Oklahoma Tornado Killed at Least 150 horses

Source: By Mary Rampellini of the Daily Racing Form

“We’ve counted, unfortunately, 150 horses or more that have been found [dead], were killed, or had to be put down,”

Lost HorsesIn a sobering count, more than 150 horses died as a result of the violent tornado that swept through Moore, Okla., on Monday. The number represents the entire community of farms that sit on the southern border of Oklahoma City, including Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses who were based at Celestial Acres Training Center.

Several organizations coordinating horse-rescue efforts, as well as local veterinarians and horse owners themselves, determined the number, said Joe Lucas, executive vice president of the Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma.

“We’ve counted, unfortunately, 150 head or more that have been found [dead], were killed, or had to be put down,” Lucas said. “And that’s not just Celestial Acres. That’s the Moore area. That’s what we’ve gotten up to.”

Lucas said a hotline is being set up through the state Department of Agriculture for owners to inquire about lost horses. In addition, there are plans to post photos taken of both surviving and deceased horses for the purpose of identification. The Thoroughbred Racing Association of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Quarter Horse Racing Association are helping with the process, Lucas said.

The team Lucas is working with has located 18 live horses in the Moore area, including five racehorses who were identified by their lip tattoos and sent to Remington Park in Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

“I think we’ve found everything that can be found that’s out there alive,” Lucas said.

Lucas said another 10 rescued horses were sent to facilities in Moore, and an additional three were shipped to Heritage Place, the auction house in Oklahoma City that has opened its doors to displaced horses.

“Horses that have fairly minor injuries that are treatable, they can spend the night for a few days until things get settled,” said Spence Kidney, general manager of Heritage Place. “Plus, if some are not sure where their horses are, it’s a central place to identify those horses. We’re just trying to chip in a little. It’s a terrible situation.”

Kidney said Wednesday the facilities received a miniature stallion, a paint horse, and a small gray mare who appears to be a Welsh pony.

The Oklahoma Thoroughbred Retirement Program is providing support to horses displaced by the storm, including helping owners with some of the medical costs for the treatment of injured animals. The organization, which is accepting donations through its website, http://www.otrp.info, also is seeking feed and equipment donations.

“We’re raising money to take care of the horses themselves,” said Chris Kirk, a director of the Oklahoma Thoroughbred Retirement Program.

Kirk said one of the most heartwarming stories during this difficult time was the rescue of an unraced 3-year-old Thoroughbred filly named Sasha’s Image. She was found at Celestial Acres on Tuesday evening, more than 24 hours after the storm hit. Sasha’s Image was heard whinnying from beneath some barn doors.

“From what I was told, she was laying flat on her side,” Kirk said. “Her ears were laying flat over the top of her head. They got her up, and her ears were still flat. They said the next morning her ears were pricked up again. She was in a lot of distress, but she’s doing better.”

Tornado hits Durant’s farm in Texas

Tom Durant, the all-time leading owner at Lone Star Park near Dallas, experienced significant damage to his farm in Granbury, Texas, last Wednesday due to a tornado. Durant lost nine horses in the storm, five of them yearlings from the first crop of his multiple stakes winner Sing Baby Sing.

“We took a direct hit,” said Jack Bruner, private trainer for Durant.

Bruner said there was no loss of human life at the farm, but the barns were destroyed, as were four tractors, stores of hay, and “countless miles of fence.” Bruner said he has yet to locate the farm’s six-horse trailer. He said 15 of Durant’s horses remain in the care of Equine Sports Medicine Surgery, an equine clinic in Weatherford, Texas.

“I cannot express how much they’ve done,” he said. “We could not have done it without them.”

Bruner said the majority of Durant’s mares and foals are based at Lane’s End Texas, while his racing operation is at Lone Star. The farm on Thursday was being cleared. “We’re going to rebuild,” Bruner said.

Click (HERE) to Comment at the Daily Racing Form

A Horse’s Independence Day Speech Before Congress

by Jerry Finch ~ Founder/President of  Habitat for Horses

I do not know why you have asked me to speak here today, nor do I understand what object you have asked me to represent in the celebration of your Independence Day. You celebrate freedom and justice, reflected in your Declaration of Independence, but that paper does not apply to me, or to any other animal that shares this earth with you.

For your sake, I am pleased that you have reached such high levels of freedom. Would that sole document reflect your outlook for horses as for humans, I would be first to celebrate with you. Sadly, such is not the case, for horses are not included, nor are the safeties and securities granted to you held in common with those of us who have helped you build this great nation. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. As you celebrate, I must mourn for the loss of millions of my kind to your lust for power and money.

To halter me, tie a lead rope on me and pull me into this magnificent hall to speak of your freedom is once again a sample of your inhumane treatment and a mockery to the justice of which you are so proud. You, who have thrown the bodies of dead horses in stacks that reach to the heavens, ask one of us to tell you of the glories of America? I think not.

For it is not your joy I hear, nor the fireworks booming in the skies. I hear the cry of millions of my kind, tied in backyards, stuck in dark, wet stalls, left unfed and unloved. I hear the plaintive moan of those being trucked thousands of miles to face a horrible death at your hands. As I look out at you, I see them and what you have allowed to happen to them in your name.

On your Independence Day, the future of my kind looks far darker than ever before. Far worse than the conduct of those who occupied these seats in the years before you came, those of you who presently sit within this majestic hall now conduct yourselves with an arrogance that is both revolting and hideous. You have tied yourselves to the pockets of those who profit from the suffering of my kind, you make false statements on their behalf and refuse to represent those constituents whose vote brought you into this once hollowed hall of honor.

I do not stand before you as the honored guest, representing the triumphant battles for freedom I fought with you. I do not stand as your partner in memory of or great history together as we conquered nations, fought our way to the west, plowed fields and fed millions with our combined labor. I will not, for I now know, as do those citizens who call me their friends, what you truly think of my kind. You who occupy these seats have trampled upon the Constitution for the right to pocket pieces of gold. You refuse to represent the horses of this nation when we turned to you. You have made fun, ridiculed and ignored those citizens you represent as they have pleaded our case before you, and for that I can say nothing positive about you, the system you represent or the freedoms you allegedly vowed to protect.

Do I need to stand before you and argue that the slaughter of horses is wrong? That point is past. It is conceded and acknowledged in private and only disputed in public by the repetitious lies of those who profit from your murderous ways. Do I need to show you the truth behind the lies? They are known and open for you, if you are of the mind to look beyond the hands of those who give you money for your next reelection effort. Do I need to tell you of those citizens whom you allegedly represent who want you to stop the slaughter? Look at your call logs, your emails, your fax machines.

Am I to tell you that it is wrong to have us stolen from our loved humans, to be beaten with sticks, shocked, transported without rest or water,, shoved into kill chutes, terrorized and injured by captive bolts or guns , hung by our legs while we are still alive and sold by the pound when we are dead? There is not a man among you who would suffer to the point of death as we do, yet you deny us the right to be free from this horror.

What then is your argument, that you have a divine right to our death? That your interpretation of dominion gives you a reason to kill us for the dollars it places in your pockets? Is that indeed your concept of God’s will? If that is your God, then those humans who love us are not a part of your world.

Those days of intellectual debates are a thing of the past. You do not need to hear the arguments, nor do you need to see the light. Instead, you will feel the thunder, stand in the storm and be burned by the firestorm you created, for those humans that support our freedom are aroused and your hypocrisy toward the honor of your Constitution will bring your downfall.

Do not ask me to celebrate with you, for I am not free. I am your slave, to be destroyed at your whim. Only when you grant the right of the American people to turn their beliefs into laws that stop the insane practice of horse slaughter will I be able to stand before you in honor.

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The Value of Compassion

Collected and written by Simone Netherlands, founder of respect4horses

Simone Netherlands

The burden of caring is indeed great for it is essentially allowing the pain of another to transfer into you. It is easy to be discouraged by the evil of what we are up against, easy to feel the anger of our powerlessness and it is hard to feel positive seeing and knowing all the pain and suffering that is going on in the world at this very moment. Tragedy wants to harden us but our mission is never to let it.

“Compassion is the basis of all morality.”
-Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher” 1788-1860

So many wrongs in the world. How do we cope? My personal reason for being more involved with horse slaughter than any other great cause is because I feel I am most knowledgeable in this field and have been deeply connected with horses my whole life. Sometimes I too think I (we) would be better off not caring so much. Would life be easier if we were just like the millions of people who do not even give it a second thought and merrily go on worrying about themselves every day?

“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.”
Albert Einstein. American Physicist. Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.(1879-1955)

But then I realize that not being able to feel what others feel is not a blessing, it is the worst curse of all. These kinds of people are not able to understand or put themselves in anybodies place. Not their livestock, not their pets or their kids or their wives. How can they be fair to anyone? It is only because they don’t know any better that these narcissists are cruel and uncaring. Therefore we should only feel sorry for them. Count your blessings that you are not one of them for they are cursed with the real burden.

I would rather have eyes that cannot see; ears that cannot hear; lips that cannot speak, than a heart that cannot feel.
-Robert Tizon, writer.

The secret is not to care less, the secret is to allow yourself a break from it every once in a while. Be kind to yourself, and treat yourself right. Feelings are only a result of thoughts, and if our thoughts are always on suffering, it is no wonder our feelings of happiness are far and few in between. Take time to banish all depressing thoughts. (Do this for at least one hour a day, and one day a week J)

“A true gift wasted, is Compassion that ends in tears and sighs.”
-unknown author.

Besides for the suffering, what is a great source of discouragement for me personally is  the lack of cooperation and support for each other within our own movement. I feel that our great potential is suppressed by groups and individuals who are wasting their precious energy by bickering and sabotaging each other. I wish there was a way to pull us all together and make us stronger. The horses need us. The details do not matter, what matters is that we are all fighting for the same.

“Shame on you who criticize the ones standing on the same side of the playing field, for you are weakening your own team and sabotaging your own game.”
-anonymous writer.

The awesome part is that we are all here, we are part of a common consciousness that is painfully aware that the being of the horse is special and that it deserves better.

At the risk of being a little cheesy I offer you yet some more quotes I collected:

“The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of Western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality.”
– Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher 1788-1860

“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”
-Albert Schweitzer. 1875-1965. Nobel peace prize 1952.

“We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history.”
-Sonia Johnson, writer.

“Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged people who kept on working.”
-Sonia Johnson, writer.

“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, beyond all else which distinguishes the victorious from the defeated.”
-unknown writer.

“In all things it is better to hope than to despair.””
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Novelist 1749-1832

When you do happen to have a moment of despair, do not feel alone or discouraged, for all good, great, and world changing figures have felt the same as you do. The value of compassion cannot be over emphasized.  The burden is a blessing in disguise. When you leave the world behind you and it is better for having had you in it, you become immortal. All other lives are lived in vain.

If you can, take a minute today, to go look a horse deep in the eye, one you have made a difference for. Feel his joy for life, his calmness and his peace and you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that no matter how many mistakes you may have made in your life, you have done well. Then, renew your promise to that horse that you will press on.

To be successful, we must be able to cope with our burden and play the war one battle at a time. We cannot be a bunch of righteous individuals, but must be an unselfish team who can visualize the concept. We must combine our efforts. It is amazing what can be accomplished when no one cares who receives the credit. Let’s support each other and keep faith in our hearts that justice will prevail. With that being our attitude, there is no limit to what we can do.

“The longing for justice is the sword we carry”
-Sonia Johnson, writer.

With this I would like to express my sincere gratitude for people like you, Jerry and R.T., and all the rest of the many horse rescuers, anti horse slaughter advocates, wild horse advocates, lobbyers, letter writers, documentary makers, activists, supporters and donators, who are reading this. No matter how big or small the part is that you are playing, know that your work is of more importance than you know. You are appreciated for how much you care, for how much you sacrifice and for your infinite wisdom. The world would be a worse place without you.

“There is no greater wisdom than knowing the difference between right and wrong”.

“May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.”

Collected and written by Simone Netherlands.
Respect 4 horses

P.S.  If I organized a combined lobbying event in Washington, in January, for both wild horse bills and anti slaughter bills, how many of you would help organize and how many of you would come?

Email to: simone@respect4horses.com

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