortem inspections are mandatory if an animal is to be sold as meat, and the animal must be slaughtered in a USDA-inspected facility. Federal appropriations law contains a prohibition on allowing federal dollars to be spent on salaries for inspectors who inspect horses before or after slaughter, making it impossible for operations that want to process horse meat within their borders to market this meat. Inspectors also cannot respond to a voluntary, fee-based inspection request to inspect horse meat. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) believes that these provisions unduly restrict states’ action regarding horse slaughtering facilities within their borders. Therefore, NCSL calls upon Congress to remove these restrictions in existing law, and not insert similar provisions in subsequent appropriations bills or other legislative vehicles.

The closing of horse slaughter facilities in America has decimated the equine industry, and has curtailed the ability of states and tribes to control the numbers of excess and abandoned horses on their lands. Documented reports indicate an increase of 400% in the number of starved, abandoned, and neglected horses between 2008 and 2009 alone. This has resulted in unprecedented state budget increases and taxpayer costs at a time when states cannot afford unnecessary expense. It has severely impacted the livestock industry as a whole, and by eliminating the salvage value of horses has significantly reduced the market value of all horses. The loss of markets for horse meat for pet food, for the maintenance of zoo animals, and for byproducts has greatly impacted these sectors. The loss of horse products for export has eliminated more than

$42 million dollars of direct income for an already struggling sector of the livestock industry, not to mention millions of dollars in indirect costs because of the loss of value of individual animals. Given the current state of the horse processing industry, it is particularly important that the federal government not restrict access to inspection.

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