Friday, January 16, 2009

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.

No comments: