Monday, September 15, 2008

New Website Opens

The American Horse Defense Fund (AHDF) announces the new website is now live!

The website is designed to be a resource for information on wild horses and burros for the average person or for those looking for information on responding to the Bureau of Land Mangement's (BLM) public comment requests. The site serves as a repository of information no longer found on the BLM's website and other resources that users may find useful.

The site launch is especially important considering the recent announcement of the BLM that they are considering euthanasia as an option for wild horses and burros in holding facilities and on the range. The BLM is still considering removing even more horses from the range despite budget difficulties that they claim resulted in the need to consider euthanasia. Public comments are currently being accepted in a few herd areas and those wishing to comment may wish to research their responses on the new site.

The site includes information on how the public can help protect the horses, a section for children an extensive resources.

The launch is the culmination of months of work by the AHDF volunteer staff. The staff plans on adding more resources to enhance the use of the site in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Depths some people will stoop to

Periodically I get reports on what happens at auctions. I like to know what is going on at various parts of the country. However, I was shocked this morning at a report I got from an auction held yesterday in Cannon Falls, MN at the Simon Horse Company. The first terrible issue was the fact that the auction accepted and was auctioning off foals. I am not talking about young horses about 6 months old, we are talking FOALS some with umbilical cords still attached. These little guys should still be with their mothers. They were tiny babies 1,2 and 3 months old.

I guess I shouldn't be too shocked, the owner of the auction house is a known KB (kill buyer) and trader. However, from a business standpoint selling these animals is a bad idea. If the foals go to the wrong person who doesn't know how to care for "orphans" they will die. (These guys got lucky they ended up with a rescue group.) In this economy it is also a bad idea because these babies aren't going to bring in much either, they are too far away from being ridden. These little ones are not going to bring the prices to make an auction any money. They knew that.

Then the real agenda becomes apparent. During the auction the auctioneer stops the auction to give a "lesson" on horse slaughter. His lesson included falsehoods and outright lies. Of course what do you expect from a guy who has been cited by the USDA for violations of the Commercial Transport of Equines to Slaughter laws? This man and his sons who run the Simon Horse Company were noted in the reports FOIAed by Animal Angels 11 times with numerous violations for each citation. However, he also had a little help. In the audience was a lobbyist who collected signatures against HR 6598. If they were at this auction we can assume they were at others in the area as well.

Their lies included that horse slaughter was banned by federal law. It was not, the states where the plants were located banned them and closed them. There is NO federal law banning horse slaughter. They said that South Dakota wanted a horse slaughter plant but couldn't because of the federal ban. This is not true. SD considered a bill to allow the opening of a horse slaughter plant on tribal lands, but the bill was defeated. They said that the only outlet for horses going to slaughter was transport to Canada and Mexico and that is threatened by HR 6598 which was coming up for a vote. This is true partially, the only outlet for slaughter horses is through transport to Canada and Mexico and HR 6598 would threaten that. But the vote is a committee vote, not a full vote. I am sure there will be plenty of debate on it both today and later when it goes to the House floor for a full vote.

The lobbyist and the auctioneer whipped the crowd into a frenzy talking about how horses have no value any more because of the ban on slaughter. They told them that the prices of the horses sold at auction were proof of that. Then they collected signatures on a petition to be used in the fight of HR 6598.

It isn't often that we have a chance to correct wrongs in our lives, but this time we do. Please take a moment to write a letter to the editor of the local papers in the area. I will post their information below. In the letters the truth has to come out. We MUST let those people know that they were lied to. What happened at that auction is inexcusable. They sacrificed those foals for a political purpose. At their age they couldn't have been legally transported to slaughter. Of course as we know the Simons family doesn't put much stock in what is legal based on their record with the USDA. But the good people of MN usually do care and they shouldn't be misled by the lies of people who make their living off the deaths of horses.

BTW, no fines have been levied against the Simons family for their violations of the Commercial Transport of Equine to Slaughter.

Cannon Falls Beacon 120 South 4th Street, Box 366 Cannon Falls, MN, 55009; Local Phone: (507) 263-3991, Toll Free: (800) 263-3991, News Fax: (507) 263-2300; email the editor

Minneapolis Star Tribune Editorial Department, Star Tribune, 425 Portland Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55488; fax to 612-673-4359, phone 612-673-4343 or 1-800-775-4344; online form

Pierce County Herald 126 S. Chestnut St. Ellsworth, WI. 54011; Local News: 715-273-4334, Fax: 715-273-4335; email or webform

Minnesota Daily (univeristy paper) webform

Points to make
  1. There is no federal ban on horse slaughter
  2. Horse slaughter is inhumane and Congress is considering HR 6598, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2008
  3. The price of horses is contingent on the economy, horse slaughter doesn't set a "floor" for prices. Even when slaughter plants were processing they didn't buy every horse
  4. Healthy, young horses go to slaughter (average age of 5), not the very old, they very young, sick, blind and lame because it is illegal and the plants are processing for high price point sales and they want the very best meat possible or their sales go down
We really need to inform and educate the people who were lied to so blatantly. Please take a few minutes to do so ASAP.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Sometimes things hit me and more often than not, it is because they break my heart. I go to DC alot and meet with powerful people. Most are elected to office and what prompted them to run? They really and truly want to do something good, they want to make the world a better place. However, a few years down the road somehow they lose their way. They start out by making a few deals to do what they think is the "good" thing. Then it becomes easier and then they start making deals for money, donations to their campaigns, whatever. Some sell themselves so cheaply that you have to wonder about their self-esteem. It breaks my heart.

Now I want to make it clear that I am not opposed to our system of government. I am probably the most patriotic person anyone could meet. My father retired from the military, my father-in-law retired from the military, my sons have served, heck I even enlisted but I got pregnant and couldn't report. I vote, my whole family votes. I believe that we have the best form of government in the world, but it isn't perfect. That is why it evolves and changes and it could use some tweeking on special interest and term limits.

Why am I off on a rant on the government? Because of the horse issues. There has been a horse slaughter ban bill pending in Congress for 8 YEARS. Every session there has been a great deal of support for the bill, but a handful of people have prevented its vote, changed their vote beacuse of deals or just flat out lied to block it. It is insane!! A simple bill with huge bi-partisan support cannot pass. If you trace it back it is because of special interest because otherwise nobody would do what has been done if they didn't get money for it, it isn't worth what those people have gone through. Bob Godlatte isn't opposed to the bill because he honestly thinks that horses really do enjoy slaughter. Senator Larry Craig didn't block the bill because he thinks that all horses should die. Both have close ties to the cattle industry. I can guarantee that Larry Craig will be working alongside Charles Stenholm for a lobby firm when he leaves office. It is money.

Then we have the wild horse issue. The BLM is opening the doors to "euthanizing" tens of thousands of healthy horses. It isn't euthanasia, it is murder. The range supposedly can't support them. It can support 4.6 million cattle, it can support 700,000 elk, it can support 60,000 big horn sheep, but it can't handle 60,000 horses (those on the range and those in holding). That is bulls**t. Normally I am not so blunt, but I am in tears right now and I refuse to pull punches when someone is seriously breaking my heart. Those horses have been sold out and for so very little.

When Newsweek published an article ( a few weeks ago I read it as I do as many articles about the horses as I can. However, tonight someone sent me the link again. I went to make sure I had read it and this time I read the comments. People were talking about how we (the people who want the horses on the range) seriously didn't care about the horses. That the range was so bad that these "large" herds were destroying the land. That there are no predetors so the BLM should kill them. Others asked where the environmentalists were and why they weren't speaking out to help the horses. Why? Because the BLM and OUR GOVERNMENT has done such a great job of hiding scientific proof that the horse originated in North America and the great PR on how these aren't really wild animals, but are feral. Track it all back and it goes to money and a VERY long history of it. Horses were here when the first white settlers crossed the plains.

Other comments said the wild horses and burros were "worthless". Others asked whey they weren't protected like the bald eagle. Well, let's look at that. The bald eagle is no longer as protected as it once was. We pushed them to the brink of extinction and they were our nations' symbol from the beginning. We did a great job there. Some other comments said the horses have no predators. That is a lie, they do. But our government has erradicated most of these predators because these poor animals can't tell the difference between worthless horses and priceless cattle. (Ok after I get upset I tend to get REALLY ticked off, but I am trying to keep some of the really bad words from spilling out.)

The grazing program on federal lands is one that costs the tax payer ALOT. It is really hard to know the exact cost because so much of it is hidden by the BLM. We do know that in the past it lost over $41 million dollars a year (darn that is where the money went to maintain the horses in holding facilities!!) and that was years ago. Grazing fees haven't increased, as a matter of fact they are as low as the law allows. Under Reagan the program was losing so much money that he passed laws to set a minimum fee and allowed the BLM to increase the fees up to 25% a year. Instead of raising the fees, the BLM REDUCED them. So, we can expect that we, the tax payer, is paying more. I am not going to go into too much more of the policies that are absolutely riddiculous things we pay for, but let's just say we should all move west and get grazing permits so we don't have to pay our own bills. If we did that then maybe we would have the money to fight/match those working to destroy our horses.

I am also sick to death of being told that because I care about horses and being humane to animals I don't care about children. I am not sure how anyone can make that leap, but that is the most stupid thing I have ever heard. I have worked for years as a kid to raise money for March of Dimes and Muscular Distrophy. I have volunteered hundreds of hours at schools, sat on PTA committees, donated to Habitat for Humanity and thousands of other things. I care about people too. There are literally thousands of organizations that work on those issue, there are only a handful of humane organizations and fewer still that work for the horses. Things that hurt children break my heart too. I cry over them as well, probably more.

In the end when mustangs are extinct and no longer are available to be viewed by our children and grandchildren who should we cry for? Those that will never see those stunningly beautiful animals or the animals that are gone? How can we explain to them that money was more important? Or is it already too late, that we have become a souless society that cares more about the bottom line? We are facing their extinction. What about horse slaughter? Is the almighty dollar more important than doing the right thing, the humane thing?

Ok, I am done with my rant. I am going to say here that these are MY personal opinions. They may not reflect those of AHDF, its board or members. Names of political figures are not to be meant as an endorsement or oppostion of them as candidates of whatever they may or may not be running for.