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

of the Washington Post

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

Prez and Horseman

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

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

So, onto the charts.

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

horse mask graph

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

Navajo Elders Voice Opposition to Horse Slaughter

Source: HorseTalk.co.nz

The horse is sacred to the Diné and is a central part of the nation’s culture and tradition.

Elders and medicine people of the Navajo Nation have voiced their opposition to horse slaughter, saying the animals must be honored for their sacred role in Navajo cultural traditions.

The Nohooká Diné, Elders and Medicine People of the Diné, unanimously approved a resolution opposing any action that leads to the slaughter of horses.

The horse is sacred to the Diné and is a central part of the nation’s culture and tradition.

The resolution states in part: “The Great Horse Nation is a part of the Great Covenant, as a supernatural being, it possesses incredible power, it is inextricably tied to our spiritual way of life and our cultural traditions, when our children are born our families look to the horse spirit to see what they have delivered to us.If we fail to honor the place of the horse in our spiritual way of life and in our cultural traditions, then we jeopardize the very cycle that renews the life of our people.

“The horse must be given respect and honored for their sacred place within the Creation, as they possess the same fundamental right to Life as we, Five Finger Ones, do.”

This past week, a spokesman for the Navajo Nation administration affirmed this position.

During an interview on the radio program, Native American Calling, on September 12, communication director Erny Zah said: “Slaughtering is not a solution … As the Navajo Nation we are against slaughtering of these horses.”…CONTINUED

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to comment at HorseTalk

9/11: We Will NEVER Forget

Commentary by R.T. Fitch ~ president/co-founder Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Etched into our beleaguered memory is the exact moment in time and the location of the space we were occupying when first we heard that innocent American women, children and men were under attack and dying on the very soil that we once considered to be so safe, the United States of America.  On that horrible and tragic day a band of religious crazed zealots changed the way that every single American viewed their family, their country and the world.  We sought peace and solace, that day, and we found it in the pasture amongst our horses where they patiently held still while we clung to their necks and cried in despair.  We changed that day, we all did and because of that equine tie my eyes cannot help but leak each and every time I view the Clydesdales in that one singular commercial produced by Budweiser “Respect”.  It’s not about the beer, it’s not about commercializing an American tragedy, but instead it is about the horses.  Let’s be kind to each other and our equine companions, this day, as we remember those who perished 12 long years ago…a moment of silence…Keep the Faith” ~ R.T.

Information and verification of this commercial can be found at Snopes.com

BLM: Let the Carnage Begin!

For immediate release:                                                                         Contact: Tom Gorey

Friday, July 19, 2013                                                                           (202-912-7420)

BLM Announces Summer Schedule for Tormenting Wild Horses and Burros

The Bureau of Land Management today announced its current summer schedule for gathering wild horses and burros roaming Western public rangelands.  The schedule is subject to change because of continuing drought conditions across the West that are resulting in significantly limited water and forage for wildlife, wild horses and burros, and livestock.  BLM managers are monitoring animal and range conditions, reducing livestock grazing, enacting fire restrictions, and providing supplemental water in some locations for wild horses.

Most of the gathers on the schedule will use bait and water trapping to attract, gather, and remove animals to off-range pastures and corrals over the next several months.  Because of access constraints, lack of suitable bait-water trapping sites, and the need for more immediate action related to animal condition, six of the proposed gathers will be conducted using helicopters.

Because of off-range holding capacity limits and funding constraints, the BLM will attempt to gather and remove only 1,300 wild horses and burros this summer.  Overall, the BLM anticipates removing about 4,800 animals from the range in FY 2013, as compared to 8,255 in FY 2012.

Most of the upcoming gathers have been scheduled in response to emergency conditions brought on by drought; public safety issues related to animals that roam near highways, residential areas, and agricultural areas; and requests from private landowners who have asked the BLM to remove from their property wild horses and burros that have strayed beyond Herd Management Area (HMA) boundaries.

With the exception of some re-treatments of mares in the Little Bookcliffs (Colorado) Wild Horse Range, the agency does not intend to administer fertility-control vaccine during any of the proposed summer gathers.  Instead, the BLM intends to implement fertility-control treatments through ground-darting operations and during gathers between November and February – before breeding season – when the vaccines’ maximum effectiveness can be realized.

The BLM is committed to providing as much public access to gathers as possible.  The terrain of and access to each HMA is different, as is animal temperament within each area, and thus viewing considerations may vary.  Public viewing opportunities will be provided during all helicopter gather operations.  Access to bait-trapping locations will be limited because of the need for minimal human presence near the sites.  The public is advised to visit local BLM field office Websites for specific schedules and viewing opportunities.

The BLM was successful in removing 38 wild horses during the 2012 Pryor Mountain (Montana) wild horse gather using the bait-trapping method.  To understand how bait gather operations work, please visit:  http://blm.gov/g8kd.

Animals removed during the gather season will be made available for adoption through the BLM’s wild horse and burro adoption program.  Those not adopted will be cared for in long-term and ecosanctuary pastures, where they retain their “wild” status and thus remain protected under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.  The gather schedule, which is subject to change because of emergencies, is below:

Agency

HMA/ Territory

Start Date

# Planned Gathered

# Planned Removed

Bait Trapping ( B) or Helicopter Trapping ( H)

FS/BLM

Carracas Mesa/Jicarialla (NM)

7/15/13

65

65

B

FS/BLM

Murderers Creek (OR)

7/20/13

100

100

B

BLM

Outside Beaty’s Butte (OR)

8/15/13

40

40

B

BLM

Seaman/White River Has (NV)

TBD

50

50

H

BLM

Silver King (NV)

7/26/13

25

25

H

BLM

Delamar Mountains HA (NV)

7/28/13

30

30

H

BLM

Kamma Mtn (NV)

8/1/13

200

200

H

BLM

Maverick-Medicine HMA

8/1/12

60

60

B

FS/BLM

Hickison (NV)

8/1/13

30

30

B

BLM

Outside Big Sandy HMA (AZ)

8/1/13

60

60

B

BLM

Havasu-CA HMA (AZ)

8/1/13

45

45

B

BLM

Snowstorms (NV)

8/3/13

340

340

B

BLM

Fish Lake Valley (NV)

8/15/13

150

150

H

BLM

Gold Mountain (NV)

8/21/13

30

30

H

BLM

Sand Basin (ID)

9/1/13

25

25

B

BLM

Little Bookcliffs WHR (CO)

9/1/13

80

50

B

Total

 

1330

1300

 

US Horsemeat Makes its Way to European Union

By Kelly Ni  of the Epoch Times Staff

Health concerns raised over dangerous drugs

No to Horse MeatAmerican horses are sold to slaughter factories in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. Many are concerned that the slaughtered American horses, which were not raised for human consumption, eventually make their way into the food chain and could pose serious health concerns.

Horse slaughter factories for human consumption once existed in America; there were three factories owned by foreign companies.

The factories shipped the horsemeat to the world’s top horsemeat consumers—Europe and Japan—where eating horsemeat is considered a delicacy, or at least normal. Two of the U.S. factories were in Texas, and one was in Illinois.

In 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture wanted to close U.S. horse slaughter factories, so they removed funding for the required meat inspections. The slaughterhouses were forced to pay for inspections out-of-pocket until the Supreme Court ruled that slaughterhouses could not pay for their own inspections.

The two Texas plants closed first, and the Illinois plant closed in 2007. Since then, there have been some unsuccessful efforts and petitions to get horse slaughterhouses operating in the United States again.

Yet even with the ban on horse slaughterhouses in the United States, U.S. horses were still being sold and slaughtered in other countries.

“People will take their horses to auction, and many think they will get a wonderful home,” said Valerie Pringle, equine protection specialist at the Humane Society of the United States. “Many are bought by kill buyers and those kill buyers shove them onto trucks and take them to either Canada or Mexico.”

The horse gets a green ticket on their back end, indicating that they are slated to be slaughtered. Wild horses, however, cannot be sold for slaughter. The buyer must sign a contract stating that they will not kill the wild horse, according to Pringle.

She said that wild horses are protected in the United States, but that they “keep finding evidence of them showing up for slaughter.”

The Human Society published an investigation in October 2012 into the availability of horsemeat in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. The report states that Canada and Mexico were the two top horsemeat exporters. This was before the current scandal broke which has revealed that meat producers across Europe, in countries where horse is not normally consumed, are falsely selling horse in products labeled as beef.

What’s in US Horsemeat?

Pringle pointed out that cattle get a tag in the ear at birth, and every single kind of medication and treatment they receive is documented and recorded. Horses in the United States, however, do not. Owners and veterinarians are not required to keep a record for their horse, either.

“The problem with horses in the U.S. is that their drug histories aren’t tracked,” she said.

According to Pringle, U.S. horses are given a lot of drugs in their lifetime. Some drugs that the horses receive are legal such as Phenylbutazone, also known as bute, which is a pain and fever reducer for animals.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibits bute from being used in food-producing animals intended for human consumption, and according to the FDA, only dogs and horses are allowed to receive the drug.

Pringle said that horses typically live for 20–30 years. Because of their long lifespans, it is common for them to undergo many medical treatments.

“Use in horses is limited to use in horses not intended for food. There are currently no approved uses of Phenylbutazone in food-producing animals,” states an official FDA announcement from 2003.

“Phenylbutazone is known to induce blood dyscrasias, including aplastic anemia, leukopenia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia, and deaths,” according to the FDA.

“Hypersensitivity reactions of the serum-sickness type have also been reported. In addition, Phenylbutazone is a carcinogen, as determined by the National Toxicology Program,” states the announcement.

In 1949, Phenylbutazone was marketed for people to use for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and gout, but once people started to experience “severe toxic reactions,” the drug was taken off the market and banned, according to the FDA.

Other drugs U.S. horses receive are not legal.

Some racehorses are given “cobra venom, cocaine, [or] south American tree frog juice, which is 40 times as strong as morphine and masks the pain so if their leg is compromised they can still run on it,” Pringle said.

The horse slaughter border business works something like this: the horses are bought at an auction, crammed onto a truck, and transported south or north, and something like a shipper’s certificate is signed, according to Pringle.

“It says, ‘As the owner of this horse, to the best of my knowledge, this horse has never received any banned drugs,’” she said about the certificate.

However, the new owners have only owned the horses for 24 hours.

“They sign this affidavit to the best of their knowledge,” Pringle said. “That is how they are allowed over the border. You can see it’s ripe for fraud.”

EU Strengthening Their Food Origin Traceability

Europe’s horsemeat scandal found fraud in the labeling of beef products. Europe’s supermarket shelves contained beef labeled solely “beef,” but traces of horsemeat were found in the beef.

According to European Union rules, that labeling is misleading. In mid-February 2013, EU Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner Tonio Borg “called for a reinforcement of DNA and Phenylbutazone tests throughout the EU,” according to an official Feb. 15 memo.

The EU and Canada have also banned bute from being administered to food-producing animals.

The EU gets the majority of their horsemeat from Canada and Mexico, and the majority of that is from American horses, according to Pringle.

In 2010, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) set new rules on horsemeat exports after the EU Food and Veterinary Office discovered that the Canadian system and others did not have records for their horses, according to a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Global Agriculture Information Network report.

“The audit found that there was no system to segregate horses for food from those
in the general population,” the reported states.

Now, any horse in a Canadian slaughterhouse must have an Equine Information Document. The document asks for the medical records of the horse for the past 180 days or “during the time you owned the animal,” according to the CFIA website.

Click (HERE) to visit the Epoch Times and to Comment

American Horsemeat Exports Pose Health Risk and Should be Banned

as published in the UK’s INDEPENDENT

The influx from the US, which last year sent 167,000 horses to its two neighbours for slaughter as human food, has been largely unexamined during the ongoing crisis

Tesco Beef?Thousands of tonnes of horsemeat originating from the United States, which may be tainted with banned veterinary drugs, is being imported into Europe for human consumption every year and should be banned, say campaigners.

A report by the respected Humane Society International (HSI) outlining what they say is a glaring gap in food safety standards concerning horse meat from North America, is to be submitted to the European Commission this week, along with a demand for a halt to the trade.

About 15,000 tonnes of horsemeat worth £42m is shipped each year to Europe from Mexico and Canada, the vast majority of which comes from horses raised in the US, which bans their slaughter for human consumption. The influx from the US, which last year sent 167,000 horses to its two neighbours for slaughter as human food, has been largely unexamined during the ongoing crisis. But experts argue that wide differences in record keeping between the US and Europe means large quantities of horse meat that may not meet EU standards are entering the food chain from across the Atlantic while attention is focused on countries such as Romania.

Jo Swabe, European Union director of HSI, said: “Americans, rather like the British, do not regard horses as a source of meat and so these animals are treated by their owners with drugs that mean they cannot enter the human food chain. There is no reliable system in the US, or in Canada and Mexico , to verify just what medicines have been administered and yet these carcasses are being shipped to Europe. The only answer is for this trade to be stopped.”

Unlike Europe, where a horse must have a passport identifying its origin and listing medications it has had, there is no such US system. Instead, any American selling a horse to Mexico or Canada must declare it has received no substances making it unfit for use as food such as phenylbutazone or “bute”, a widely-used painkiller and a carcinogen in humans. Campaigners say this system is ripe for abuse.

The Independent understands the European Union’s Food and Veterinary Office has concluded documentation showing US horses presented for slaughter in Mexico and Canada have not had substances making them unfit for use as food is “not reliable”.

The European Commission said robust measures were in place but requirements were under review.

Click (HERE) to visit the Independent and to Comment

Does US Military still use Horses and Bayonets?

By , of the Christian Science Monitor

“we also have fewer horses and bayonets…”

Does the US military still use horses and bayonets?

The Old Guard caisson procession arrives with a casket holding remains of a group of 11 World War II airmen missing in action since 1943 that have been recently identified for burial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. ~ photo by Hyungwon Kang/

This question arises because of President Obama’s riposte against Mitt Romney on defense budgets in Monday night’s presidential debate. At one point Romney charged that the US Navy is now smaller than at any time since 1916. Obama came back with a smooth and perhaps pre-planned zinger.

“You mentioned the Navy … and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of the military’s changed.”

The phrase “horses and bayonets” subsequently spawned a flood of tweets, as “binders full of women” did in the second candidate face-off. But as the descendent of one of the nation’s last horse cavalry commanders, this Decoder writer wonders about the accuracy of Obama’s words. He said the US has “fewer” horses and bayonets, not “none.” Is that accurate? If so, where are these things now?

Well, the bayonet thing is easy to elucidate. The Marines and the Army both still issue rifle-mounted knives to serve as hand weapons, utility knives, saws, and all-around handy items.

Bayonet training is an integral part of the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, which every recruit must pass. During such training, recruits fix OKC-3S bayonets underneath the muzzles of their rifles, effectively turning it into a spear. They’re taught thrusts, jabs, and slashes, according to a Marine public affairs account of such training. They then must use these techniques on a dummy-filled course intended to simulate close combat.

As for horses, there’s still at least one equestrian unit in the US Army. That’s the Caisson Platoon of the 3rd US Infantry, “The Old Guard.”

The Old Guard represents the Army in ceremonies throughout the Washington region and the nation at large. They’re the soldiers visitors see at Arlington National Cemetery and in presidential inaugural parades.

The Caisson Platoon uses horses for the solemn purpose of pulling caissons carrying caskets toward interment at Arlington. They also long performed in popular historic pageants such as the “Twilight Tattoo.”

A more recent use of these horses is to provide therapy for soldiers hurt in battle or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Since 2006, the Therapeutic Riding Program has used Old Guard soldiers and horses in once-a-week riding lessons for wounded warriors at a barn a few minutes from northern Virginia’s Fort Belvoir Community Hospital.

Old Army horses don’t just fade away, in case you’re wondering. The Old Guard offers up some Caisson Platoon veterans for adoption at the end of their careers. Currently a 17-year old gray Quarter Horse named Clyde is looking for a retirement home, for instance. So is Omar, a 21-year old black Standard Bred.

The Army keeps another batch of horses stabled near Fort Bragg, N.C., to help train Special Forces troops who might have to ride through rough territory. Horse-mounted US commandos played a pivotal role in the toppling of the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan in 2001.

Many Warriors, but None of the Valor for Horses

By Debbie Stoutamire of the Galveston Daily News

Our horses have been willing warriors in many wars started by men

Mary Jane and Ventura recovering at Habitat for Horses

British author and ex-cavalryman J.N.P. Watson once said, “The horse is so lacking in malice and yet so dutiful and grave that when he suffers, it makes man so ashamed for the human race.”

Our horses have been willing warriors in many wars started by men. In the first world war, about 1.5 million horses were used as cavalry, and an estimated 500,000 died.

With few exceptions, horses sent to war in Europe did not come home. Some died in transit, many died from pneumonia from lack of shelter in England, and countless more died on the battlefield.

At the end of the war, those horses who survived were sold to butchers in countries desperate for food. Even in death, the horses served men.

Unfortunately, even today, horse slaughter — a cruel parade of death — continues. Canada and Mexico are the only North American countries that practice horse slaughter openly.

President Barack Obama recently signed a bill that will revive the U.S. horse slaughter industry, exporting horses north and south of our borders. Not only are horses being slaughtered in grotesque, inhumane ways, but the racing industry in our country has remained silent about slaughtered thoroughbreds.

In addition to horse slaughter and abuses by the racing industry, the Tennessee walking horse, sweet, gentle animals originally bred in the Southern United States to carry owners of plantations around their land but now trained to win championships that feature their high-stepping gait, are suffering in yet another war.

I was horrified while watching the abuse of these wonderful horses on “Nightline” on May 16, which included cattle prods, burning horses with cigarettes and applying chemicals to their pasterns and putting chains around their hoofs. What hurt my heart the most was a video showing Jackie McConnell and his helpers striking a horse around the face and head until he went down.

I cannot help but wonder if that was what happened to Ventura before he came to the Habitat for Horses in August 2011, bone thin. He bears his scars from a war that he did not enlist for — a crushed muzzle inflicted by man. He does not complain but nickers softly when I approach him. Ventura is one of the lucky ones.

He graduated from rehab at the habitat and has made a new friend — Mary Jane. Unlike Ventura, Mary Jane bears no visible scars. You can see the trust in her eyes. I shudder to think what might have happened to Ventura, Mary Jane and the rest of the horses at the habitat had they ended up on a truck bound for slaughter.

There are 150 horses who have been buried by the Habitat for Horses — casualties of their own wars. These horses were not willing warriors like those who have died throughout history.

Like Ventura and many others, they came in with many scars, but they were all loved and cherished by Jerry Finch, the man who has worked tirelessly for more than years in his rescue mission. Heartbreak has been his constant companion. He not only works to rescue horses, but also to end horse slaughter in this country.

When I see Ventura and Mary Jane waiting patiently at the gate, I see their eyes pleading — “please tell them about us, please help us to help them — please help us to end the suffering.”

Debbie Stoutamire lives in Galveston.

U.S. Covers Up Terrorism on the E.U.

Guest post by Vicky Johnson

Want to know how to poison a country?   Feed them U.S. horses!

Suzy and Echo…Lost!

Horses aren’t regulated food animals in the United States and so little testing is done for residue or adulteration that there can be absolutely no confidence level of ‘safe’ horsemeat from the U.S.

And to top that off, there is basically no traceability despite any claims you may have heard. In the U.S. a horse can be designated for “slaughter” at any time, by any owner, even if that owner has no previous knowledge of the horses medical history.

EID’s

There is a form that has to be completed by an owner, called an EID or Equine Identification Document that identifies a horse for “slaughter”. The EID requires that the owner declare that the horse has not had any prohibited medications, or medications that have no withdrawal period, during its entire lifetime. The EID also requires the owner to declare that if the horse was given medications that do have a withdrawal period, that it was withheld, or not given to the horse for the last 180 days.

However, the EID allows the owner to make that declaration “to the best of my information or believe”, thereby rendering the entire document useless. Traders, dealers, and their agents designate a horse for ‘slaughter’ and make those declarations when they have owned that horse for 5 minutes.

Who in their right mind would ever allow such a system for human food traceability? If such a traceability system was permitted to exist, you would think it would be mandatory to test each and every horse for chemical residue or adulteration.  If the situation was reversed, I would expect the U.S. government to test each and every one.

 TOXIC MEAT

Horses in the U.S. are gathered one by one by traders, dealers and their agents from auctions, sales and individuals. Horses aren’t ‘produced’ like cattle in the U.S., where they would have been bred, raised, maintained or regulated as food animals by owners that know and understand food animal production. A large percentage of everything U.S. horse owners use on their horses is labeled ‘not intended for use on food animals’. “Bute”, the U.S. horse aspirin, has no withdrawal period and can never be used in food animals. The majority of horse owners just call the vet and don’t even keep a record of medications. Rarely does a horse transfer in the U.S. with medical history. In developing a sampling plan, it is important to establish a ‘lot’ or ‘batch’ that are the ‘same’ so that a smaller sample can be taken instead of testing 100%. There is nothing the ‘same’ about U.S. horses except that they are horses. There can be no confidence level of obtaining safe U.S. horsemeat on a ‘sampling’. Each and every one should be tested for residues or adulteration. In taking just a sampling of unregulated animals entering a human food chain, the probability and risk of adulterated or residue contamination is very high.

Suzy and Echo

My two mares were stolen by deception from me on April 15th, 2012. Both have had “bute”, a chemical that has no withdrawal period. One was recently treated with penicillin and both were de-wormed with invermectin that would have required 180 day holding period for withdrawal..

Once I learned they were missing, I called the Meeker County Sherriff in Minnesota, which is the county they were supposed to be in, to file a report. After a few days, I was informed that I had to file a report here in McHenry County, Illinois, where they were taken from. I filed a report and was informed it could take a week to get the report. I called to get the report and was told I had to write a FOIA and that could take another week. A week later, I received the report and it was marked civil and closed.

Why is the law selectively enforced? Who is the responsible authority? Does anyone care that horse owners are being deceived by traders that take their beloved pets and kill them? The ‘authorities’ don’t have any responsibility to prosecute. It is not ok to lie and take something that you otherwise would not have gotten if the truth were known. You can’t pick just the part of the sentence you like and ignore the rest.

I have been informed that my horses were sold to Keith Tongen, a known ‘kill’ buyer or someone that buys horses for slaughter. Does anyone think that my horses are still there after a month of trying to get help through our law enforcement? Not likely, but I am praying they are and I’m holding on to every shred of a possibility that they are still living. Probability is far greater that they have been slaughtered, consumed and are in a compost pile already. They were not safe to eat. Is anyone going to be able to trace where they were sold? Not likely.

Where are horse owners suppose to report horse theft to prevent their toxic horses from becoming someone’s dinner?

I am devastated that I can’t find my horses and those that eat them surely should have some concerns too. The U.S. doesn’t care. If there had been an actual investigation when I first discovered they were stolen, I may have been able to bring them home.

Does anyone care enough to expose the truth?

The U.S. is allowing a system whereby unregulated animals enter a human food chain with virtually no traceability and a high probability of adulteration or substance residues.

That could be termed ‘Terrorism”.