Stopping the Juggernaut to Extinction of America’s Wild Horses and Burros

OpEd by Susan Wagner – President of Equine Advocates

“What is needed now is a public revolt to save these horses!”

Although the #NewYorkTimes is a great newspaper on many levels, it has never, in our opinion, accurately reported on wild and domestic #equine issues, including #HorseSlaughter.

I cannot say why that is, but this latest attempt to report on a “solution” to the #WildHorse and #Burro crisis is nothing less than mystifying. As bad as it is, I think there is something else afoot.

BLM’s Wild Horse Harvesting Machine by John Holland

Of course, it all boils down to money, special interests and a ghoulish plan that the #BLM has been discussing behind closed doors. #Congress demanded that the BLM submit a management plan to them which it did. It actually reads like a roadmap to #extinction. It includes sterilization, gruesome reproductive experiments, sale “without limitation” which means slaughter, sale to slaughter, killing/execution and other destructive programs, non of which have anything to do with protecting and preserving these animals which the vast majority of Americans support. You may read the BLM’s plan for yourselves here:

However, not all of the BLM’s “ideas” are stated in the plan it submitted to Congress. There are more sinister solutions which have not yet reached the news media. We hope in the coming days and weeks that more of these outrageous ideas will be exposed.

What is needed now is a public revolt to save these horses!
It’s not enough to wait until the mid-terms. It could be too late by then. Your activism and advocacy are needed now! Please be pro-active and contact your lawmakers now!

Sadly, many in our government are active participants of the #PaytoPlay agenda. Our wild horses and burros, as well as our domestic equines are all in grave danger of falling victim to those corrupt officials who are willing to set policy based on how much money is being offered to them. This has become more and more evident every day as we watch the news and see corporations paying off politicians and government officials in order to influence government policy.

Our wild horses and burros are among the latest victims of this corrupt hot mess. Only a powerful public outcry can stop this juggernaut to extinction.

Star Investigation: Drugged Slaughtered Canadian Horses Slipping Through ‘Inadequate’ Food System

Source: Mary Ormsby and Dale Brazao Staff Reporters of

“I’m just buying the horse for the (meat) plant and that’s it”

Backstreet Bully, a former Frank Stronach racehorse, had been given a drug linked to bone-marrow disease in humans and yet was slaughtered at a Quebec abattoir in January, though it is unclear whether his meat entered the food chain. Photo by Michael Burns

The horse “passport” Canada relies on to keep toxic meat off dinner tables around the world is open to fraud and error, a Star investigation reveals.

Using undercover reporters, the Star found problems with passports — which are supposed to detail a horse’s complete medical history — for several horses headed to the slaughterhouse.

The Star also obtained 10 passports, nine of which were incomplete or mistake-filled.

In some cases, signatures did not match the names of people claiming to be the horse’s owner. In other interactions witnessed at a busy Waterloo-area auction house, the document was partially filled out by an auction-house worker instead of the owners.

What was seen at auction confirms the findings of an international audit obtained by the Star: that Canada’s ability to trace prohibited drugs in food-bound horses “is inadequate” to protect consumers. Some common horse medications, like “bute” and nitrofurazone, are linked to causing bone-marrow disease and cancer in people if eaten in meat.

Canada’s equine information document is the first step in protecting the public from drug-tainted meat. The document is a type of animal passport that relies on voluntary ownership disclosure of information such as a horse’s physical description, its primary use — racehorse, for example — and drug history.

About $90 million in horsemeat from more than 80,000 animals is exported from Canada annually. Each horse to be slaughtered is to have a passport stating it is free of drugs that would be dangerous to humans if consumed. Horsemeat is a common dish eaten in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan and Quebec, and is even available at select restaurants in Toronto.

Concerns over public exposure to tainted meat has intensified in recent years as thousands of racehorses — raised on powerful drugs to boost performance — enter the slaughter pipeline, most of them coming from the United States into Canada since the closure of U.S. slaughterhouse facilities in 2007.

Meanwhile, Ontario’s cash-strapped racing industry has fewer tracks, race dates and prize money than a year ago — rendering thousands of racing thoroughbreds, standardbreds, quarter horses and their breeding stock unnecessary.

European Union food safety regulators have pushed Canada for tighter passport and drug-testing controls for domestic and American horses. But the Star’s investigation, where we examined specific cases, found horses with drug histories that should prevent them from becoming food can easily slip through the system.

In two cases tracked by the Star, Backstreet Bully, a former Frank Stronach racehorse, and Holly, a 23-year-old trail horse, were sold at the Ontario Livestock Exchange auction near Waterloo with false or misleading claims on their passports.

Backstreet Bully was slaughtered in Quebec in January, though it is unclear whether his meat entered the food chain — neither the government or slaughterhouse officials would tell us. Backstreet Bully had been given multiple doses of phenylbutazone (bute) and nitrofurazone during his life.

Holly narrowly escaped the same fate in March, rescued from a meat buyer’s holding pen when the horse was tracked down and purchased for $805. Holly had also been given bute and nitrofurazone just weeks before she was sold at auction. (Read the Star’s full account of Holly’s rescue in Saturday’s Star.)

“If you come right down to the bottom of this and the majority of these racehorses have had some of these (prohibited) drugs administered, what good are any documents, really?” said B.C. New Democrat Alex Atamanenko, who is pushing a private member’s bill, C-322, to severely restrict horse slaughter in Canada.

The Star’s undercover investigation took reporters to the Tuesday horse sales at the Ontario Livestock Exchange. To see how carefully passports were completed by horse owners, Star reporters mingled with the public and horse dealers on two separate trips.

Dozens of horses were trucked in both mornings from around the province and herded from trailers into auction-house holding pens. Lot numbers were glued to their sides to identify them to the public, who wandered around the pens studying the animals until the noon bidding began. In the sales ring, there was little vigilance of passport accuracy; even when the auctioneer announced to potential buyers that the owners’ names and signatures didn’t match on some forms, those horses were still sold.

Auction houses are not responsible for overseeing passport accuracy; that is the role of slaughterhouse operators, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the country’s food safety watchdog. However, it is the horse owner’s duty to provide full and correct identity and medical history information for their animal; making false statements is illegal.

Most of the purchasing at the auction was done by slaughterhouse suppliers like Jeff Grof and Jonathan Lalonde, who are commonly called “kill buyers” — although farmers and families can pick up bargain-basement animals for pennies a pound. One dirty colt, with no takers, finally sold for $5.

“I’m just buying the horse for the (meat) plant and that’s it,” said Lalonde, who estimates he purchases between 25 and 30 horses every Tuesday from the auction, known to insiders simply as OLEX.

“When we’re buying the horses, they are supposed to have the papers filled out by the old owner,” he told the Star in a recent phone interview.

Lalonde bought Backstreet Bully for about 26 cents a pound on Jan. 8 and Holly for about 46 cents a pound on March 26. Unlike Backstreet Bully, who went directly to slaughter, Holly had a few days’ grace in an Ottawa-area feedlot because Lalonde thought he could resell her for $700, plus $105 for board — double what he reportedly paid for her at auction.

Many powerful veterinary drugs given to sport horses are prohibited in animals destined to become food because those drugs can be toxic to people. The passport is mandatory paperwork for slaughter-bound horses but additional information, such as veterinary records to support drug-free claims, is not required.

A five-page government passport template is available online but it is not mandatory to use that version. The horse industry is permitted to create a shorter form — usually a single sheet of paper, the Star found — that excludes some questions suggested by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

European Commission auditors twice visited Canadian slaughterhouse facilities in 2010 and 2011, to inspect areas from sanitation to drug-testing procedures for a variety of animals. With horses, auditors found particular fault with passports accompanying American animals trucked to slaughterhouses from the border.

“Those horses imported from the United States of America for direct slaughter, the equine identification documents received were not reliable, with verification only being made possible by residue (drug) testing,” the 2011 audit states.

The passport “doesn’t provide even a modicum of reassurance” that all horses are safe to eat, says lawyer and author Bruce Wagman, a San Francisco animal law expert who has studied the European audits.

Wagman calls the Canadian slaughter system unreliable, dangerous to the global food supply and one to avoid emulating should the U.S. resume slaughtering horses for human consumption after a seven-year shutdown, as is being proposed.

“The EID is not serving the purpose it’s purportedly intended to do, which is to ensure no adulterated meat goes into or out of the country,” said the lawyer.

“It can’t, because the document doesn’t guarantee anything.”

Wagman contends passports are “prone to abuse” by people “motivated by financial gain and have no way, really, of accurately filling out the document because many of them just got these horses within days (of completing the form).”

Wagman is petitioning federal U.S. food agencies on behalf of animal welfare groups — including the Humane Society of the United States — to drastically tighten federal drug requirements should horse slaughter south of the border be revived.

Nearly 300,000 horses have been slaughtered at Canadian plants since 2010, when the equine information document was introduced to better identify animals and the drugs. The European Union, whose member states trace domestic equine from birth to death with lifetime passports, has for years pushed for tighter horsemeat vigilance in Canada.

A proper passport system would do a great deal to protect the public, people involved in the horse world say, particularly as more and more horses are slaughtered. One equine expert recently estimated that Canada’s overall horse population of about 900,000 will be reduced to about 600,000 over the next few years because of reduced racing in Ontario.

Secrecy surrounds the passports once a horse reaches the slaughterhouse. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency can only access passports stored at the country’s four federally registered equine slaughter facilities.

Federal rules state that slaughterhouse operators “shall investigate incidences of potential (passport) falsification and take necessary action,” according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. It was unclear what slaughterhouses are to do if they find a problem and the government agency refused to disclose how many, if any, people have been prosecuted for passport fraud.

Jonathan Lalonde, who supplies Quebec abattoirs, told the Star he sometimes phones horse owners to supply the missing passport information and writes it in himself. Otherwise, the horse may be rejected at the slaughterhouse.

Equine Canada has been working on a birth-to-death traceability system for all horses in Canada built on existing industry data tracking programs (like racehorse registration papers) and may include the use of microchip implants. The system, called CanEQUID, would also track horses to be processed for meat. But government funding to fast track CanEQUID has not materialized for the past five years since horses aren’t considered a “priority species” for food safety and livestock traceability, according to Equine Canada.

Horsemeat is a lucrative business. It is Canada’s No. 1 red meat export to Europe; Canada supplies the continent with about 24 per cent of its total.

The top five purchasers of Canadian-processed horsemeat in 2012 were: Switzerland ($22 million); Japan ($19.8 million); France ($19.7 million); Belgium ($17.6 million) and Kazakhstan ($6.8 million).

The U.S. was next in line, spending nearly $2 million on horsemeat — but for zoo animals. Horsemeat is not allowed to be sold commercially for human consumption in the U.S.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency insists the current system is safe because government inspectors at the privately owned abattoirs will not allow any horse with incomplete or inaccurate passports to be slaughtered for food.

“The CFIA’s top priority is food safety,” the agency wrote in an email to the Star.

In addition, agency inspectors conduct visual examinations and random drug testing of horses and carcasses to ensure they are free of banned drugs. Some horses are targeted for testing if an inspector has cause for concern. Testing is so sensitive, drug residues can be detected in parts per billion — trace amounts.

In a recent email to the Star, the agency said it is working with the horse industry to “develop measures to enhance equine traceability.”

The agency says it does not directly act on fraudulent passport claims.

Click (HERE) to visit

Call President Obama on Promise to Stop Horse Slaughter

Wild Horse Freedom Federation Joins Equine Welfare Alliance in Push to Call Obama Daily to Stop Horse Slaughter

Occupy Obama's Phone

Here at WHFF volunteer headquarters we are besieged with emails, calls, press interviews on the atrocity of 3 Congressman covertly working to bring foreign owned horse slaughter plants to the United States and we, have had enough.  To echo our good friends at the Equine Welfare Alliance we are tired of mailing, faxing, calling our legislators only to get back canned and condescending responses, we are MAD and mad enough to do something about it, TODAY!


We ask all able bodied Amercians to pick up the phone and call the, Animal Friendly, President to do something to head off this inhumane and un-American action NOW!

Spread the word to all your friends on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Yahoo, Google+ and all the social networks to call the President’s comment line at 202-456-1111 and give just one simple, to the point line that addresses the issue such as the following suggested from EWA, in your own words, of course:

– As a Senator, Obama cosponsored legislation to ban the slaughter of American horses and to stop their transport over our porous borders.

– During his campaign Obama promised to be a voice for Americans and our animals

– Ask/demand an immediate Executive Order banning the slaughter and transport to slaughter of American horses.  Obama has the power with one stroke of his pen to end it.

And we at Wild Horse Freedom Federation will be asking the President to also, in seperate messages so as not to blur the intent:

– Declare a Moratorium on the deadly roundups of our native, wild horses and burros until an accurate accounting can take place and humane management practices can be implemented.

Our federal government has not only made it easier for foreign mercenaries to come upon our American soil and prey upon our U.S. horses for their flesh, the Feds are also killing our national icons out west as we speak.  It must come to an end.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Princess, Duke and a Plan that goes “Doink”, AGAIN

Reprint from SFTHH on March 12th of 2010 ~ by R.T. Fitch

Since the publication of the News Release regarding the investigation into the unethical practices of Wyoming State Rep. “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis we have been covered up with requests to re-run a tongue-in-cheek adult fairy tale regarding a fictional Evil Princess and the Duke of Doink.  It seems that some folks are drawing a parallel with the mythical characters that I am by no means endorsing, even though Dave Duquette has voluntarily registered himself on this blog as “Doink“.  Stranger things have happened, have fun. – R.T.

A “Too Close For Comfort” Fractured Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there lived an evil Princess whose name was Sue.  The evil Princess had it in her mind that all Unicorns were bad and that she and her followers should kill all of them.  No one knew where this idea had come from, but Princess Sue was very persistent when it came to her hatred of the magical Unicorns.

The evil Princess also thought that they tasted good, not for her of course, but for the poor, needy and rather dopey people that kept her in her esteemed office.  So she came up with the plan that if she could get all the poor and needy people to kill all of the Unicorns then she would clear the way for a great big BBQ where all of the ignorant people, in her opinion, could eat the meat that was once the Unicorns.

To ensure that her plan would work, she went to the King of Wyoming and asked his approval.  Just recently the King and his court laughed at her and said “No” when she wanted to sell road kill on the side of the road as a delicacy.  They saw how it hurt the little rolly-polly Princess’ feelings, so in an effort to keep peace in the kingdom the King said OK.  Now the King and his court knew that it was against the Emperor’s law to eat Unicorn meat and that the killing of Unicorns was not socially acceptable in not only their kingdom but in the Empire as well, but they thought this would keep little rotund Princess Sue busy and out of their hair.  And it did.

The Evil Princess started a club with only about three members and formed an alliance with a Duke from the neighboring Kingdom of Doink.  Princess Sue and her new buddy the Duke of Doink soon set out to kill all of the Unicorns in the Kingdom of Wyoming.

First the Princess held a contest where people, who had little money to begin with, could purchase tickets to win a carriage.  She ran into a few problems with the King’s Court on this one as it was unbecoming of a member of the Royal Family to be hustling tickets to the poor so she transferred all the transactions over to the Duke in the Kingdom of Doink.  When that didn’t pan out she threw in the option of winning a hat, oh boy, and again there were few takers but she still wanted to keep the money from the two people who purchased tickets, anyway.

Then she began to make plans for the big BBQ.  She would have bands and magicians and all sorts of entertainment while the common, ignorant voters dined on the flesh of the Unicorns.  What Princess Sue did not tell her 3 followers was that the Unicorns were protected by an ancient curse.  A curse that made the killing of these beloved, sentient beings a mortal sin and all that killed them would lose their minds and ultimately their lives.  Such a horrendous crime as killing a Unicorn was further underscored by that fact that to allow even the smallest piece of Unicorn flesh to cross one’s lips would result in immediate and painful political death.  These secrets the Princess and the Duke rationalized amongst themselves until one day, they came upon their very first wild Unicorn.

Now Princess Sue and the Duke of Doink had puffed out their chests and told everyone how they had slayed many a Unicorn, but in reality when they met one in the wild for the very first time, both of them peed their pants.

Princess Sue immediately  reached to draw her “pen of legislation” in an effort to slay this grand being and the Duke of Doink stuttered and grasped at a misspelled pronoun and curse words to explain the situation as the wild Unicorn simply bowed, touched both of them on their shoulders with it’s horn and said, “We forgive you.”

In an instant the Unicorn was off to the heavens in a flurry of powerful wings and a rush of air as the Princess and Duke loaded up their shorts with their previous meal.  They couldn’t speak, they couldn’t move and surely they couldn’t stand the smell of each other.  So legend has it that they froze in that spot, the spot where they were shown compassion and love by the very entity that they sought to destroy.  Somewhere, in the wilds of the Kingdom of Wyoming stand the petrified remains of a chubby misguided Princess and her forever clueless Duke of Doink with mouths wide open, eyes staring in abject wonder and underpants forever stained with their spineless fear.  They stand as a testament to ignorance, stupidity and rampant heartlessness forever frozen in time by the love of life and all the goodness that the wild Unicorns have to share with us.

The Empire lived in peace forever and ever.

The End.

BLM Official Says No Bigwigs Have Accepted Slaughter Summit Invitation

Story by Steven Long ~ editor/publisher of “Horseback Magazine

Truth in Advertising?

LAS VEGAS, (Horseback) – The nations most outspoken pro-horse slaughter group announced the “Summit of the Horse, Stand Up, Speak Out, Be heard, Take Back the Reins of YOUR Industry” for Las Vegas the first week in January. The event is sponsored by United Horsemen, a 501(c)3 non profit organization.

The event claims to have invited highly placed officials of the federal Bureau of Land Management including Dr. Boyd Spratling, a member of the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, Sylvia Baca, Under Secretary of the Interior, and Don Glenn, director of the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program.

“I am unaware of any invited Departmental or BLM speaker having accepted an invitation to this event,” said the agency’s chief Washington spokesman. “The BLM, which does not sell any wild horses or burros to slaughterhouses or to “killer buyers,” has made it clear that in crafting a new management strategy for wild horses and burros it will not consider sales “without limitation” or the euthanasia of healthy, unadopted animals.”
“Federal employees are prohibited from  participation in these types of events because of conflict of interest,” a highly placed government worker who declined to be identified said.

The BLM is currently capturing thousands of wild horses in the American West and holding them in giant pens with no public access similar to the armed services Area 51 in Nevada. It has allowed no outside observers to do a independent census of the number of horses in captivity.

United Horseman founder and president Dave Duquette said in a release sent to Horseback Magazine, “The Summit comes from the perspective of experienced horse people who have the best interest of the horse at heart and seek unification of our country’s horsemen and horsewomen in promoting horse welfare and health of the horse industry,” he said. “We’re speaking with a united voice for horses and horse people.”

Duquette’s organization claims the abolition of legal horse slaughter in the United States has destroyed the low end of the horse market.

Duquette is a professional working cow horse trainer from Hermiston, Oregon.

Breakout sessions are billed as The Politics of Land and Horses, The U.S. Horse Industry – Protecting Our Horseback Cultures and Livelihoods, Efforts to Provide Humane and Economically Viable Options, and Canadian and United States Connections in the Equine Economy.

Also invited are newly elected Governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval, David Martosko, Temple Grandin, rodeo stock contractor Ike Sankey, John Falen of the Public Lands Council, and Bill and Jann Parker of the Billings horse auction.

Promotional material for the event says that “Keynote and Invited Speakers” will be “Addressing the issues that threaten to destroy the viability of the equine industry with knowledge, experience, and compassion.”

Whether those issues threaten to destroy the viability of the equine industry with knowledge, experience, and compassion remains to be seen.

McWhinney Burgers Anyone?

by Barbara H. Peterson of the PPJ Gazette – LIVE LINK

If Wyoming’s Representative Sue Wallis gets her way, the answer to the question “What’s for dinner?” will be:

“Why HORSE of Course!”

From the horse’s mouth, so to speak:

Representative Sue Wallis

PO Box 71, Recluse, Wyoming 82725

Letter to the United States Congress, and to the State Legislatures

I am writing to ask you to avoid legislation that would further impact the private property rights of livestock owners, including horses, to market their animals, or to transport them for any purpose, including for their processing to be used for food. Read more…

Barbara H. Peterson