Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Judge Denies Wild Horses Their Freedom

From Laura Allen…..

Judge Friedman Denies Preliminary Injunction But Questions BLM Policies
Posted Dec 21, 2009 by lauraallen
o Horse Slaughter
Update Dec. 23, 2009: Judge Paul L. Friedman has denied the motion by plaintiffs In Defense of Animals, Craig Downer and Terri Farley, for a preliminary injunction to stop the roundup of up to 2,736 wild horses from the Calico Mountain Complex herd management areas in Nevada.
But the judge has also rejected that BLM can continue to keep unadopted wild horses and burros in long term facilities. The judge agreed with the plaintiff that BLM has no authority to transport healthy unadoptable horses and hold them in long term holding facilities especially in places where they were not located previously, Oklahoma, Kansas or South Dakota.
The judge, however, found the plaintiffs did not raise this argument until their reply brief and it could not be the basis for a preliminary injunction. The judge said the defendants had not had time to brief the issue fully. The judge did reject the BLM's contention that Congress had ratified its policies of putting unadopted wild horses and burros into long term holding facilities by approving appropriations bills.
The judge suggested the agency postpone the roundup scheduled for December 28 but declined to issue an injunction. The judge reasoned that if the BLM proceeds with the gather, knowing that long term holding may not be an option and with no funds under the Appropriations Act, FY 2010, for euthanization or sale for slaughter, the agency must come up with another solution for the horses it will have removed. The judge said that once removed as excess, the horses could not at that point simply be returned to the herd areas.
The judge found "untenable" the plaintiffs' other contention that BLM cannot round up and remove horses en masse. The court rejected the plaintiffs' interpretation of the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, 16 U.S.C. Sec. 1331 et seq, (WFRHBA) that BLM must determine on a case by case basis those horses deemed "excess" or causing an overpopulation, and then remove them under a tiered approach with the old, sick and lame taken first and then the healthy adoptable horses. The judge said such a process would put the BLM in "an impossible Catch-22" because the agency could not really evaluate the health or age of horses without capturing them first. The judge found the WFRHBA did not prohibit the BLM's current method of rounding up horses, separating them, sterlizing and returning some and placing others in short term holding facilities for adoption or sale.
Judge Friedman did also say the public and BLM's interest in controlling the overpopulation of wild horses could be negatively impacted by a delay. He said "issuance of an injunction at this stage might lead to substantial growth in already overpopulated herds" in the Calico Complex. The judge also said that, according to BLM, a spring roundup could result in more injuries for the wild horses.
For more on the plaintiffs' allegations, read Animal Law Coalition's original report below.
Original report: The plaintiffs, In Defense of Animals, wildlife ecologist Craig Downer and journalist and author, Terri Farley, are optimistic U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman, will grant their request for a preliminary injunction to stop the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)'s plan to round up wild horses from the Calico Mountain Complex in Nevada.
Plaintiffs say BLM's proposed round up set to begin December 28 violates the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, 16 U.S.C. §1331 et seq., and is arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and in excess of and without legal authority, in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. §701 et seq.
The judge has promised to rule before Christmas.
In their First Amended Complaint the plaintiffs point out BLM has no authority under the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, 16 U.S.C. §1331 et seq., to use helicopters to round up wild horses en masse and hold them in short or long term holding facilities. BLM is required to manage the wild horses and burros as "components" of the public lands on which they were living as of 1971 or on designated ranges. 16 U.S.C. §1333 BLM must manage them at "the minimal feasible level". 16 U.S.C. §1333 WFRHBA forbids the capture, harassment, death and inhumane treatment of these animals. 16 U.S.C. §1331, 43 CFR 4700.0-2, -5
U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled recently in the case, Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition, Inc. v. Salazar, No. 06-1609 (D.D.C 2009):
"It would be anomalous to infer that by authorizing the custodian of the wild free roaming horses and burros to "manage" them, Congress intended to permit the animals' custodian to subvert the primary policy of the statute by capturing and removing from the wild the very animals that Congress sought to protect from being captured and removed from the wild. Defendants argue that the horses will not be "eradicated" or "eliminated" inasmuch as BLM intends to continue to manage the horses not in the wild but through private adoption or long-term care.
...But BLM's directive is 'to protect and manage wild free-roaming horses and burros as components of the public lands . . . ‘ 16 U.S.C. § 1333(a) (emphasis added). Congress did not authorize BLM to ‘manage' the wild horses by corralling them for private maintenance or long-term care as non-wild free-roaming animals off of the public lands. Upon removal for private adoption and/or long-term care, the West Douglas Herd would forever cease to be ‘wild free-roaming' horses ‘as components of the public lands' contrary to Congress's intent to protect the horses from capture. Moreover, the statute expressly provides that BLM's ‘management activities shall be at the minimal feasible level . . . .'
It is difficult to think of a ‘management activity' that is farther from a ‘minimal feasible level' than removal."
The BLM is directed to protect the wild horses and burros "in a manner that is designed to achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands" and "protect the natural ecological balance of all wildlife species which inhabit such lands, particularly endangered wildlife species. Any adjustments in forage allocations on any such lands shall take into consideration the needs of other wildlife species which inhabit such lands." 16 U.S.C. §1333(a). The Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978 amended the WFRHBA to require BLM to determine appropriate management levels (AML) and maintain an inventory of wild horses and burros to help achieve these goals.
BLM is only authorized to remove "excess" wild horses or burros. Under WFRHBA, "excess animals" means wild free-roaming horses or burros (1) which have been removed from an area by the Secretary [of the Interior] pursuant to applicable law or, (2) which must be removed from an area in order to preserve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship in that area. 16 U.S.C. §1332.
Basically the BLM is only authorized to cull wild horses and burros from their historic herd areas where they were living in 1971 to control overpopulation or "maintain a thriving natural ecological balance". In designated ranges, there may be consideration given to "multiple uses" but even these are to be "devoted principally" to the wild horses and burros. 16 U.S.C. §§1332, 1333
Plaintiffs' Allegations
The plaintiffs say that even if there are "excess" wild horses in the Calico Mountain Complex herd management areas, the BLM cannot simply use helicopters to drive them all into holding pens or corrals and then return the few that the agency decides are not "excess". The WFHRBA is clear that BLM must first cull any wild horses that are old, sick or lame. 16 U.S.C. §1333 Plaintiffs say this most likely means these animals would be humanely euthanized in the field.
According to the plaintiffs, the BLM must then determine on a horse by horse basis which are adoptable and remove only those excess adoptable horses. 16 U.SC. §1333 The plaintiffs say BLM has no authority to round up healthy, unadoptable wild horses and transport them to holding facilities where they were not living in 1971. Though WFRHBA states BLM shall euthanize remaining unadoptable healthy excess wild horses and burros, the Appropriations Act, FY 2010, de-funds or bars BLM from using any of its budget to euthanize healthy wild horses or sell them for "processing into commercial products".
But because BLM cannot or does not euthanize healthy, unadoptable horses deemed "excess," does not mean the agency can put them into short or long term holding facilities. Nothing in WFRHBA authorizes excess wild horses to be maintained in this way.
During oral argument on Dec. 16, Judge Friedman asked about the fate of the "excess" healthy, unadoptable horses. Clearly the plaintiffs believe they should simply be left to roam freely in the herd management areas, that at this point, the law provides no basis for their removal.
The BLM also has no authority, say the plaintiffs, to round up non-excess wild horses even if the agency then returns them to the wild.
BLM Says Congress has Ratified its Plans for the Calico Wild Horses
In this case BLM plans to use a helicopter to round up 2,432-2,736 wild horses or nearly 90% of the population of the Calico Mountain Complex herd management areas and then return 268 to the wild. The herds and families will be destroyed forever.
BLM says it is too expensive, too difficult, to assess and cull wild horses on a case by case basis. BLM also says that, regardless, Congress has ratified or approved the agency's helicopter roundups and management of wild horses and burros in short and long term holding facilities. BLM contends that in appropriating funds for roundups and holding facilities, Congress has ratified the agency's policies and effectively amended the WFRHBA to allow this.
Plaintiffs countered that while Congress can amend laws in appropriations legislation, there is a presumption against it and any such amendment must be stated clearly. Congress has never stated clearly that it approves of BLM's management of wild horses and burros in this way.
The Cruelty of BLM's Handling of Wild Horses
The plaintiffs note that according to the 2008 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, 1.2% or horses died during BLM roundups also called "gathers" in 2005-2007. This means during the Calico gather, 30-34 wild horses are likely to die. According to the GAO report, up to 5% of the wild horses died while they were held in short term holding facilities from 2003-2007 and 8% died during that period in long term holding facilities.
These animals also suffer destruction of their herds, separation of families, even foals from their mares. Wild horses and burros have suffered terrible injuries during these round ups and while kept in holding facilities. Some will try to jump even 6' fences or throw themselves at corral panels in an effort to escape, breaking their necks or legs. They suffer as any wild animal would when kept in captivity, a condition known as capture myopathy. They can die from this and at best, live with their spirits broken, forever denied the free-roaming herd behavior promised by WFRHBA.
The Calico helicopter round up scheduled to begin December 28 presents a particular danger to mares likely to be pregnant with foals. Old, sick and disabled wild horses are likely to suffer injuries and even death as they are run down by helicopters.
BLM's "Excess" Wild Horses
As of May 31, 2009 there were 8,532 horses and 57 burros in short-term holding facilities that have a total capacity of 15,645 animals. As of that date there were 22,126 horses in long-term holding facilities that have a total capacity of 22,100. The long-term holding facilities are full. BLM claims there are 10,350 excess wild horses and burros that must be removed from herd areas and ranges. Since 2000, BLM has removed more than 74,000 wild horses and burros from the wild, 40% of the population.
It is far from clear that these wild horses and burros are actually "excess". In the Calico Mountain Complex environmental assessment, for example, BLM relied on old, outdated data to determine appropriate management levels of wild horses. Just last year, BLM permitted a 300% increase in cattle grazing in the area. The same area said to be too degraded and dry for the few remaining wild horses.
Also, despite the WFRHBA mandate to maintain a current inventory of wild horses, BLM's census fluctuate wildly. Plaintiff Craig Downer has questioned whether BLM is now exaggerating the census to justify removal of even more wild horses. For more on BLM's decision to round up and remove nearly 90% of the wild horses in the Calico Mountain Complex...
The Safari Club International and Safari Club International Foundation and Coalition for Nevada's Wildlife have filed amici briefs in support of BLM's assessments and decision to remove these wild horses.
Go here for information about the WFRHBA and how BLM has eroded the protections for the wild horses and burros. And here for more on BLM's manipulation of WFRHBA and its plans for managing wild horses and burros.
Go here to find out how you can join the call for a moratorium on BLM roundups of wild horses and burros.

Monday, December 14, 2009

BLM Continues to Lie, Wild Horses Gathered in Snow and Ice Storm

BLM’s Don Glenn Openly Lies to Press and Advocates While Wild Horses are Rounded Up

Once free, their beautiful lives ruined - Palomino Valley 12/11/09 - Photo by K. McCovey
Following the yet-unsolved shooting death of 6 federally-protected mustangs, more of America’s mustangs are removed; at least one mare has died to date.
The discovery of shooting deaths of six wild horses on the California-Nevada border has led to the exposure of an apparently clandestine BLM roundup of over 200 horses. The roundup of the Buckhorn Wild Horses was scheduled to begin in August 2010. However, in a surprise move by the Surprise BLM field office in Cedarville, CA, the roundup took place November 30-December 10th. The horses were run into traps in freezing conditions with rain and snow and overnight lows dipping below 0ºF. BLM spokesman Jeff Fontana reported that 217 were removed, leaving 59 on the range. This roundup was originally planned for a removal of 536 horses to get down to a BLM-approved level of just 85 horses or less.
No one was there observe because no one was told this roundup had been moved up 9 months until after the fact. How many horses were injured, how many were killed? How exactly was the roundup conducted? The truth is, any member of the public is seriously remiss in trusting this agency. Only the most dedicated members of the public would even be able and willing to drive in this weather to observe such a roundup.

Mare and Foal pen at Palomino Vally holdy facility - 12/11/09 - Photo by K. McCovey
One mare has died after being crushed by a metal panel, according to BLM and foals appear to be in poor condition in the BLM Palomino Valley holding pens following the ordeal and another winter storm. The horses have no shelter and the windbreaks are not up. BLM has zeroed out wild horses for just that reason in the past. The change to conduct this roundup in winter was made without notification to the BLM’s own press agents, the media or the public. The requisite 30-day comment period was conducted in August of 2009 on a suspect recycled 2007 Environmental Assessment (EA) that was reused in August 2009 to allow for a roundup in this area. When advocates learned that this roundup was taking place nine months ahead of schedule, the Surprise Field Office had no record of decision (ROD) or final EA posted on their website to authorize this roundup. On Friday, following inquiries from the public, an unsigned August ROD was posted on the BLM site.
While BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program Chief, Don Glenn, was telling the advocates in attendance at a National BLM Advisory Board meeting that they were welcome to observe any BLM roundup (which came as news to the many people there who had repeatedly been denied access to view roundups this year and in the past) roundup crews were in process of “gathering” horses. Mr. Glenn’s invitation is clearly hampered by not knowing when and where roundups will take place. To date an updated roundup schedule has still not been posted on the National BLM website.

Another herd destroyed by the BLM - Merry Christmas - Photo by K. McCovey
Pressure is growing on the BLM as a unified moratorium letter signed by over 190 organizations, including the Cloud Foundation, the Equine Welfare Alliance and In Defense of Animals as well as noted scientists, and celebrities such as Sheryl Crow, Lily Tomlin, Viggo Mortenson, Ed Harris, Bill Maher and more. This call is supported by signatures of over 7,000 individuals. (add your name here!)
Ginger Kathrens of the Cloud Foundation, spoke with the Surprise field office in early December and learned that the Massacre Lakes roundup (scheduled to being December 7th) had been delayed until February. The BLM failed to inform Ms. Kathrens at that time that another roundup had been substituted in its place.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is moving forward with roundups of America’s wild horses and burros and carrying on with operations through the dead of winter in California, Oregon and Nevada. According to the most recent Roundup Schedule (12/4/09) the BLM plans to remove 7,163 wild horses and burros this winter, and another 4,395 in the summer of 2010. This roundup schedule was given to Advisory Board members on 12/7 but not to the Cloud Foundation until 12/10/09 upon request.
The notorious KD Livestock crews moves next to southeast Oregon where they are scheduled to remove over 200 horses in what could be equally dangerous winter conditions. BLM Chief Don Glenn invites the world to watch.
The BLM is the bull in the china shop of America’s public western wildlands. Their mismanagement is nearly as legendary as the mustangs themselves. Keep up the call for a moratorium on roundups!
Sign the petition and send your comments to President Obama and your representatives here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Support the Moratorium to Save the Wild Horses

Moratorium Letter to President Obama and Secretary Salazar

23 November 2009
Individuals: sign on to this letter & send your request & comments to President Obama and your Representatives in one easy step. click here to support the moratorium
Organizations: we still need your support! Upload sign on form here and send to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ' ); //--> &subject=Moratorium Letter- please add my organization" $included="null">
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A Unified Call for an Immediate Moratorium on Wild Horse & Burro Roundups
And a humane, fiscally responsible plan for preserving and protecting the iconic,
free-roaming wild horses and burros of the American West
President Obama, Members of Congress and the Department of the Interior:
We, the undersigned, request major changes to the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro program. This must begin with an immediate moratorium on all roundups. While we agree that the program is in dire need of reform, and we applaud your Administration's commitment to avoid BLM’s suggested mass-killing of horses, the plan outlined in October by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar raises numerous concerns. These include:
Perpetuating the flawed assumption that wild horses and burros are overpopulating their Western ranges.
In reality, the BLM has no accurate current inventory of the 37,000 wild horses and burros it claims remain on public lands. Independent analysis of BLM’s own numbers reveal there may be only 15,000 wild horses remaining on public lands.
Continuing the mass removal of wild horses and burros from their rightful Western ranges: The BLM intends to spend over $30 million in Fiscal Year 2010 to capture more than 12,000 wild horses and burros. This stockpiling of horses continues even as an astounding 32,000 are already being held in government holding facilities at enormous taxpayer expense.
Scapegoating wild horses and burros for range deterioration even though they comprise only a tiny fraction of animals and wildlife grazing our public lands. Far greater damage is caused by privately-owned livestock, which outnumber the horses more than 100 to 1.
Moving wild horses and burros east off their Western homelands to “sanctuaries” in the east and Midwest at an initial cost of $96 million creates significant health concerns if animals adapted to western landscapes are managed on wet ground and rich grasses.
Removing tens of thousands of horses and burros from their legally-designated Western ranges and moving them into government-run facilities subverts the intent of the 1971 Wild Free-roaming Horse and Burro Act, which mandated that horses be preserved “where presently found.” A 2009 DC district court case held that “Congress did not authorize BLM to “manage” the wild horses and burros by corralling them for private maintenance or long-term care as non-wild free-roaming animals off the public lands.”
We appreciate your Administration's recognition of the horses’ value as an ecotourism resource. However, the display of captive, non-reproducing herds in eastern pastures renders them little more than zoo exhibits, further discounting the contribution to our history and the future of the American West.
We believe that workable solutions to create a healthy “multiple use” of public rangelands, protect the ecological balance of all wildlife, and preserve America's wild horses and burros in their rightful, legally protected home can be achieved. We are calling on the Obama Administration to reform the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Management Program.
We ask that you reverse the current course and immediately take the following actions:
Place a moratorium on all roundups until accurate and independent assessments of population numbers and range conditions are made available and a final, long-term solution is formalized.
Restore protections included in the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Update existing laws that protect wild horses by reopening certain public lands to the mustangs and burros, thus decreasing the number in captivity. Return healthy wild horses and burros in holding to all available acres of public land designated primarily for their use in 1971. If these lands are not available, equivalent and appropriate western public lands should be added in their place.
Support federal grazing permit buybacks. Reduce livestock grazing and reanalyze appropriate management levels for herd management areas to allow for self-sustaining, genetically-viable herds to exist in the west.
Conduct Congressional hearings regarding the mismanagement of our wild herds and further investigate the inability of BLM to correct the shortcomings of the program as audited by the Government Accountability Office’s 1990, 1991 and 2008 reports.
Supported by the undersigned on November 18, 2009
Click here for a list of supporting organizations, celebrities and scientists.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mustangs Rare as Buffalo

BLM Plan Could Make the Mustang as Rare as the Buffalo
By Steven Long
HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Of the 14,000 wild horses the Bureau of Land Management will take from their wilderness homes next year, the agency will only return 2,200 to the wild.
A substantial number of the horses taken in BLM “gathers” will be mares. And of those, the agency says it will render 800 incapable of reproducing, or almost 40 percent of the heard strength returning to the wild. Equine geneticists claim the government’s plan is to eliminate wild horses from the American West in favor of cattle leases where ranchers pay a $1.35 per head per month.
Under this formula, there will be precious few Mustangs left in the West a generation from now. Wild horse lovers claim it is a rape of the national wildlife heritage comparable to the 19th century destruction of the buffalo herds that once roamed the land.
The BLM claims the horses are hard on the land, but currently there are only slightly more than 30,000 left in the wild according to the agency. That number is hotly disputed by animal welfare advocates. More than 1 million cows graze on the public acreage, yet the agency never complains of bovine damage to meadows and riparian areas.
The agency controls 262 million acres.
The government claims wild horses breed resulting in a 20 percent each increase in herd size each year resulting in an ever growing population. Yet entire foal crops are wiped out in some herd management areas each year by predators such as wolves and mountain lions. There are only slightly more than 60,000 wild horses left, and half are already in BLM holding pens eating government feed, hay, and grazing land at an ever growing cost to the taxpayer.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, (D) Louisiana, has called for the BLM to submit a report next year on how it plans to change what is currently perceived as gross mismanagement.
The agency says no herd management areas will be left bare of wild horses after next year’s roundups, however, anecdotal reports coming into Horseback’s offices this week tell another story. No wild horses can be found on a Nevada refuge after an October roundup, sauces say, yet the BLM claims horses are still there? Perhaps they are ghosts who only appear to government bureaucrats? Observers suffering from eye strain wonder.
The drug of choice to render mares incapable of reproducing is PZP. It is provided to the agency in a cozy deal with the Humane Society of the United States. Activists charge the nation’s largest animal welfare operation has a conflict of interest when it comes to wild horses.
Some have become increasingly aggravated with a perceived lack of action on the part of the HSUS, as well as the Washington based Animal Welfare Institute to halt BLM’s aggressive roundup schedule. In fact, HSUS applauded a BLM plan announced recently by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to remove wild horse herds from the west and place them as tourist attractions in the Midwest and East. Wild horse experts scoff at the plan.
Neither HSUS or AWI has lent their name or prestige to a petition demanding President Obama call a moratorium on BLM roundups of wild horses. The hard hitting petition has been submitted to the White House by The Cloud Foundation and the Equine Welfare Alliance.
Frustration with HSUS boiled over when EWA co-founder John Holland wrote last week to Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society, regarding the perception that the relationship with BLM appears to be too cozy.
“ Have you given any consideration to how HSUS is gradually being made more and more complicit in this rapidly expanding assault on our wild herds? Are you comfortable with that complicity?” Holland wrote. “It is now clear that the BLM is planning for the elimination or eventual extinction of the herds. I am deeply concerned that HSUS may be drawn into a ballooning potential scandal.”
Pacelle didn’t give Holland the courtesy of a reply, instead directing a wildlife scientist with HSUS to respond.
“The HSUS supports the use of contraception as a management tool to bring horses to, and maintain, viable populations on the range,” wrote Stephanie Boyles. “The HSUS does not support the gather and removal of any wild horse, except in cases in which the health or safety of an individual horse is in question, for which there is not the probability of locating an appropriate adoptive home.”

Slaughter Czar, Salazar

Wild horse activists buzz Denver with anti-Salazar banner
By Bruce Finley
The Denver Post

Posted: 11/20/2009 05:58:25 PM MST

Updated: 11/20/2009 06:06:14 PM MST

Wild horse advocates tried to challenge a federal relocation proposal by flying a banner over Denver this afternoon that called Interior Secretary Ken Salazar "the slaughter czar."

New Mexico-based Wild Horse Observers Association co-founder Patience O'Dowd said her group opposes Salazar's proposal to re-locate thousands of the wild horses that roam the West.

They paid $2,000 to fly the banner over the federal center in Lakewood, where the Interior Department has offices, and over central Denver until sunset.

Salazar was not in Colorado today.

The proposal calls for keeping some 25,000 non-reproducing horses at seven preserves in the Midwest and East.

It would be more humane and feasible to manage growing wild herds by shooting birth-control darts at the horses from helicopters, O'Dowd said.

The growth of wild horse herds over 40 years has challenged federal land managers to find a way to balance wild horse, cattle industry and energy interests without slaughter while also minimizing costs to taxpayers. Federal officials over the past year spent $29 million caring for some 32,000 wild horses and burros rounded up into fenced holding areas around the West.

"We have to find a humane way to manage the horses on the range so that they avoid starvation and so that ecosystems are protected from overgrazing," Salazar spokesman Matt Lee-Ashley said. "Nobody is proposing slaughter."

Opponents to the management plan, he said, "have let their imaginations run wild."

Bruce Finley: 303-954-1700 or

Monday, November 16, 2009

Keep Those Cards, Letters, Faxes and Calls Flying!

Wild horse removal generates over 7,000 comments to BLM
November 16, 2:22 PMLA Equine Policy ExaminerCarrol Abel

Nevada wild horses photo by Carrol Abel
The Bureau of Land Management logged over 7,000 comments from a concerned public regarding the scheduled round up of 2,700 wild horses from the Calico Complex in Northern Nevada. The 21 day public comment period closed on Thursday, Nov. 12.
Rumors over what was thought to be an incorrect e-mail address posted on the BLM web-site turned out to be untrue. According to Jerome Fox, BLM wild horse and burro specialist, the reason for a last minute change in email addresses could have been due to the large number of responses. Correspondence to either email address will be logged. They are then categorized as coming from an individual, an organization, or another government agency.
Octobers release of the Preliminary Environmental Assessment of the already scheduled Calico round up revealed that between 80% and 90%of roughly 2,700 wild horses from the Calico Complex in Northern Nevada. Between 80% and 90% of the herds are to be removed from the wild beginning December 1.
Question abound regarding the estimated population of wild horses in the complex which consists of five herd management areas. BLM documents show a 2004 population of 575 animals..... almost half of those were mares injected with the immunocontraceptive PZP. The 2007 inventory shows only 761 wild horses. But records just one year later reflect a sudden rise to 2,071. By October of this year, BLM records show the complex as home to over 3,000 wild horses.
The question of accurate inventories is further complicated by a 2008 livestock allotment decision allowing an increase of cattle by almost 300%. American Herds quotes the document as saying there was ,"little evidence of 'wild horse' utilization...given the relative few numbers of horses/burros their impact on upland vegetation during the critical growing period will be minimal. This conclusion is supported by the fact that several upland monitoring sites established ( in one of the HMA's) are no longer monitored because very little or no use by wild horses/burros was documented at these sites."
Mr. Fox stated that he personally took part in the October 2009 aerial survey which took place over 4 1/2 days. The population count of 3,095 wild horses was correct. When asked if the movement of horses throughout the 4 1/2 day time frame could cause some to be counted two or even three times, he began a reference to "natural barriers" then abruptly ended the conversation saying, "I gotta go. Talk to you later. Bye.", then hung up the phone.
Advocate organizations anxiously await the final decision on the Calico Complex gather. Willis Lamb, long time wild horse advocate, responded to the large number of public comments by saying, " If BLM received over 7,000 public comments over a single gather, it kind of makes you think there could be a problem with their plan. And the response sure makes you think that the public is starting to take notice and get concerned about pulling more horses off the range and dumping them in holding facilities. Perhaps the days of "trap and toss" range management are numbered."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

News Release!!!

Contacts: John Holland

Vicki Tobin
Governor Schweitzer goes to Derby, leaves slaughter bill to become law

On Friday, May 1st, Governor Brian Schweitzer packed up and left his office to head for the Kentucky Derby. On his desk, he left HB 418, a bill designed to encourage the building of a horse slaughter plant in Montana! The bill was designed to lure a horse slaughter plant to Montana by effectively preventing Montana citizens from challenging such a facility in the state courts.

The Governor had initially issued an amendatory veto of the bill, pointing out that it was almost certainly unconstitutional, but the legislature sent it back to him without his suggested amendments. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ed Butcher, was quick to praise the Governor’s act of surrender.

In an interview published in The Horse, Butcher dismissed the idea that his bill was unconstitutional. He went on to explain his misguided belief that the role of the courts is more like that of movie critics, saying, "Courts have the right to offer an opinion about legislation--they do not have the right to make law. That's the legislature's job."

Butcher has said these safeguards [taking away the access of citizens to the courts] were needed to avoid the types of legal appeals that shuttered the country's last horse slaughterhouses in Illinois and Texas in 2007.

In an earlier article “Showdown at Horse Slaughter Pass”, EWA’s John Holland used the metaphor that Butcher was trying to “tie the citizens of Montana to the tracks”, and pondered whether the Governor would save the day. But alas, the Governor had his mind on the Kentucky Derby and left the citizens to their fate. Luckily, Butcher’s bill ties them to the wrong tracks.

Although the plants were cited repeatedly for pollution, sewer and discharge violations, all three plants were shut down by state laws.

The Belgian Velda Corporation’s Natural Meats plant in Saskatchewan, Canada is the most probable target of Butcher’s overtures. Their operating license was indeed suspended in December over unspecified health violations but by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, not a law suit.

Since no slaughter plant can legally slaughter horses in the US for human consumption, the bill’s only real impact may be the statement it makes about Montana, its legislature and its governor.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Harvest or Slaughter: Still the Killing of America's Horses

Agriculture Associations Misrepresent Horse Slaughter

Contacts: John Holland & Vicki Tobin

CHICAGO, (EWA) - At a time when Americans are experiencing the worst economic period in most of our life-times, Cattle and Agriculture Associations have taken the economic downturn as an opportunity to further the agenda of promoting horse slaughter. The word slaughter has been replaced with the word “Harvest” to portray crops that have ripened and need to be gleaned. Although there is no market in the US for the crop, proponents of this fraud want to ensure healthy horses are killed so there is a continuous supply of meat on the hoof that must continually be shipped to overseas markets that Americans do not own nor profit. This is referred to as the never ending cycle of breed and dump.

Using a benign word such as Harvest, a word we all cherish, is an insult and outrage to horse lovers everywhere. This fraud attempts to reduce the horse, the animal which in partnership with man built this nation – attempts to reduce the horse to a commodity such as corn, wheat, barley, or oats.

Not only are the cattle and agriculture associations promoting horse “harvesting” but organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) are often quoted and named in their articles and speeches as supporters and misuse the word harvest to portray a cruel process which they attempt to mask with a word with pleasant associations in the American vocabulary..

These are the very organizations that are entrusted to promote equine welfare and care. They are organizations that have seen recent results of three year long U.S. Department of Agriculture Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) probe by animal cruelty investigator Julie Caramante which resulted in the release of photos and reports from investigations of the department that clearly depict the cruelty and abuse inherent with the entire horse killing process FOIA Reports. The three year cover-up by the USDA has been dubbed by some in the media “Slaughtergate”. It is hardly a harvest.

Horses are not food animals in America. They are trusted work, service, sport, therapy and companion animals. It is time for Americans to stand up and end the hold the predatory foreign market has on the American Equine Industry. It is time for Americans to stand up and let their legislators know that horses are not crops, and that it is imperative that The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009 be passed swiftly and without hesitation by the Congress and signed into law by President Obama.

Horses are not a vegetable crop. They aren’t even food. Would you harvest your dog, your cat, or yes, even your gerbil? Tell these organizations it’s just fine to promote their belief that killing horses for profit is the American way, but at least they should be honest in the language they use to describe this unspeakably cruel act where horses are hung upside down to bleed to death after their throat is cut, an act in which their hooves are often removed while they are still conscious.

For information on legislative activity, visit: Legislative Activity

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Calling All Illinoisians


Hi, folks. Please take a minute on Monday, Tuesday and/or Wednesday morning to call, fax and email the below committee members. Please be sure to read the synopsis. Sacia is removing every regulation and is basically saying if it’s moving, slaughter it. I have listed the committee members below the information on the bill. We must stop this bill!

Here’s the bill HB 583

Short Description: ANIMALS--HORSE MEATHouse SponsorsRep. Jim SaciaHearings
Agriculture & Conservation Committee Hearing Feb 18 2009 2:00PM Capitol Building Room 122B Springfield, IL
Last Action
Assigned to Agriculture & Conservation Committee
Statutes Amended In Order of Appearance
225 ILCS 635/13.1 new

225 ILCS 635/1.5 rep.

410 ILCS 605/2.1
from Ch. 8, par. 107.1

510 ILCS 65/4
from Ch. 8, par. 954

510 ILCS 70/5
from Ch. 8, par. 705

510 ILCS 70/7.5

510 ILCS 75/2
from Ch. 8, par. 229.52
Synopsis As IntroducedAmends the Illinois Horse Meat Act. Restores language that exempted certain types of horse meat from regulation under the Act. Repeals a provision that prohibits the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Amends the Animals Intended for Food Act. Expands the definition of "animal" to include "horses, mules, or other equidae". Amends the Illinois Equine Infectious Anemia Control Act. Allows equidae more than 12 months of age to enter the State for immediate slaughter without a certificate of veterinary inspection. Requires equidae entering the State for immediate slaughter to be accompanied by a consignment direct to slaughter at an approved equine slaughtering establishment. Amends the Humane Care for Animals Act. Creates an exemption from the general prohibition against selling, offering to sell, leading, riding, transporting, or driving on any public way any equidae that, because of debility, disease, lameness or any other cause, could not be worked in this State. Deletes a provision that prohibited injured equidae from being sent directly to a slaughter facility. Amends the Humane Slaughter of Livestock Act. Deletes a provision in the definition of the term "livestock" that excludes "horses, mules, or other equidae to be used in and for the preparation of meat or meat products for consumption by human beings". Imposes conditions on any rulemaking authority. Effective immediately.Actions
Filed with the Clerk by Rep. Jim Sacia
First Reading
Referred to Rules Committee
Assigned to Agriculture & Conservation Committee

Here is a list of the committee members. You can click the names for the contact information. Just in case the links don’t work, you can go to this page and click the names

Agriculture & Conservation Committee - Members96th General Assembly
Notice of Hearing

Chairperson :
Brandon W. Phelps
Vice-Chairperson :
Patrick J Verschoore
Republican Spokesperson :
Jim Sacia
John D. Cavaletto
Shane Cultra
Lisa M. Dugan
Robert F. Flider
Mary E. Flowers
Julie Hamos
Donald L. Moffitt
Richard P. Myers
David Reis
Dan Reitz

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Finally a response from Senator Durbin about the BLM and wild horses

Below is the response to my email that I got from Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. I wrote him when the BLM was talking about killing the wild horses because of lack of funding. You can see by his response that he thinks the BLM is doing a good job. At one time Senator Durbin was a co-sponsor for anti slaughter bills. I wonder who got to him.

January 21, 2009

Dear Mrs. Jirik:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the treatment of wild horses and burros by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). I appreciate hearing from you.

A number of animal rights and conservation groups have expressed concerns about the BLM program that removes wild horses and burros from our federal lands.

For more than 35 years, the BLM has managed wild horses and burros on public lands. When populations of wild horses and burros are found to exceed the appropriate management levels for a given area, selected animals are gathered by the Bureau of Land Management and put up for adoption.

In recent years, adoption rates have declined due to the skyrocketing costs of feed and fuel, leaving an increased number of wild horses and burros under the care of BLM. Unfortunately, funding for the Wild Horse and Burro program has not kept pace with the increasing demands on its resources.
BLM's July 2008 announcement of a proposal to euthanize horses and burros that are not adopted drew strong public criticism.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, has conducted an investigation into BLM's management of wild horses and burros. GAO found that the program will be sustainable over the long term only if BLM revises its current practices and considers a broader range of available options, including euthanasia and sales without limitations, for dealing with those animals unable to be adopted.

The agency's National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board has recommended a number of alternative ways to manage the number of animals currently in BLM holding facilities. The advisory board also recommended that unadopted animals be offered for sale without limitations or humanely euthanized only as a last resort.

BLM has not made a final decision regarding the use of euthanasia or alternative methods to manage the animals under their care. I will keep your concerns in mind.

Thank you again for sharing your views with me. Please feel free to keep in touch.

Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator


Sunday, January 18, 2009

We the People of Illinois. . .

This is how the People of Illinois felt about horses when Carvel was slaughtering them in great numbers. And this is how we still feel about horses now that Carvel is out of Illinois. Let us not forget why we got into this fight to save the horses; let us not forget their suffering and let us not forget they are still suffering the horrors of slaughter. We will fight until they are all safe!

PREFACE TO THE ILLINOIS antislaughter LAW - it precedes the first section, 225 ILCS 635/1.5. [This is the law that made DeKalb shut down. . . ]
WHEREAS, The People of the State of Illinois find and declare that:
(a) The horse is a living symbol of the spirit, rugged independence, and tireless energy of our pioneer heritage;
(b) Horses have served us in war, carried us into the West and beyond, hauled our goods on their backs and in wagons, and entertained and partnered with man for thousands of years;
(c) The horse is a part of Illinois' rich heritage, having played a major role in Illinois' historical growth and development;
(d) Horses contribute significantly to the enjoyment of generations of recreation enthusiasts in Illinois, while contributing tremendous economic benefit;
(e) Horses are not raised for food or fiber and are taxed differently than food animals; and
(f) Horses can be stolen, or purchased without disclosure or under false pretenses, to be slaughtered or shipped for slaughter; and this practice has contributed to crime and consumer fraud; and
WHEREAS, The General Assembly hereby also declares the purpose and intent of this amendatory Act to be as follows:
(a) To recognize the horse as an important part of Illinois' heritage that deserves protection from those who would slaughter horses for food for human consumption; and
(b) To enact into law that which has been widely accepted for generations in this State: it is immoral and unlawful to slaughter horses in this State to be used for food for human consumption;
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, . . .[etc and then it goes into the law itself - the law that shut down DeKalb and was upheld by the federal courts].

Just substitute "United States" where it says "Illinois" and there you have it . . .

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Please Take Action Against DD Trailers for Equines

This is an Alert!

Legislation Being Introduced to the 111th Congress- HR 305

Stop Inhumane Horse Transport

Doubler decker trailers are designed for short-necked species, such as cattle and hogs, not horses. However, current federal law allows horses to be transported in these trailers to any destination other than slaughter plants.
Since these trailers are not meant to carry horses, frequently the top deck of the trailer will collapse, resulting in horrific injuries and even death. Just last year, a double decker trailer carrying 59 young Belgian horses overturned on an Illinois highway, killing 17 horses and injuring dozens of others.
Fortunately, Representatives Kirk (R-IL) and Cohen (D-TN) introduced, H.R. 305, the Horse Transportation Safety Act, to ban the use of double decker trailers for all horse transport.
TAKE ACTIONPlease make a brief, polite phone call to your U.S. Representative to urge support for H.R. 305 to prohibit double decker trailers for horse transport. You can reach your Representative through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or click here to look up your Representative and the phone number.
After making your call, fill in and submit the form on the right to automatically send an email to your U.S. Representative. Remember to personalize the email message by expressing your opinion in your own words; it's much more effective.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Note From One of Our Illinois Allies

I thought I might post a note from one of our allies in the House. She is Jan Schakowsky, the 9th District, of Evanston. Please notice that her first letter is about the closing of Cavel from June 16, 2008. SCHAKOWSKY RESPONDS TO SUPREME COURT’S DECISION NOT TO HEAR APPEAL OF ILLINOIS HORSE SLAUGHTER BAN Washington, D.C.—U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) released the following statement today in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Cavel International’s appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision to uphold the constitutionality of Illinois’ law to ban horse slaughter. The Cavel International Horse Slaughter plant located in Dekalb, Illinois was allowed to continue to operate during the first appeals process.
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a major victory for animal welfare advocates and horses. The decision finally puts a stop to Cavel’s endless appeals to challenge the constitutionality of the Illinois law. For over a year, Cavel manipulated the legal process in order to continue slaughtering horses even though the plant knew it would eventually have to comply with the law. Unfortunately, thousands of American horses were slaughtered while Cavel tied up this issue in the courts.
While the Supreme Court’s decision reinforces the right of states to ban horse slaughter, it also renews calls for a federal standard to eliminate the need for individual state bans and protracted legal battles. I hope that today’s decision will inspire Congress to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. My bipartisan bill would ban horse slaughter in the U.S. and prohibit the export of horses for slaughter abroad. I urge my colleagues in Congress to follow Illinois, California and Texas by passing my bill and getting it signed into law.”
U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky – 9th District, Illinois

E-Newsletter January 9, 2009


Dear Friend,

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to address pay discrimination against women. As the Democratic Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues, I was proud to speak in support of both of the bills on the House floor. The Democratic-led Congress under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi demonstrated its commitment toward ending gender discrimination by passing those bills during the first week of the 111th Congress.

The Paycheck Fairness Act will strengthen the Equal Pay Act and close the loopholes that have allowed employers to avoid responsibility for discriminatory pay. The act puts gender-based discrimination on equal footing with other forms of wage discrimination by allowing women to sue for compensatory and punitive damages. Under the act, an employer would have to show that the disparity is job-related and not sex-based. It also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who discuss or disclose salary information with their co-workers.

In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that Lilly Ledbetter waited too long to sue her employer for pay discrimination, despite the fact that the discrimination was ongoing and that she had filed a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as soon as she found out about the pay discrimination. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act restores the law as it was prior to the Supreme Court’s decision by clarifying that each paycheck resulting from a discriminatory pay decision would constitute a new violation of employment nondiscrimination law, and therefore, restart the clock for filing a claim.

Although the wage gap between men and women has narrowed since the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women still only make 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man and the wage gap is even worse for minority women. As a result of the wage gap, single women are twice as likely to be in poverty as single men and millions of women are unable to retire, especially during these tough economic times.

While more work needs to be done, I believe that those bills go a long way toward leveling the playing field between men and women in the workforce.


Chicago Office:5533 North Broadway, Suite 2Chicago, IL 60640Phone: (773) 506-7100Fax: (773) 506-9202
Evanston Office:820 Davis Street, Suite 105Evanston, IL 60201Phone: (847) 328-3409Fax: (847) 328-3425
Washington, DC Office:2367 Rayburn HOBWashington, DC 20515Phone: (202) 225-2111Fax: (202) 226-6890
For more information, visit:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Response to Anti-Horse Slaughter Legislations: Bad for Horses, Bad for Society

Laura Jane Durfee
Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington
Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 84, 2009

Anti-Horse Slaughter Legislation: Bad for Horses, Bad for Society

Abstract: The United States horse slaughter industry is on its deathbed. The demise of the industry follows various animal welfare groups' increased activism in recent years to eliminate domestic equine slaughter. These proponents' arguments are emotionally charged. For example, they claim that horses are "a rich part of American culture" without addressing what will really happen to "rescued" horses that would otherwise be destined for slaughter. While horses have played an important role in this nation's history, romanticizing the horse's place in our society while ignoring the consequences that are likely to follow a slaughter ban does little, if anything, for equine welfare. The elimination of domestic equine slaughter does not benefit equine welfare and has negative economic effects on the horse industry. Equine adoption agencies can neither absorb nor fund care for the 65,000 to 90,000 unwanted horses a year that owners can no longer send to equine processing plants. Additionally, the cost of euthanizing and disposing of carcasses is often prohibitive to owners, as is properly caring for unwanted horses. If legislators eliminate the option of slaughter for horse owners, the number of abused, neglected, malnourished, and abandoned horses will likely increase. However, a slaughter ban would adversely affect more than just the interests of horses. The elimination of horse slaughter would further strain animal rescue groups and cause significant economic damage to slaughter plant owners and workers, the horse industry, and the environment.
Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: December 29, 2008 ; Last revised: January 04, 2009
Suggested Citation
Durfee, Laura Jane,Anti-Horse Slaughter Legislation: Bad for Horses, Bad for Society. Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 84, 2009. Available at SSRN:
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Contact Information
Laura Jane Durfee (Contact Author)
Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington ( email )
211 S. Indiana AvenueBloomington, IN 47405United States

Ms. Durfee, I read the abstract of your paper, Anti-Horse Slaughter Legislation: Bad for Horses, Bad for Society ( If you wouldn’t mind indulging me 10 minutes of your time, I would like to discuss your conclusions. As with any white paper, article, college thesis or opinion that will be published, the author must look at the whole, analyze information and data and then, based on the results of the analysis, form an educated conclusion or opinion. It does not appear that you have done that.

As an example, you state the elimination of domestic equine slaughter does not benefit equine welfare and has negative economic effects on the horse industry. What is your basis for this statement? Slaughter in general does not benefit equine welfare. It is the ultimate abuse. Is this based on the pro slaughter argument that the US plants were more humane than Mexico and Canada? If so, if you haven’t done so already, I would suggest you view the 906 page USDA FOIA on the Beltex plant in Texas – also referred to as SlaughterGate. This is irrefutable evidence that horse slaughter is not humane anywhere it occurs. You can read the report here: Is the economic impact the $42M that was mentioned in the recent NCSL resolution? If so, according to the American Horse Council, the industry income is $150 Billion. Would you not agree that $42M on that base is no more than a rounding factor? Or are you referring to the economic impact on owners and breeders that would be forced to take responsibility for their horses?

Where in your analysis do you address the cause for the surplus of horses? You are recommending a solution (slaughter) without addressing the root cause (over breeding and irresponsibility). Did you apply the simple supply and demand theory? If there is a surplus, isn’t the answer to cut back on production? In the case of horses, wouldn’t that mean to curtail breeding? Slaughter is not a cure but a symptom of the cause. Slaughter will not fix the cause; it will perpetuate the cause. I am always amazed at the pro slaughter articles. They blame everyone and everything but the cause. As an example, every year, the number one breed of horse going to slaughter is the Quarter Horse. Every year, the AQHA registers in excess of 140,000 foals that have been brought into the horse population. Do you not think that this is a huge contributor? Where do you address owner responsibility? Why is it that the pro slaughter groups only advocate a solution for irresponsible owners and breeders of less than 1% of the horse population? Did you research the other 99% to find out what they are doing and why they don’t need slaughter? Not only does slaughter not correct problems, it hides them. Owners can abuse their horse, dump him at an auction and never be held accountable for their actions. Slaughter promotes and rewards over breeding. How will slaughter correct the breed and dump cycle? How will the availability of slaughter change over breeding behaviors or make owners take responsibility for their horses?

You are assuming that neglect, abandonment and abuse will increase without slaughter. The solution is to slaughter the horses just in case? History has proven otherwise on increases in abuse and neglect. In my state, Illinois, the abuse and neglect statistics actually reflect a decrease in reports during the two year period Cavel was shut down. If you have been keeping up with the latest round of pro slaughter articles, you will note the theme is abandoned horses resulting from the closure of the domestic plants. Let’s look at that. It is a fact that more horses were slaughtered this year than when the domestic slaughter plants were open (see USDA statistics). Therefore, the only conclusion is that the closure of the slaughter plants has had no negative impact on slaughter. If there was a negative impact, you would have seen a reduction in the slaughter numbers. Since slaughter is still available through the same auctions and kill buyers, how can there be abandoned horses if slaughter prevents this? The conclusion is there is no correlation between abandonment and the availability of slaughter. This is also explains why the reports of abuse and abandonment were so high when the domestic plants were open.

The strain on rescues would be no more than it is now. Did you take into account that rescues spend much more money rescuing horses from slaughter than they would with owners giving them their horses? The cost of ransom to the kill buyers and vet bills from the abuse they encounter in the hands of kill buyers and feedlots would be eliminated. I’m sure you will agree that if the owners were not paid to send their horses to slaughter and the dumping outlet didn’t exist, the amount of horses destined for slaughter would decrease.

You, like many pro slaughter advocates, are using the disposal argument. Why is it so difficult to put aside $300 to provide a humane death (and disposal) when ownership is taken? The cost of euthanasia and disposal is no more than the cost of one month’s care. If they can afford to own a horse when it is healthy and being used, they can certainly afford one more month’s cost to provide a humane death. That is the most shallow, irresponsible excuse for horse slaughter and speaks volumes of the owner’s ethics. They claim the horses are no longer useful, have no value and are not wanted. If that is the case, why do they expect to be paid to dispose of the horse? Dog and cat owners are not paid to dispose of their animals. They are in the same category as horses. Companion, work, service and sport. Horses, dogs and cats are not food animals in this country. They are not an acceptable American food source so why do we allow horses to be slaughtered like livestock? We surely wouldn’t stand for this for dogs and cats to supply the Asian markets.

Another pro slaughter mantra is that we use emotional arguments. Quite the contrary. It is the pro slaughter advocates that play upon people’s emotions. The tsunami of abandoned horses. Is that not a tactic used to play upon emotions to scare the reader? Slaughter was much more humane in the US than Mexico. Again, using an argument that doesn’t hold water to play upon emotions to evoke sympathy to convince the reader that plants are needed in the US. We do not and have not said that horses are pretty and should not be slaughtered. Yes, the horse helped settle America. What is emotional about that statement? Is it not a fact? A fact cannot be emotional. It is a statement. A fact can evoke different emotions in people but a fact, in itself, is not emotional. What is emotional about stating the differences between livestock and horses? Horses are used for many purposes in our society such as law enforcement, therapy, sport, pleasure, work and the list goes on and on. None of those functions are as a food animal. The differences are important. They clearly demonstrate the role horses perform that livestock do not and cannot perform.

Then there is the property rights argument. I’m sure you are well aware that the 5th amendment addresses this. The rights of the owner that has had his horse stolen and sent to slaughter, out trumps the owner wishing to send his horse to slaughter. The owner of the stolen horse has suffered irreparable harm.

Since you are involved in the law profession, I would suggest you read the 1958 Humane Slaughter Act. You can find a copy here: You will note, by virtue of this act, horse slaughter is already illegal in America. I would think someone in the law profession would question why the USDA never upheld this statute.

May I ask why you are concerned about economic damage to the foreign owners in Belgium and France? Surely you are aware that the plants were foreign owned. The product and profits went overseas. What you should be concerned with is the impact to the US of the three plants not paying federal tax. As an American, you should be furious that a multi-million dollar industry didn’t pay tax. As far as jobs lost, there were a total of 200 employees between the 3 plants. Of those employees, 85% were illegal. The hit to US jobs was a total of 30. You also mention there is an impact to the environment. This is not true. The owners of 800,000 horses humanely euthanize and dispose of their horses without issue. Why would an additional less than 1% cause an environmental issue? Again, you appear to be repeating false information contained in pro slaughter articles.

Lastly, please do not think that calling slaughter, processing, makes it more palatable. Horses are not harvested, recycled or processed. They are slaughtered. Please use the correct terminology.

My apologies if the abstract was taken out of context and does not reflect your full analysis of the facts. I can only respond to what has been printed and as such, it is sorely lacking a whole picture and what resources and facts were used to determine your opinion. In addition to the AVMA, AAEP and AQHA which I’m sure are resources of yours, did you also interview the VEW and other anti slaughter organizations, professionals and legislators or did you obtain your information only from the pro slaughter side? If these are personal opinions of yours and not a paper based on research, the abstract should disclose that it is based on personal opinion.

To be fair and provide disclosure, you should know that I have blind copied 150 of my colleagues. We will all be looking forward to your response.

Thank you for your time.

Vicki Tobin