Thursday, June 28, 2007

Results from DC Trip

It was a very nice trip, except for the weather, which was exceedingly hot except the day we went home. The meetings were, on the most part, were pleasant and productive. While I was there John Holland and a group from the Friends of Barbaro were also there working on the bill. Since there had been the annual conference for the American Horse Council, they were also making the rounds.

My first meeting was with Senator McConnell’s aide. She was very polite and interested in our information. She found our information very informative, especially the parts about the Myth of the Unwanted Horse. She took a number of notes and said that she would pass along the info to the Senator. Of course she wouldn’t promise anything, but I also felt that they may vote for the bill but wouldn’t cosponsor at this point.

I next attended a meeting with John Holland at Senator Obama’s office. His aide met with us and listened to us as though he was very interested. He took notes and received a great deal of information from AHDF, John Holland and the Friends of Barbaro. He said that the Senator liked the bill, but wasn’t sure about cosponsoring. John asked if his reluctance was due to the Presidential race. The aide said no, but it was rather unconvincing. He did state that the Illinois Horse Council had a meeting with him the next day and he was please to have some arguments to defend our side. We felt this was very good news that they would be defending our position, However, we don’t feel a cosponsorship is forth coming from this office any time soon.

The next meeting was with Senator Nelson’s (FL) aide. Keith Dane from the HSUS joined me on several of my meetings, including this one. The aide was very interested in our information. He liked our information on the unwanted horse and he also found our information on theft very interesting. He later met with John Holland and said that our meeting was one of the best he had ever had. He said he was impressed with our professionalism and information. The aide is a horse owner and stated that the horses are with his mother and she has an elderly horse who they would keep until it passed away. He agreed to present the information to the Senator and ask if he would cosponsor.

Next, Keith and I met with the aide for Senator Murray. He said that the Senator’s main concern was about unwanted horses. We explained that there are no unwanted horses, just those that are for sale for some reason or another. We gave him our information and he seemed very happy with our presentations. He stated he would ask the Senator if she would cosponsor. I think that with a little encouragement she would cosponsor again.

We had an appointment with Senator Martinez’s aide. He refused to see us. We did leave information for him and left.

Next I met with Senator DeMint’s aide. She was a very sweet person, but had disappointing news for us. She said that the Senator supported our bill, but would not cosponsor it. She said that in his new position in leadership he felt he couldn’t cosponsor any bills. She said we were not the only ones he has had to disappoint with this news. She did say that he would use his position to help the bill advance though. I asked if he would consider cosponsoring should the bill not move forward and she said she was sure he would consider it at that time. She assured me several times that his support was ongoing and I believe her. So, calls to this office will not result in a cosponsor.

I was asked to take a couple of meetings over on the House side. I did so as a favor to the FOBs and John Holland. However, I feel that our efforts are needed more on the Senate side and did not come prepared for House meetings. The FOBs had distributed information to all the House offices already and those I saw had already seen the information. Since I was there I went by my Representative’s office. He has voted with us every time I have asked, but he will not cosponsor. I know his position and have to respect it. His staff told me that he never changes his position and they are sure he will once again vote for it when it comes to the floor.

Last I met with Senator Biden’s aide. She said that the Senator supports the bill. The only reason he has not yet cosponsored is because they had not asked him to do it yet. I asked if she had any questions and answered those. She had previously shown horses through 4 H and her questions were once again about the unwanted horses. I gave her our information and she said she would ask the Senator at their next meeting. I left with a good feeling about the meeting and his cosponsorship. However, contacting his office shouldn’t be ruled out until he does cosponsor.

One of the folks with John’s group said that she met Senator Lindsay Graham in a elevator. She said he saw her button and he said to her “We are going to help you with your bill”. She was very excited about the comment and feels that he meant that he was going to push for the bill to get a vote. We do know that Senator Byrd is doing all he can do to support the bill and see it come to the floor for a vote. We also know that Senator Landrieu is also pushing for it. Senator McCain and Lott are doing a little work as well.

I will be going back to DC in July for an HSUS conference, then I will be back in DC to educate more Senators on the bill in September. We can always use donations to help cover the costs of these trips. The cost of producing our materials runs around $400 each time we go and as a non-profit our funding is limited. Even small donations help defray these costs.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Oklahoma Horse Theft Alert

The following Alert is from Stolen Horse International. Please take care to protect your horses.

Oklahoma Horse Owners Take Heed

While Holly, Halston, and Cody are home safely, your horse could be stolen next.

By Angela Kirby

Currently, there is growing concern regarding stolen and missing horses in the state of Oklahoma, specifically Oklahoma County. Stolen Horse International, aka NetPosse, has processed several reports that seem to be more than coincidence. While NetPosse only receives a fraction of the estimated thousands of thefts each year, trends can be seen in data collected, and the amount of thefts in Oklahoma is alarming.

Susan Ballard awoke last Christmas morning to find that her paint roping gelding, JP Cody Moon, had been stolen Christmas Eve from his stall in Harrah, Okla., after thieves cut through a fence and led him to an awaiting trailer.

Four months later, on April 20, in nearby Oklahoma City, the Wilson family made a startling discovery – Anne Wilson’s wedding gift from 25 years before had been stolen from her stall during the night. Thieves bypassed the younger paint horses and targeted her beloved Holly Belle, a sorrel quarter horse mare.

A few days after the theft, Anne learned about NetPosse and immediately filed a report. The day after the Idaho Alert (the horse community’s Amber Alert) was sent out for Holly, the Wilson’s received a strange call from a man saying he had her horse. The transaction that took place that evening was suspicious at best, but Anne, drained from the worry during the previous week over Holly, was too relieved to have her mare back to think clearly. It was not until a few days later that things began to fall into place.

After contacting Stolen Horse International about Holly, Anne mentioned that she was aware of other thefts. Shortly thereafter, Halston, a Spanish mustang gelding stolen on April 14, was listed with SHI. Following Holly’s return home, Halston was quickly located and recovered. Then the news Susan Ballard had been waiting for came – five months after his theft, on May 29, Cody had been found alive!

The case broke under the diligence of the lead investigator, David Spears, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, who pieced together the thefts of several more area horses, including another mare belonging to a 12-year-old girl. As of June 13, 2007, Spears indicated that the investigation was proceeding well. However, in an effort to protect the investigation, it is not possible to release details of the criminal activity surrounding these thefts. But suffice it to say, if you live in Oklahoma, specifically Oklahoma County, your horse could be in danger.

These horses were stolen from stalls and pastures. None of these horses had permanent identification, but all were fortunate. Spears has been determined and relentless in his efforts to locate other stolen and missing horses that could be connected to these cases, and will continue to make efforts to eliminate this criminal activity.

Until the thieves are brought to justice, NetPosse founder and president, Debi Metcalfe, cannot stress enough the importance of taking preventative measures that can be found on NetPosse’s website:

If you have a horse that is missing or stolen, please contact NetPosse today so that we can help. It is imperative that anyone in Oklahoma that has been a victim email or call so that we take a report and then pass along your information to investigating officers.

These horses are being targeted for a specific reason, and the purpose of this notice is not to overly frighten owners, but to cause you to take proactive measures so that your horse isn’t the next one stolen.

For more information on horse theft prevention or to view the horses listed with Stolen Horse International, please visit us on the Web at

Action Alert!

Don't Let Congress Undo State and Local Animal Laws

When citizens and their state legislatures decide that a practice is so inhumane that it must not occur within their state's borders, the federal government shouldn't be able to trump the will of the people. Yet that's exactly what legislation now under consideration would do.

A small provision—Section 123—tucked into the pending Farm Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives would prohibit states and localities from banning activities they deem to be contrary to public health, safety, and morals. Section 123 would undo bans on horse slaughter, intensive confinement of pigs and calves raised for veal, force-feeding of ducks and geese to make foie gras, and other important laws. It's an outrageous power grab that would undermine the democratic process and deny citizens the right to pass state or local laws on issues of humane treatment or food safety.

This could be the most urgent alert ever! If we don't get rid of Section 123, people who've worked so hard to get state and local animal protection laws passed—investing hours and hours in good faith that their involvement in the legislative process matters—will find out that their hard-won achievements are wiped out by this heavy-handed federal law.

Please make brief, polite phone calls to your two U.S. Senators and one U.S. Representative
and urge them to oppose Section 123 of the House Farm Bill. You can reach your federal legislators by calling the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or click here to find their Capitol office phone numbers.

Information Alert

Sadly, the judge extended the injunction allowing Cavel horse slaughter plant to remain open until he rules or until June 28,2007 whichever comes first.

Attorneys for the plant said that closing the plant would deprive 55 people of jobs and is unconstitutional because it violates interstate and foreign commerce clauses of the Constitution. many welfare groups were represented and all of their representatives and attorneys were disappointed in the ruling.

If the judge rules that the new Illinois law banning horse slaughter is unconstitutional expect challenges to be filed once again in Texas and in California. Our best hope is that the federal bills will be passed quickly and take the decision away from the judge, as he seems to be allowing the plant great latitude.

For more information on the issue of horse slaughter visit our website at

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Our Youngest donor

Little Grace M. from Washington state heard about the work that the AHDF does and Grace wanted to help. But she was only 6years old and she couldn't figure out how a kid could help the horses. When her 7th birthday came around she came up with a wonderful idea. Instead of presents, she would ask for her guests to bring donations for AHDF.

Grace and her friends raised a whooping $181.44!

We here at the AHDF think that Grace is a very special girl and we are very lucky that she wanted to help us. Her parents have to be the proudest parents on the face of the earth to be raising such a giving and kind child.

Thank you Grace for your kind heart and your loving attitude. Thank you also to Grace's supportive and caring parents.

Meet AHDF's New Mascots

Hannah Montana and Tinkerbell are the newest staff at AHDF. These two tiny foals have a big job, to represent the AHDF as our mascots and later they will serve as Ambassadors and educators on many of the AHDF's issues.

Hannah Montana and Tinkerbell are nurse mare foals. This means that they were seprated from their mothers at a very young age and are being fed milk replacement and special grain several times a day.

The nurse mare industry is a small and little known issue in the equine industry. A brood mare's job is to deliver foals to supply the equine industry. When the mare is from an excellent bloodline or from a racing or show background gives birth they either must get back into shape for the show season or they are immediatly bred back. This means they have to be shipped and due to insurance restrictions their foals often cannot accompany them. This means they need to be nursed by another mare. These less expensive mares are bred so they will have milk and they are seperated from their own foals so they will accept the new foals. Their own foals used to be killed for their skins. Pony skins are used in the fashion industry. Today more and more of these nurse mare foals are rescued by organizations.

Hannah Montana was less than 2 weeks old when seperated from her mother and Tinkerbell was less than a month old. The AHDF decided these foals deserved a chance and they are at a foster home receiving intense care. Now the girls are thriving and developing personalities. Hannah is now nearly 3 months old and Tink is almost 4 months old. They are getting lessons in leading, lifting their feet and learning manners.

Please watch here for future updates on our little mascots.

22 Mares and Foals Saved

The AHDF was recently involved in the rescue of several horses from a feedlot. These mares gave birth on the feedlot, otherwise they would have been shipped to slaughter in Mexico.

The AHDF has 22 mares and foals at their foster home in Texas. Because the mares and foals were exposed to a number of illnesses they are not yet available for adoption. There are a number of expenses related to the care of these wonderful animals and sponsors are needed to cover these expenses. One foal will need hernia surgery when he is older, a few mares are underweight and all need baasic vet care, shots and worming.

Donations for the care of these horses can be made through AHDF. Please make sure your donation is clearly marked for the feedlot horses.

AHDF off to Washington, DC Again

The American Horse Defense Fund will once again be heading off to Washington, DC the week of June 18, 2007. The purpose of the trip will be to educate members of Congress about the horrors and cruelty of horse slaughter.

AHDF's president, Shelley Sawhook, will be joining representatives from other organizations including the loosely based Friends of Barbaro, Red Horse Team and a representative of the Humane Society of the US. The goal of having so many different groups participating is to make a bigger impact and show Congress that there are many different organizations supporting a ban on horse slaughter.

The issue of horse slaughter is one of the many welfare issues that the AHDF focuses on each year. Other issues include abuse/neglect of horses, soring of gaited horses, PMU, nurse mare foals, wild horses and burros and owner education.