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.

Extention for Comments

The comment period for the Sheldon EA has been extended. Please note the new date of October 9, 2007.

I have also received a response about the deleted emails. Mr. Steblien states that if an email was deleted it was unintentional and all emails are entered into a PDF form for future reference. He would like for anyone who received notification of a deleted without reading to forward a copy to him along with their comments so that he can make sure they are entered.

I am asking again for EVERYONE who reads this to provide a comment. This is YOUR national park and YOUR horses and your comment is important. Previously I provided some guidance should you want to support what we are asking, but whatever your opinion whatever your comments please make them. This is sort of like voting and is a privilege that we should all appreciate and participate in and is what makes our nation so wonderful. I hope that everyone will take just a few minutes to tell the people at Sheldon what they would like done with our park and our horses and burros.

I also want to thank each of you who have already responded. It is because of all your comments that they extended the comment period (see below). It shows that what we say may not be their top priority but that it does make a difference. Bravo to all of you!!

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Extension of Comment Period for Revised Draft Environmental Assessment for Horse and Burro Management at Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2007 15:01:56 -0700

Dear Interested Party,

The revised draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for Horse and Burro Management at Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge has been available for public comment since September 12, 2007, and was scheduled to close on September 26, 2007. We have been requested to extend the public comment period by a number of organizations and individuals. With due consideration to these requests, we have extended the comment period 14 days and will now close on Tuesday, October 9, 2007 for a total of 28 days. Summary information on the revised draft EA is provided below with instructions on how to provide comment. Thank you for your interest in Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge.

Paul Steblein
Project Leader
Sheldon - Hart Mountain NWR Complex
18 South G Street, Rm 301
P.O. Box 111
Lakeview, OR 97630
P: 541-947-3315
F: 541-947-4414
C: 541-219-0161

Monday, September 24, 2007

Update for Wild Horse Comments

Since posting about the wild horse comments needed we have heard that people have been emailing their comments as suggested on the Fish and Wildlife Services website for the Sheldon Hart Wildlife Refuge. However, some have requested receipts to ensure that their comments were received and they are reporting that their comments were deleted unread! We have submitted a complaint and suggest that anyone who has had this happen to them also file a complaint. The public comment period is required by law and the FWS has already played fast and loose with the rules by only allowing 2 weeks for comments. This latest attempt may be a try to possibly "load" the comments to make it look as though they have more support for the removal of the horses than they do.

We are still asking people to submit comments, we may need more than ever to overcome the disappearing comments. However, if you are submitting your comments via email please request a read receipt. Another way may be to fax your comments. Please let us know if your comments are deleted without being read.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Sheldon-Hart Mtn National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Paul Steblein, Project Leader
David N Johnson, Deputy Project Leader

P.O. Box 111, 18 South G Street
Lakeview, Oregon 97630
Phone: (541) 947-3315
Fax: (541) 947-4414
A few points that can be made in your comments are:

  • The Sheldon Hart Officials should extend the public comment period to the usual and customary 30 days
  • Support Alternative A, no horse roundups until a full Environmental Impact Statement is completed and scientific analysis of impact is done not only of the horses, but of other wildlife like pronghorn deer, sage grouse, and other species.
  • The Sheldon Hart proposed draft EA is a significant federal action that is controversial and requires a full Environmental Impact Statement to be compliant the National Environmental Act (NEPA)
  • The aerial survey of horses found 100% (800) less horses then the initial proposed environmental assessment in May, 2007 which reported there were 1600 horses. The survey should be independently verified by actually counts as an alternative to aerial surveys.
  • The contractor, Dave Cattoor and Cattoors Livestock,of Nephi, NV referenced throughout the EA has prior convictions of hunting wild horse by aircraft in May 22, 1992 and selling wild horses to slaughter in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wild Horses In Danger, Comments Needed

It seems that everyday I hear about more and more inhumanity towards our horses. I often wonder if there is just some room somewhere that cruel people sit to figure out new and different ways to torment horses. In addition to slaughter, we are also watching our wild horses disappear from the wild and soon they will be extinct in the wild.

In December of 1993 reporter Keith Rodgers reported about the BLM cutting wild horse areas in half. In the report I found something very frightening. It states
But wild horse activist Michael Blake, author of "Dances With Wolves," has contended that the BLM inflates wild horse figures so it can continue to remove the animals from public lands. A private survey that Blake commissioned found only 8,300 wild horses in Nevada. This means that in 1993 the wild horse numbers were substantially lower than even previously thought. (BLM estimated wild horse numbers in Nevada to be around 25,000 in 1993.) If these numbers are correct, we could face the extinction of our wild horses much sooner than previously thought. We know that there are now more of our mustangs in governmental holding pens than in the wild. Did you know that the BLM says that 2,700 is an appropriate level of wild burros? At this level any other species would be on the endangered list. At the current rate of removals of burros we could see them vanish from the wild completely before you could even plan a vacation to see them (if you could even find them).

As bad as all that is, the Fish and Wildlife Service would like to see every single wild horse and burro removed from their managed areas. Recently the Sheldon Wildlife Refuge attempted to remove the majority of the wild horses from their park (which borders a BLM herd management area). Through public outcry and a threatened lawsuit from In Defense of Animals they said they intended to hold off on all removals. However, they are once again planning a removal and the date for comments is looming large over us. The date for all comments to be received is next Wednesday September 26th. The contractor they are planning to use is the same one used in 2006 that left foals tied on the range for days and horses were pushed so hard that they ran over each other. Much of this abuse was covered up and we have no way of knowing how many animals were destroyed in the park to cover up even more "problems" to hide them from the public. There are no plans for having a vet onsite during the removals and the current plan calls for leaving the decision to destroy animals with the contractor or manager.

We need EVERYONE to respond to the newest Draft Plan by next Wednesday. Even if you are unsure of what to say or feel that you have no experience in responding, your comments are needed. Please do not think that the responses of the wild horse groups or humane groups will suffice, they won't. If it had not been for the large numbers of responses they received last time we would have seen more than half of the wild horses removed from the park this year. For us to stop this plan we will need even more responses. Please try to keep your responses polite and matter-of-fact. Just politely state (in your own words please) that you feel the removal of horses during foaling season is inhumane, the use of the same contractors is not warranted due to the apparent abuses in 2006, that the use of paid agents to find homes for the horses has not worked in the past due to many horses from Sheldon being found in slaughter feedlots, due to the complaints in 2006 that there should be a vet and independent oversight by humane groups onsite during the removals and to make life and death decisions, that the park should consider the use of PZP ONLY for population control and that the park reevaluate the number of horses and burros the park can manage. Send your comments by mail to Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 111, Lakeview, Oregon 97630 and by email to Remember all comment must be received by Wednesday September 26, 2007.

On a related topic there is a planned removal in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. They are doing a removal "because they have always done one like this". They have not filed an Environmental Impact Statement or an Environmental Assessment. The current plan calls for the horses to be removed and sent directly to an auction where they will more than likely be picked up by kill buyers and shipped to slaughter in Canada. The park manager says that they maintain wild horses in the park for tourists, but she and the wildlife biologist know nothing about the horses and don't care to know about them. We contend that any removals done without the proper paperwork or public comment is not legal, no matter how they have always done it. You can call the park and register your comments by calling

Since both of these situations need every response we can get please pass along this info to family and friends. Also, please consider donating to AHDF so that we can continue to provide these alerts and allow us to do whatever we can to protect horses. The AHDF focuses on just horses so that we can focus our expertise and attention on the issues related to equine.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Musical Horse Aid Results

I just got home from the first annual Musical Horse Aid event in Wisconsin. The bands were VERY good and I found myself wanting to buy all of their cds. I will soon be speaking to one of the groups about a song that I would love to have on the AHDF website for downloading. The groups were all very interested in helping protect the horses and did a great job of motivating the audience. The hostess of the event was from a local radio station and was very good and also did a great motivational job. There was a good deal of media surrounding the event as well, so the issue of horse slaughter got alot of attention prior to the event. Attendees got some added entertainment from some local riding drill teams who were very good and added some excitement and an equine touch. We will be adding some of the pictures I took of the groups to AHDF's website.

There were several speakers during the day from HSUS, Lazy Maple Rescue, Midwest Rescue, RACE Fund and, of course me, for AHDF and Habitat for Horses. All the speakers were interesting and did a great job of portraying the plight of the horses. I was the final speaker of the evening and the crowd seemed to listen intently to what I was saying. I got the greatest compliment after my speech when a young girl came up to me. I had been speaking about being 13 and wanting a horse so bad and that there are enough 13 year old girls (even if they are in a much older body) that want these animals. Anyway, the girl said to me "I am one of those 13 year old girls". It was very touching and made the trip worthwhile.

Now for the not so good news. It was an incredibly cold day and even colder evening. This seemed to keep most folks home. The turn out was not what the event planners had hoped. However, there were a number of donations dropped off at the gate from folks who supported the efforts but didn't want to get overwhelmed by the facts of slaughter. There were very few regular folks (those not involved with rescue or working the event) so we had few donations or sales of products. However, the silent auction appeared to have done well and somehow I ended up winning a wooden chair (I was trying to encourage bids, but I ended up being the only bidder) that we had to haul back home.

I did end up giving away one product. a very young girl came by our table and wanted one of our little stuffed New Hope horses. She was about 4 or 5 years old. Her mom told her they didn't bring enough money to buy the horse. Later I saw her and I gave her the horse after she promised to give her a good home. Her face lit up and she and that horse galloped around the rest of the day, she was so happy. She told everyone that "the ADF" lady gave her her very own pony. That was one pony we might have raised funds with, but I don't think that it could have ever made anyone else as happy as it made that child.

After the few donations of $45 and sales of $55, we earned $100. However, our costs were much higher. Give away brochures and pens $75 and trip expenses $598 (for hotel and gas). This means AHDF had a loss of $573. However, if we were able to touch those children it was worth it. I will take time to speak at any event where we can make a difference.

BTW, nobody came up to me and mentioned AHDF, so nobody won the tee shirt. So, we will have another way for someone to win it. I will be announcing that later.

If anyone would like to donate to help us make up the difference, please make your Paypal donations to or mail your donation to AHDF 1718 M St NW #191 Washington, DC 20036.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


In a previous post about the use of double decker trailers there was an incorrect statement. While the statement was not made by me I felt it necessary to note the facts.

EPN incorrectly stated that AWI would oppose any attempts to ban double decker trailers. AWI provided comments, as EPN stated they did, that the federal regulations were not enough to protect the horses. They would not oppose any laws that would in fact protect horses during transport. I am sure this was just a case of mistaken identity or a simple typo and in no way feel that this statement was meant to be malicious.

I am not sure how I missed that statement, which I would have known to be incorrect. I apologize for furthering the incorrect information.

Shop and Support the AHDF Weekly Specials

Dear American Horse Defense Fund Supporter,

With every purchase at the following familiar stores, a percent will go to American Horse Defense Fund as cash back. Each store banner links directly to the store with our organizational code so AHDF will get all the credit for purchases made.

Love Scent Pheromone

Love Scent Pheromone Products

21% of the total of your purchase will go to:
American Horse Defense Fund

  • Wholesale prices Worldwide!

  • Popular pheromone perfume for men and Women!

  • Beginner Special - $24.95!

    • 1-800-FLORALS

      Order Flowers Online

      13.3% of the total of your purchase will go to:
      American Horse Defense Fund Herbs, Foods, Supplements, Bath & Body

      10.5% of the total of your purchase will go to:
      American Horse Defense Fund

    • Bulk Herbs, spices, supplements

    • Bath and Aromatherapy Products

    • Household, Pet supplies, tools and much more!
    • Museum Store Company

      Museum Store Company Framed Art

      10.5% of the total of your purchase will go to:
      American Horse Defense Fund save up to 80%

      8.4% of the total of your purchase will go to:
      American Horse Defense Fund


      Free Shipping over $50

      7% of the total of your purchase will go to:
      American Horse Defense Fund

      Back To Basics Toys


      5.6% of the total of your purchase will go to:
      American Horse Defense Fund

      Aeropostale Logo

      3.5% of the total of your purchase will go to:
      American Horse Defense Fund

      Carnival Cruise Lines

      Recharge your Batteries with Carnival Cruise Lines

      1.75% of the total of your purchase will go to:
      American Horse Defense Fund

      EVERY Day is Shop for Charity Day!

      Use this link to access all 1,000 + merchants uniquely coded for
      American Horse Defense Fund

      Be sure to forward these Weekly Specials to your family, friends and AHDF supporters so they can take advantage of great specials and help earn cash back for the organization they care about.

      Tuesday, September 11, 2007

      Will NAIS Cause Cancer?

      There are a number of reasons to dislike NAIS, but the latest is very concerning and is a serious health threat to any animal injected with the RFID chip. Since the chips have also been approved for injection into people the risk is even more frightening. The FDA approved the chip for implanting into humans without looking at any data related to potential side-effects. Recently a number of senior citizens had the chip implanted at a nursing home in Florida "for their own safety". However, if these reports are correct, they could have just condemned them.

      From the website

      As the AP will report, a series of research articles spanning more than a decade found that mice and rats injected with glass-encapsulated RFID transponders developed malignant, fast-growing, lethal cancers in up to 1% to 10% of cases. The tumors originated in the tissue surrounding the microchips and often grew to completely surround the devices, the researchers said.

      Albrecht first became aware of the microchip-cancer link when she and her "Spychips" co-author, Liz McIntyre, were contacted by a pet owner whose dog had died from a chip-induced tumor. Albrecht then found medical studies showing a causal link between microchip implants and cancer in other animals. Before she brought the research to the AP's attention, the studies had somehow escaped public notice.

      A four-month AP investigation turned up additional documents, several of which had been published before VeriChip's parent company, Applied Digital Solutions, sought FDA approval to market the implant for humans. The VeriChip received FDA approval in 2004 under the watch of then Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson who later joined the
      company's board.

      While some question the accuracy of these claims of cancer, it is still troubling. Since chips are being implanted into dogs and cats many wonder why we aren't seeing a big increase in cancer in these animals. Well there is an answer. First, the technology hasn't been around that long and there is no central reporting of cancer in pets like there is for humans. Second, the frequency is only triggered and emits radiation when scanned. This isn't that frequently, usually only when the pet strays. However, under NAIS there would be frequent triggers and it would emit the signal (read radiation here!) more frequently. Also, equine live longer than dogs, cats and mice meaning over their lifetime they would be exposed for a longer periods of time. Meaning that perhaps they wouldn't develop cancer until their later years costing owners even more money in their pet's declining years. In humans it would depend on how often the chip is scanned or triggered by external events, but that is a very concerning thing for them since the chip can be triggered by things like microwaves, cell phones and other devices. Since the chip for people are being marketed as a way to have a more centralized health record or a way to track them this could cause the device to be triggered more than our dogs and cats.

      Whatever your position on NAIS is this information should raise concerns. If the chip can potentially cause cancer in our animals is it worth any perceived benefit of NAIS? I personally have 2 dogs that love to roam and I swear they are related to Houdini and can escape any confinement. I considered having them chipped in case they were to lose their way home, after reading this information and listening to some experts speak on the chip I have decided that I will stick to the tags on their collars. I will not have them chipped and I certainly will not chip any of my horses. I do not want them to suffer from such a terrible disease as cancer.

      Of course this is all my opinion and lacking any long term studies to show that they absolutely do or do not cause cancer I would rather err on the side of caution because there is enough evidence to say that it is a possibility and there is not enough of any benefit to me to take any chances with my animals. I would say that is a call we all have to make for ourselves, but we all also have the right to make an informed decision and up until now that has been denied us. If NAIS is fully implemented and, as I have read elsewhere when does any governmental program not become bigger and more mandatory, we could all have that decision taken from us.

      So, back to the question will NAIS cause cancer? At this point the answer is possibly.

      Equine Census Info

      I do not normally promote anything from the American Horse Council because of their position on NAIS and slaughter. However, they do have the most comprehensive information on statistics and census. I actually use that info to assist me in my "education" of folks (including lawmakers) about the impact equine have on the economy. so, with that in mind here is the latest press release from AHC.

      American Horse Council Provides Global And U.S. Horse Population Resources

      WASHINGTON, DC September 11, 2007 – The American Horse Council (AHC) now provides a link to a published report on the Global Horse Population, compiled by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAOSTAT). A link to the report can be found on the Features section of the AHC’s web site:

      According to the 2006 report, there are 58,372,106 horses in the world. The United States, by far, reports the highest total number of horses with an approximate 9,500,000. This new data provided by FAOSTAT is strikingly similar to the AHC’s own independent study, which reported a U.S. horse population of 9,223,000 in 2005.

      Countries, with horse population totals over one million included: China (7,402,450); Mexico (6,260,000); Brazil (5,787,249); Argentina (3,655,000); Columbia (2,533,621); Mongolia (2,029,100); Ethiopia (1,655,383); Russian Federation (1,319,358); and Kazakhstan (1,163,500). Guam (20) and Grenada (30) had the lowest population totals. Two countries, Rwanda and Saint Helena, reported a zero horse population.

      In a published document from the AHC, entitled “The Economic Impact of the Horse Industry on the United States,” the AHC provides detailed analysis on the total population of U.S. horses by state. Texas reports the largest horse population, with an estimated 978,822. Other leading states include: California (698,345); Florida (500,124); Oklahoma (326,134); Kentucky (320,173); Ohio (306,898); and Missouri (281,255). The state with the fewest horses is Rhode Island (3,509), followed by the District of Columbia, which reports a fluctuating total of around 33.

      The AHC’s report further demonstrates that the horse industry has a direct impact of $39 billion on the U.S. economy and an overall impact of $102 billion, which factors in indirect and induced spending. Each of the primary use segments of the industry, recreational horse use being the largest segment with 3.9 million horses in this classification, creates an immense impact on the overall economy. Additionally, the horse industry supports 1.4 million equivalent full-time jobs.

      For more resources, or to find out how to order a copy of the AHC’s report, “The Economic Impact of the Horse Industry on the United States,” including comprehensive state-by-state breakout information for fifteen states, please visit the American Horse Council online ( or call 202-296-4031.

      Confusion over double Decker trailers

      I know there is some confusion over the use of double decker and/or modified double decker trailers to transport horses. I found this article that may clear up some of the confusion. It was written in January 2007, so while not really new, it is accurate. I hope it will help clear up the confusion as to why we are still seeing double decker trailers on the road when, even if they are modified, it is forbidden by federal law.

      Equine Protection Network
      January 2, 2007
      Ban on Double Deck Trailers

      Many people are confused or misinformed about the laws concerning the
      use of double deck trailers to transport horses. Here is copy of a
      letter the Equine Protection Network sent to Horse Illustrated
      regarding the issue after the January issue mistakenly stated that as
      of December 7, 2006 it would be illegal to transport horses in double
      deck trailers in the United States:

      As of December 7, 2006 the federal law, The Commercial Transportation
      of Horses to Slaughter Act of 1996, applies only to horses
      transported directly to slaughter and does not apply to rodeo stock
      contractors and low end dealers. Killer buyers and rodeo stock
      contractors have been successfully prosecuted under the Pennsylvania
      Horse Transport Law, which unlike the federal regulations, applies to
      all horses no matter what their final destination and has criminal
      penalties that can be enforced by police.

      Under the federal law the dealers such as the Ramey's who had a wreck
      in Indiana in 2004 that killed more than 20 horses would not be in
      violation. Nor would the drivers for Three Hills Rodeo transporting
      36 horses in two double deck trailers from a rodeo in Pennsylvania to
      a rodeo in the Midwest, and convicted under the Pennsylvania Horse
      Transport Law.

      It is imperative that readers understand that the Commercial
      Transportation of Horses to Slaughter Act is nothing more than
      a "paper tiger" that legalized every inhumane practice identified in
      the transport of horses to slaughter and put the very people
      identified as the abusers and in some cases convicted of cruelty to
      horses, in charge of the horse's welfare!

      Under the federal regulations the enforcement will occur only at the
      slaughterhouse, not during the trip and not at holding facilities or
      collection points. The law has civil penalties; not criminal meaning
      it cannot be enforced by police departments, points which the Equine
      Protection Network and others voiced strong opposition to during the
      public comment period when the Federal Regulations were being

      An example of the federal regulations not applying to horses being
      collected for slaughter comes from a state Department of Agriculture
      records and a lack of owner shipper certificates from the USDA.
      According to records a licensed dealer in a Midwest state purchases
      between 2500-3000 horses a year for slaughter. Documentation proves
      that a double deck trailer is used to transport the horses. According
      to Freedom of Information Act requests from USDA for Owner Shipper
      Certificates for horses leaving this state, none exist for this
      shipper of slaughter horses because he is not shipping them directly
      to slaughter, rather to holding facilities.

      Killer buyers, low end dealers, and rodeo stock contractors all claim
      that their trailers have been modified and are safe for horses.
      According to the USDA it is neither safe nor humane to haul horses in
      a conveyance of more than one level even if modified. If the USDA has
      outlawed doubles for slaughter horses, and realizing that a slaughter
      horse become a slaughter horse by the fall of the gavel, why then are
      these inhumane trailers still legal in almost every state?

      At 3 AM on the interstate when you spot a double with horses there is
      no one you can call to report the violation under the federal
      regulations. USDA is not open 24/7, they only enforce at the
      slaughterhouse and according to one state police agency the USDA has
      indicated they will not respond if called by the police. First time
      offenders under New York and Pennsylvania state law forfeited the
      horses involved and paid fines exceeding $5000.00. In contrast the
      USDA gave first time offenders a verbal warning.

      The horses are counting on the public to keep their eyes open for
      double deck trailers transporting horses in Pennsylvania, New York,
      Vermont and Massachusetts which prohibit their use for all horses no
      matter their final destination. The horses need the public to push
      for passage of state laws with specific language such as the
      Pennsylvania Horse Transport Law that "prohibits the use of any
      vehicle that has more than one level stacked on top of each other to
      transport any equine animal." The Pennsylvania Horse Transport Law is
      the strongest law of its kind in the United States, and one of
      s strongest criminal laws.

      Opposition will come from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association,
      PRCA, The Animal Welfare Institute (Note: I am not sure why AWI is listed here, they provided commented during the public comment period in support of strengthening the law to further protect horses. I am sure they would support any law to protect horses during transport), and state horse councils, even
      though the USDA has stated that, "even if modified, double deck
      trailers cannot be made humane for horses." Be prepared to be urged
      to accept vague, performance based language such as, "hold their head
      upright in a normal manner above their withers" or language that
      includes "slaughter horses"

      Connecticut, Virginia, and Minnesota regulate the use of double deck
      trailers to transport horses, in other words if the trailer meets
      certain requirements it can be used. Arizona regulates double deck
      trailers only for slaughter horses. Any time a law requires law
      enforcement to determine the destination of the cargo, a loophole big
      enough to drive a double deck trailer is created and the law is
      rarely, if ever, successfully prosecuted.

      Vague language is nothing more than a publicity victory for
      politicians and fundraising opportunities for organizations. There
      will never be a police officer that pulls a double deck truck over in
      the middle of the night on an interstate so they can crawl up the
      side of the trailer attempting to photograph the dark interior to
      determine whether or not the horses are, "holding their head upright
      in a normal manner above their withers." No driver will admit a
      destination of slaughter if it guarantees him a ticket to court, he
      is "just moving horses".

      The details of this subject require more space than this letter
      permits, please if you want to make a difference for horses
      transported in double decker trailers, visit the Equine Protection
      Network's website's Transport section at:

      Christine Berry
      Equine Protection Network

      Safety Tips

      As a woman I think about self-defense and safety a great deal, but it isn't just women who need to think about these types of things. I am often in areas where I am not familiar or comfortable, like in Washington, DC. I am more of a country girl. I know how to watch for snakes in the grass and on the trail, but these aren't always our only threats. So, today I was watching a show on RFD and they showed some tips that I thought were something valuable and I wanted to share them with everyone.

      On The Horse Show with Rick Lamb they had a former mounted police officer who has made a video about self defense on the trail. His biggest tip was not to panic and to trust you and your horse's instinct. Remember that your horse can spot a predator and to trust him/her if they refuse to go near a stranger. If you are interested in buying or seeing the DVD you can go to I visited the site and they not only have the self defense video there, but also one on how to deal with dogs on the trail. Both are good videos to have on hand if you trail ride so that you can practice and be prepared for those unexpected "surprises".

      On the subject of safety, the AHDF website we have a wonderful article about preparing a first aide kit for the trail, barn and truck. There are also articles about preparing for an emergency and even changing a tire on your trailer. All good safety tips to make sure you and your horse are prepared for some of those life's little surprises.

      Remember ride safe and ride smart, but most of all just ride.

      Monday, September 10, 2007

      Cool Stuff

      Here we are almost halfway through September and no movement on the horse slaughter bills, yet. I am still optimistic that we could get a wonderful Christmas present this year and our horses will be safer in their stalls. But, until then we all need to make sure they know we are still out here and still care deeply about the bills. Please take a moment and call, email or fax your 2 Senators and your Congressperson and let them know that you would like them to support S 311 and HR 503. Also, the Fund for Horses has started a fun and interesting thing to mail a straw to Senators and the the House to "Wag the Straw". It is fun, different and can make an impact if they get enough straws. It could also bring the media's attention to the issue again if they receive enough.

      I have been busy getting ready for Musical Horse Aid. It is this weekend in Wisconsin and tickets are still available. Anyway, I decided I should have a nice AHDF polo shirt to wear to the event. While I was shopping around the AHDF's Cafe Press store I thought it would also be nice to make sure that some of the fun tee shirts I have there look good. I ordered my polo and one for my "helper" (wonderful hubby) and a sweatshirt. Then I ordered a funny tee about kissing horses. They arrived today and the printing and quality are great! I couldn't be happier. However, I didn't think about the fact that it is a cute and funny shirt, but it is also more for our single ladies. So, the first lady that comes up to me at Musical Horse Aid and says that they are an AHDF supporter will get the tee. We will have a few AHDF items for sale at the event, but mostly it will be for information. I will be speaking around 8:30 pm, just before the headlining bands play. For more info on the event go to or go here to buy items from the Cafe Press store (you can also click on the link for Cafe Press on the AHDF home page).

      Don't forget you can also shop for other items through and specifying AHDF as your charity or by going to the AHDF mall . We are trying to make it easier on you to shop and help horses at the same time.

      Thanks for all of your support, your hard work on the issues and for being a wonderful part of my life!

      Friday, September 7, 2007


      Normally I rattle on and on about this or that on this blog. However, due to my poor hand I am going to post a few interesting things others are doing. (In case you haven't heard, while loading a horse I broke my thumb and chipped the bone. I also suffered some tendon damage due to using the hand for a couple of weeks before going to the doctor.) Don't forget that AHDF is looking for sponsors for the horses we have in Texas. These are all pregnant mares and mares with foals. These horses are also available for adoption and can be seen on the AHDF website

      Another quick note. There is now a new way to get to AHDF's website. If you can't remember perhaps it would be easier to remember We are also looking for articles for the website. We are looking for non-rescue related articles on horse care, tack or anything equine related. Got a favorite breed? Write us a quick article on the breed and its great qualities. You will be given credit as well as a link back to your website, so it is another way to advertise your website!

      From Valerie James-Patton
      The Washington Times
      September 4, 2007
      Letter to the Editor
      Horse slaughter by other means

      While most horse welfare organizations are upset and concerned over the high number of horses the U.S. is exporting to Mexico and Canada for slaughter this year because of the closure of two Texas horse slaughtering facilities, I believe there is also reason to be concerned over a particular group of horses exported to Mexico from New Mexico, which are not listed as intended for slaughter ("The horse is saved," Editorial, March 30).

      In addition to sending 24,915 horses to Mexico so far this year for slaughter, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported, we also have exported to Mexico 640 stallions and mares and 2,215 geldings, all of which are listed as horses not intended for slaughter. Stallions and mares may be exported to Mexico to be used for breeding purposes, but what would be the purpose of sending 2,215 geldings not intended for slaughter? Possibly Mexican rodeo-type competitions known as charriadas and then surely slaughter afterward? And how many of these horses are wild, possibly supplied by some of the long-term holding facilities through federal contractors? Two thousand twenty-two of these geldings have been sent from New Mexico alone, yet New Mexico has sent no mares or stallions this year.

      It's time for the horse welfare organizations to start taking a look at the horses sent to Mexico from New Mexico that are not listed as slaughter horses. Even with the hopeful passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, these horses not listed as slaughter horses will continue to be sent to Mexico because the legislation of that act does not prevent horses sent over the borders for any purposes other than slaughter.

      It is time for the public to become aware of this situation as well. I believe we have a rat in the barn.


      From Sinikka Crossland from TRACS

      Will Canadians stomach a horsemeat industry?

      As U.S. slaughterhouses shut down, domestic abattoirs are courting demand for the delicacy abroad and controversy at home

      From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

      NEAR NEUDORF, SASK. — At the end of a remote gravel road in southern Saskatchewan's Qu'Appelle Valley is the next target in a growing movement to rid North America of its horse slaughterhouses.

      Horse advocates in both Canada and the United States are outraged that this vast green valley, lush and rolling, is now home to this country's newest federally licensed horse abattoir: Natural Valley Farms Inc.

      They are also concerned that even more Canadian companies may start slaughtering and processing horses in a bid to satisfy hungry overseas markets that crave horsemeat, a pricey delicacy in many countries, since the industry is headed for extinction in the United States.

      "This is all happening under the radar. Ask most people, and they have no idea that horses are even slaughtered in Canada for meat," said Shelley Grainger, director of the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition's eastern region.

      Her group wants the practice outlawed in Canada, arguing it is inhumane and repugnant because horses are commonly regarded more as pets and sporting animals than livestock. The coalition is also calling for a national ban on the shipment of live horses to other countries for human consumption.

      Currently, almost all the horsemeat processed in Canada by the six licensed horse abattoirs is exported to Europe and Asia, although there is a small domestic market for the product in Quebec. According to Statistics Canada, the top importers of Canadian horsemeat last year were France, Japan, Mexico and Switzerland.

      The industry is worth an estimated $60-million annually in Canada.

      Steven Rei, an American anti-horse-slaughter lobbyist and founder of the National Equine Rescue Coalition, said Natural Valley Farms' decision to begin slaughtering horses this summer is proof that Canada is already benefiting from the shutdown earlier this year of two of the three remaining horse slaughterhouses in the United States. (In 2006, about 88,000 horses in the U.S. were killed and processed into horsemeat.)

      The last operating slaughterhouse in the U.S., located in DeKalb, Ill., is struggling to remain open while it fights a new state law aimed at putting it out of business for good. It has been shipping its meat to U.S. zoos for feed, and overseas for human consumption, for about two decades.

      The horsemeat contract Natural Valley Farms recently signed is with Velda Group, the Belgium-based parent company of the business that owns the troubled Illinois slaughterhouse.

      Ken Piller, president of Natural Valley Farms, was extremely reluctant to talk about the controversy surrounding the meat plant's move to begin slaughtering horses at its facility south of Neudorf, Sask., a farming community of about 300 located 1½ hours east of Regina. The meat is processed at a plant in nearby Wolseley, Sask. It took several unreturned phone calls and an unannounced visit to the company's Neudorf plant before he agreed to speak.

      "We saw an opportunity here," Mr. Piller explained in an interview. "I really don't want to talk about the politics involved."

      According to Mr. Piller, the producer-owned business opened in 2005 and has been struggling ever since. The meat plant, which has tried to set itself apart from competitors by only producing hormone- and antibiotic-free beef, received money from the Saskatchewan government to help get started.

      Mr. Piller, whose family has been farming and ranching in the Qu'Appelle Valley for several generations, said that to keep the company's two plants operational and its 150 employees busy, side ventures such as processing horse meat are necessary. Even as late as April, it had to lay off some workers because of a lack of work.

      Mr. Piller understands that slaughtering horses for meat is an emotionally charged issue for many, but added: "Nobody in Saskatchewan cares. Everybody here raises horses ... Everybody understands at the end of the day there has to be a cull."

      Mr. Piller said about 95 per cent of the horses slaughtered at Natural Valley Farms are from Canadian suppliers, and that many are "retirees" - often older, unwanted animals, including former racehorses.

      Despite the collapse of the U.S. horse-slaughter industry, he doesn't expect more Canadian companies to rush in to fill the void. Mr. Piller said it's a difficult business to get into and that to ship product to Europe requires European Union certification, which Natural Valley Farms already had.

      If anything, he expects Mexico will benefit more than Canada from the closing of American horse abattoirs.

      People living near Natural Valley Farms' slaughterhouse are generally supportive of the company's move to produce horsemeat for foreign markets. "The plant has been good for this community. It has brought money and jobs here," said Glen Bender, who works at Cooper's General Store & the Chicken Coop Cafe in Neudorf.

      Not all locals are happy with what's happening at the plant. Mr. Piller's uncle, Raymond Piller, a 70-year-old farmer, shook his head and said: "Those poor, poor horses. But I know that they have to do what they have to do to keep that place running. They've had a hard go of it."

      Ms. Grainger said that while only a small percentage of horses in Canada are sent to the slaughterhouse (about 50,000 annually), there is no need for any of them to end up there.

      "The fact is that my horse is my pet, just like my dog and my cat. We don't slaughter our pets for people to consume," she said. "Horses are a part of our culture in a way that traditional livestock aren't."

      Ms. Grainger admits the anti-horse-slaughter lobby in Canada isn't as strong or organized as its counterpart in the U.S., but she expects it to gain steam as the "hidden industry" is exposed to more Canadians.


      Horse d'oeuvres

      Which provinces have

      licensed slaughterhouses for horses?

      Quebec (two), Alberta (two), British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

      How are horses


      The process is similar to how cattle are slaughtered: The animal is usually stunned with a captive bolt pistol that drives a spike into its brain and renders it immediately unconscious. Ken Piller, president of Natural Valley Farms, a Saskatchewan-based meat plant that slaughters horses, said compared with other animals the horse "is probably the easiest and cleanest animal to process."

      What's the history

      of horsemeat?

      Humans have eaten horsemeat since the beginning of time. However, as with pork and beef, some religions have either discouraged or banned the consumption of it over the centuries. For example, in 732, Pope Gregory III issued an edict to Roman Catholics that forbade them to eat it.

      Today, the meat is generally considered to be taboo in most English-speaking countries such as Canada, the United States and Australia. However, many European and Asian diners still regularly enjoy the delicacy. China is the leading producer of horsemeat.

      What does it taste like?

      The high-protein, low-fat meat is often described as tasting slightly sweet and similar to beef.

      How is it usually prepared?

      Similar to other meats, horsemeat can be prepared in numerous ways: smoked, salted, grilled, even eaten raw.

      Katherine Harding

      A foreign delicacy

      Almost all the horsemeat processed in Canada by the six licensed horse abattiors is exported.


      Quantity, KGM (Kilogram-meter) Value, $
      Japan 2,492,889 $10,637,632
      France 2,344,079 $12,097,347
      Switzerland 947,337 $9,247,247
      Mexico 904,337 $1,386,200
      Italy 370,510 $1,725,454
      Czech Republic 96,952 $151,925
      Finland 48,354 $90,595
      South Africa 23,618 $45,881
      United States 18,606 $33,601
      Belgium 15,300 $165,586
      Swaziland 12,897 $117,204
      Jamaica 7,664 $17,504

      *includes horse, ass, mule and hinny (horse/donkey cross)


      Westwold, B.C.

      Lacombe, Alta.

      Fort Macleod, Alta.

      Neudorf, Sask.

      Massueville, Que.

      St.-Andre-Avellin, Que.


      From the Fund for Horses

      Please take part in our Wag a Straw campaign.

      Horse advocates of all ages are loving this, especially the kids so please get them involved too.

      Are you smarter than a cattleman?

      Advocates for horses working to ban horse slaughter and export for slaughter are fighting against cattle industry lobbyists who are spending in the hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying to keep this country killing horses, to name only one. We are maybe spending 1/10th of that. This money comes from their members, through dues. They use their money wisely, and keep a large, powerful presence on the Hill. I see them every single time I am there.

      For our part, we have sharp, young, effective lobbyists who have been trained and are mentored by a top K Street lobbyist. Our expenses for them run about $4,000-$6,000 a month. That's inclusive of print materials and dvd's.

      We have large donors who, for the most part, foot the bills. However, when we need to make up the difference, we call upon you, our members, to donate $10 each.

      Through the work our lobbyists did this summer, we have the votes necessary to break the hold on the bill in the Senate. We also have the votes and critical behind-the-scenes movers and shakers we need to pass the bill in the House.

      We have raised the necessary funds to return 3 of these lobbyists in September, and are very close to having what we require to employ all 4 through the end of the year. This has been achieved in a very large part because of $10.00 donations we have already received from people like.

      With hard work and financial backing we can expedite the bills and get them passed before Christmas.
      Note: The AHDF also has expenses for our lobbying efforts. We all think that we should donate every dollar to rescues to save the horses. However, without legislative efforts and the dollars spent on them we would be saving horses from slaughter from now until doomsday. We need efforts on both fronts to ensure the well-being of horses overall. Please do not think that we are not supportive of rescues, of course we are. However, there needs to be a balance. Without legislative efforts (and trust me it is incredibly difficult to fundraise for that since we can't put a cute face on it) all rescues would be overwhelmed with no end in sight. Consider donating $10 to your local rescue and $10 to your chosen legislative organization like AHDF, the Fund for Horses, SAPL or... If everyone reading this would do that we would have enough funds to support all our efforts.