International Conference Launches With Field Trip to Birthplace of Prehistoric Horses and Visit to Their Dwindling Offspring

Story by Steven Long ~ Author and Editor/Publisher Horseback Magazine

Wild Horse Bands Vanishing Under BLM Extinction Efforts

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation during IEC’s America’s Wild Horse Advocate tour ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The leadership of the wild horse preservation movement in America got a VIP tour of  the Bureau of Land Management’s worst nightmare late Friday when they finished a jam packed day with dinner near the proposed Fossil Bed National Monument site. There, the bones of prehistoric rhinos and horses stick out of the Nevada landscape. The site, among others, is the birthplace of the horse as a species.

The site is 20 minutes from a herd management area the federal agency plans to clear of wild horses in its ongoing effort to rid the West of what many BLM land clients consider a nuisance and call the “cockroaches of the west”.

The occasion was a tour of the BLM’s Cold Creek, Wheeler Pass herd management area 40 minutes northwest of the Las Vegas strip. It ended with dinner at a favorite wild horse watering hole.

About 30 movers and shakers, arguably among the most influential wild horse advocates in the nation, broke away from the International Equine Conference for a trip to the field. They included Ginger Kathrens, PBS documentary filmmaker, John Holland, President of the Chicago based Equine Welfare Alliance, author R.T. Fitch and wildlife photographer and Greater Houston Horse Council Board Member Terry Fitch, EWA Vice President Vicky Tobin, and wild horse advocate Garnet Pasquale as well as wild horse preservation and anti horse slaughter financial benefactors.

AWHA Eco-Tour group (foreground, Ginger Kathrens and Terry Fitch) ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

The advocates were lucky to even see a wild horse, said field trip organizer Arlene Gawne, a Las Vegas realtor, and former wildlife photographer who spend decades in the African bush.

“We had great difficulty getting a permit from the BLM,” she said. The federal agency is notoriously secretive and takes great effort to prevent press and public from viewing the horses under its federal mandate.

“We saw nine bands of wild horses,” said nationally acclaimed true crime and animal welfare author Cathy Scott. “There was lots of feed and water at low elevations,” she said.

Scott is the bestselling author of The Millionaire’s Wife, and also writes for Forbes.

The BLM has claimed Nevada horses are suffering from drought conditions. Frequently, when advocates follow up on the agency’s claims the are found to be false.

Gawne commented on BLM’s efforts to remove wild horses from their herd.

“They are going to take eco tourism jobs away from the local Las Vegas people,” she said.

Preliminary sessions of the conference will work through a jam packed agenda Saturday as it continues on the University of Nevada Las Vegas campus.

Click (HERE) to visit Horseback Magazine and to Comment

BLM Will Not Move Captive Oklahoma Wild Horses Despite New Dust Bowl Threat

Story by Steven Long ~ publisher/editor of Horseback Magazine

“Wild horses are *not* being taken in the dead of night from long-term pastures to slaughter…?!?”

Private, Closed to the Public, BLM Long Term Holding in Oklahoma ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Little has changed in the federal Bureau of Land Management’s handling of wild horses under its Wild Horse and Burro Program, this in spite of the worst drought affecting Midwestern states since the dust bowl of the 1930s. What’s more, nothing will change, despite a threat from nature that could put thousands of animals in jeopardy.

Asked by Horseback if the BLM was making any special arrangements to move wild horses held captive in giant pastures in Oklahoma and Kansas, national BLM spokesman Tom Gorey responded:

“Despite the current drought conditions in the Midwest, wild horses on long-term pastures continue to thrive,” he said. “If current weather conditions do not change, pasture contractors may have to begin supplemental feeding earlier than normal.  Therefore, these wild horses will have the advantage of having someone that can address their immediate needs.”

The BLM holds tens of thousands of horses in giant pastures in Oklahoma and Kansas.

Horseback also asked Gorey if the press and public would be given unlimited access to the secretive boarding procedures at the privately contracted pastures. Recently the magazine has had increasing anecdotal reports of horses being removed from those pastures in cattle trucks to be sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico.

Such reports may be pure fantasy since no animal advocates have actually trailed or photographed trucks carrying horses from BLM’s private secretive pastures to slaughterhouses abroad. Moreover, there have been few substantiated reports of horses in slaughterhouses with the distinctive BLM neck brands.

“Wild horses and burros removed from the range are branded immediately,” Gorey said. “Wild horses are *not* being taken in the dead of night from long-term pastures to slaughter, as I’ve stated before.  This is a myth.  Wild horses are branded by the BLM after they are gathered from the range.”

Yet the rumors persist and come from credible sources near BLM holding facilities.

“With regard to public and media access, you no doubt are aware that we have started annual pasture tours that are open to the press and public,” Gorey said.

The tightly controlled pasture tours the spokesman mentioned are of limited duration and are held only intermittently.

“ 24/7 access is not possible because the pastures are privately owned,” Gorey said.  “As I mentioned, there are currently no emergency situations at our contracted pastures.”

Click (HERE) to visit Horseback and to Comment

Video: Cynthia MacPerson challenges Sue Wallis’s Horse Slaughter Plant Proposal in Missouri

Video’s by Jan Myers

Video Puts Bogus Walli$/Duquette’s Claims of Low Attendance to SHAME

Ole “Slaughterhouse” $ue Walli$ and her faithful lapdog Dave “Doink” Duquette would have the public believe that a recent town council meeting held in Missouri over a proposed foreign owned horse slaughter plant was ill attended and went their way, as Duquette states below:

Here’s the deal folks, again Steven Long just prints anything his buddies from EWA put out as gospel. Reality is there was about 30 people there and no one was turned away. Most were from out of town. There was NO vote of any kind. This meeting was contrived by an HSUS attourney. So this was not representative of the population in that area.” (poor grammar and incorrect spelling not edited)

Reply: NOT

Shown in sequence below are six (6) videos from that very meeting that show the truth, the reaction and the “rest of the story”.  Big thanks to all who fight for the horses.

Part 1 of 6

Part 2 of 6

Part 3 of 6

Part 4 of 6

Part 5 of 6

Part 6 of 6

Visit Jan’s Channel by clicking (HERE)

Horseback Mag Banned from Horse Slaughter Summit

Story by Steven Long ~ Editor/Publisher of Horseback Magazine

United Horseman Prez. Duquette Shows His True Colors

“Due to travel and our court hearing this little gem by Steve Long slipped by so we re-visit it, here.  The story speaks to the core of the problem of ethics that swirl around predatory horse slaughter and the likes of Dave Duquette who support it.  The horse-eaters prefer to operate from underneath their moldy rocks so that the yellow stripe down their back is not visible in the light of truth and honesty.  Must be a terrible way to live.” ~ R.T.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Horseback Mag Publisher Steven Long enjoying old fashioned Texas BBQ with Author R.T. Fitch ~ Picture by Vicki Long

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Horseback Magazine had hoped to cover the upcoming pro-horse processing Summit of the Horse in Oklahoma City beginning April 2, however, the fiery tempered president of United Horsemen, the presenting sponsor, has barred this magazine’s first amendment right to cover a news story of interest to all horse owners.

In a posting in response to a United Horsemen press release published at Horseback Online, Dave Duquette wrote to editor Steven Long, “Your lack of integrity and inability to just report (Like your (sic.) supposed to do) and all the assertions you make leave us at the United Horsemen believing you are NO better than Simone and You or your staff will not have access. You can hang out with your friends across the street.”

“We are journalists, not activists,” said Horseback’s Editor Steven Long. “We make that statement to Mr. Duquette exactly like we constantly do to his opponents. The job of reporting is not to make one side or another happy, and I’m certain those who are anti-slaughter are often just as angered by our work as Duquette is.”

In a previous post, Horseback mentioned it was considering covering the Oklahoma City “Summit” in person and was looking forward to meeting its leadership.

“It kind of reminds me of the old Communist Party meetings in Russia where only media acceptable to the party was allowed in the room,” Long said. “We have tried to tell all sides of this story. Looks like one side only wants their story told at the expense of all others.”

Horseback Online has scrupulously posted all of the United Horsemen press releases sent to us. The magazine has, however, corrected numerous misstatements and distortion of fact by the group. It has also pointed out glaring omissions made by its leadership to the press, including never mentioning the ban on phenalbutazone and other chemicals for use in food animals. Horseback has also challenged the outright fabrication by pro-slaughter activists that residues of bute go away over time in animals. In fact, bute stays in the kidneys of animals administered the drug – forever.

“We do it because all horsemen should be aware of that fact which might lead to the implementation of a horse passport system like they have in Europe,” Long said. “We point that out as a public service because I just can’t believe American horsemen want a European type passport system after the overwhelming rejection on the part of horse owners when USDA tried to institute NAIS.”

“We will continue to cover the entire story,” Long said. “And we will continue to print the news releases of Duquette’s group, United Horsemen. Frankly, every time we do it our online readership spikes through the roof because they are so provocative.”

In poll after poll taken by reputable national firms over the last decade, a full 70 percent or more of all Americans say they oppose horse slaughter.

United Horsemen appears to have substantial financial backing from the meat industry. It has become increasingly vocal in the wake of removal of a prohibition against federal funding of meat inspectors in slaughterhouses. Duquette and others have claimed that there will soon be slaughterhouses open in several states to process horses. Thus far, Congress has not appropriated funds for the inspectors.

Sources close to opponents of horses slaughter say literally hundreds of lawsuits are expected to be filed as soon as an abattoir opens its doors.

Duquette, an Oregon horse trainer, recently took the reins of the organization from Wyoming State Representative Sue Wallis, (R).

The summit will draw some of the leading proponents of the pro-slaughter movement such as animal behavior and livestock specialist Dr. Temple Grandin, and industry lobbyist Charles Stenholm, a former Texas congressman.

“We have friends of both sides of the issue,” Long said. “We have deep roots covering the sport of rodeo at the highest level, and almost all of our friends there are in favor of slaughter. We simply offer a friendly forum to our readers, including Mr. Duquette, to voice their opinions. We frequently receive thank you notes from from pro-slaughter advocates for posting their side of the story.”

Horseback Magazine has never taken a position for or against slaughter. We have, however, taken a very strong position opposing the use of the captive bolt gun on horses.

Duquette mentioned Simone Netherlands in his statement. She was covering last year’s Las Vegas meeting of the group for a Nevada independent television station when she was escorted from the meeting room and allegedly assaulted by Wallis.

Long is an investigative journalist with almost 40 years in the business. He has broken stories regarding the sale of crack babies out of a Texas jail, hawking of stolen Sixteenth Century medical texts by a university librarian, and about prison inmates receiving face lifts, nose jobs, and tummy tucks at taxpayer expense. He is also the author of three books and a winner of the State Bar of Texas Gavel Award for distinguished journalism.

“While it looks as if I won’t be in the room, we will have confidential sources there,” Long said. “Besides, they televise the thing.”

Click (HERE) to visit Horseback and to comment

Texas Prison Horses May Be Among Horses Awaiting Mexican Slaughter

Story by Steven Long ~ editor/publisher of Horseback Magazine

Huntsville Horses may be in trouble

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Unconfirmed reports reached Horseback Magazinelate Wednesday that Texas Prison Horses sold at auction in Huntsville recently may be among hordes of starved horses awaiting transport to slaughter at the border town of Presidio.

More than 30 of the prison horses were bought by a slaughter killer buyer based near Waco.

Presidio, long noted for consistently having the highest temperatures in the nation, sits along the Rio Grande in the Chihuahuan Desert. Reports reached Horseback early Wednesday that Ray Field had discovered the horses during a fly over near Big Ben Ranch, Texas largest state park.

Field allegedly noted from the air that horses were starving in record heat and some had perished and were laying dead on the ground.

Horseback has learned that a judge has issued a warrant, but it is unclear what sort of warrant was issued.

Field was in the area of Big Bend Ranch where Texas Parks and Wildlife confirmed to Horseback last week that wildlife management officials have shot 46 wild burros since resuming lethal eradication of the animals which cross the Rio Grande from the Sierra Del Carmen in Mexico.

The parks department claims the burros harm the ecosystem of the huge park which is 70 miles across.

Wild horse and burro advocates claim Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wants to eradicate the donkeys to make room for Big Horn Sheep, a native species coveted by big game hunters. The cash strapped department would allegedly charge large fees for permits to hunt big game.

Horseback will begin active coverage of the story Thursday.

Click (HERE) to visit Horseback and to comment

Texas Prison Horse Auction Nets $31,155

Story and photo by Steven Long ~ Publisher/Editor of Horseback Magazine

Is Prison Catering to Kill Buyers?

Texas Prison Horses

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – In documents obtained by the animal advocacy group, Animals Angels, and provided to Horseback Magazine,61 Texas prison horses sold for between $102 – $852 each at a Huntsville, Texas auction.

One buyer and his son bought 37 of the horses and took them to his holding pasture near Waco. It is unknown if the horses have been transported to Mexico for disposal. The buyer has served time in a Texas prison operated by TDCJ, a prison official confirmed. Other horses were bought by a handful of other indiciduals and some are being advertised for sale on the open market.

The horses sold for a total of $31,155, with an average sale price of $510 each.

Last year the TDCJ equine program had an annual budget of almost $1.5 million managing at least $1,600 horses to serve their mounted guards who oversee prisoners in the fields and take part in manhunts. The horses are a majority three quarter Quarter Horse mix crossed with Percheron draft horses. The horses are bred stout to eaily support 300 pound prison guards during an eight hour shift in the fields.

In a 2004 story in Texas Horse Talk, prison officials said the 1,600 horses serve 76 mounted corrections officers. Asked last week to confirm that figure, a TDCJ spokesman said he was unable to provide Horseback Magazine with the exact number of uniformed prison guards routinely mounted on TDCJ horses for guard duty.

Horseback has asked for a detailed budget summery of the prison horse program but only totals for 2009, 2010, and part of 2011 have been provided. Those numbers include only salaries, the cost of feed and forage, and “other operating expenses.”

Forty of 61 horses owned and bred by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s tightly controlled equine breeding program were sold to two longtime kill buyers for the slaughter industry. The sale took place July 11, at the Huntsville Livestock Auction near a TDCJ concentration of prisons near the East Texas college town of Huntsville.

Click (HERE) to download sales receipt

Fitch Outs BLM Employee Who Advocates Hunting Season on Wild Horses

Story by Steven Long ~ Editor/Publisher of Horseback Magazine

Not so Clever BLMster Reveals Agency’s Mind-Think

Wild Horse Freedom Federation president R.T. Fitch with friends ~ photo by Terry Fitch

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – An employee in the Denver office of the federal Bureau of Land Management has been outed as advocating a hunting season for wild horses in the west.

The employee’s email was traced after it was sent to author R.T. Fitch’s “Straight From the Horse’s Heart” blog. Fitch, a fierce opponent of current BLM stampede, capture, and hold, policies traced the email address to BLM NOC OC-330, Denver Federal Center, Bldg 40 – the agency’s National Operations Center.

The employee wrote: “The deer populations up north are so big and beautiful, but down south there are far too many deer and they are all malnourished and fighting for little food sources. We regulate the populations through hunting permits and kill-quotas. Why is it such a faux-pa (sp?) to hunt a horse? If we leave the horse populations alone, all the press and citizens would look at the sickly and starving over-abundance of horses and beg the government to do something about it!!! Rediculous. (sic) Why is a horse’s life more important than a deer’s life? Or a chicken’s life? (sic) The populations must be regulated to ensure good healthy strong ones are around for future generations to enjoy.” 

BLM national spokesman Tom Gorey quickly repudiated the statement saying, “The BLM is committed to the well-being of wild horses and burros, both on and off the range. Our agency categorically repudiates the remarks of the individual quoted on R.T. Fitch’s blog, which in no way reflect the views of the BLM.”

Yet in the blog, Fitch fears the statement of the Denver BLM employee who wrote to him is characteristic of the attitude of agency employees throughout the Wild Horse and Burro Program. Horseback  Magazine as well as others has repeatedly exposed abuses ranging from threatening media with arrest while reporting and photographing “gathers” of horses, denying press and public access to the capture of wild horses, denying ongoing access to giant holding pastures paid for by taxpayer funding, use of veterinarians unlicensed in State of Nevada, and closing air space over its roundups in violation of Federal Aviation Administration rules.

Click (HERE) to visit Horseback Magazine and to Comment

Update:Texas Prison Horses Found in Waco

Story and Photo by Steven Long ~ Publisher/Editor of Horseback Magazine

Future of Horses Uncertain

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – At least some of the horses once belonging to the State of Texas and in custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice have been found after being sold at auction. The TDCJ prison horses were located at a facility owned by a former Texas prison inmate and equine kill buyer whose wife confirmed that the horses were the same ones purchased Monday night at a Huntsville, Texas livestock auction. “We are not selling these horses for food,” said TDCJ chief spokeswoman Michelle Lyons. “They were sold at a public auction to the public.”

The horses were sold as culls from the prison system’s extensive livestock program.

“We cannot speak intelligently as to the buyers’ intent,” Lyon’s told Horseback Magazine late Thursday, “but have been informed by the auction house that there were at least 10 different buyers of TDCJ horses.”

Asked if TDCJ was aware of recent concerns raised about the chemicals used to medically treat U.S. horses, Lyons said “Without an extensive review of the horses’ veterinary records, we cannot make assurances regarding what medications they have or have not taken.”

Drugs such as phenylbutazone (Bute), wormers, and a variety of other drugs routinely administered to horses here, possibly including prison horses, are strictly prohibited for use in food animals.

One of the most genetically perfect herds of horses in North America was hit hard by the selloff of 61 animals at a public auction, their most likely destination, a Mexican slaughterhouse notorious for unspeakable cruelty. The herd is genetically and historically important because they have been part of a captive breeding program for more than a century with little outside genetic influence. On the rare occasions other horses have been introduced, they have been foundation pedigreed lines.

The horses were part of a herd of 1,600 owned by the State of Texas and managed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville, according to Lyons.

The state’s captive herd is subject to the most advanced breeding techniques and is held to exacting standards that are world class. The horses are not grade horses but are beneficiaries of the very best techniques of modern agricultural science. The livestock managers are products of the renowned schools of agriculture at Texas A&M University and the nearby Sam Houston State University. The horses are primarily Quarter Horses with substantial Percheron blood.

The information that the horses had been sold at auction came to Horseback Online Monday night when a confidential source who was at the Huntsville cattle auction called and said that a large number of prison horses had been sold to slaughter and had been loaded on a truck south heading down I-45.

“People who work at the prison are really upset about this,” the man said during a phone call to the magazine’s offices.

The Texas prison system holds “Premium Auctions” of horses only rarely where the public is invited to bid after extensive advertising of the sale. No such ads were placed for the 61 horses sold Monday. They were quietly sent to auction where a large truck was already waiting, according to the source who said the horses sold for about 40 cents a pound.

Lyons confirmed the prison system auctions 90-100 “cull” horses each year from its program.

Livestock auctions are the primary sources of horses sent abroad for food.

The Texas prison system breeds big horses, big enough to hold a 300 pound guard for an eight hour shift in the fields, hence the draft horse bloodlines brought into the herd. The stout corrections officer is known in prison parlance as “The Boss.” The horses and their human counterparts guard men dressed in white garb as they work fields with a garden hoe called by the derisive name, an “aggie.” The horses are bread for Texas’ 176 prison units which boast approx. 75 mounted guards or more.

There is one boss for each 25 inmates.

The prison horses are almost as wide as their bellies are deep. They hold saddles made behind the walls. The animals and men herd the system’s 20,000 cattle that are sold on the open market by the state. None of the meat is kept by TDCJ. The cheaper cuts fed to prisoners are bought at market price for the institution’s commissaries. Officials are quick to point out that prison inmates don’t eat steak but consumers may be lucky enough to eat beef raised behind prison walls.

Besides security and agriculture duty, the horses follow dogs chasing escaped convicts.

The state’s ideal prison horse is three quarters Quarter Horse and one quarter draft horse. Throughout his life a prison horse is freeze branded so that extensive records can be maintained in the system. The markings include a tattoo on the inside of the lip, a Texas star, the birth year, and ID number on the back left, and an additional identification on the horses left cheek near the anus. Like their fellow inmates, the horses have no name, only their number to identify them. The records are so extensive that a manager can track the record of a 20 year old horse and know every significant event of its life just by looking up his record.

The auction buyers Monday didn’t get the records of the horses they bought. When a horse leaves the prison system, only its Coggins certificate and ID sheet follow.

The state has achieved its ideal confirmation of broadness, horses that have hardly any withers, and are short of back.

Click (HERE) to visit Horseback for additional photos and comment

“Unwanted Horse” Producer Pfizer Sponsors Teleconference to Promote Compromised GAO Report

Press Release from The Equine Welfare Alliance

Smell of Scandal in the Air

Chicago (EWA) – A long overdue Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the effect of closing the US horse slaughter plants is scheduled for release on Wednesday, June 22. Although the report’s contents are to be kept confidential until released,  slaughter supporters have been indicating for months that they were leaked the report and have now orchestrated an “Unwanted Horse” teleconference late in the day of the release presumably to promote the report’s findings.

The teleconference, called “Ask a Vet” is being presented by The Horse, the magazine of the American Veterinary Medical Association, a long term supporter of horse slaughter, and features veterinarian Tom Lenz the former Chair of the American Horse Council‘s “Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC)”. The UHC, supposedly founded to propose solutions to the excess horse problem, has instead concentrated on promoting the phrase “unwanted horse” to take the focus off of over production, which slaughter actually encourages, and imply slaughter horses are somehow unusable except as meat.

Pfizer Pharmaceuticals sponsoring a teleconference on solutions to the “unwanted horse” problem is beyond brazen. Pfizer owns Wythe Pharmaceuticals, the producer of a line of hormone replacement therapy drugs made from pregnant mare urine and is one of the largest producers of excess, poorly bred and untrained foals in North America.

Every year, Wythe contracts farms to breed tens of thousands of mares so that their urine can be collected to make the drugs. Not only does this process create thousands of excess foals, the drug was found to have devastating health effects on women during a 2002 study by the National Institutes of Health. The company responded by diluting the drug and renaming it.

Viewed as a tactic to stall legislation to ban horse slaughter, the report was requested by Congressional Senate members opposing a ban in the 111th Congress (2009-2010). Slaughter opponents point out that the closings did not reduce the number of American horses being slaughtered, and therefore could not have affected the horse industry. USDA statistics show the same numbers of horses being bought for slaughter at US auctions now as before the closings, with the only difference being where they are slaughtered.

It was a rude surprise when horse slaughter lobbyist Charles Stenholm spoke at a January conference to promote horse slaughter and strongly hinted that the report would be good for their position. This was followed in a letter sent to all members of Congress by slaughter promoter, Sue Wallis, in which she begged members to delay any votes until the GAO report was released.

When Steve Long, editor of Horseback Magazine, inquired to the GAO about the leak, he was told they were aware the report had leaked, but that he could not see it until the June 22nd. This was almost immediately followed by a denial of the leak from a higher official.

Long told EWA, “It was astonishing that the top press flak at GAO was so unsophisticated he denied his own spokesperson confirmed there was a leak. Generally Washington spokesmen are much more savvy than that and know many reporters tape interviews.”

Executives of the EWA and Animal Law Coalition provided information to the GAO lead investigator Terry Horner, but when rumors of the leaks emerged, EWA’s John Holland found Horner had effectively disappeared. “Email to Mr. Horner went unanswered, and when I tried to call his office I was given a message that he would be unavailable until June. In June calls resulted in a message that the number was unassigned even though it was still in the directory”, said Holland.

The GAO has maintained a reputation for independence and fairness, making the leaking of the report and the implied bias of those who prepared it a potential scandal.

Developing News: GAO Gives Horseback Magazine Blow Back Over Horse Slaughter Leak

Article by Steven Long ~ Editor/Publisher of Horseback Magazine

The Feds Don’t Like It When You Print the Truth

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – When we exposed a leak by the government watchdog agency, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on June 3, 2011 we expected to get blow back. It didn’t take long.

We reported that a GAO spokesperson had confirmed that the report had been leaked, allegedly to former Texas Rep. Charles Stenholm, now a lobbyist for the meat packing industry. The report is allegedly titled The State of Horse Welfare in the United States Since the Cessation of Horse Slaughter in 2007, according to a document sent to Horseback by Senior Public Information Specialist Laura Kopelson. We quoted the document, describing the methodology for the story and named our source.

Horseback Magazine stands by the story.

The response came first thing Monday morning from Chuck Young, Managing Director, Public Affairs, of the agency. “Your report of June 3 entitled “Key Government Report Leaked” is replete with errors and the misstatements of fact.”

“First, it is completely inaccurate when it claims Laura Kopelson confirmed to you that a GAO report had been leaked. Ms. Kopelson did no such thing.”

Kopelson not only confirmed the report had been leaked, she refused to release it to Horseback despite the fact she acknowledged it was already in the hands of others saying, “That’s what we’re hearing.”

Young went on saying, “Second, it claims to provide a title of the report when in fact the title you present is not now, nor has it ever been, the title of the draft report.”

Unfortunately for the GAO’s chief spokesman, that was the title printed on the document released to Horseback Magazine last Friday describing the methodology which was to be used for the study.

Young continued saying, “Third, you say the report was quoted in early January, yet the fact is that report had not even been written at that time.”

In fact, the report was repeatedly mentioned at a poorly attended “Summit of the Horse” event in Las Vegas the first week in January.

Click (HERE) to Read the Rest of the Story at Horseback Magazine