Wednesday, December 19, 2007

2 great Press releases

NEWS RELEASE (12/7/07)
For immediate release
For more information, call (800) 844-1409
Large Animals Equal Large Problems in an Emergency
Everywhere in America thousands of large animals are transported through our communities daily. They are moving over our streets, roads and highways. Whenever a transportation emergency occurs, local first responders are called. Without specific knowledge, training and equipment, the possibility of the first responders becoming injured is very real.
Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Training is the best way to protect the lives of the first responders as well as provide the best possible care for the animals involved. Trailer accidents, animals that escape their pasture, and barn fires are common scenarios that often result in response from fire and emergency services. Additionally, horses and other livestock fall into trenches, are stuck in confined spaces or become otherwise trapped in various ways. With a thorough understanding of the animals and the hazards they pose, common rescue techniques can be adapted with special equipment to achieve a safe and positive outcome.
Recent disasters have illustrated the value that humans place on their animals, and clearly doing nothing to help in an emergency is not an option. According to Mark Cole from USRider Equestrian Motor Plan (, a nationwide roadside assistance program for equestrians that promotes Large Animal Rescue awareness and training,
“We’ve found that emergency responders, while trained experts in human rescue and extrication, often have no training in large animal rescue. Because of this lack of training, responders are being put at great risk. Moreover, in many accidents and disasters, animals without life-threatening injuries are being injured further or even killed by use of incorrect techniques.”
First responders are accustomed to victims recognizing they are present in a helping role. However, a large animal involved in an emergency situation is often in a fight or flight survival mode and could easily injure or kill a first responder who’s trying to help. Human reaction time is no match for the instinctive kick of a horse. These gentle giants could simply turn or move and crush anyone who enters a vehicle with animals inside. Responders without adequate knowledge of safe, humane techniques have even been killed while trying to euthanize animals.
Safety starts with the implementation of the National Incident Management System (NIMS). An effective incident management system provides the means for a safe, organized and efficient rescue and allows personnel from various agencies to share a common communication language. The Incident Commander arriving on scene must perform a risk assessment. The IC must weigh the probability of injury to the rescuers. This risk versus gain equation must be evaluated and the IC must act without jeopardizing rescue personnel. If specially trained responders are available, with the required technical equipment to effect the rescue, the probability of a safe and successful rescue increases for both the responders and the animal.
Well-intentioned rescuers without adequate knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the animal may do more harm than good. For example, a lifting rope placed around the lower leg of a horse could easily maim the animal, resulting in the need for the animal to be euthanized. All too often, the neck of an animal is seen as a handle and a rope attached for pulling. How would we respond if someone threw a rope around our neck and started pulling?
Most well-equipped technical rescue teams will already have much of the required equipment needed; however, additional unique pieces of equipment will be necessary. For instance, a large “A” frame tall enough and strong enough to lift a horse could be purchased or constructed. SCBA cylinders, regulators and hoses can be combined with PVC pipe to assemble a mud rescue kit to inject air near the feet of an animal to assist in freeing the animal. Telescoping poles to cut halters or pass tools or ropes through a trailer can be constructed to minimize risk and exposure to the rescuers. Rescue slings can be purchased or constructed to enable lifting of the animals while minimizing the danger of the animal falling during the lift. A special horse glide can be purchased to enable the animal to be secured to it – much in the manner conventional back boards are used to stabilize humans. Ropes can be attached and a team of people can drag the animal to the nearest available transport vehicle.
Specialty courses are offered at many locations throughout the country and attendance could literally save the lives of those responders who attend. Eastern Kentucky University ( has established an annual Large Animal Rescue training program that provides training to students in the Fire and Safety Engineering Technology program ( This special training is provided to the students as part of their college curriculum requirements. To date, approximately 100 undergraduate students have successfully completed the Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Training.
EKU’s Fire and Safety Engineering Technology Program was established in 1975 and is one of a handful of programs in the country offering undergraduate degrees in fire and safety. Areas of study include life safety; fire prevention, suppression and investigation, fire service administration; fire protection principles; industrial loss prevention; safety program management; and occupational safety and health.
To provide students the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills required to become proficient in the rescue of large animals, EKU’s Fire and Safety Engineering Technology Program at Eastern Kentucky University will host the fourth annual Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Training next spring.
Scheduled for April 18-20, 2008, the first seminar is reserved as an elective for fire sciences students at EKU. The second seminar, April 22-24, 2008, is open to the public, with emphasis on recruiting fire and EMT responders, veterinarians and others. The training will educate fire/rescue personnel, first responders, veterinarians and horse enthusiasts about techniques and procedures to assist large animals involved in transportation accidents and other emergencies. Instruction will cover the use of sedatives and tranquilizers, chemical restraint, rescue ropes and knots, rescue from horse barn fires, mud rescue, helicopter rescue and water rescue, among other situations. The training, which consists of 30 hours of classroom instruction and hands-on training, qualifies each student to receive FSE 489 credit for the class. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, each large-animal emergency rescue seminar is limited to 30 participants. Be sure to call and reserve your space today.
A separate session on HAZMAT Decontamination of Large Animals is scheduled for the morning of April 25. This free session will cover the issues related to rescuing large animals that have encountered chemical, biological or radiological contamination.
For additional information or to register for the training, contact Mr. Michael Shane LaCount at (859) 622-1009.

Deep Corporate Discounts Available for Spring Courses

Discount Offer Ends December 31

College Station, Texas - December 4, 2007 Corporate groups looking for a cost effective training solution for their sales force will find the answer with the Center for Equine Business Studies at Texas A&M as it offers up to $200 off Spring distance learning courses for corporate groups. The Center for Equine Business Studies (CEBS), brings a convenient and economical solution to small business owners, retailers and others wanting to hone their skills by offering on-line distance learning courses to improve practical business knowledge and tools. Distance learning replaces the traditional face-to-face classroom with instruction delivered via the Internet. This allows students to participate in classes at times that are convenient to their job and family obligations, and from any location with Internet access.

Courses to be offered on-line for continuing education credit in the Spring 2008 include "Business Basics for the Equine Business" and "Sales in the Equine Industry," offered earlier this year.

"Business Basics for the Equine Business" provides instruction in the basics of managing businesses that provide products or services to the equine industry. Students will be introduced to managerial decision-making and analysis in an equine environment, and develop skills that facilitate application of management principles to realistic business situations. A basic knowledge of excel spreadsheets will be required.

The student will select an actual or hypothetical equine related business as the subject for their course projects and develop the following for that business:

· Balance Sheet

· Income Statement

· Enterprise Budgets

· Partial Budgets

· Cash Flow Budgets

· Capital Asset Schedule

· Schedule of Insurance Coverage

· Human Resource Plan

"Sales in the Equine Industry" focuses on professional sales techniques in the equine environment. Students will develop sales skills through application of sales principles and realistic selling situations.

Course fees are $595 per person through December 31, and $695 per person thereafter. Corporate groups of five or more individuals may register for $495 per person through December 31, as well, but most contact instructor Clark Springfield to receive the discount. The courses can be taken for continuing education credit and each course can be taken individually or as a part of a certification program. Upon successful completion of all five Equine Entrepreneurship courses, the participant will be awarded a Certificate in Equine Entrepreneurship from Texas A&M University. Courses that will be offered in the future include Marketing and the Equine Industry, Equine Entrepreneurship I, and Equine Entrepreneurship II.

"We are expecting a strong enrollment this spring," said Clark Springfield, course instructor. "We strongly urge interested persons to register as early as possible, not just to receive the discount, but to ensure their place in the classes."

For additional course information and to enroll visit, or contact Clark Springfield, Equine Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator, at, or call (979) 845-3805. As a reminder, groups of five or more should not enroll on line, but should contact Clark Springfield for discount enrollment.

You may also enroll as an individual for these courses.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm Baaack

I have been out of town for the past few days. I was on my second honeymoon for our 10th anniversary and bringing home, what else, some new equine family members. I also got a chance to meet some of the horses at our foster facility, who are some GREAT animals if you are looking for a new friend .

I say this not to solicit any comments or congratulations, however if you would like to send presents... No, wait that isn't what I meant to say, I was just explaining why things had been quiet for a while around the AHDF. Anyway, I came back to a load of work, YEAH! I like being busy. What is not happy is that during my trip so much info has been coming out about so many abuses of our 4 hooved friends. Not such a happy holiday present.

During my trip news has come out about Park Rangers in Big Bend State Park in Texas shooting the burros that reside in the park. The reason? Because they carry diseases that may affect the Park's horses and those around the park and the normal they destroy the environment and compete with other species for forage. Basically these little burros are picking on the big horn sheep and "aggressively" attack other animals at the water holes that they have spent all day fowling with their poo and urine. Wow, these dirty little buggers are sure a pain aren't they? To justify their lethal shooting of these horrible animals, whose numbers are incredibly low, they quote the pro-hunting group the Sierra Club. I am sure many of you may be surprised to learn that the Sierra Club is VERY supportive of killing burros and our wild horses to "control the numbers of these invasive species". If you doubt my word look at their website. What this park is doing is similar to the slaughter of burros in the Grand Canyon where hundreds of burros were shot and killed to "protect" the environment. It took public outcries to stop that slaughter and it will take the public's outrage to stop this horrific slaughter of these burros. Burros are under a greater attack than our wild horses and at this point our wild horses will be non-existent in the wild by 2010 at the rate they are being removed and having PZP and other birth control methods applied. Please make your comments to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, clicking the link will take you to their webform or you can call 1-800-792-1112.

Anyone who is connected to the world knows that we are in full swing of the 2008 presidential election. There are a number of issues to consider when picking a candidate to support. One of those that may interest those that read this may be the candidate's position on animal welfare. As a non-profit the AHDF cannot endorse or criticize any candidate for office, but there are places where you can find out where a candidate stands on animal welfare. The Humane Society Legislative Fund has contact information for all the the major candidates and are putting their answers along with their records on their website in a blog format. You can read about it here.

Lastly, the American Horse Publications is taking nominations for their Equine Visionary Award. These awards are for recognizing outstanding leadership, creativity and meritorious contributions in the equine industry. Deadline for nominations is January 11, 2008. You can make your nominations by requesting a nomination for by emailing them at or by calling (386) 760-7743. You may nominate anyone you feel is qualified, but may I suggest posthumously nominating Katrina "Trina" Bellak the founder and former president of AHDF? Trina had a wonderful vision for the world of horses and is sorely missed. It would be wonderful for her to receive a nomination and votes, even after we lost her. If you need info about Trina for the nomination just Google her name, there are a number of wonderful resources to quote. Finalists from 2007 will be automatically nominated, so there is no need to nominate them once again.

If I don't post again or if you are heading off on your own vacation and won't read the posts again I want to wish each and every one of you a very happy and prosperous holiday season. Again presents for me can be sent... Ooops I did it again.

Happy Holidays from the AHDF!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Alert- Comments Needed

In 2000 and 2001 there was a great deal of discussion between the USDA and humane groups when they were rewriting the Commercial Transport of Equine to Slaughter regulations. The first draft was one that the humane groups agreed was probably the most humane regulations possible for those horses. However, what was eventually accepted was nothing like the original draft. It allowed a slow phase out of the VERY inhumane double decker trailers and put in a loophole big enough to drive a semi through. Fast forward to 2007, finally the USDA/APHIS has noticed this loophole and is proposing a change in regulations to close it and accepting public comments to the proposed change.

I can assure you that those using double deckers WILL comment, so it is VERY important that those of us who care about the humane treatment of horses comment in large numbers. We cannot have a repeat of what happened back in 2000-01. Double decker trailers are not a humane way to transport ANY horse, not even when they are modified. The USDA has already admitted this and the proposed change is a step in the right direction.

I ask every person reading this to please provide comments to the proposed regulation and passing along this alert to your friends and relatives. Please address ONLY the issue of transporting horses in double deckers. Talking about horse slaughter will not help your comment to be taken seriously. We all know horse slaughter is inhumane, but the place to address those comments are to your Senators and Representative on S 311/HR 503. Until slaughter is banned, we simply must insure that the horses are treated as humanely as possible and this is something they can address.

You can provide your comments by mailing them to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0168, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. You can also comment online by going to and selecting Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service from the drop down menu and entering Docket number 2006-0168. Comments are being accepted until Jan. 7, 2008.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Coming Soon the AHDF Library

In the interest of helping horses find homes, the AHDF is building a library of training tapes and DVDs to loan rescues and possibly even individuals. If you have training videos you are not using please consider donating them to the AHDF for others to use.

Our first donation has come from Sylvia Scott who donated her Round Pen Leadership and Whispering Way 12 Step total Training System. Sylvia offers a weekly newsletter with training tips and also is always available for email questions. Sylvia has been VERY supportive of our efforts and we would like to thank her for her awesome and generous donation to our library efforts. We are hoping to contact other trainers to hopefully obtain videos to help support those on the front lines.

If you have a dvd or video sitting around gathering dust and would like to share it with those who rescue and rehabilitate horses please consider donating them to the AHDF. If you have a contact within the training community and would like to encourage them to make a donation please let us know. All videos can be mailed to AHDF at PO Box 328 Covington, TN 38011.

If you would like to borrow one of our videos please watch our website for the launch of the library program. While you are there please check our rescue listing page to make sure your rescue is listed and all your contact information is correct. The AHDF strives to have the most comprehensive listing of rescues both for our book and for our web visitors. Recently another organization mentioned our rescue listings in a newspaper article, so many people looking for a rescue to support or to adopt will be looking for you on the AHDF site. Don't miss this opportunity to make your rescue more visible and to be listed on a site with thousands of visitors a day. If your rescue is missing please email our webmistress.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sad State of the World

I have been having trouble sleeping. It isn't that I am not tired, with kids a husband, dogs, horses and getting a house ready for the holidays, I am tired. But when I lay down to sleep thoughts go through my mind keeping me awake. Add to that the fact that we have some data from the BLM to go through, it adds up to many sleepless nights.

So, as I was trying to get sleepy tonight I decided to do a little reading to get sleepy. So, I went looking for something happy to distract me and I found a story called "Little Girl to get Pony". Wow, I thought, a really happy kid/horse story to wipe out some of the ugliness I get every day. Unfortunately, it wasn't a happy story. It seems that the little girl was getting a pony, but to replace hers that had been tortured, killed and mutilated. The little girl had found her pony and was severely traumatized.

How sick does someone need to be to do that to a poor animal, let alone a child's pet? How sick is the world when vets, charged with protecting and caring for horses, say that brutal slaughter is humane? How twisted is it that the BLM, a government agency charged with protecting our wild horses, is systematically eliminating them from our public lands? And not just that, but doing it in such a way that it is even more inhumane.

How sick does the world need to be before someone changes it? How cruel does the act need to be before these animals get the protection they deserve? When will laws and policies change? When there are no more horses running free, when children find their beloved pets slaughtered in their own pasture?

I have said that when we sell out our horses and think of them as just a commodity we sell our souls. It is up to the people who care to protect and speak for them, even if it looks like nobody is listening. Passage of the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act wouldn't have saved that child's horse, but it didn't help that the current thought process is that horses are disposable and can be treated as though they have no feelings when they are handled brutally during transport and the slaughter process. It is changing the view of animals that protect them and HR 503/S 311 will start that process.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

USRIDER Teams with EKU to Offer Animal Rescue Training

Lexington, KY (Nov 9, 2007) – USRider and Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) are partnering to offer large-animal emergency rescue training for the fourth consecutive year. As with last year’s training, specially trained demonstration animals – horses and a llama – are being brought in to help provide realistic hands-on training during the seminars.

Two Technical Large-Animal Rescue training seminars are to be held next spring. Scheduled for April 18-20, 2008, the first seminar is reserved for EKU students. The second seminar, April 22-24, 2008, is open to the public, with emphasis on recruiting fire and EMT responders, veterinarians and others involved in the equine industry. The training is being funded through the Large-Animal Rescue Endowment Fund, administered by USRider.

The training will educate fire/rescue personnel, first responders, veterinarians and horse enthusiasts about techniques and procedures to assist large animals involved in transportation accidents and other emergencies. Instruction will cover the use of sedatives and tranquilizers, chemical restraint, rescue ropes and knots, rescue from barn fires, mud rescue, helicopter rescue and water rescue, among other situations. The training, which consists of 30 hours of classroom instruction and hands-on training, qualifies each student to receive FSE 489 credit for the class.

The training will also include a separate session on HAZMAT Decontamination of Large Animals. Scheduled for the morning of April 25, this free session will cover the issues related to rescuing large animals that have encountered chemical, biological or radiological contamination. Local and state emergency preparedness officials are encouraged to attend. Interested parties should contact EKU so accommodations can be made.

USRider offers a nationwide roadside assistance program designed especially for equestrians. Since its establishment in January 2002, the company has endeavored to raise awareness of the need for training in large-animal emergency rescue.

“We’ve found that while emergency responders are trained experts in human rescue and extrication, they usually have no training in large-animal rescue,” said Mark Cole, managing member of the USRider Equestrian Motor Plan. “Because of this lack of training, responders are being put at great risk. Moreover, in many accidents and disasters, animals without life-threatening injuries are being injured further or even killed by use of incorrect rescue techniques.”

Through its Leg-Up Fund, USRider has provided backing for numerous large-animal rescue initiatives, from equine ambulances to individual responder training. In 2005, the company took its efforts in a new direction by creating the first-of-its-kind Large-Animal Rescue Endowment Fund at Eastern Kentucky University. The endowment fund was established to promote large-animal-rescue training efforts and support related training programs.

Eastern Kentucky University has established an annual Large Animal Rescue training program that provides training to the students within the Fire and Safety Engineering Technology program. The Fire and Safety Engineering Technology Program was established in 1975 and is one of only a few programs in the country which offers undergraduate degrees in fire and safety. Areas of study include life safety; fire prevention, suppression and investigation; fire service administration; fire protection principles; industrial loss prevention; safety program management; and occupational safety and health.

The Large Animal Rescue training within the Fire and Safety Engineering Technology program provides the students the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills required to become proficient in the rescue of large animals. The program is provided to the students as part of their college curriculum requirements. To-date, approximately 100 undergraduate students have successfully completed this program.

“We are very glad to continue our partnership with EKU through their College of Justice and Safety,” said Cole, “especially since the university is located in central Kentucky – an area that is commonly referred to as the horse capital of the world.”

Due to the hands-on nature of the training, each large-animal emergency rescue seminar is limited to 30 participants. Be sure to call and reserve your space today. For more information on the seminars and to register, call the EKU Loss Prevention and Safety Department at (859) 622-1009.

Contributions to the Large-Animal Rescue Endowment Fund may be sent to the Division of University Development, CPO 19A, Jones 324, Eastern Kentucky University, 521 Lancaster Ave., Richmond, KY, 40475-3102. The Development office may be reached at (859) 622-1583.

USRider Equestrian Motor Plan is a nationwide member-based organization providing roadside trailering assistance, including towing and roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, emergency stabling, veterinary referrals and more. For more information, visit or call 1-800-844-1409.

NOTE: Because some involved with the Illinois trailer accident had recently received this training there were not as many deaths as there could have been. The horses were VERY lucky that these folks had training. We need more classes like this one to be offered all over the country and more people trained. I hope anyone who can take the course will.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

COLD!! Brrrr

I know that some of us are seeing the first cold weather of the year. Some areas have already seen snow! We had our first hard freeze last night with another expected tonight. With the cold weather comes the holidays and the time that the horses need us the most. It has been an incredibly hard year with fires, droughts, floods and even tornado and still no passage of the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. However, we have seen some great things this year including the closing of the last slaughter plant in this country and more interest from the media in publishing stories about the humane treatment of our nation's horses.

While it is hard to think of the suffering of horses during the holiday season, we cannot let our momentum stop. However, there are ways we can enjoy our tasks. We can shop and help the horses. When you are thinking of your holiday gift giving also think of helping the horses and we all win. Why let all the profits go to the shops when you can give a part of your shopping dollars to the AHDF. If you shop through please select the American Horse Defense Fund as your chosen charity. You can also shop at the AHDF mall and a portion of your total will go to AHDF. Our mall has stores that you will recognize and some small wonderful stores that you may find are your favorites. You can also shop at Cafe Press and buy AHDF items. Or what about shopping at the AHDF site? We are going to be adding some new items soon to enhance your shopping experience, including some great Christmas ornaments. Think gifts and think AHDF. Got a kiddo to buy for? Shop at Cafe Press and get them a tee or a soft teddy bear or you can shop through the mall for personalized books, educational software, name trains and much more or give the gift of sponsoring a horse and if you let us know it is a gift we will send the receipient a photo of their horse and a certificate of sponsorship. A horse owner? You can buy him/her a new custom saddle pad through our partnership with R9 Custom Horse Creations. Just let them know the funds are for the AHDF horses and the hay for pad program. There is not a single person you cannot find a gift for through one of our programs.

As with just about every charity on the planet we count on our contributions to continue our work. We also count on the charity of our donors during this time of year for most of our annual budget. We don't have any benefactors that direct our actions, we prefer to stay close to our supporters and their direction. So, this year when you are doing your shopping please think of us and the horses.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board

Tomorrow, November 5th, the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board will be meeting in Portland Oregon. This group of supposed experts are supposed to advise the BLM on actions involving our wild horses and burro management and preservation. So far this sounds like a great program right? Wrong! The groups just seems to rubber stamp every action that the BLM proposes.

The group never seems to question any of the actions of BLM including the zeroing out of HMAs because of lack of resources all while approving additional livestock grazing in the same area. Not a single HMA gives the horses in the entire HMA what cattle and livestock are given in a single section. I guess this doesn't disturb the Advisory Board in the least. If it does, there is no record of it, but then again there is no recent minutes of their meetings for us to look at so we can see where they have asked for an explanation. I guess we can ask for that under the Freedom of Information Act, but we submitted a FOIA back in June and we are still waiting for that information to arrive. If we request this I am sure all the wild horses will be gone forever before we get any response. I guess the single keeper of information for the BLM is just overwhelmed with requests to find out what the hell is happening over there, but back to the Advisory Board. This group is entitled to documents and data not available to the public, so there is no reason why they should be floundering in the dark like those of us working to really protect these animals.

Most recently the BLM determined that the West Douglas HMA could only support 60 wild horses. We sent in comments stating that this number is well below genetic viability, but they had determined that the horses were the problem, not the thousands of cattle. Their biggest concern was for some possibly rare big horn sheep. It turns out these sheep were not rare, but they didn't return the wild horses, they didn't apologize to the public for their error. What did they do? Well, now they agree that 60 isn't genetically viable, they are zeroing out the herd area and REMOVING the horses. Did the Advisory Board do anything when the proposal was put forward to reduce the numbers? NO, they didn't. Are they screaming to leave the remaining horses who have now been genetically proven to be Spanish Mustangs? NO, they are not. This group of advocates, scientists and vets who all should know better than to agree to a reduction so far under genetic viability, but they just smile and give the BLM a thumbs up.

We can look at the make up of the group to find at least part of the answer. There is one person who is supposed to be a wild horse advocate, one humane person, a vet, a representative of the public, 2 livestock managers, a wildlife manager (read wildlife to read game animals), natural resource manager (read game here too) and a wild horse and burro researcher. No other BLM advisory board has so many opponents of the animal they are advising on. There are no wild horse advocates on the grazing advisory group, it is mostly made up of livestock supporters. Yet, this group is not and the election of the positions is set by policy and they will not even accept the nomination of a wild horse advocate to fill the position of one of the livestock advocates.

This group is woefully inadequate for protecting our wild horses and burros. Mostly because the majority of the members are hell bent on seeing every wild horse and burro off of the lands that ranchers see as theirs. Well, it isn't theirs and the public needs to start asking the hard questions about what is happening to their land and their horses. Frankly, it is illegal under the Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act to zero out herds, to give away land that was set aside for their preservation and the BLM should be held accountable for these acts. Obviously complaining to the BLM or trying to appeal to their better nature is not working. We need to be asking Congress to investigate the waste, fraud and abuse of public funds, resources and trust. A single complaint to the President resulted in a horrific policy change in veteran's burials. We need thousands of complaints about the BLM and the Advisory Board to see a policy change there.

You may say I don't own a horse, don't know much about them. Well, actually yes you do own a horse. Every one of us owns the American Mustangs and Burros. If you want to learn more about the issues affecting them read this blog.

It is our right and responsibility to ensure these horses and burros are kept safe and on the lands that they are entitled to. Otherwise they will all be gone.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Hay Shortage

This has been a very hard year for parts of our country. Many areas have been hit with extreme drought conditions, while other areas have been hit hard with flooding. In the areas where there has been drought there was no second hay cutting and the cost of hay has gone through the roof. I know we are hearing about larger than normal owner surrenders and even some rescues giving up or going under.

I know in my area we have gotten a little rain lately, but it came too late to help with hay. Tonight we are expecting our first frost of the year meaning there will be no chance to get more hay from our recent rains. Hay prices have doubled and are expected to rise more the later in the season it gets. Where there is hay, the brokers are buying it up to ship around the country. Rescues and horse owners are feeling the pinch. However there is an answer.

Some enterprising individual has put together a website where people can list and find hay. The prices may be a bit higher and you may have shipping costs, but at least you can find it. I was able to locate some myself. If you have friends and neighbors having similar problems perhaps you can share the shipping costs to make it more affordable. Visit the Internet Hay Exchange and put in your state and it should return a number of listings. Try first to locate hay as close to you as possible to save on those shipping costs or to pick up the hay yourself. Also, remember the more you buy the bigger the discount and you can negotiate with these guys.

If you seriously cannot afford the hay prices or just cannot find any Tractor Supply and other feed stores often sell alfalfa cubes or other forage supplements. At the end of last winter I was forced to rely on these to get us through. However, often later in the season they run low on these, so you may want to stock up. Last winter we weren't able to get these for weeks because of snow and depleted supplies. So, in addition to the hay we are planning on buying several bags of these in case of emergency. You may want to do that as well.

I know our pasture usually has grass until well into the winter, but this year we are down to dirt. We are going to have to replant in the spring so we have enough grass. If you are like me you may also want to buy some year end grass seed. I am sure that it will be in short supply in the spring. If you don't have horses, but your lawn suffered because of the droughts you may also want to buy some grass seed now. In the spring it will be far more costly. Just remember to store it carefully for spring planting.

I know that it will be a long hard winter, but we can all make it through if we are committed (or should be LOL).

Updates, Trailer Accident and Slaughter Bills

Photos courtesy of the Chicago Tribune- Photo taken byNeil Rigler.

The death toll from the trailer accident outside of Chicago, Illinois has risen. A total of 17 horses either died or had to be euthanized as a result of their injuries, leaving only 42 of the original 59. The insurance company had originally planned on taking possession of the horses and has been paying the costs of their recovery. However, Donna Ewing of the Hooved Animal Rescue and Protection Society has worked out a deal to place the horses. She hopes to place them all within the next 10 days. The cost of the animals will range from $50 to $100 and this will be paid to the insurance company.

While Ewing assures the media that the horses will not go to slaughter, her position on the issue puts a question mark on that assurance. Ewing is one of the pro-slaughter industry's biggest advocate. She has been quoted as fully supporting the "euthanasia services" that the slaughter plants supposedly provide. If anyone is interested in one of these horses you must apply through Ms Ewing's organization. Priority will be given to the volunteers who assisted with the rescue.

The pending federal bills are getting more notice after the horrific accident. HR 503 now has a total of 188 cosponsors, with the sponsor that makes 189. S 311 has 35 cosponsors, with the sponsor that is 36. The bills are not moving at this time because Congress has not yet passed a single budget (Appropriations) bill. The fiscal year began on October 1, 2007 and all budgets should have been in place before then. It is possible that instead of individual budget bills Congress may instead do an Omnibus Appropriations Bill. As many of you may remember, this combines all the bills and is so bulky most of the Congress cannot read the whole thing before they vote. This is how the Burns Amendment got passed that stripped the protections for wild horses. With all the mess going on with the budget it is hard to get Congress to focus on our bills. We NEED to keep up the calls, letters and faxes to let them know we are still here and committed to seeing the bills passed into law. To see if your Congressperson or Senators have cosponsored you can go to the Library of Congress and search the bill number. If your Senator/Congressperson is a cosponsor please let them know that you appreciate their support and ask them to please continue supporting the bills. If they are not please make sure that you don't just ask them to support the bill, but that they also become a cosponsor. There is no magic number of cosponsors needed to pass the bills, but we need as many as possible pushing for them.

We are asking for specific focus on the following Senators.
Robert Bennet - R/UT
Jim Bunning - R/KY
Richard Burr - R/NC
Robert Casey - D/PA
Saxby Chambliss - R/GA
Bob Corker - R/TN
Elizabeth Dole - R/NC
Judd Gregg - R/NH
Chuck Hagel - R/NE
Orrin Hatch - R/UT
Johnny Isakson - R/GA
John Kyl - R/AZ
Claire McCaskill - D/MO
Gordon Smith - R/OR
Jim Webb - D/VA
Please, only call these offices if you live in their state. Calls from others will not be counted or even noted. If you do not know how to reach your Sentors you can go to and find that information.

I do want to say something really quick about the number of petitions online. These are not taken seriously and nothing ever comes from them. they may be a good way to inform the public about an issue, but it does NOTHING to help the bills. Passing along this information only makes those who don't know any better think they have done something to help. Instead of signing endless petitions or passing them along pass along information about contacting Senators and Congressmen. The only time petitions are effective is when they are collected and signed in person with proper identification procedures. The signatures cannot be confirmed and our elected officials are well aware of this. They throw these things out and it makes any efforts of well meaning people worthless.

Think about the last recall petitions in your area. All signatures had to be collected in person, when they sign they have to provide identification and proof of voter registration. After the signatures are collected the staff at city hall then call each signer and verify their signature. Often times more signatures are thrown out than authenticated. The staff of your Congressperson or Senator are not going to verify the signatures and there is no positive identification collected with the signature. Don't waste your time on these online petitions.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Horses, Trailers and Tragedy

Trailer accident in Illinois Some of the new faces at AHDF

Some of you may or may not know, but around 7pm Saturday night a trailer hauling horses turned over near Chicago, Illinois. When rescue teams arrived they found out there were 59 horses in the double decker trailer. The accident allegedly occurred when the driver attempted to run a light and was forced to swerve to avoid hitting a car in front of him. Instead the trailer turned over and hit a pickup truck heading the other way. The accident blocked all 4 lanes of the highway until 1:30 am. In the end 13 or 14 (the number depends on who you speak to) horses died in the accident. According to reports the driver was coming from the Shipshewana Auction in Indiana. Where he was heading is a matter of debate. At one point his destination was listed as a stable. later it was an auction in Minnesota and other possibilities one of which was to a slaughter plant in Canada.

One thing is for certain the wreck directly involved slaughter and the PMU industry. We should never lose sight of what these industries are for and why they continue to profit off of the suffering of others. We cannot let this event go unnoticed or undocumented.

PMU stands for pregnant mare urine. It is the main ingredient in Premerine and PremPro a medication made by Wyeth Industries. The medication is for treating the symptoms of menopause. It doesn't matter that the drug has been linked to a number of side effects like heart disease, cancer, senility, and many more problems. It doesn't matter that there are many other safer drugs that treat the symptoms as well. It doesn't matter that the only way to ensure that a mare can give the urine is to breed her constantly and then hook her up to a collector where she must stand her entire pregnancy. It doesn't matter that there are a byproduct called foals that are alive and feeling animals that basically have no future because they are not worth anything to those that are in this industry. So, they are tossed aside and often end up at slaughter plants because it is the easiest way to rid themselves of this unwanted byproduct. The PMU industry hurts women and their families, it hurts the horses and it destroys the foals that it manufactures like clockwork.

It involves slaughter because no transporter would stuff 59 horses into a trailer in this way if the horses were not already considered dead. This is how they treat the horses headed for slaughter. This truck was not the only one in the convoy, it was one of 4 that were packed like sardines with no concern for their health or safety. Even now the company is trying to get the horses so they can complete their trip to the slaughter plant. It doesn't matter how traumatized the animals are, their injuries or the fact that they shouldn't be moved anywhere yet, let alone loaded again like this. It is all about making a dollar, a profit off of the suffering of these horses. What about the people that were forced to save these animals and see the horrors first hand? Many have said this was the most horrific thing they have ever seen. What about all the dead animals? What about the the horses who were stuck suffering and injured in that trailer for more than 4 hours? It all has a price tag, the price is measured by the pound and is paid with the blood of these horses.

The animals in that truck were around a year old. Because they were draft horses they were heavy for that age, around 1,000 pounds. These are the kinds of horses the slaughter plants love. Young healthy animals who they can get the most meat from. Who cares if they live or die? They are nothing, right? Wrong, I care and so do many other people. The people who were on that scene care, the people reading this care, anyone with a heart cares.

The people who were there that night worked tirelessly and should be thanked for their support, their caring and for being there when the horses needed them. Vets and volunteers worked in dangerous conditions to save these animals. One vet saved a horse whose leg was caught under the trailer when it flipped. To do so he had to work inches from another trapped horse who was struggling and thrashing to free himself. It was dangerous, but it was also hard work because few if any horses were able to walk from the wreck. They had to be put on boards on their side and dragged from the wreckage. Then they had to have first aide care and be moved to a local farm to recover. These are wonderful brave people, yet all their work is about to be undone because there is a dollar of profit to be made off the horses' flesh. How disgusting and disrespectful to those people who worked so hard to save their lives.

On another note the AHDF also received 2 loads of horses this weekend. The Fans of Barbaro were able to save the lives of a number of horses from an Indian Reservation that were going to go to slaughter in Canada. The horses were taken to a person that was supposed to feed them and work with them to make them more adoptable. However, he took the money and did not take care of the horses. The person who arranged the rescue found out and immediately went to remedy the situation and took possession of the horses. Unfortunately, it was too late for one of the mares and she died of dehydration and starvation. However, 14 of these 20 horses are now safe on our foster home's farm.

Some of the horses need some time and attention to bring them back, but some are in pretty good shape. All of the horses seem to be friendly and some are even willing to tolerate some petting. All love the hay and grain they are now getting and the wonderful water that they cannot seem to get enough of. Once they have recovered from their ordeal they will be available for adoption. Most of these guys are coming 2 year olds. We also have a couple of mares between 2-6 and a 6 month old filly. These are pretty good sized horses too, so please consider adopting one. They are going to be just awesome horses with just a little bit of love, attention and food. Visit the AHDF website for more info and for pictures.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Do You Know...

the legend of the Animal Fairy? It is a very cute legend that I thought people would enjoy and it goes something like this.

Legend has it that many years ago the Animal Fairy would roam the earth looking for animals that needed love and shelter. One day the Animal Fairy realized that there were so many homeless, neglected and sick animals that he couldn’t do it alone. So he decided to find people all over that could be his helpers. They would have to be people full of love and compassion who cared about every animal large and small. While he tended to the animals in need, his helpers could provide love and shelter for the others. It wasn’t easy for the Animal Fairy but he searched the world over. Finally, he had made a list of those that were perfect for the job. His next step was how to let them know they were chosen. He finally came up with his answer….FAIRY DUST!! He would sprinkle them with magic fairy dust and they would know. So, armed with a sack of fairy dust, he began his long journey touching the lives of those that he knew would care for the animals forever.

Now because of a partnership between AHDF and Animal Fairy Charities we are offering you the opportunity to buy a statue of the Animal Fairy and, just in time for the holidays, you can also buy it in an ornament as well from the AHDF site. (OK I feel a little silly mentioning the holidays this early in the year, but some people do their shopping early and aren't like me running around the day before picking up gifts. Besides, I don't know about your local Wal-Mart, but mine had Christmas items out last month!) A portion of each purchase price will go into the AHDF general fund. These things are so cute and make a great present for any person who loves animals and come with a cute little note explaining the legend and acknowledging the reciepient as an animal angel.

Speaking of the holidays, (YIKES!) when you are doing your holiday shopping or any shopping year round remember to shop through the AHDF Mall and a portion of your total will go to AHDF as well. This is a great way to get items from stores like GNC, Lego, Pajamagram, NFL Shop and Fossil. Planning on traveling for the holidays? You can also make your travel arrangements from the mall too. You can buy everything from office supplies, to clothing to gifts, anything you would find at your local mall without the crowds and parking issues. And, at the same time you are helping AHDF, because a portion of your shopping total goes to AHDF's general fund.

Don't forget our special song playing on the website. It is called "Ponies" by Huns and Dr Beeker. These talented artists played at Musical Horse Aid this year and have agreed to allow us to put the song on our website. Personally, while there were a number of wonderfully talented bands and groups that played at the event, this song was my favorite. If you missed this year's event don't worry, plans are already being made for next year's event. I hope to see you all there because it was an awesome event and it raised awareness of the issues facing horses, especially slaughter. When we have more information about the Second Annual Musical Horse Aid we will let everyone know.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

For those that LOVE wild horses

I want to share an excellent blog with everyone who loves and respects our wild horses. The blog is written by someone who has done a great deal of research on the wild horse issue and is chock full of information on herd viability, BLM actions and news about a number of wild horse deaths. Go to it here.

If you are responding to any of the BLM public comment periods you will find all the information you need on the wild herd blog. So, no longer do you need to do extensive research, the blog does most of it for you. I know that we depend on the research a great deal for the AHDF responses. So, now there is no excuse for not sending in a comment. It is critical for the wild horses that as many people respond as possible. The reason the BLM has gotten away with all they are doing is because the public isn't aware. Now, we are.

Now for those who love the wild horses and love songs written about them, we have a treat. While at Musical Horse Aid I heard a song that I fell in love with. I have asked and received permission to put the song on the AHDF website. The song is called Ponies and should be available this week on the AHDF website. The singer and songwriters have offered this to us to help raise funds to protect the horses. We will not be charging for the song, but ask that anyone who enjoys the song that they donate to AHDF to support our horses and our work to see the bills passed.

The AHDF is not like other humane groups, we have no large donor base, we have no big budget. We are supported by our members, you. The AQHA, AVMA and AAEP have big membership dues and large donors to lobby against our bills. That is why they are making headway against our overwhelming supporters. They have the money to make a difference. Right now the AHDF budget is stretched to the limit and our lobby efforts have been greatly impacted by our lack of funds. We need your help and support, so don't forget us when you are thinking of donations and remember we are a 501(c)3 organization and your donations are tax deductible. So, if you enjoy Huns and Dr Beeker's song please be generous.

Last but certainly not least, the wild horses are coming! The AHDF has decided to take in a few wild yearlings. These horses come from a reservation and were slated to go to a Canadian slaughter house. The group that had these horses thought they had found them a secure placement, but it didn't work out. These beautiful long yearlings will be held at a foster home in Texas and will be available for adoption as soon as they can be handled safely, along with 2 young foals. Watch the AHDF website for updates!

BTW do you miss updates to the website? Do you want more information when it occurs? At the bottom of the AHDF home page you can now sign up for an email when changes are made to the AHDF website. So, sign up and know when things are happening!

Friday, October 12, 2007


Normally Hooflinks is used for alerts, news and updates. However, today I am posting an editorial. I normally put things like this on my blog on My Space, that seemed to be the appropriate venue, while this blog was supposed to remain professional. However, I have spent the last few days responding to editorials on many news agencies websites, to reporters, to the public and many more. (BTW, do NOT send me a stupid email and ask me "what do we do with the poor abused horses". Order and read our book if you want to know. I am SICK of pro-slaughter idiots emailing me and making me worry about any animals, not just the horses, they own.)

Those of you that know me can recognize that I am not being my normal reasonable and diplomatic self. That is because I am tired of the stupidity. I am tired of the ignorance and I am tired of the attacks on our horses. To me it seems like someone named October the month to pick on horses and if I find that person I would like to strangle them.

First we have the issue of the horses heading to Mexico and Canada. Then we have the issue of the deaths of wild horses while in governmental pens at the Palomino Valley Center holding facility. There is of course the normal dumping of horses at this time of year, aggravated in some areas by the lack of hay due to drought. Then normal stepped up gathers of wild horses off our public lands and the unexplained deaths of horses at Nellis Air force Base (I know this happened last month, but I am still waiting to hear a reasonable explanation for the deaths and the mistreatment of the horses on that facility that came out when the information on the deaths surfaced.) We also have universities "disposing" of their "surplus" (read irresponsibly bred) horses.

As for the issue of the horses going to slaughter. I have heard some rather stupid comments lately. I have heard people that are anti-slaughter saying that perhaps we did the wrong thing in closing the plants in this country before we banned the transport. I already addressed this in another post here and won't go into that again. I will say this though, why is the method in Mexico considered so much more terrible than the method used here?

(CAUTION: graphic descriptions coming so do not read further if you are easily disturbed. It is also not appropriate for young people, so please make sure you don't have children reading over your shoulder.)

The puntilla knife takes several stabs to sever the spinal cord, it took several hits from a machine that was designed to crush through skulls to finally hit the animal properly. Once the cord is severed the animal can no longer feel below the cut. However, they can and do regain consciousness with the bolt gun and they DO have feeling in their body. Both methods are bloody, disgusting and horrific to watch. In both methods the means of death comes from bleeding to death or drowning in their own blood. I know we like to believe that we are so much more humane, but tell me what method is more humane to you? To me they are both disturbing and both equally wrong. America is supposed to be a world leader and we should be a shining example of the right way to do things from democracy to human rights and humane treatment of animals.

(End graphic material)

I am more concerned with the amount of time they are on the truck, the fact that our USDA inspectors are not enforcing the humane transportation laws (see the Animal Angels report on the AHDF website), that the horses are in terrible conditions before heading to the slaughter plants, that taxpayers are still being forced to pay for inspectors at the borders and for the holding facilities for these slaughter bound animals, and that transportation of these animals could make recovering stolen horses even more difficult. For these reasons we MUST see the federal bills passed and then we must work to improve the lives of the horses in this country with stricter humane laws that extend to equine as well as other pets.

While I am at it I want to address that idiotic thing about this being an emotional issue. Darn right it is! All humane issues are emotional. Look at how people responded when they heard about the Michael Vick dog fighting case, they were emotional and wanted to protect the dogs. They wanted that man to lose his job and go to jail. When we hear about abused children we get emotional and laws get passed to protect them. We should be emotional, when we lose our emotions and compassion we are no longer human. However, we shouldn't let our emotions overrule our intelligence and common sense. We can use our emotions and let them motivate us to protect the dogs, the children and the horses. I can assure you that I have enough motivation for the next 100 years. When you think you can't take anymore get mad and you will be able to continue. Just don't allow your anger to provoke you into stooping to their level. If you are getting that down or that ticked email me. I will listen to your rant and you can get it off your chest and move on, sort of like what I am doing here. (Yes, I did threaten to throttle a non-existent person at the beginning of this post. I am well aware that nobody really name October the month to pick on horses.)

Ok, I am going to get off my soapbox now. I am surprised that I managed to keep this clean considering how ticked off I am. Again, pro-slaughter folks, don't email me. If it makes you feel better to know that you can get to me I guess this has made your day. (Of course, I can get just as worked up about people not using spell check or text books with typos or people who cut me off in traffic, so I guess you didn't win that great a victory.)

Now, let's all get some rest and wake up refresh because if October really is pick on horse month we have a long month ahead of us.

Calling All Horse Owners and Riders!

Thanks to the VERY generous offer by R9 Custom Horse Creations, we have a very special offer for you!

For a limited time R9 is offering to donate the proceeds of the sales of custom saddle pads bought on the AHDF website to pay for hay for the horses the AHDF has in foster care. These saddle pads are 100% custom, you pick the fabric, the trim color and many other options and they are made to your specifications. These are some of the nicest saddle pads I have ever seen, thick and comfortable for your horses and entirely attractive for you.

This is a win, win, win for everyone involved. You win because you get an attractive saddle pad that allows you to express your individuality, your horse gets a new saddle pad that is comfortable and AHDF gets a round bale for our wonderful horses awaiting adoption. What could be better?

Oder extras for that rider on your Christmas list, but don't forget yourself! Make sure you order early because these are custom items and the holidays are coming. (Although they are custom, their average shipping time is 7 days from receipt of payment until shipping, so you could receive your pad is less than 2 weeks!!)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Many of you have probably read all the new media about the horrors of slaughter in Mexico. Finally the media is taking notice of something we have known for a long time and the reason that the pending bills include language to prevent the transport of horses to slaughter both in the US and across our borders. I have been asked many times lately if it wouldn't have been better to leave a plant open so that so many horses aren't going to Mexico. My answer is simple NO. Horses have been going into Mexico for slaughter for a very long time, it isn't anything new. It is horrible, tragic, sickening and a number of other things that I cannot say here, but it isn't any better when we do it. Also, how can we speak out against them when we are doing it ourselves. Last, but certainly not least, when you look at the statistics you can see that there were 15,000 fewer horses slaughtered this year over last year at this time. That is 15,000 that wouldn't be alive if the plants were open in this country, especially since just before closing Cavel had ramped up its operations and were killing more and more horses. We have always said the suffering is horrific and the public is only just now finding out and that is what is going to finally put an end to this terrible industry.

I also want to let you know that we have a very interesting report on our website that I think everyone who cares about horses reads. It doesn't have all the horrible graphic info about slaughter in Mexico, but deals with the issue of transporting horses to Mexico. The report comes to us from Animal Angels, they also have a report on their website about transport into Canada. Please, read this very important report and be ready to act on it.

Last, I wanted to pass along a press release that I found very interesting. It is from vets calling for the AVMA to stop their lobby efforts against the slaughter bills.

America's Leading Vets call on AVMA to Stand Down

on Horse Slaughter

Washington, DC (October 9, 2007) - Veterinarians for Equine Welfare, a group opposed to the slaughter of horses for human consumption, today called on the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to end its opposition to the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, a bill that will prohibit the domestic slaughter of horses for human consumption as well as their export for slaughter elsewhere.

"It is intolerable that our professional association continues to support horse slaughter. The abject cruelty that our horses are being exposed to in Mexican slaughterhouses is beyond imagination and anyone concerned for the welfare of our horses ought to be doing everything he or she can to support quick passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act," said Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a renowned veterinary behavioralist.

Dodman's comments come on the heels of recent investigations documenting the brutal slaughter of American horses at Mexican slaughterhouses. The horses are being shipped to Mexico in increasing numbers following recent closure of the three remaining US horse slaughterhouses under state law. Reports of horses being repeatedly stabbed in the spinal cord with a "puntilla" knife by Mexican slaughterhouses workers until they are paralyzed and then hung, drawn and quartered have outraged Dodman and his colleagues, as well as Members of Congress and the general public.

"It appears that the AVMA would rather support those profiting from this cruel industry than work effectively with the welfare community to protect horses. While they profess concern for the welfare of horses their action in this regard falls far short of the mark," stated Dr. Nena Winand, a leading equine veterinarian and geneticist. "The AVMA has recently been quoted as saying that banning horse slaughter in the US has led to an increase in animal suffering because of the terrible conditions awaiting horses on their trip to Mexico, yet they and the merchants buying and shipping horses to Mexico for slaughter continue to lobby Congress against passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act."

Dr. Dodman, a founding member of Veterinarians for Equine Welfare recently attended a national equine rescue conference hosted by the Animal Welfare Institute and Humane Society of the United States in Washington, DC to discuss ways to engender and further professionalize the growing horse rescue/sanctuary community. The conference brought together organizations from across the US dedicated to ending horse slaughter and ensuring equine welfare. Initial goals from the meeting include development of a comprehensive resource website and an accreditation program for equine rescue facilities based on the 2004 sanctuary/rescue guidelines created by AWI and the Doris Day Animal League.

"It is time for the AVMA and other pro-horse slaughter groups to stop stonewalling and join with the majority of veterinarians, Americans, horse owners, welfare organizations and equine rescues in supporting passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. It is not too late to come clean and make a difference for the horses. If the AVMA truly cares about the welfare of these horses they have the power to make their suffering stop immediately," said Chris Heyde, deputy legislative director for the Animal Welfare Institute. "I commend Veterinarians for Equine Welfare for truly speaking on behalf of vets across the country."

While state laws in Illinois and Texas have put a recent stop to the domestic slaughter of horses for human consumption, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 311/H.R. 503), will prohibit their export for slaughter in Mexico, Canada and further abroad. The bill enjoys broad bi-partisan support with 31 cosponsors in the United States Senate and 186 cosponsors in the United States House of Representatives to date.

For More Information:

Nicholas Dodman, DVM - (202) 497-6780

Veterinarians for Equine Welfare (VEW) was created by a group of veterinarians from all disciplines who are concerned about misinformation being transmitted to the public regarding the national debate on horse slaughter. For more information please visit:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another victory for the horses

On Friday September 21, 2007 the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled unanimously to uphold a decision by the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, reaffirming the constitutionality of an Illinois law preventing the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The three judge panel recognized that the will of the people of Illinois and the law should be upheld and struck down the challenge of the slaughter plant, Cavel International, that the law was unconstitutional.
The Illinois state Congress passed a ban on horse slaughter in May of 2007 and when it was signed by the governor it became law immediately. Following that Cavel International, filed suit in federal court to challenge the law's constitutionality. On July 5, the US District Court ruled the law constitutional and enforceable. However, Cavel appealed that decision to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and were able to argue for an injunction to allow them to continue to slaughter horses while the case was considered.
“The court made the only decision they could under the circumstances. So, while we are happy with the decision it was not unexpected,” said Shelley Sawhook, President of the American Horse Defense Fund (AHDF). “The state of Illinois spoke decisively on the issue and the people of Illinois did not want their state to be the home of the nation’s only horse slaughter plant.”
This does not mean that Cavel has no options and will never again slaughter another horse at their US plant. They can challenge the ruling through appeals by either petitioning for a review by the full panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, or it can appeal directly to the Supreme Court of the United States. However, earlier this year the Supreme Court refused to hear a similar request by the two Texas horse slaughter plants operating in violation of Texas law.
“The AHDF and all other major humane agencies call on Cavel to read the handwriting on the wall and to stop delaying the inevitable by continuing to challenge the decisions of the courts,” said Sawhook. “Every day this drag on hundreds of horses are killed needlessly. There are options for owners, as evidenced by our book, Alternatives to Auction and Slaughter, other than slaughter”
Illinois is not the only state who has or is considering legislation to ban horse slaughter. Many other states have enacted or are considering laws to protect horses from slaughter. There is also a movement to pass federal legislation to ban horse slaughter in the United States and the transport of horses abroad for slaughter pending in the US Congress. The bills, HR 503 and S 311, are now more important than ever to make sure that horses who would have been sent to Cavel are not exported for slaughter in Canada or Mexico.
“The people of this country are speaking out and saying clearly that they do not wish for their horses to be treated so inhumanely,” says Sawhook. “They believe it is the right thing to do and so do we at the AHDF. It is the humane thing to do and the AHDF is proud to be a leading supporter of the federal law to ban horse slaughter.”

For more information on the American Horse Defense Fund or the pending legislation visit our website at The AHDF is the nation's premier non-profit equine welfare organization with a focus on humane issues relating to all equine both wild and domestic.