Monday, February 9, 2009


Just in From Animal Law Coalition: 2/9/09

Horse Slaughterers' Strategy Revealed
Posted Feb 9, 2009 by lauraallen
Horse Slaughter
State legislators have been introducing pro horse slaughter resolutions on behalf of foreign investors anxious to defeat H.R. 503.

H.R. 503, which is pending in Congress would stop them from using American horses for horsemeat served as a delicacy in fine restaurants primarily in parts of Asia, Europe and South America.

These resolutions are worded almost identically.
The resolutions proclaim that there is an increase in "unwanted" or "unusable" horses, as many as 100,000 or more annually, because of the closing of U.S. horse slaughter facilities in 2007. They claim the closing of U.S. slaughter houses in 2007 had "significant economic impact on the...equine industry". These resolutions call for "processing" or "harvesting" horses, euphemisms for "slaughter", which they describe as "humane". They claim slaughter can be managed through inspections and regulations.

These resolutions, if approved by the state legislatures, would be sent to Congress, as the state's position that H.R. 503 should be defeated.

It is important to voice your opposition to these resolutions. These resolutions are pending in these states:
Arizona, S.C.M. 1001 Find your Arizona legislators here. Contact all Arizona state House and Senate members.

Utah, H.J.R. 7, which has already passed the state House and has been approved by a Senate committee. Contact all Utah state Senators.

Missouri, HCR 19 in the House and SCR 8 in the state senate. These resolutions also call for opening a horse slaughter house in that state. Find your Missouri legislators here. Find all Missouri state representatives and senators. HCR 19 is pending before the state Agri-Business Committee and SCR 8 will be voted on by the state Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions, and Ethics Committee.

South Dakota, S.C.R. 2 has already passed the state House by a vote of 63-1. A separate, second bill, S.B. 114, asks the South Dakota state legislature to spend $100,000 on a study "of the feasibility, viability, and desirability of establishing and operating an equine processing facility in the state. Find your South Dakota state senators here. Find email addresses for all South Dakota state senators here. Find contact information for all South Dakota state representatives and senators here.

ND S.C.R. 4021 will be heard on Feb. 12, 2009 at 11 a.m. by the Senate Agriculture committee. Fax the committee at 701-328-3615 or email A second bill, H.B. 1496 has already been approved by a legislative committee. The committee approved $75,000 in North Dakota for a study of possible markets for horse meat, applicable laws and funding for a horse slaughter facility there. Find all North Dakota state senators here. Find all House members here.

Wyoming, H.J.R. 8 has already passed committee. Find all Wyoming legislators here.

Minnesota, S.F. 133 is currently in the state Senate Agriculture and Veterans Committee. Find your Minnesota state senator and representative. Find all Minnesota state senators and representatives.

Kansas, HCR 5004 Find your Kansas legislators here. Find all Kansas state House and Senate members.

Arkansas H.C.R. 1004, also calls for incentives and support for opening of horse slaughter houses nationally and in the state. This bill has already passed in the state House and is in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Find here all Arkansas state senators, including yours if you live there.

In Illinois Rep. Jim Sacia has introduced a bill, as he did last session for the repeal of the 2007 state law banning horse slaughter. That state law helped shut down the horse slaughter facility in Dekalb, Illinois.
Rep. Sacia's bill, H.B. 583, would also allow horses destined for slaughter for human consumption to be shipped into the state for slaughter with no certificate of veterinary inspection contrary to current state law governing horses. 510 ILCS 65/4 The new law would also exempt downed, sick, diseased, lame or disabled horses from the requirements of the Humane Care for Animals Act governing animals in this condition. 510 ILCS 70/5, 7.5
This means Rep. Sacia and the interests he represents in the horse slaughter underworld understand that horse slaughter is brutal and cruel and so would want to exempt their sordid practice from the animal cruelty laws and inspection requirements.
Contact Illinois state House and Senate members and urge them to vote NO on H.B. 583 and keep horse slaughter out of Illinois.

The horse slaughterers' strategy
These resolutions and bills are a not-so-subtle ploy by the foreign investors that own horse slaughter houses to defeat H.R. 503 which would ban the sale, transport, and possession of horses in interstate and foreign commerce for slaughter for human consumption.
Even without H.R. 503, horse slaughter cannot occur legally in the U.S. There is no point in states appropriating tax dollars for studies when currently horse slaughter for human consumption is not allowed in the U.S. These resolutions will simply insure horse slaughterers can continue to take American horses to Mexico or Canada for slaughter.
There is also another goal: to make horse slaughter acceptable to Americans and, in fact, create a market in the U.S. for the consumption of horsemeat. The resolution proposing the North Dakota study says as much. If Americans begin eating horsemeat, the theory is that Congress will be forced to fund ante-mortem inspections. Under current law because these required inspections are not funded, horse slaughter is not legal in the U.S. For more on this.....
Keep in mind when the remaining 3 horse slaughter houses in the U.S. closed in 2007, they were owned by foreign companies, Dallas Crown, Inc.; Cavel International, Inc. and Beltex Corp., which now operates a horse slaughter house in Mexico, Empacadora de Carnes de Fresnillo.
Even when there were horse slaughter houses in the U.S., they were part of a horse meat industry that was only 0.001% of the U.S. meat industry. The foreign-owned U.S. horse slaughterhouses paid little in income taxes. One facility paid $5 in federal taxes on $12 million in sales. These slaughter houses paid no export taxes, meaning the U.S. government effectively subsidized the sale of horse meat to consumers generally in parts of Asia, South America and Europe.
The profits went to the foreign investors. The communities where horse slaughter houses were located were left with horrific odors of dying and dead horses, blood literally running down the streets, and illegally dumped waste. There is no economic or other benefit to these states in subsidizing horse slaughter. Just the opposite. It is akin to supporting dog fighting rings.
Horse slaughter is also not a means of controlling numbers of "unwanted horses". This is a myth perpetuated by the horse slaughter industry that is simply repeated over and over again as in these resolutions. Horse slaughter is a multi million dollar a year business that is driven by a demand for horse meat. Kill buyers buy horses at auction for slaughter, and the USDA has said over 92% of American horses slaughtered, are healthy, not old, sick, injured, or neglected. These horses were not unwanted; they were simply sold at auction, and their owners had no control over who purchased them. Without the kill buyers who skulk around horse auctions, looking for the best potential horse meat, most of these horses would be purchased by others or end up in rescues or sanctuaries.
As John Holland, a free lance writer and researcher on horse slaughter and consultant for Americans Against Horse Slaughter, has explained, "Kill buyers do not go around the country like dog catchers gathering ‘unwanted horses' as a public service."
As Americans Against Horse Slaughter points out, "Just over 100,000 horses were slaughtered in the U.S. in 2006. If slaughter were no longer an option and these horses were rendered or buried instead, it would represent a small increase in the number of horse being disposed of in this manner - an increase that the current infrastructure can certainly sustain. Humane euthanasia and carcass disposal is highly affordable and widely available. The average cost of having a horse humanely euthanized and safely disposing of the animal's carcass is approximately $225, while the average monthly cost of keeping a horse is approximately $200."
Also, the horse slaughter industry actually encourages the over breeding of horses. Because owners can make money from the brutal slaughter of their horses, they have an incentive to over breed. As Paul Sorvino put it, "37% of those horses are going to be slaughtered because they couldn't run fast enough....So, it's run for your life." If the slaughter of horses for human consumption is illegal, there is no reward for over breeding.
Sadly, pro-slaughter groups have disseminated disinformation in the media to convince the public that without horse slaughter, there will be large numbers of abandoned, abused and neglected horses. (Even if that were true, which it is not, it is not clear how substituting one form of cruelty for another is somehow a solution.)
Indeed, these reports in the media have proven to be unfounded. A study released last year showed a decrease in horse abuse and neglect cases following closure of the last U.S. horse slaughter house in 2007. Any abandoned or neglected horses are not a result of a lack of horse slaughter houses.
Historically, there have not been increases in abandoned, neglected or abused horses following closures of horse slaughter houses. In 2002 the Illinois slaughter house burned to the ground and was out of commission for some time. Reports of abandoned, abused and neglected horses in the Illinois area were actually on the rise in the 2 years before the fire but decreased afterwards.
Remember the number of horses slaughtered in the U.S. dropped significantly from over 300,000 annually in the 1990s to 66,000 in 2004. There was no notable increase during that time of abandoned, abused or neglected horses.
When California banned horse slaughter in 1998, there was no rise in cases of cruelty or neglect to horses. In fact, there was a 39.4% decrease initially and that rose to 88% eventually in horse thefts. (What does that tell you about this "business"?)
Also, from 2004-2007 5000 horses were imported into the U.S. for slaughter. If horse slaughter occurs because of all the unwanted horses, why would these horse slaughter businesses need to import them? The answer is, of course, they wouldn't. Horse slaughter has nothing to do controlling numbers of unwanted horses. It is a business driven by a demand for horse meat primarily as a delicacy in foreign countries.
As Americans Against Horse Slaughter puts it, "The ‘surplus horse population' [argument] is a scare tactic."
Horse slaughter is also in no sense humane euthanasia. That much has been established by documents recently released in response to a FOIA request. The captive bolt gun used in the U.S. slaughterhouses did not typically render horses senseless before slaughter. The slaughter houses never bothered to restrain the horses' heads or use only trained personnel to operate the gun.
As John Holland has explained, "In its 2000 report on methods of Euthanasia, the AVMA stated that the captive bolt gun should not be used on equines unless head restraint could be assured. This is because of the relatively narrow forehead of equines, their head shyness and the fact that the brain is set back further than in cattle for which the gun is intended. It is difficult for an operator to assure proper placement of the gun.
"No slaughter house ever found a practical way to restrain the heads of the horses, so by the AVMA's very definition, the process was not acceptable. The result was a very large number of ineffective stuns. These misplaced blows undoubtedly caused severe pain until a stunning or fatal blow was delivered. "
Imagine the pain and terror experienced by horses as bolts were repeatedly fired at their heads many times by untrained operators. Many times horses were still conscious when they were then hoisted upside down for slaughter. For more information on the brutality of horse slaughter in the U.S., click here to read the July 25, 2006 testimony of Christopher J. Heyde, Deputy Legislative Director for Animal Welfare Institute, before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. Click here to read testimony offered during a Congressional hearing in 2008 about the cruelty of horse slaughter.
Also, listen here to a discussion on WFL Endangered Stream Live Talk Radio about horse slaughter by Laura Allen, Executive Director of Animal Law Coalition; John Holland, journalist and consultant for Americans Against Horse Salughter; Dr. Nena Winand, DVM with Veterinarians for Equine Welfare and Paula Bacon, former mayor of Kaufman, Tx and leader of the fight to shut down the horse slaughter facility that operated there until 2007. (Download this broadcast!)
Then contact your U.S. representative and urge him or her to vote YES on the Conyers-Burton Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009, H.B. 503.
Also, tell your representative to vote YES on H.R. 305, the Horse Transportation Safety Act, which will put an end to all transports of horses on double decked trailers.
Where You Can Find More Information on Horse Slaughter
Read Frequently Asked Questions About Unwanted Horses and the AVMA's Policy on Horse Slaughter
Read Veterinarians for Equine Welfare's Horse Slaughter - Its Ethical Impact and Subsequent Response by the Veterinary Profession

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

LIVE FEED ON SATURDAY FEB 7th 3 PM With John Holland (Senior Analyst for AAHS) and Paula Bacon and Laura Allen!

Saving America's Horses on WFL Endangered Stream Live, Talk Radio for the Protection of Animals

The Hidden Cruelty of Horse Slaughter and the Fight for Federal Support to Make it Stop.

Host Katia Louise interviews an expert panel of guests on the continuing sordid practice of horse slaughter as currently sustained by the United States. Horses suffer unimaginable cruel treatment in the process of their transport out of the US to Mexico and Canada where they experience barbaric slaughter. Listeners will learn the truth about one of America's darkest secrets and how to take action to stop this cruel and rapidly growing business of exports through the support of current, yet disregarded bills lingering in Congress for the past 8 years.

Guests include Paula Bacon representing Americans Against Horse Slaughter and as former mayor of Kaufman TX, she helped to shut down the Dallas Crown, a US horse slaughter plant now operating in Mexico, among the worst malign abusers of cruelty in this brutal practice. Also joining us is the renown author on the issue of horse slaughter, John Holland; senior analyst for Americans Against Horse Slaughter. Holland has authored and coauthored studies on the relationship of horse slaughter to the rate of abuse and neglect in horses and has written dozens of articles on the subject of horse slaughter and its politics. Plus we have Animal Law Attorney, Laura Allen of the Animal Law Coalition who's been fiercely active in the support of getting legislature passed for the Prevention of the Equine Cruelty. These panelists are fighting to abolish horse slaughter and the export of horses for slaughter with support more stringent enforcement of laws to prevent abuse and neglect.

Call-in number: (646) 727- 2170. Calls will be accepted live during the show. The chat room at the show's WFL Endangered Stream Live Blog Talk Radio page will be open throughout the broadcast for simultaneous discussion and to help answer questions. Registered listeners may connect and talk straight from their computer from anywhere in the world. (learn more)

Listen live on Saturday, Feb 7th at 3pm (PST) at WFL Endangered Stream Live Blog Talk Radio.
Listen anytime on demand.


Thursday, January 15, 2009


Bill to End Horse Slaughter Reintroduced in 111th Congress

Washington, DC (January 15, 2009) – The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503), was reintroduced yesterday by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Representative Dan Burton (R-IN). They first introduced the bill, which will ban horse slaughter, in the summer of 2008. It gained quick bipartisan support and passed out of the Judiciary Committee but did not move further as the legislative clock wound down. Committed to seeing the measure passed into law, Chairman Conyers has given the bill priority in his committee, as signaled by its reintroduction so early on the legislative calendar. With sixty-one original cosponsors, the bill already enjoys strong bipartisan support.

Although the few remaining horse slaughter plants operating in the US were shut down in 2007 under state law, the absence of a federal law banning the practice means that American horses are still at risk of being slaughtered for human consumption. In fact, more than 100,000 horses were exported to Mexico and Canada in 2008 for slaughter; In Canada horses are often shot to death while in Mexico some plants still use the “puntilla” knife to stab the horse into a state of paralysis prior to being slaughtered while still fully conscious. The meat is then sold to high-end consumers in Europe and Asia.

“There are naysayers who claim we should reopen the US plants rather than seek to ban all horse slaughter. Clearly, they’ve already forgotten how awful the plants here were,” said Chris Heyde, deputy director of Government and Legal Affairs for the Animal Welfare Institute.

Documents recently released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal just how brutal conditions were at the US plants before they were shut down. Hundreds of graphic photographs taken by U.S. Department of Agriculture employees at one plant show live horses with missing legs, with eyeballs hanging out, with skin ripped from the body and the birth of foals at the plant. Other photos show horses dead on arrival, having succumbed to the miseries of transport.

“The suffering of hundreds of thousands of our horses rests solely on the shoulders of those blocking this bill. Were it not for their stalling tactics horse slaughter would have ceased years ago. Meanwhile an American horse is slaughtered every five minutes. We commend Chairman Conyers and Representative Burton for taking the lead once again to end this cruel practice through introduction of H.R. 503, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act,” said Heyde.


For further information contact:
Chris Heyde, 202-446-2142
Liz Ross, 202-497-6780

For over 58 years, AWI has been the leading voice for animals across the country and on Capitol Hill. Please join us in our ongoing campaigns to reduce the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans. Sign up for AWI eAlerts to receive the latest news on what you can do to help us protect all animals:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gelding saved from slaughter becomes USEF Horse of the Year

January 19, 2009

2008 USEF Horse of the Year Jamaica.

A 17-year-old Dutch gelding that was rescued on his way to the slaughter horse is the 2008 United States Equestrian Federation Horse (USEF) of the Year.
Jamaica, the foundation of Chester Weber's Four-in-Hand team that won Individual Silver at the 2008 FEI World Four-in-Hand Driving Championships, beat out four other nominees for the award.

What he has achieved in his career is remarkable.

"The horse is amazing," said Weber after receiving his trophy from Farnam's Chris Jacobi and USEF President David O'Connor. "It is great to be part of his life."

The Dutch warmblood gelding [by Cambridge Cole S974 and out of Welkom (Noran)] was initially bought to be a tourist carriage horse, rescued on his way to the slaughter house. His refusal to stand still and be patient was the demise of that career but his tenacity and strength of character paid off when he landed in Weber's stable.

Jamaica has been part of all six of Weber's Four-in-Hand National Championship teams, his results speak for themselves but if he could talk, the horse would have plenty to say.

"It's a real honor to share this journey with such an unbelievable horse," said Weber. "Driving is a very small discipline in this country and the support from the rescue organizations and the letters I got from kids was amazing."

The winning veteran will receive a year's worth of Farnam Platform feed for his efforts.

Jamaica had some seriously tough competition from across equestrian sport. Adams Fire, a dynamic Half-Arabian, owned by Starline Arabians, LLC won eight National Championships in 2008 with three different riders, a huge testament to his versatility. Adams Fire won the 2008 US National Champion in Half-Arabian English Pleasure Open after a thrilling finish in a three-way work off.

Tiziano dominated the 15 and Under Hunter division and has been Champion or Grand Champion 16 times in 2008, 15 for Jessica Springsteen. The ultra-consistent Tiziano won at Devon, the Washington International Horse Show, the Hampton Classic and Pennsylvania National. Tiziano, owned by Stone Hill Farm, kicked off the year by winning at the Winter Equestrian Festival three consecutive weeks.

Friesian Quest LLC's Dante FQ dominated his division with an incredibly diverse resume. He excelled in saddle seat, driving, dressage and cross country jumping. He won 15 championship titles in 2008 including hunter pleasure/hack mount.

The show jumpers were represented by Mollie and Harry Chapman's Flexible. The diminutive Irish Sport Horse gelding came back from two career threatening injuries to jump to second place at the Rolex/FEI World Cup Final in Sweden and was a integral member of the winning Nations Cup team at the CSIO5* in Spruce Meadows. Ridden by Rich Fellers, Flexible produced results all year, beginning with three consecutive $50,000 Grand Prix at Thermal in the spring.

Over a hundred other awards were presented, including Grand Champions, National Champions and Reserve Champions across the various USEF Breeds and Disciplines.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Legislation Introduced to End Inhumane Transport of Horses!

HR 305

Stop Inhumane Horse Transport
Doubler decker trailers are designed for short-necked species, such as cattle and hogs, not horses. However, current federal law allows horses to be transported in these trailers to any destination other than slaughter plants.

Since these trailers are not meant to carry horses, frequently the top deck of the trailer will collapse, resulting in horrific injuries and even death. Just last year, a double decker trailer carrying 59 young Belgian horses overturned on an Illinois highway, killing 17 horses and injuring dozens of others.

Fortunately, Representatives Kirk (R-IL) and Cohen (D-TN) introduced, H.R. 305, the Horse Transportation Safety Act, to ban the use of double decker trailers for all horse transport.

Please make a brief, polite phone call to your U.S. Representative to urge support for H.R. 305 to prohibit double decker trailers for horse transport. You can reach your Representative through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or click here to look up your Representative and the phone number.

After making your call, fill in and submit the form on the right to automatically send an email to your U.S. Representative. Remember to personalize the email message by expressing your opinion in your own words; it's much more effective.

Take Action!

Sunday, December 21, 2008



TV Station KHOU has done a powerful piece on the USDA cruelty documents that Julie Caramante and Animal's Angels received through her FOIA. It features Steve Long and Julie and it is both powerful and graphic.

Here is a text version off of Texas Cable News
Thousands of U.S. horses slaughtered in Mexico for food
10:56 PM CST on Friday, December 19, 2008
By Brad Woodard / 11 News
Steve Long is a noted author as well as editor of Texas Horse Talk magazine. You can say he knows horses.

Thousands of U.S. horses slaughtered in Mexico
December 19, 2008

“They are the essence of beauty, everything about them, the way they move, the way they talk to each other, their personalities, they’re just magnificent,” he said.
He says that horses are not only deeply woven into the fabric of Texas History, but they are also great icons of the American West.
Still, despite that honor, records show that nearly 50,000 U.S. horses have been transported to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico for slaughter and ultimately destined for the dinner tables in Europe and Japan.
“It’s an obscenity. It’s a horror. It’s something that makes me want to throw up,” said Long.

Records show that nearly 50,000 U.S. horses have been transported to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico for slaughter and ultimately destined for the dinner tables in Europe and Japan.
Believe it or not, Long isn’t talking about the slaughtering practices in Mexico, although he finds them disturbing.
Long is talking about the horse slaughter industry, that until recently, thrived here in Texas and the United States.
“This is the biggest animal rights scandal since the Michael Vick case. This is slaughtergate,” said Long.
In fact, records show that there are two Belgian owned horse slaughtering facilities in the state. He says one of the facilities, Dallas Crowe, is in Kaufman, Texas and that the other facility, Beltex, is located in Fort Worth.
In 2006, 11 News reported that employees at both facilities used captive bolt guns and air guns on the horses instead of knives. That technique involves driving a steel bolt into a the brain of a horse.
Both Texas facilities were forced to close last year. Officials say that the closure came after a federal appeals court upheld a 1949 state law banning horse slaughter for human consumption.
Despite that action the slaughter horse business continues.
Julie Caramante is an animal cruelty investigator for the organization called Animal’s Angels and she often works undercover.
She said that it took her three years to obtain photos that document violations of the transportation of horses taken to Beltex between January and November of 2005.
“I saw horses that were dead in trailers, with their legs ripped off, with their faces smashed in, eyeballs dangling, and these horses, some of them were still alive. They were just standing there,” said Caramante.
Many of the injuries reportedly occurred when the horses were transported on double-decker trailers designed to haul cattle.
The U.S. banned that type of action last year, but there’s a loophole, said Caramante. She says that the double-deckers can still be used to haul horses thousands of miles to feedlots, like the one in Morton, Texas. It’s owned by the Belgian company, Beltex.
“They feed them and get them fattened up. The ones that live go to El Paso and then off to the plant in Mexico,” said Caramante.
While it’s currently illegal to slaughter horses for human consumption in Texas, 11 News has found that at least two states are considering measures that would make it legal.
Those who support horse slaughter say they’d like to see it resume here in the U.S. because of laws that protect horses from cruelty. They say it is a well regulated industry that provided humane euthanasia.
“Such things are laughable. And it would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. U.S. humane laws have done nothing for the horse,” said Long.
E-mail 11 News reporter Brad Woodard