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: