Friday, January 30, 2009

The Abandoned Horse Reward Fund

What an excellent idea!

For Immediate Release


Washington, DC (January 29, 2009) – The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) announced today the establishment of the “Animal Welfare Institute Abandoned Horse Reward Fund.” Under the program, individuals providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who abandons a horse in violation of state law will be rewarded with up to $1,000 by AWI. “We’ve heard time and time again from those defending horse slaughter that the fight to end this cruel practice has led to an increase in abandoned horses. The truth is that the number of American horses going to slaughter now is the same or higher as before the domestic plants closed under state law. In fact, killer buyers seem to be buying more horses than when the plants were open,” said Chris Heyde, AWI’s Deputy Director of Government and Legal Affairs.

Under the program, individuals with evidence should first contact their local police department, provide as many details as possible about the horse abandonment situation and let the department know about the Animal Welfare Institute Abandoned Horse Reward Fund. In such cases, eligibility for rewards and specific reward amounts will be determined by AWI. For complete terms and conditions of this reward fund, please go to

“If horses are being neglected or abandoned and the law is being violated, individuals need to be held accountable. Caring for a horse or any animal is a lifelong responsibility and not something you toss aside when inconvenient. We hope our reward fund will assist in bringing criminals to justice,” said Chris Heyde.

The Animal Welfare Institute has been at the forefront of efforts to pass a federal law to end horse slaughter. While the few remaining horse slaughter plants operating in the US were shut down in 2007 under state law, the absence of a federal law means that American horses are still at risk of being slaughtered for human consumption, and more than 100,000 horses were exported to Mexico and Canada in 2008 for that purpose. In Canada, horses are often shot to death while in Mexico some plants still use the “puntilla” knife to stab the horse into a state of paralysis prior to being slaughtered while still fully conscious. The meat is then sold to high-end consumers in Europe and Asia. Congress is currently considering the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503), which will protect American horses from this brutal trade.


For further information contact:
Chris Heyde, 202-446-2142
Liz Ross, 202-497-6780

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Economic woes forcing owners to give up horses

By JAY LINDSAY Associated Press Writer
Updated: 01/29/2009 01:18:57 AM PST

METHUEN, Mass.—Andy Cardinale recalls with affection the day one of his horses gently deposited his son on a snow bank when the animal was tired of being ridden, or the smile on his handicapped wife's face as she watched the animals graze.
Such memories are why he worked so hard to keep his horses after his temporary job agency failed, his mortgage rate rose and the equity in his Jackson, Maine, property evaporated. When the house was finally foreclosed last year, he had to give up his five horses.

"The horses were our family. How much stronger can I put it?" said Cardinale, who now takes his wife to visit one of their ponies at the Last Chance Ranch rescue farm in nearby Troy. "There's a piece of us missing until we're there."

Horse owners around the country have been forced into the same painful situation. Rescue farms are packed, and exponential increases in the numbers of surrendered and abandoned horses are being reported coast to coast.

Job losses and foreclosure combined with higher hay and grain prices have made the cost of caring for a horse—at least $3,000 to $4,000 annually in many areas—just too much. Some say the problem has been exacerbated by closure of the country's last horse slaughterhouses, which took animals that owners couldn't afford or didn't want.

"The economy is at a point now where you've got your priority list: 'Let's see, are the kids or the horses going to eat this morning?'" said Ed Foster, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Agriculture.

Financial problems are the story behind many of the record 39 horses surrendered in 2008 at Nevins Farm in Methuen, Mass., a shelter for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said manager Melissa Ghareeb.

The shelter, in the hills of northeastern Massachusetts, struggles with rising costs, falling donations and constant arrivals of horses. It had to get creative with its space, including putting up ponies in a sheep shed until foster homes could be found.

"We're stretched," Ghareeb said.

There are no national statistics on the number of surrendered or abandoned horses, though the Washington-based Unwanted Horse Coalition, which works to reduce the number of unwanted horses, hopes to complete a nationwide survey by the end of February.

There is plenty of anecdotal evidence of an increase.

In northern Nevada, 63 abandoned horses were found in 2008, roughly three times as many as in 2007. The Horse Shelter in Cerrillos, N.M., had a record high of 48 horses at one time in 2008, including an abandoned mare that survived being shot five times in the head. In Kansas, the Valley Equine Rescue and Sanctuary hosted a high of 32 horses at one time last year—double its normal population.

In states with more open land and wild horses, such as Idaho and Nevada, owners are simply turning the animals loose, hoping they'll be accepted into a wild herd. But the horses are inevitably rejected by the herds, and struggle to survive on the fringe of the range, Foster said.

Euthanizing and disposing of unwanted horses typically costs a couple hundred dollars. In the past, such horses might have been sold for slaughter in the horse meat industry. But 2008 was the first full year U.S. slaughterhouses were closed, following the shutdowns of the final three under state-imposed bans, and some say that has increased the problem of abandoned horses.

"In this Pollyanna world, you think you're going to get rid of—in their minds—this horrific thing, and what it's created is more problems than we had to begin with," said Jennifer Hancock of the American Quarterhorse Association.

About 95,000 American horses were killed last year in Canadian or Mexican slaughterhouses. That's about 12,000 fewer than in 2007, when the North American total included horses killed in U.S. slaughterhouses, and 39,000 fewer than in 2006, according to a Humane Society of the United States summary of federal counts and foreign trade statistics.

The Humane Society's Keith Dane doesn't believe the slaughterhouse shutdowns are affecting the horse glut, saying the bad economy is the dominant factor. He said foreign slaughterhouses are absorbing the horses no longer being killed in the United States, noting that the number of American horses exported to Mexico for slaughter rose from about 11,000 to 57,000 in the last two years.

Tom Lenz, chairman of the Unwanted Horse Coalition, said a more affordable way to euthanize and dispose of horses is needed, but believes finding one won't be easy.

"The American public has a tremendous love affair for horses, even if they don't own horses or have never been near a horse," Lenz said. "So it's an extremely emotional issue."


On the Net:

Unwanted Horse Coalition:

Last Chance Ranch:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

AK Legislature Wants Horse Slaughter Plants

The pro-slaughters are organizing on a state-by-state basis. Looks like the result of the National Commission of State Legislatures whos agricultural delegation met last November to discuss ways in which to defeat anti-slaughter measures. You can read more about the NCSL by cutting and pasting this link;


1 State of Arkansas
2 87th General Assembly DRAFT GLG/RCK
3 Regular Session, 2009 HCR
5 By: Representative Ragland
13 Subtitle
20 WHEREAS, horse processing is the most tightly regulated animal harvest;
21 and
23 WHEREAS, horse processing is the only animal processing for which
24 transportation is regulated; and
26 WHEREAS, the Horse Welfare Coalition estimates that annually ninety
27 thousand (90,000) to one hundred thousand (100,000) unwanted horses will be
28 exposed to potential abandonment and neglect if horse processing plants are
29 forced to close and horse export options are eliminated; and
31 WHEREAS, those ninety thousand (90,000) to one hundred thousand
32 (100,000) unwanted horses will compete each year for adoption with the
33 thirty-two thousand (32,000) wild horses that United States taxpayers are
34 currently paying forty million dollars ($40 million) to shelter and feed; and
36 WHEREAS, the nation's inadequate, overburdened, and unregulated horse
2 11-03-2008 08:56 GLG009
rescue and adoption f 1 acilities cannot handle the influx of approximately
2 sixty thousand (60,000) or more additional horses each year that would result
3 from a harvesting ban, according to the Congressional Research Service; and
5 WHEREAS, many zoo animal diets rely on equine protein because it
6 closely resembles the food that the zoo animal would consume in the wild; and
8 WHEREAS, many veterinarians and animal nutritionists assert that equine
9 protein is the healthiest diet for big cats and rare birds; and
11 WHEREAS, the only source of equine protein that is inspected by the
12 United States Department of Agriculture will be eliminated if federal
13 legislation shuts down horse processing facilities,
19 That the House of Representatives of the Eighty-seventh General
20 Assembly of the State of Arkansas requests all members of the Arkansas
21 congressional delegation to support the continuation of horse processing in
22 the United States and to offer incentives that help create horse processing
23 plants, such as state-inspected horse harvest for export.
25 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the House of Representatives of the Eighty26
seventh General Assembly of the State of Arkansas urges the Congress of the
27 United States to support new horse processing facilities and the continuation
28 of existing facilities on both the state and national level.
30 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the House of Representatives of the Eighty31
seventh General Assembly of the State of Arkansas urges the Congress of the
32 United States to oppose S. 311 and H.R. 503 of the 110th Congress and to
33 support the processing of horses in the United States and internationally.
35 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the House of Representatives of the Eighty36
seventh General Assembly of the State of Arkansas supports the location of United States 1 Department of Agriculture-approved horse processing facilities
2 on state, tribal, or private lands under mutually-acceptable and market3
driven land leases and, if necessary, a mutually-acceptable assignment of
4 revenues that meets the needs of all parties involved with the horse
5 processing facility; and
7 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, after adoption, copies of this resolution
8 shall be sent by the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives to the
9 members of Arkansas's congressional delegation, the President of the United
10 States Senate, and the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

ND Legislators Want New Horse-Slaughter Plant in U.S.

North Dakota Bill To Study Impact of Equine Slaughter Facility
by: Kimberly S. Brown, Editor
January 24 2009, Article # 13504

North Dakota legislators are advancing a plan that would allow the nation's only equine slaughter facility to be built in that state, according to an article on

According to the article, Rep. Rod Froelich, D-Selfridge, and Sen. Joe Miller, R-Park River, sponsored House Bill 1496, which would direct the state's commerce department to conduct a $100,000 study to see if a privately owned horse slaughterhouse would be viable in that state.

Since 2006 horse slaughter has not been legal throughout the United States due to a removal of federal meat inspectors from slaughter facilities. There is national legislation being considered that would permanently ban equine slaughter in the United States.

Comments from locals in the article were in support of the bill due to the increased number of unwanted horses in the area and the United States.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Friends of Equines Makes News Again

Horse killing spawns petition for law

KEITH WHITCOMB JR., Staff Writer, The Bennington Banner
Posted: 01/20/2009 03:02:27 AM EST

Tuesday, January 20

HOOSICK, N.Y. — A call for stricter animal cruelty legislation is making its way up the governmental ladder and is being urged in an online petition circulated by a local woman.
Much of the activity is the result of a bay horse named Skye, owned by Dawn Feathers, that was stabbed to death while stabled at a barn on Hill Road in Hoosick in late December. Police arrested Michael J. Lohnes, 25, of Hoosick Falls in connection with the crime. They also arrested Lohnes's girlfriend, Alyna O'Donovan, 17.

O'Donovan, police believe, was not present at the time of the horse's killing, but was on probation while being on the run with Lohnes.

The term "companion animal," does not refer to livestock, according to police. For Lohnes to be charged with a felony, the prosecution will have to prove Skye counted as a companion animal.

A local resident, Casey Webster, 21, said she has begun circulating a petition through e-mail that is urging the full weight of the law be used against Skye's killer. Webster, who attends college in Maine and is aquatinted with Feathers, said her parents had kept the horse's death a secret from her initially, knowing the news would upset her.

"I was pretty upset," Webster said. "I couldn't sleep."

She said she went online to create a petition, but found there already was one. The petition she found is sponsored by a group called Friends of Equines FOES of Equine Slaughter.

As of Monday, the petition had collected over 1,200 signatures, exceeding its goal of 1,000. The posts come mainly from the United States, but a few seem to be from as far away as France, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

"We are asking that no leniency be shown by the court for heartless criminals such as this," the petition reads. "Studies have shown a distinctive link between people who abuse animals and violent crime against humans."

Webster, who owns horses herself, said her love of animals drove her to helping to circulate the petition.

The incident has caused motion in the government as well. Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, R-Schenectady, has said Buster's Law, a law that makes aggravated cruelty to a "companion animal" a felony, needs to be strengthened in light of recent cases involving crimes committed against animals.

Tedisco's proposed amendments to Buster's Law would require those convicted of crimes involving animal cruelty to undergo psychiatric evaluations before being allowed to own or adopt an animal, and to be under stricter probation guidelines.

The horse incident previously roused the interest of the Rensselaer County Legislature, with Legislators Lester Goodermote and Stan Brownell calling for Buster's law to be strengthened.

Goodermote and Brownell's comments have echoed Tedisco's sentiments on the matter, who had been speaking about the strengthening of Buster's Law, which he originally sponsored in 2003, since July 2008.

In July, Tedisco cited two cases involving cats that had been tortured and killed near Troy. Buster's Law itself is named after a cat that had been doused in kerosene and lit on fire by a teenager in Schenectady in 1997.

Tedisco said in a statement that those with a history of animal abuse often go on to commit similar crimes involving humans. Goodermote and Brownell echoed these concerns in their statements.

Police said the motive behind the killing of Skye may have had little to do with the horse. The animal was being stabled at Lohnes's cousin's barn, and that Lohnes was attempting to commit burglary, police said.

Lohnes may have thought the horse belonged to his cousin and killed it as part of a dispute the two had been having, according to police.

Contact Keith Whitcomb at

Click on title above to see (and sign) petition;

Full Article;

Friday, January 16, 2009

AHC Pres Jay Hickey Speaks:

New Congress, Same Issues for Equine Industry
by: Edited Press Release

January 15 2009, Article # 13452

The 111th Congress has convened and the Democrats have picked up seats in both the House and Senate. The country also has a new President, Barack Obama, who will take office Jan. 20, 2009. Many are wondering what these changes will mean for the horse industry.

"For the most part, issues affecting the horse industry are not partisan," noted American Horse Council (AHC) president Jay Hickey. "Like most industries, our legislative concerns don't clearly split along party lines. Democrats may approach issues from a different perspective than Republicans, and vice-versa, but the industry works on a bi-partisan basis with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle."

Nonetheless, since the Democrats now hold larger majorities in both houses, there could be less partisan "gridlock" that has prevented Congress from acting on legislation in the past. But the margins are not so great that the Democrats can simply push through whatever they want. They will still need some Republican support, particularly in the Senate, to pass legislation.

Tax issues and the state of the economy will have a starring role in the coming months. The inclusion of the Equine Equity Act in the farm bill that was passed in the last Congress was a victory for the horse industry. Beginning in 2009, all racehorses will be depreciated over three years, regardless of when they are placed in service.

But the second part of the Equine Equity Act, which would reduce the holding period for horses to one year from two for capital gains purposes, was not passed. This issue will once again be pushed by the horse industry, along with the Pari-Mutuel Conformity and Equality Act, which would repeal the 25% withholding tax on winning wagers of more than $5,000 when the odds are at least 300-to-one.

The increase of the Section 179 expense deduction to $250,000, and the reinstatement of bonus depreciation, were included in last year's tax stimulus bill. Both expired at the end of 2008, but the American Horse Council thinks it is likely that Congress will extend both provisions in this year's stimulus bill. As Congress considers these bills, the AHC says it will be important to remind Congress of the $102 billion impact of the horse industry and the 1.4 million jobs the industry supports.

In the "old" issues category, the last Congress tried to enact comprehensive immigration reform several times, but failed.

The horse industry relies heavily on foreign labor. Some of this labor is provided by the H-2A agricultural and H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker programs, which are costly and inefficient, according to the AHC. In addition, the H-2B program is capped by Congress at 66,000 workers a year, making competition for these workers from all industries intense.

The AHC supports a comprehensive approach to our immigration problems that would address a better guest worker program and a way to handle undocumented workers in the United States. The last Congress considered the AgJobs bill, which dealt specifically with undocumented agricultural workers and would have reformed the H-2A program. In addition, the Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act would have provided some cap relief to H-2B users. Both of these bills will be debated again.

"The agricultural industry laid a good foundation for reform with the AgJobs bill, and that will be pushed again in this Congress," said Hickey. "Senator Obama and Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA), who has been nominated to be Secretary of Labor, supported AgJobs, so there is reason to hope for action in this Congress."

Internet gambling will continue to be a topic in Congress. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), passed in 2006, contains provisions protecting racing's activities allowed under the Interstate Horseracing Act (IHA). However, rules adopted by the Bush Administration in November could prove troublesome to the industry. It is likely there will be efforts to modify the restrictions on Internet gambling during this Congress in order to regulate, license, and tax it. The horse industry will need to watch any such efforts closely to ensure that any legislation does not adversely impact the current interstate wagering allowed on pari-mutuel horse racing under the IHA.

In the last Congress, several bills were introduced to prohibit the shipping, transporting, or sale of horses for slaughter for human consumption, including the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act and the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act. It is likely the same bills will be reintroduced. The election of Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, replacing Congressman John Dingell (D-MI), could impact the passage of the slaughter prohibition bill. Congressman Waxman cosponsored the legislation in the last Congress, while Dingell did not.

Legislation was introduced in the last Congress to ensure equestrians are not unfairly excluded or removed from federal public lands to which they have traditionally had access, including the Right to Ride Livestock on Federal Lands Act and the Preserving our Equine Heritage on Public Lands Act. The American Horse Council will be working to make sure similar legislation is reintroduced. But the group says it will need substantial support from horse owners and recreational riders to have any chance of passing this legislation.

Other bills that could impact the horse industry are likely to come up, including the Travel Promotion Act, which could positively impact equine tourism.

No matter what legislation is introduced in the coming months, it will be important for the new Congress to hear from members of the horse industry. This is why the AHC, in cooperation with its member organizations, has launched a new grassroots initiative called the Congressional Cavalry program. All individual horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, trainers, competitors, recreational riders, service providers, or anyone who desire to join the grassroots efforts of the horse community in Washington, are encouraged to join. Through this free program the AHC will let you know when legislation that affects the horse industry is introduced and when and how to contact your members of Congress. To sign up for this program call the AHC at 202/296-4031.

Willie Nelson gives boost to Bend horse-rescue group

Willie Nelson gives big plug for Bend horse rescuers

Country music superstar Willie Nelson has adopted many a cause over the years, but none higher than those who help horses, animals in need

KTVZ.COM story on windstorm caught singer's eye

By Nina Mehlhaf, KTVZ.COM

A country superstar has announced he's taking a Bend non-profit horse rescue under his wing, and asking fans and activists to help support it.

Willie Nelson, the singer and activist, sent an alert out both on his website and through various news organizations Thursday, that he wants fans and fellow animal lovers to support Bend's Equine Outreach.

It all started New Year's Day with this a major windstorm. Wind so strong, it took out full barns, and toppled trees. Some witnesses on Silvis Road called it a tornado.

That's where trees and fences came down at Equine Outreach. Across the street lives a longtime friend of Willie Nelson's daughter, and they happened to be on the phone talking about the storm damage.

Sparked by that conversation, and thanks to a KTVZ.COM story about the damage at Equine Outreach, the singer, who has 45 horses at his Austin ranch, heard about the non-profit, no kill horse rescue.

"Dad always taught me that horses are smarter than people," his daughter, Amy Nelson told NewsChannel 21 in a telephone interview from Tennessee. "And nothing I've ever seen has changed my mind about this."

On Willie's Web page, right at the top, a call to action to help Equine Outreach.

It comes two months after a plea for donations from founder Joan Steelhammer, to keep the horse-rescue operation going.

"It's an incredible honor," Steelhammer said. "And for him to recognize our organization is almost beyond belief."

With no paid staff, the ranch runs only on donations and volunteers who partner with a horse to train and ride, until a healthy home can be found.

Amy Nelson says it's that kind of dedication and non-slaughter commitment that caught her famous dad's eye.

"Shelters or rescues find themselves in a position of rescuing, warehousing and euthanizing," Steelhammer said. "I want to break that cycle and rescue, rehabilitate and adopt."

Willie has come to Bend to perform several times, but it's his bigger role of preventing animal cruelty that grabs his heart.

"Call your senators and representatives and ask them to co-sponsor the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act and that will make the transport for human consumption illegal as well," Nelson said.

To learn more about this legislation and how you can help, just visit Willie Nelson's Website.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bill to End Horse-slaughter Reintroduced in Congress



Washington, DC (January 13, 2009) – The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act was introduced today as HR 464, by House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and Representative Dan Burton (R-IN). They first introduced the bill which will ban horse slaughter, in the summer of 2008. It gained quick bipartisan support and passed out of the Judiciary Committee but did not move further as the legislative clock wound down. Committed to seeing the measure passed into law, Chairman Conyers has given the bill priority in his committee, as signaled by its reintroduction so early on the legislative calendar. With sixty-one original cosponsors, the bill already enjoys strong bipartisan support.

Although the few remaining horse slaughter plants operating in the US were shut down in 2007 under state law, the absence of a federal law banning the practice means that American horses are still at risk of being slaughtered for human consumption. In fact, more than 100,000 horses were exported to Mexico and Canada in 2008 for slaughter; In Canada horses are often shot to death while in Mexico some plants still use the “puntilla” knife to stab the horse into a state of paralysis prior to being slaughtered while still fully conscious. The meat is then sold to high-end consumers in Europe and Asia.

“There are naysayers who claim we should reopen the US plants rather than seek to ban all horse slaughter. Clearly, they’ve already forgotten how awful the plants here were,” said Chris Heyde, deputy director of Government and Legal Affairs for the Animal Welfare Institute.

Documents recently released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal just how brutal conditions were at the US plants before they were shut down. Hundreds of graphic photographs taken by U.S. Department of Agriculture employees at one plant show live horses with missing legs, with eyeballs hanging out, with skin ripped from the body and the birth of foals at the plant. Other photos show horses dead on arrival, having succumbed to the miseries of transport.

“The suffering of hundreds of thousands of our horses rests solely on the shoulders of those blocking this bill. Were it not for their stalling tactics horse slaughter would have ceased years ago. Meanwhile an American horse is slaughtered every five minutes. We commend Chairman Conyers and Representative Burton for taking the lead once again to end this cruel practice through introduction of the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act,” said Heyde.

For further information contact:

Chris Heyde, 202-446-2142

Liz Ross, 202-497-6780

For over 58 years, AWI has been the leading voice for animals across the country and on Capitol Hill. Please join us in our ongoing campaigns to reduce the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans. Sign up for AWI eAlerts to receive the latest news on what you can do to help us protect all animals:

Monday, January 12, 2009

HR 305 Needs Our Support

Alert! HR-305 needs our support

Posted by: "John Holland" hollandtechserv

Sat Jan 10, 2009 3:03 pm (PST)

Hi Folks,

Well, the new 111th Congress has started and we already have a bill. This is not the new anti-slaughter bill, but one to ban the use of double decker trailers for all horse transport. Two years ago they were banned for slaughter horses, but it was difficult to prove the horses were headed to slaughter. Moreover, there is no good reason to ever transport horses this way.
Besides protecting horses in transit, this bill will make slaughter a little bit less profitable. It might also prevent some of the terrible accidents that keep happening with these rigs. Let's get this one passed quick!
John Holland
Stop Inhumane Horse Transport
Double 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.

Please 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.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

HSUS Initiates Training Program for Rescued Horses


The HSUS and Parelli Natural Horsemanship Join Forces in Celebration of Horses

(Jan. 9, 2008)—The Humane Society of the United States and world-renowned natural horsemanship trainers, Pat and Linda Parelli, are joining forces to spotlight the trainability and intelligence of rescued horses. At each of seven U.S. venues for Parelli’s 2009 “Celebration” events, The HSUS will work with a local horse rescue group to help a horse in need of training through a three-day development program with Pat Parelli. At the end of the event, the horse will be offered for adoption to an approved, loving home.

Natural horsemanship is a gentle training technique that uses knowledge about herd dynamics, horse behavior and communication to help people and horses communicate effectively and build trust-based relationships. The Parelli Celebration events will offer three days of inspirational and educational seminars and training sessions, designed to help horse owners understand how to communicate effectively with their horses and build a lasting partnership both in and out of the saddle.

The first Celebration will take place Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at the Williamson Agriculture Park in Franklin, Tenn. Volunteer Equine Advocates, a Tennessee-based horse rescue organization, will provide the featured rescued horse. Video of the Parellis interacting with their horses is here.

“Most horses who end up at rescues are not there because they are ‘bad’ or broken—but because their owners did not have the knowledge or resources to build a successful relationship with them. The Parelli Natural Horsemanship method of training teaches horsemen and women how to communicate effectively with their horses, setting the stage for a long, successful relationship,” said Keith Dane, director of equine protection for The Humane Society of the United States. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Parellis to celebrate horses and help find adoptive homes for rescued horses across the country.”

Pat Parelli said, “Our greatest initiative in the horse industry is to help people have more successful relationships with horses and to not treat them as disposable items. Too many people get out of horses because they get frustrated or afraid, and too many horses suffer as a result… together we can change that.”

This initiative builds on other programs developed by The HSUS to encourage horsemen and women to consider a rescued horse when bringing a new horse into the family and to help horse rescues operate more effectively. In 2007, The HSUS co-founded the Homes for Horse Coalition, a national group of horse welfare organizations working to increase the professionalism of the equine rescue community and end horse slaughter. The HSUS also offers a lending library of Parelli training materials to 501(c)3 horse rescue organizations; a user friendly Web site where horse rescues can post their adoptable horses, free of charge as well as a set of best practices for operating equine rescues and sanctuaries.

A portion of the proceeds of some ticket sales will be donated to The HSUS for its equine protection efforts. In addition, The HSUS will have a booth at each Celebration, where participants will have access to informational brochures and other horse care materials.

Other Celebration venues include: April 17-19 - Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex - Harrisburg, Penn.; May 15-17 - Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center -Reno, Nev.; June 5-7 - Alliant Energy Center - Madison,Wis.; July 24-26 – Kemper Arena - Kansas City, Mo., Sept. 25-27 - Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum - Fort Worth, Texas, and Oct. 9-11 - The Lakeland Arena - Lakeland, Fla.


Media Contact:
Heather Sullivan; 301.548.7778;

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Different Kind of Murder

Subject: A Different Kind of Murder - A tough read but true story

permission to cross post

"... it would make the horrors of Auschwitz look merciful..."

A Different Kind of Murder
(But Murder Nontheless)
-- by Steven Long
The victim stood trapped in a steel box as the assailant stood above
repeatedly stabbing her in the back. He was aiming to sever the spinal cord
but continued to miss. Finally, on the 13th thrust of the stiletto like
knife she dropped to her knees and lay on the concrete floor, her spine
destroyed, but her mind very much alive. A chain was wrapped around her numb
legs and she was hoisted head down as she saw a sharp knife come toward her
and felt the slice into her carotid artery.

Finally, mercifully, she lost consciousness as her four feet were chopped
from her body.

This murder was unusual because it was documented by a news photographer
from a Texas newspaper.

You see, she and a reporter had penetrated the bloody halls of a
slaughterhouse in Juarez, Mexico. The story by San Antonio Express News
reporter Lisa Sandburg has stunned the nation, and perhaps will finally
persuade Congress to move to pass an act that will finally end this horror.
The story broke simultaneously also in the Houston Chronicle.

The Mexican abattoir, and another in Canada, has been busy since equine
slaughter was finally outlawed by the legislatures of Texas and Illinois,
and the laws banning the killing of horses for human consumption were upheld
in two federal appellate courts.

America has never had a hunger for horse meat, yet it is considered a pricey
delicacy in parts of Europe and Japan.

Years ago, two foreign owned companies saw an opportunity and opened
slaughterhouses in Fort Worth and Kaufman, Texas, and also in DeKalb,
Illinois. For years, despite protests from local residents, the killing of
horses took place in these locations to the tune of 100,000 per year until
the two Texas plants were shut down late last year, and the Illinois kill
was closed a couple of months back.

And make no mistake about it; the method of killing a horse in America was
no less painful, cruel, and clumsy than in the foreign slaughterhouses. It
was just mechanized. The U.S. plants used what is called a captive bolt gun.
With this device, a rod was discharged with the idea of hitting the head
sufficient enough to stun the animal who was about to meet its maker and be
transformed from a living beautiful creature to red meat displayed in a
foreign butcher shop.

But the captive bolt missed its mark as often as not and the horses endured
unspeakable suffering until they were finally subdued by a lucky strike. As
in Mexico, horses were hoisted by one leg into the air, their throat slashed
and they were dismembered - as they bled to death.

The killing of horses for their meat is big business. The industry would
have you believe that only old, broken, frail, and useless horses go to
slaughter. That is the big lie. Fat, healthy, horses are bought at auctions
across the land not because they are useless and old, but because they are
healthy and filled with meat. Most often, their owners take them to the
auction hoping that the horse they have loved for years will go to another
adoring home to be used for wholesome recreation.

Recently I was sent a chilling photograph. It showed the carcasses of horses
inside a kill plant hoisted in the process line. Below, their hooves had
just been severed. In the foreground was a hoof with a horseshoe on it.

That horse was never meant for slaughter. It had been cared for by a farrier
in the past six weeks (the proscribed period for shoeing a horse). Its owner
had paid the farrier at least $80 to trim and shoe the animal. The horse
clearly had gone to auction, its owner hoping it would be sold into a good
life as a work horse at worst, or as a pleasure horse which was more likely.

Instead, the highest bidder was the "killer buyer," a bottom feeder in the
horse industry. From that point on, the horse knew nothing but misery. At
auction's end, it was loaded on huge crowded trailer, taken to a feed lot
likely hundreds of miles away, and then shipped on a cattle truck with
ceilings built for low slung cattle. From there, the horse was again shipped
hundreds of miles to the slaughter plant.

The cruelty which goes on 24/7 in this business is unspeakable.

Congress now has before it the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. It
will not only outlaw slaughter from the federal level, it will also make
illegal the transport of horses to slaughter, including transport to plants
currently operating in Mexico and Canada.

Until that happens, horses will still be stabbed to death, be hoisted by
their feet in the air, their throats slashed, and then be bled to death as
their bodies are cut apart while still living. If this happened to humans it
would make the horrors of Auschwitz look merciful.
copyright 2007 Steven Long - all rights reserved

this article is dated 2007 ...
in 2009 the transport & slaughter
of American horses are still
thriving industries in Mexico & Canada

Steven Long is an author, publisher & editor

ask / email President Elect Obama's transition team leaders
to regulate irresponsible over breeding, hold horse owners accountable
to stop the transport & slaughter of our American Horses

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Shea Hillenbrand: Finds passion outside baseball

Finding passion outside baseball

By Thom Loverro

Michael Vick's lawyer hopes his client will be allowed to leave federal prison this month, where he is serving time on dogfighting charges, and move on to a halfway house.

Here's a better idea: Send him to Shea Hillenbrand's farm in Gilbert, Ariz.

"I got six pit bulls here he can play with," the baseball player said. "That is the biggest rescue dog out there. People can't handle them, and they are so hard to adopt out. A lot of pounds and humane societies won't take them. I had seven, but I got one adopted, luckily. They are sweet dogs. You just have to respect them."

Hillenbrand is the anti-Vick - a professional athlete who could be the Humane Society poster boy. He and his wife, Jessica, own and operate Marley Farms, home to more than 100 animals, many of whom were rescued from abuse.

They recently rescued 13 horses from a "feed lot" in Fallon, Nev., where kill-buyers purchase animals with the sole purpose of slaughtering them for profit. And they rescued 32 dogs from local animal-control centers in Superior and Apache Junction, Ariz., just hours before they were to be put down.

Before that, Hillenbrand rescued 26 horses.

"These are young horses, show horses, kid's horses, really sound horses," he said. "It's unfortunate. Our goal is to rescue them and adopt them out, as well as the dogs. Three weeks ago we had 55 dogs. We have successfully adopted out 30 of them already."

Hillenbrand opened Marley Farms, which is primarily a horse farm and boarding facility, in May 2007. He didn't exactly grow up a country boy, born and raised in Arcadia just outside of Los Angeles. His animal exposure was limited to the typical young boy interest - dogs, hamsters and fish. But he had bigger ideas for the future.

"I was a horse farmer who grew up in the city," Hillenbrand said.

He married Jessica, the daughter of a veterinarian from Mesa, Ariz., and in 2001 - Hillenbrand's rookie season with the Boston Red Sox - he bought his first horse. As his baseball career flourished, so did his interest in working with animals. He and Jessica opened Marley Farms, but baseball remained Hillenbrand's first passion.

In 2008, though, he found himself out of a major league job and began devoting more time to Marley Farms. He expanded it to include a program under their foundation, Against All Odds, for underprivileged children to visit with the animals.

"Whether you have one dog or a horse or 150 animals like I do, it is just something that you are born with, that passion, it is in your blood, like baseball," Hillenbrand said. "It is something you feel, and I feel it is one of my purposes in life, to do these things."

Hillenbrand's love for baseball remains, and he wants to land a job this season with a major league team. The 33-year-old said his agent has had preliminary talks with the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics.

"We will see," he said. "I am preparing myself as I do every offseason, and I hope I get the opportunity to play."

Hillenbrand prepared himself to play last offseason but never got a call. He has a career .284 batting average, 108 home runs and 490 RBI in seven major league seasons with the Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

But it was in Toronto in 2006 where Hillenbrand gained a reputation that may have kept him from getting a job last year. He got into a dispute with the organization when he left the team for three days during the adoption process of his daughter and then got into a disagreement over playing time with manager John Gibbons that escalated to the point where Gibbons challenged Hillenbrand to a fight. The Blue Jays traded Hillenbrand to the Giants shortly after.

"That still looms out there," Hillenbrand said. "It was an unfortunate thing that happened. It was a very emotional time in my life with the adoption of my daughter. The manager there had a lot of stress in the situation, and we just didn't see eye to eye on this. The situation got out of control. I have learned from it tremendously, and hopefully I can still have a chance to play."

He wants to play badly enough that he played for the York Revolution in the Atlantic League for a stretch in the hopes of catching with a team late in the season.

"I still want to play," Hillenbrand said. "I took some time off, cleared some things up in my mind in baseball and I tried to pursue it to get picked up in September by someone or to get a job for spring training."

"I am only 33, and I am a late bloomer physically. I feel I can still help a team compete and do some good things. I feel good and can still play, first, third and at [designated hitter]. I can help a team."

He also can help teach a few things to the likes of Vick and others like him who placed such little value on life.
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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Co-Optation: A Pro--Slaughter "Movement Busting" Strategy or Why WE MUST get over our differences and UNITE

From the "Ratical" Journals of John Stauber;

...[C]orporate charity can buy the tacit cooperation of organizations that might otherwise be expected to criticize corporate policies. Some PR firms specialize in helping corporations to defeat activists, and co-optation is one of their tools. Some years ago, in a speech to clients in the cattle industry, Ron Duchin, senior vice-president of the PR firm Mongoven, Biscoe, and Duchin (which represents probably a quarter of the largest corporations in the world), outlined his firm's basic divide-and-conquer strategy for defeating any social-change movement. Activists, he explained, fall into three basic categories: radicals, idealists, and realists. The first step in his strategy is to isolate and marginalize the radicals. They're the ones who see the inherent structural problems that need remedying if indeed a particular change is to occur. To isolate them, PR firms will try to create a perception in the public mind that people advocating fundamental solutions are terrorists, extremists, fearmongers, outsiders, communists, or whatever. After marginalizing the radicals, the PR firm then identifies and "educates" the idealists -- concerned and sympathetic members of the public -- by convincing them that the changes advocated by the radicals would hurt people. The goal is to sour the idealists on the idea of working with the radicals, and instead get them working with the realists.

Realists, according to Duchin, are people who want reform but don't really want to upset the status quo; big public-interest organizations that rely on foundation grants and corporate contributions are a prime example. With the correct handling, Duchin says, realists can be counted on to cut a deal with industry that can be touted as a "win-win" solution, but that is actually an industry victory.

Click on title above to see full article

Friday, January 2, 2009

NCSL: New Foes to Contend with in the 111th Congress

The National Committee of State Legislators:

I talked to my guy personally on Dec 12, staff vice chair Ronald C. Brach, NY., who BOLDLY confessed to me that he was very much against horse slaughter. He is the Staff Vice Chair of the NCSL Ag & Energy Committee. Now I know why he didnt bother to show at the committee meeting last month. The NCSL Agriculture and Energy Committee is the group pushing to re-open the horse slaughter houses in the USA.

NCSL Standing Committees: 2008 - 2009 Conference Year
The NCSL Standing Committees are composed of legislators and legislative staff who are appointed by the leadership of the legislatures. The committees are the main organizational mechanism for serving NCSL members. There are 12 committees that deal with both state and state-federal issues.

The Standing Committees allow legislators and staff to benefit from the experiences of other states in shaping public policy, experimenting with new laws, and managing the legislative institutions. Committee members explore issues that states have to deal with, but committees do not recommend policy to the legislatures on issues that are internal to the states.

Committees do develop policy on state-federal issues to guide NCSL's lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. NCSL's Washington staff lobby the Congress, the White House and federal agencies for the benefit of state legislatures in accord with the policies recommended by the Standing Committees and adopted at the NCSL Annual Business Meeting. The committees' jurisdictions are divided by subject, like the committee jurisdictions in every legislature.


General Officers & NCSL Contacts
Each committee has a legislator chair, a legislative staff chair, two legislative staff vice chairs and at least two legislator vice chairs. The NCSL President has the discretion to appoint additional legislator vice chairs. The overall committee structure consists of one legislator chair, one legislative staff chair, at least two legislator vice chairs and at least two legislative staff vice chairs. The legislator chair and the legislative staff chair are ex-officio members of the NCSL Executive Committee.

NCSL General Officers

Chair: Speaker Terie T. Norelli, New Hampshire
Vice Chair: Representative Joni M. Cutler, South Dakota
Vice Chair: Representative Phillip Frye, North Carolina
Vice Chair: Representative Rae Ann G. Kelsch, North Dakota
Vice Chair: Representative Mark L. Maddox, Tennessee
Vice Chair: Senator Gary L. Stevens, Alaska
Staff Chair: Martha Carter, Nebraska
Staff Vice Chair: Michael P. Adams, Colorado
Staff Vice Chair: Barbara Fellencer, Pennsylvania
Staff Vice Chair: Tara Perkinson, Virginia
Staff Vice Chair: Katherine B. Schill, Minnesota

NCSL CONTACTS: Carl Tubbesing (DC) Jo Anne Bourquard (Denver) Ron Snell (Denver)


All Committees, Officers and NCSL Contacts Officers & NCSL Contacts

NCSL Agriculture and Energy Committee

Chair: Senator Harris B. McDowell III, Delaware
Chair: Senator Stephen R. Morris, Kansas
Vice Chair: Senator Brian Bingman, Oklahoma
Vice Chair: Representative John A. Heaton, New Mexico
Vice Chair: Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi
Vice Chair: Representative Thomas E. Jackson, Alabama
Vice Chair: Representative Sue Wallis, Wyoming
Immediate Past Chair: Senator Beverly Gard, Indiana
Staff Chair: Lowell Atchley, Kentucky
Staff Chair: James Fry, South Dakota
Staff Vice Chair: Josh Applebee, Alaska
Staff Vice Chair: Ronald C. Brach, New York
Staff Vice Chair: Franklin Munyan, Virginia
Staff Vice Chair: Lucretia Shaw Collins, Florida
Staff Vice Chair: Matt Taylor, Georgia
Immediate Past Staff Chair: Scott Young, Nevada
NCSL CONTACTS: Glen Andersen (Denver) Kate Marks (Denver) Lee Posey (DC) Tamra Spielvogel (DC)

NCSL Budgets & Revenue Committee

Chair: Senator Donne E. Trotter, Illinois
Vice Chair: Representative Mark V. Falzone, Massachusetts
Vice Chair: Representative Pryor A. Gibson III, North Carolina
Vice Chair: Senator Jean Hunhoff, South Dakota
Vice Chair: Representative John Otto, Texas
Vice Chair: Representative Sharon J. Schwartz, Kansas
Vice Chair: Delegate Harry Keith White, West Virginia
Immediate Past Chair: Senator Richard Devlin, Oregon
Staff Chair: James White, Tennessee
Staff Vice Chair: Stephanie Barrett, Vermont
Staff Vice Chair: Mitchell Bean, Michigan
Staff Vice Chair: Cynthia Kelly, Florida
Staff Vice Chair: Stephen Kubico, Delaware
Immediate Past Staff Chair: Kathryn (Kate) R. Wade, Wisconsin

NCSL CONTACTS: Bert Waisanen (Denver) Judy Zelio (Denver) Molly Ramsdell (DC)

NCSL Communications, Financial Services & Interstate Commerce Committee

Chair: Representative Phil Montgomery, Wisconsin
Vice Chair: Senator Karin S. Brownlee, Kansas
Vice Chair: Senator Ann Duplessis, Louisiana
Vice Chair: Representative Daniel Adams Eaton, New Hampshire
Vice Chair: Senator Pamela Gorman, Arizona
Vice Chair: Representative Ross Hunter, Washington
Vice Chair: Representative Brian Patrick Kennedy, Rhode Island
Immediate Past Chair: Senator Delores G. Kelley, Maryland
Staff Chair: Mike Sunseri, Kentucky
Staff Vice Chair: Melissa Calderwood, Kansas
Staff Vice Chair: Karen Cochrane-Brown, North Carolina
Staff Vice Chair: Kara Collins-Gomez, Florida
Staff Vice Chair: Rip Colvin, Florida
Staff Vice Chair: Mary Galligan, Kansas
Immediate Past Staff Chair: Jonathan Ball, Utah

NCSL CONTACTS: Heather Morton (Denver) Jo Anne Bourquard (Denver) Neal Osten (DC)

NCSL Education Committee

Chair: Senator Nancy J. King, Maryland
Vice Chair: Representative Bill G. Abernathy, Arkansas
Vice Chair: Representative Larry M. Bell Sr., North Carolina
Vice Chair: Representative Rob Eissler, Texas
Vice Chair: Senator John W. Goedde, Idaho
Immediate Past Chair: Representative Rae Ann G. Kelsch, North Dakota
Staff Chair: Shirley Iorio, North Carolina
Staff Vice Chair: Paul Aguilar, New Mexico
Staff Vice Chair: Lynn Cobb, Florida
Staff Vice Chair: Paula S. Dominguez, Rhode Island
Immediate Past Staff Chair: Frances Ramirez Maestas, New Mexico

NCSL CONTACTS: David Shreve (DC) Michelle Exstrom (Denver)

NCSL Environment Committee

Chair: Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, Virginia
Vice Chair: Senator Jackie Dingfelder, Oregon
Vice Chair: Representative Pricey Harrison, North Carolina
Vice Chair: Representative Karen May, Illinois
Vice Chair: Representative Lynn Ratigan Smith, Georgia
Immediate Past Chair: Senator Beverly Gard, Indiana
Staff Chair: George Givens, North Carolina
Staff Vice Chair: Thomas Hamby, Florida
Staff Vice Chair: Larry Novey, Florida
Staff Vice Chair: John Stolzenberg, Wisconsin
Immediate Past Staff Chair: Scott Young, Nevada

NCSL CONTACTS: Linda Sikkema (Denver) Melissa Savage (Denver) Tamra Spielvogel (DC)

NCSL Health Committee

Chair: Senator Judy Lee, North Dakota
Vice Chair: Senator Ronnie W. Cromer, South Carolina
Vice Chair: Senator Bettye Davis, Alaska
Vice Chair: Representative Keith J. Gillespie, Pennsylvania
Vice Chair: Senator Lisa T. Marrache, Maine
Vice Chair: Senator Patrick Alan Nunnelee, Mississippi
Vice Chair: Senator William R. Purcell, North Carolina
Immediate Past Chair: Assemblyman Herb C. Conaway Jr., New Jersey
Staff Chair: Raul E. Burciaga, New Mexico
Staff Vice Chair: Mark D. Andrews, Utah
Staff Vice Chair: Matt Dull, Florida
Staff Vice Chair: Nolan Langweil, Vermont
Immediate Past Staff Chair: Jacquie Donaldson, New York

NCSL CONTACTS: Joy Johnson Wilson (DC) Martha King (Denver)

NCSL Human Services & Welfare Committee

Chair: Representative Ruth Kagi, Washington
Vice Chair: Representative Barbara W. Ballard, Kansas
Vice Chair: Representative Verla Insko, North Carolina
Vice Chair: Senator Juan M. Pichardo, Rhode Island
Vice Chair: Senator Renee' S. Unterman, Georgia
Immediate Past Chair: Representative Pete Hershberger, Arizona
Staff Chair: Anne Sappenfield, Wisconsin
Staff Vice Chair: Ethel Detch, Tennessee
Staff Vice Chair: P.K. Jameson, Florida
Staff Vice Chair: Charles Sallee, New Mexico
Staff Vice Chair: Nia Wilson, Pennsylvania

NCSL CONTACTS: Jack Tweedie (Denver) Sheri Steisel (DC)

NCSL Labor and Economic Development Committee

Chair: Representative Brent Yonts, Kentucky
Vice Chair: Representative Julie Fisher, Utah
Vice Chair: Representative Lana Gordon, Kansas
Vice Chair: Senator Bill Heath, Georgia
Vice Chair: Representative James Johnson, Delaware
Vice Chair: Senator Gary D. LeBeau, Connecticut
Vice Chair: Representative Juan C. Zapata, Florida
Immediate Past Chair: Representative Phillip Frye, North Carolina
Staff Chair: Andrea Wilko, Utah
Staff Vice Chair: David Cooper, Florida
Staff Vice Chair: Jill C. Fike, Georgia
Staff Vice Chair: John P. Hazzard, South Carolina
Staff Vice Chair: Rkia Rhrib, Kentucky
Immediate Past Staff Chair: Gilbert R. Loredo, Texas

NCSL CONTACTS: Diana Hinton Noel (DC) Jeanne Mejeur (Denver)

NCSL Law & Criminal Justice Committee

Chair: Representative R. Phillip Haire, North Carolina
Vice Chair: Senator Chuck Gray, Arizona
Vice Chair: Representative Jerry Madden, Texas
Immediate Past Chair: Representative Joni M. Cutler, South Dakota
Staff Chair: Robie Ingram, Virginia
Staff Vice Chair: Carol Benoit, Kansas
Staff Vice Chair: Rashada Houston, Florida
Staff Vice Chair: Eric Maclure, Florida
Immediate Past Staff Chair: Michele Childs, Vermont

NCSL CONTACTS: Donna Lyons (Denver) Susan Parnas Frederick (DC)

NCSL Legislative Effectiveness Committee

Chair: Representative Rosie Berger, Wyoming
Vice Chair: Senator Les Ihara Jr., Hawaii
Vice Chair: Representative Tanya Pullin, Kentucky
Immediate Past Chair: Representative Kathy Tingelstad, Minnesota
Staff Chair: Jeffrey A. Finch, Virginia
Staff Vice Chair: JoAnn Hedrick, Delaware
Staff Vice Chair: Lorne J. Malkiewich, Nevada
Staff Vice Chair: Tim Rice, Illinois
Staff Vice Chair: Tom Wright, Alaska
Immediate Past Staff Chair: Tara Perkinson, Virginia

NCSL CONTACTS: Bruce Feustel (Denver) Carl Tubbesing (DC)

NCSL Redistricting & Elections Committee

Chair: Speaker David Clark, Utah
Vice Chair: Representative Martha B. Alexander, North Carolina
Vice Chair: Senator Sue Landske, Indiana
Vice Chair: Representative W. Jene Vickrey, Kansas
Immediate Past Chair: Representative Richard Gallot Jr., Louisiana
Immediate Past Chair: Senator Jeff Wentworth, Texas
Staff Chair: Alfred W. Speer, Louisiana
Staff Chair: Peter S. Wattson, Minnesota
Staff Vice Chair: Scott Casper, Pennsylvania
Staff Vice Chair: Laura DeVivo, North Carolina
Staff Vice Chair: Shantee El, Georgia
Staff Vice Chair: William R. Gilkeson, North Carolina
Staff Vice Chair: Fred Morgan, Oklahoma
Immediate Past Staff Chair: Mary M. Janicki, Connecticut
Immediate Past Staff Chair: Debra Levine, New York

NCSL CONTACTS: Tim Storey (Denver)

NCSL Transportation Committee

Chair: Senator Dennis Nolan, Nevada
Vice Chair: Assemblymember Kelvin Atkinson, Nevada
Vice Chair: Representative Terri J. Austin, Indiana
Vice Chair: Senator Capri Cafaro, Ohio
Vice Chair: Senator D. Scott Dibble, Minnesota
Vice Chair: Senator Paula Dockery, Florida
Vice Chair: Representative Richard A. Geist, Pennsylvania
Vice Chair: Representative Linda Harper-Brown, Texas
Immediate Past Chair: Representative Daniel P. Silva, New Mexico
Staff Chair: Eric Bugaile, Pennsylvania
Staff Vice Chair: Jennifer Jones, Texas
Staff Vice Chair: Teresa B. Tinker, Florida
Immediate Past Staff Chair: John Snyder, Kentucky

NCSL CONTACTS: Jim Reed (Denver)

New Holland Auction Charged with Animal Cruelty Again

Allegedly left live cow atop dead animals Intelligencer Journal
Published: Dec 31, 2008
01:23 EST
New Holland
ArticleMapRelatedShare ItDon't Link Tags
By SUSAN E. LINDT, Staff WriterThe owner and an employee of New Holland Sales Stables have been charged with animal cruelty for allegedly allowing a cow with a bullet in its head to lie for hours on a pile of dead animals.

Kerry Flanagan of Humane League of Lancaster County said an anonymous caller alerted authorities at 2 p.m. Dec. 16 that the cow was on the stables' "dead pile" — where animals deemed unsuitable for sale are placed after being euthanized — still breathing, bleeding and moving.

Humane police officer John Matrisciano reported that when he arrived at the stables at 6 p.m., the cow was still alive and flailing.

"The cow was on the dead pile by the Dumpster, and there was movement in its leg," Flanagan said. "It was lying in a puddle of its own blood, and there was a small-caliber bullet entry hole in its forehead. You could tell by the marks on the ground that it was dragged from inside the barn out to the dead pile."

Flanagan said Matrisciano alerted stable employees that the cow was not dead, and an employee shot and killed her at 6:30 p.m.

Matrisciano charged the stable owner, David Cobb, and employee Thomas Warner, for not verifying the cow was dead after she was shot.

Flanagan said the summary offense charges filed by Matrisciano on Dec. 17 stem from state law that requires humane killing of injured or sick animals.

"Legally, they are responsible for shooting the animal and putting it out of its suffering," Flanagan said. "Since they didn't do that, the original employee who shot the cow and did not verify that it was dead and the owner have both been charged with summary offenses for allowing it to suffer for hours on the floor of the auction."

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By law, animals at the auction being sold for human consumption that are found to be sick or injured must be euthanized.

Flanagan said animals that are unable to walk off transportation vehicles on their own also may not be sold and must be killed.

In many cases, animal-cruelty charges against a defendant increase in severity upon subsequent convictions. However, though New Holland Sales Stables has been charged with cruelty in the past for the same offense, Flanagan said the most recent charges are only summary offenses — the lowest level of criminal charge — because the statute that increases the severity of charges against repeat offenders applies only in crimes against dogs and cats.

According to newspaper records, New Holland Sales Stables was charged with animal cruelty in February 2006 when humane police officers found an ailing sheep alive in a Dumpster and a live Holstein cow on the dead pile.

In that article, former SPCA officer Pennell Hopkins said New Holland Sales Stables had a documented history of similar offenses but had not been charged with animal cruelty.

"This has been an ongoing problem at the sales stables, live animals being left on the dead pile, and they receive no veterinarian attention except when I have called attention to it," Hopkins said in 2006. " … They've had enough warnings about live animals being left on the dead pile. Nothing has changed. Unfortunately, I see court as the only solution."

Flanagan said Tuesday that she doesn't know of any statistics indicating how often charges are filed for similar infractions.

"There are laws to prevent this from happening, but considering the large numbers of animals moved through the system across the country, it's hard to know how common it is," she said. "But certainly this isn't an isolated incident, even at this location. There have been previous charges against New Holland Stables. It's probably more common than any of us are aware or would like to think."

However, Flanagan said people need to be aware of such incidents, especially because these cases are happening in Lancaster County.

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"It's important for people to know this suffering happens locally. It's not just these big undercover investigations that the Humane Society of the United States conducts," she said. "This happens everywhere, even in Lancaster."

If Cobb and Warner plead guilty or are convicted, they face fines.

Attempts to reach New Holland Sales Stables and Cobb by phone Tuesday night were unsuccessful.