Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gov. Schweitzer Should Keep Horse Slaughter Out of Montana

April 23, 2009 10:50 AM ET
By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.

Keep your fingers crossed that Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer soon vetoes a bill that would allow horse slaughter back into the United States.

Gov. Schweitzer has already sent the bill back to the Montana House and Senate with an amendatory veto, but the chambers, apparently in the pocket of the horse meat industry, refused to change the bill and sent it back to the governor in its original form.

One of the main supporters of the bill, if not the main one, is Rep. Ed Butcher. The guy is not only in favor of a practice disdained by most Americans, to wit, horse slaughter, but has shown disrespect for special needs children, referring to them in 2004 as "vegetables".

More recently, he referred to his fellow legislator and Native American Jonathan Windy Boy (Chippewa Cree) as "Chief" on the Montana House floor and inquired whether he would wield his vice-chairman's gavel as a 'war club'". Mr. Butcher did later apologize.

Since horse slaughter was banned in the United States, most of our unwanted horses are shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. A Canadian Broadcasting Company investigation into conditions at a horse slaughter plant there raised questions about whether it is possible to slaughter horses "humanely." My opinion is that is impossible and people engaged in this trade have a singular ability to ignore the terror, pain and cruelty they inflict on other animals (man being an animal, too.) According to the CBC:

One scene from the video footage shows a stun gun operator repeatedly hitting an unco-operative horse with a stick. There was also evidence horses had been transported with their horseshoes still on, which violates regulations, unless the animals are separated in the truck, because the horses could hurt each other.

It's a disgusting, dirty business and the fact Montana legislators would seriously consider bringing it back to the United States is heart-breaking. Let's hope Gov. Schweitzer remains on the side of the righteous.

30 Starving Horses Seized from Two Ohio Farms

Portage County humane officers expect to file 30 cruelty to animals charges against the owner of horses rescued from a local farm.

The horses are being kept in an undisclosed location where they are receiving around the clock care. Veterinarians say it could take up to a year for some of them to recover.

"You can see clearly every rib sticking out on the side of the horse," explained Annette Fisher from the Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary, as she showed the horses to Fox 8.

Fifteen malnourished horses, caked in drying mud and manure, are being nursed back to health.

"The stalls were so filled with like this manure and urine and mud slurry that I have photos where you could only see from the ankles up, the horses were standing that deep in it in their stalls," said Fisher.

Monday evening, officers with the Portage County Animal Protective League removed the horses from two farms. The A.P.L. says they've been working with the owner since August to bring conditions up to par.

"Unfortunately, I think due to the sheer number of animals that were there, it is very difficult to care for and at the time, the owner seemed unwilling to let us help place any of the horses for her, to place them in another home, she says.

Fisher says there were more than 30 horses on the two farms. The ones taken away were in the worst shape.

"This is one of the horses rated a number one on the body score chart...the body score chart makes one as a severe malnutrition case, as close as the horse can basically be to death," she explains.

Many of the horses also had severely deformed hooves, making it tough for them to walk. They're now receiving lots of hay and some medication.

The horses cannot yet be put up for adoption, but until they are, Happy Trails is asking for donations to help with their expensive care. They are accepting monetary donations as well as hay and grain. Anyone who would like to help can call 330-296-5914.

Visit Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary Web Site at;

For article with video click on title above;,0,117337.story

Monday, April 20, 2009

USDA to Finance Montanas Horse-Slaughter Business?

"Prospera," a Montana Firm, to disburse $500K from the USDA to expand Montanas businesses, create jobs.

The money, which comes through the USDA’s Rural Development Intermediary Relending Program, is provided to community-development or regional-planning groups that then re-lend it to local businesses, according to the statement.

Loans must be used to start new businesses, expand existing ones or create or retain jobs.

Prospera was the only Montana-based organization chosen for the program.

We are left to wonder, why Montana?

Click on title above to read more;


UPDATED 4/23/09: Mystery Solved in Polo Pony Deaths

UPDATE: April 23, 2009; Fla. Pharmacy Admits Blame in Polo Pony Deaths;
Click on title above for full updated report:
Polo vet: Tainted meds, performance drugs unlikely the culprit to dead horses


Palm Beach Post Staff Writers

Monday, April 20, 2009

WELLINGTON- — Twenty-one horses are confirmed dead after collapsing before a polo match Sunday, a team veterinarian said this morning adding that it was unlikely the culprit is performance enhancement drugs.

The horses, all from the same team, died one by one "almost certainly of an intoxication of some sort that they consumed," said Lechuzas Caracas team veterinarian James Belden, a local vet, who was among those working to save the horses using intravenous fluids.

Belden does not travel with the team but thought it was unlikely that the horses would be given anabolic steroids because the team competes in England where such drugs are prohibited.

"Almost certainly they don't use anabolic steroids," Belden said.

He also thought tainted medications — a concern raised late Sunday — was not likely because the horses are cared for so diligently, he said.

"I've been in practice 50 years," Belden said. " I've never seen anything like this."

Belden said as the horses died, the Lechuza's staff — including the grooms — were inconsolable.

"They're crestfallen. The grooms were crying the other day. They live with these horses," Belden said.

The Lechuza Caracas team was scheduled to play Sunday in a match as part of the U.S. Open Polo Championship at the International Polo Club Palm Beach, on 120th Avenue South. Each polo team typically brings about 24 horses to a match.

The horses began breathing heavily and stumbling at the Lechuza equestrian facility before they were brought to the polo club, Swerdlin said he was told.

The horses would become wobbly, their lungs would fill with fluid, and they would eventually succumb to cardiac arrest, Belden said.

Necropsies and blood tests will be done on the dead horses at a state-run clinic in Kissimmee. The carcasses were taken intact to the facility Sunday afternoon. Results could come as early as today.

Swerdlin wouldn't speculate on what happened to the horses. "I don't guess," he said. "I wait for evidence."

"It could be the water, hay, bedding, we just don't know. When we find out what it is, we will take all the necessary actions," said John Wash, president of club operations.

If the necropsies show the horses were illegally drugged, the Florida Department of Agriculture will conduct an investigation, polo club spokesman Tim O'Connor said. The United States Polo Association likely also would conduct an investigation, O'Connor said.

At the highly competitive level of the Wellington tournament, distributing "cocktails" to horses prior to matches to enhance their performance is a common practice, said several polo experts. The steroid-like chemicals are given to horses mixed with their water or can be administered by needle, the sources said.

According to several sources, the horses had a reaction to a steroid derivative that may have been tainted with a cleaning solution, the Sun Sentinel reported yesterday. The shots apparently were administered by an Argentine vet not licensed in the U.S., it further reported.

The horses started getting sick about 2:15 p.m. Officials at the polo club told spectators that the scheduled match, between Lechuza Caracas and Black Watch, had been canceled. A short time later officials announced an exhibition match would be held instead.

Onlookers ringed the tense little makeshift camp, weeping as they caught sight of the stricken horses.

"When they keeled over, the veterinarians ran cold water on them. We got fans out that shoot a fine mist of water to try to get their temperature down, just like you would with a person if they overheated," said Jimmy Newman, polo club manager.

Newman said it was too early to tell what had sickened the horses, which are kept in local private stables during the season.

One or two horses met a similar fate in Ocala within the past two years, said Dean Turney, executive director of the Wellington Equestrian Alliance. In that case, Turney said, the sickness was linked to contaminated feed.

"They were able to identify the source very quickly, within 24 hours," Turney said. "Another day or two after that, they got the lab results and they confirmed what the problem was."

By Sunday evening 14 horses were confirmed dead and seven others were sick and despite continuing efforts to save them, they had all died by Monday morning. Every horse that has shown signs of illness has now died.

"They started getting dizzy," O'Connor said of the scene at the polo club. "They dropped down right onto the grass."

The horses, sprawled by the field, were obscured by blue tarps as teams of veterinarians worked feverishly to revive them. Most of the spectators were unaware of the horse's illness.

Each of the animals, which were all between 10 and 11 years old, was valued at about $100,000, O'Connor said.

Peter Rizzo, executive director of the U.S. Polo Association, who was in the club when the horses fell ill, did not return a call for comment.

"Wellington is fortunate that we have several top-notch equine veterinarians, and they will be all over this," Turney added. "It will be tracked down."

The match that was called off Sunday was part of the U.S. Open Polo Championship, a 105-year-old tournament that bills itself as the oldest such event in the United States. The event was scheduled to run from April 3 through Sunday.

"There was no mention made that the horses were injured or that the horses were dead," said spectator Everett Crossman, a Lake Worth resident who used to own horses and play polo.

Clink on title above to go to article and see video;

UPDATE: April 23, 2009; Fla. Pharmacy Admits Blame in Polo Pony Deaths;

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lyme disease motivates local woman to save others

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Note: North Branch, MI resident Charlene Smith is using May, Lyme Disease Awareness Month, to share her devastating experience. She hopes her story will help educate others and raise awareness about Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses.

By Heidi Schauer
Guest writer

Imagine waking up one morning after visiting neurologists, rheumatologists, hematologists, infectious disease specialists and a gastronomotrist, and no one can tell you exactly why your health is depleting.

Your symptoms continue to worsen. Your foot has become lame. You have a loss in wages. Still, there is no reasonable diagnosis. You undergo a hip biopsy, a fat aspirations test, three MRIs, a CT scan, a bone density test, and an EMG, and your body continues to shut down.

Charlene Smith doesn’t have to imagine this scenario. She has lived it.

Minnesotans live in a high-risk area for Lyme disease, a bacterial infection most commonly contracted from a tick bite that initially may cause flu-like symptoms. Though it seems people in healthcare should be able to diagnose this disease easily, for many, that is not the case.

Pictured: Once North Branch resident Charlene Smith discovered she had Lyme disease she noticed her symptoms were comparable to those of her horse Sierra. Sierra suffered a “mysterious illness” for seven years before a Lyme disease test confirmed the horse, as its owner, had the disease. After beginning treatment in November 2008 Smith’s health continues to improve, and Sierra is now symptom-free. (Photo by Heidi Schauer)

Smith’s difficult journey began in June 2000 when she discovered a tick bite on her leg. A bullseye ring provoked a trip to her family practitioner. That individual did what most do: prescribed the antibiotic Doxicycline.

Unfortunately for Smith, the medication made her sick and unable to complete treatment. At that time, her doctor told her she “probably didn’t have Lyme disease anyway.”

Smith had no reason to question that advice.

Experiencing random rashes and constantly changing joint pain, Smith did not connect her subtle symptoms to Lyme disease. By 2006, in addition to joint pain, she suffered extreme fatigue, insomnia, heart palpation, numbness in her face, tingling in her fingertips, and her feet became constantly swollen.

She also had an increase of complications with her cognitives. It was at this time the first of several ELISA tests was administered. The test, believed to be 30-60 percent accurate, is the most common test conducted to determine Lyme disease. It produced negative results leading Smith’s doctors to assume Lyme disease was not the cause for her body shutdown.

In August 2007, Smith’s illness resulted in her left leg experiencing a “foot drop.” She was hospitalized and began a long and frustrating process of seeking answers from the top medical facilities in the state.

Taking control

With misdiagnosis and medications that produced little if any improvement, Smith took her health into her own hands and began a mission for self-diagnosis in 2008.

After many sleepless nights and binders upon binders of information a call to a complete stranger became the medical moment that changed her life.

Jan Thietje is a member of the Minnesota Lyme Action Support Group (MLASG). According to Smith, Thietje and the other members of this organization saved her.

Said Smith, “This was my first glimmer of hope, these women, and these are just average women trying to save lives. I think I owe my life to them. Without them I would not be diagnosed.”


MLASG, founded by Anne Myre in April 2006, began with 15 members. Now at 289 members, it is a fast-growing organization that supports individuals suffering from Lyme disease, one of the fastest-spreading infectious diseases in the United States.

The organization strives to raise awareness by educating the public about Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, and how they can be prevented.

Each day more Minnesotans search for answers and hope for their battle against Lyme disease. Some have been misdiagnosed with diseases such as Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Alzheimer’s, while others have family members or friends suffering from a tick-borne illness.

Support group

During the second Tuesday of each month individuals in this organization gather at Hosanna Lutheran Church in Forest Lake to discuss current issues, listen to public speakers, plan education and tackle the obstacles of making Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses a priority in Minnesota.

From job loss, paralysis, doctor misdiagnosis and treatment denial, everyone in the room has a telling story. Some are at a stage of wonderment asking, “Why me?” and trying desperately to figure out what to do next.

Others have emotionally evolved from anger to hope and are doing whatever they can to help others.

During one of these MLASG meetings it was suggested that Smith request an IgeneX test. This is an additional test a doctor can administer to detect Lyme disease. The cost is paid out of pocket, and an insurance company may or may not reimburse you.

Once the test is administered it is sent to a California lab that specializes in Lyme disease, and the test results are given to your doctor. Results cannot be sent directly to the patient.

When Smith finally got her results, as she and her husband had suspected for years, Lyme disease was identified.

With a loss of faith in the doctors she had encountered, Smith took her IgeneX test results to Sartell—one of three Minnesota Lyme-literate clinics currently treating chronic Lyme patients.

Since beginning her treatment in November 2008, Smith has gotten rid of her constant sore throat and runny nose, blurred vision, pressure around her heart, and can once again eat a wide variety of foods and run her sign shop.

However, she still experiences joint pain and fatigue though not as intensely as in the past. She describes her treatment as a slow process of detoxifying her body, something similar to peeling away the layers of an onion. Her goal is to regain total health.

After the experience, Smith is hoping it won’t be long before the state makes extensive research about Lyme disease a serious priority.

For more information on Lyme disease prevention, log onto Make May the month you get educated.

Arm yourself with education

The Minnesota Lyme Action Support Group (MLASG), a fast-growing organization that supports people suffering from Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, is preparing for May, Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

The group has scheduled its third annual 5k Lyme walk/run for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 16 at the Sunrise Prairie Trail in Wyoming, Minn. The walk raises money to fund the MLASG with its efforts for education and prevention involving Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses.

During the second Tuesday of each month these individuals gather at Hosanna Lutheran Church, 9300 Scandia Trail N., Forest Lake, to discuss current issues, listen to speakers, plan education and tackle the obstacles of making Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses a priority in Minnesota

Madonna; back in (and out) of the saddle again: falls from horse in Hamptons after paparazzi spook animal

BY George Rush and Jotham Sederstrom

Updated Saturday, April 18th 2009, 9:35 PM

Madonna rode a horse for the 'Late Show with David Letterman' back in 2005.

The Material Mom was rushed to Southampton Hospital with minor injuries and bruises after a fall while riding at the Bridgehampton farm of celebrity photographer Steven Klein.

Madonna was recovering at friend Gwyneth Paltrow's Amagansett estate, a source said.

It was the second tumble in less than four years for the equestrian, who was released Saturday night from the hospital, publicist Liz Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg claimed the accident occurred when the horse she was riding was surprised by paparazzi, who jumped out of the bushes to photograph the pop singer Saturday.

Boy toy of the moment Jesus Luz and others watched in shock as the helmeted mother of three tumbled to the ground.

Klein, who has collaborated with Madonna before, including a 2006 photo spread featuring Madge posing in equestrian-themed shots, did not return calls for comment.

It wasn't Madge's first wild ride.

Madonna broke three ribs, a hand and a collarbone in 2005 after slipping from the saddle during her 47th birthday celebration.

The fall happened at her England estate while riding a polo horse she was not acquainted with alongside an assistant. She called it "the most painful experience of my life."

Madonna's children, Rocco and Lourdes, were at the Wiltshire estate, but did not witness the accident.

There was speculation, however, that the fall fueled domestic problems that eventually ripped apart her marriage with film director Guy Ritchie.

The director of "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" showed a "complete lack of love and sympathy" following the fall, according to published reports quoting friends of the pair.

"From the moment Madonna fell from that horse, their marriage was doomed," sources told Britain's The Sun. "If you can pinpoint an exact event, Madonna's horse-riding accident was it. Every other row the couple had following that boiled down to what happened that summer."

Last summer, while the pair was still married, the occasional actress stepped out with Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez. A lawyer for his wife, Cynthia Rodriguez, called the relationship an "affair of the heart."

Madonna and Ritchie divorced in November.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Thousands view anti-horse slaughter video contest

Thousands view anti-horse slaughter video contest

April 17, 2009

Hundreds of comments have been made and thousands of pages viewed in the ABR YouTube contest about Horse Slaughter.
The contest, run by Alex Brown Racing, has received 27 entries and the winning video will have the highest total score based on the number of comments, multiplied by the overall rating of the video, and adding the number of pageviews.

Each video discusses specific aspects of the horse slaughter issue as noted in the essay >Deconstructing the Horse Slaughter Issue.

The winner will be announced on May 10. The prize is $1000, to be sent to the horse rescue organization of choice of the winning entry.

The leader so far is video number two, titled "Please Stop Horse Slaughter" by sandyelmore490. It has a current score of 3415.5.

The videos have collectively garnered more than 18,000 page views and 922 comments.

» Horse slaughter in the news

Beef, its still whats for dinner

by Vicki Tobin

Horse slaughter advocates have recently thrown their misinformation campaign into high gear. In an attempt to solicit support by any means necessary, they are now feeding Congress outright lies on what the passage of the Federal Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009, HR 503 and S 727, will mean.

The legislation could not be more clear in its intent: an end to horse slaughter. It is not, as recently asserted, an act to criminalize horse meat.

More importantly, the legislation is absolutely, unequivocally, indisputably, not the beginning of a vegetarian led effort to end animal agriculture in this country. Such claims are, in the jargon of animal agriculture, just plain hogwash.

Wyoming State Representative, Sue Wallis has teamed up with a special interest group and has become the go to lobbyist for the pro-slaughter campaign. In an "Informational" paper, that rivals the length of the recent stimulus package, Wallis missed her calling as a fiction writer.

And why is this special interest group, a 501(C)3, currently fundraising to "assemble a political war chest" to fund Wallis' travels in what would appear to be a violation of Article 3 of Wyoming's constitution? We urge the Wyoming legislature to convene an ethics investigation of Wallis' highly suspect activities on behalf of the horsemeat industry.

What is readily apparent is that slaughter advocates are glaringly lacking in factual information. Their arguments, when exposed to critical examination, fall apart like the succulent beef of a well cooked roast. They have escalated efforts to scare the livestock industry into believing that ending horse slaughter is the first step to banning the slaughter of livestock. The shallow thinking exposed by this argument totally ignores the millions of beef, pork and chicken eaters who are revolted by the prospect of killing a non-food animal such as a horse or dog for profit.

Supporters of ending slaughter are portrayed as tree hugging vegans and PETA crazies that are on a mission to take away everyone's hamburgers. The entire premise of Representative Wallis' dissertation on horses as a food source is negated by the fact that horses are not classified as food animals by the USDA and are in fact classified by the FDA as companion animals.

Sue Wallace and the meat business she hawks like a carnival barker want to create a market for horse meat in this country. Wallis, and the group she lobbies with, has even created a survey that is being sent only to carefully selected individuals that have registered on a pro slaughter web site. Undoubtedly, the results will be published as the voice of Americans and sent to our Congress even though only one side of the issue has been polled.

Ms. Wallis goes on to use the same property rights arguments that slave owners used unsuccessfully to stop the government from freeing their "property". She argues that owners have the right to dispose of their "property" in any manner they choose, oblivious to disposal laws on appliances, cars, computer equipment, toxic waste materials and in some areas, horses. Wallis cannot change history any more than she can change the grim reality of horse slaughter.

In survey after survey, more than 70 percent of the American public has gone on record saying they don't want horse slaughter. Congressman Conyers and Senator Landrieu, who introduced the federal legislation, are respected legislators that have been elected to multiple terms. Neither could be remotely considered tree hugging, vegans out to ban livestock slaughter. Conyers comes from a state where Midwestern beef is revered. Landrieu hails from Louisiana, and anybody knows that if something moves in that state it will likely end up in a pot to make a spicy Creole dish. Radical vegans? Hardly!

With rare exception, equine welfare advocates are meat eaters. Ending horse slaughter is not going to take away our hamburgers, sausage, chops and steaks. If anything, it would be a great opportunity for the livestock industry to start promoting our beef overseas.

We urge Congress for the swift passage of the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act and not be swayed by desperate attempts to link it to an imaginary vegan agenda.

And American Beef? It's still what's for dinner.



A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 17 Apr 2009
Source: The Now, Surrey, BC [edited]

Horse disease won't strangle rodeo
A month before the Cloverdale Rodeo is set to host championship
cowboys from around North America, officials are left scrambling to
contain a highly contagious disease afflicting horses at the Fraser
Downs racetrack. At least 2 horses at Fraser Downs have come down
with an illness known as strangles, which is a form of streptococcus
affecting horses.

On Thursday [16 Apr 2009], rodeo officials were awaiting word from
veterinarian Dr. Ed Weibe on the status of the 500 horses in barns at
the racetrack before deciding on a course of action.

Cloverdale Rodeo spokeswoman Laura Balance said officials are
concerned about the infection but are formulating plans to deal with
it. "Obviously it's concerning, but we have a plan and we're going to
do what we need to do to ensure that the horses are safe when they
come to the rodeo this year," Balance said. "Our plan is to ensure
that any infection is not transferred from our neighbours onto our
grounds." Balance said the options include sanitizing the barns,
setting up a temporary quarantine barn or simply keeping the
competition rodeo stock at another location. Balance said no
competitors have pulled out of the rodeo yet.

Chuck Keeling, vice-president of Great Canadian Casinos, which owns
the racetrack, denied the track is suffering from "an outbreak or an epidemic."

[Byline: Marisa Babic, Surrey Now]

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Susan Baekeland

[At this time there are no reports of strangles elsewhere in Canada
and the US cases are at a distance in time and place, not in
adjoining States to British Columbia. I suspect that this is a widely
under-reported disease. This is an infection due to _Streptococcus
equi_ that travels with horses so it will be interesting to hear the
results of Dr Weibe's swabbing of the 500 horses at the racetrack.
The racetrack has a number of websites, but try:

To find British Columbia, go to:


- Mod.MHJ]

[see also:
Equine strangles - USA: (OH) 20080212.0562
Strangles, equine - USA (DE) 20050531.1517
Strangles, equine - USA (multistate)(02): proposed rule, FL 20050407.0999
Strangles, equine - USA (multistate) 20050402.0950
Strangles, equine - USA (CA) 20050313.0739
Strangles, equine - USA (GA) 20040419.1088
Strangles, horses - USA (Louisiana) 19971203.2416]


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ticks Killing Cattle, Deer, Horses in SD

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 15 Apr 2009
Source: South Dakota GFP News [edited]

Ticks Tied to Reports of Cattle and Deer Deaths
Acting State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven says the Animal Industry
Board has received several calls about unexplained cattle, horse, and
deer deaths in an area south of Interior, South Dakota. "Local
veterinarians have worked closely with veterinary diagnostic
laboratories in attempts to reach a diagnosis," Oedekoven said. "At
this point, it appears multiple factors have contributed to cattle
deaths in that area, including ticks, severe weather, lack of
nutrition, and possibly infectious diseases." A heavy tick
infestation is a common factor in the deaths, he said.

The tick species identified from some of the cattle is known as the
"winter tick," which can be found on deer, elk and cattle. Ticks and
other external parasites can cause animals to become weak and anemic,
and can affect their immune systems. Oedekoven said cattle can be
treated for ticks, and it may be an important part of a herd health plan.

During pre-calving months, adequate nutrition is a must, as cows
expend large amounts of energy growing healthy calves and preparing
for births. Cattle pregnancies correspond to some of the harshest
winter months, another reason to ensure proper nutrition.
"Anaplasmosis, a tick-borne disease that causes anemia, has not been
identified in any of the samples collected from cattle," Oedekoven
said. "Samples from several ranches were tested for a variety of
other diseases, none of which appear to be widespread problems at this point."

Dr. Oedekoven said a request to report cattle herds with tick
infestations or unexplained deaths was sent to area veterinarians and
ranchers, but no additional reports have been received. "This
experience once again demonstrates the importance, even with disease
issues that seem routine, of getting proper samples and notifying a
veterinarian so diagnosis and any treatments are timely and
appropriate," Oedekoven said. "Anytime a producer notices something
out of the ordinary, such as increased death losses or high parasite
loads, it is advisable to contact a local veterinarian."

People seeing dead or ill deer, elk or other wildlife should contact
the nearest Game, Fish and Parks Division of Wildlife office or local
conservation officers. "We are concerned whenever there is loss of
wildlife," said Tom Kirschenmann, Game, Fish and Parks Chief of
Terrestrial Resources. "Our department has also received calls from
landowners in regards to sick and dead deer. In response, we have
worked closely with those producers and local veterinarians, as well
as the Animal Industry Board, to collect and submit samples to the
diagnostic lab in the same manner as livestock samples. We will
continue to remove sick deer reported by landowners and encourage
them to consult their local veterinarians on livestock questions and concerns."

Communicated by:

Sent: 16 Apr 2009
From: Dustin Oedekoven, DVM

Horse Slaughter Debate Reaches Iowa Landfill

Published: Monday, April 13, 2009 11:17 PM MDT

ST. ANTHONY -- Last month the Fremont County Commission signed on to an effort to try to convince Congress against passing legislation that would ban the transportation of horses to slaughter.

On Monday, the issue hit closer to home.

Commission Chairman Paul Romrell said the commission should think about whether the county wants to permit horse owners to haul live horses to the county landfill, shoot them, and then unload the carcasses into the dead animal pit.

Romrell said that actually happened last week at the landfill, and it brought tears to the eyes of the attendant, who saw the horse standing in the back of a trailer as the owner brought him into the landfill.

"We can't act on it today because it's not on the agenda," Romrell said. "But we'll talk about it later."

Apparently there is no county law against shooting a gun at the landfill. There's a city police shooting range just north of the St. Anthony landfill.

County Attorney Joette Lookabaugh wasn't at the meeting and didn't weigh in on the issue.

Since the commissioners agreed to support the national effort to allow horses to be sent to slaughter, several state legislators and members of the state congressional delegation have responded favorably.

The problem comes with a glut of horses, and increasing number of abandoned and neglected horses coupled with a lack of options for horse owners.

A state resolution would argue against adoption of federal legislation that would make it illegal to ship or transport horses to processing plants.

Lookabaugh has said neglect of horses has become an increasing problem in Fremont County, citing the struggling economy and poor markets as causes.

"Unfortunately, there are not many options available to them if they cannot afford to feed them," Lookabaugh said.

At least one horse owner decided to use the option of loading his horse into a trailer and hauling it to the dump alive before killing and dumping it.

Within the near future, the county may decide whether the option of shooting horses at the landfill will be regulated or not.



E. Idaho commissioner balks at landfill horse kill

Fremont County should ban the shooting and disposal of unwanted horses at the county landfill, County Commission Chairman Paul Romrell says.

At least one local horse owner has already shot and killed his horse at the dump. Romrell told a commission meeting Monday that getting rid of horses that way is not a humane solution to the glut of aging and unwanted horses in the eastern Idaho county, where the faltering economy and the increasing cost of hay has led to cases of neglect and abandonment.

Opposition to killing horses for food has shut down horse slaughterhouses in the United States. The last domestic slaughterhouse closed two years ago and some U.S. horses are now being sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico.

However, most owners can't afford to ship their horses outside the country. Nationwide, rescue farms are packed and there have been huge increases in the number of abandoned horses.

In states with more open land and wild horses, such as Idaho and Nevada, owners are turning the animals loose, hoping they'll be accepted into a wild herd.

In Fremont County, where about 70 percent of the land is public, authorities have found horses shot, turned loose and deserted, Romrell said.

"The value of horses, at least in our region and I think all over the state, has plummeted because we don't have a good way of disposing of them," he said. "There is no market for old, worthless horses."

The county does not have a law barring guns at the landfill in St. Anthony.

"Unfortunately, there are not many options available to them if they cannot afford to feed them," County Attorney Joette Lookabaugh told the Standard Journal.


E. Idaho commissioner balks at landfill horse kill
Fremont County should ban the shooting and disposal of unwanted horses at the county landfill, County Commission Chairman Paul Romrell says.

At least one local horse owner has already shot and killed his horse at the dump. Romrell told a commission meeting Monday that getting rid of horses that way is not a humane solution to the glut of aging and unwanted horses in the eastern Idaho county, where the faltering economy and the increasing cost of hay has led to cases of neglect and abandonment.

Opposition to killing horses for food has shut down horse slaughterhouses in the United States. The last domestic slaughterhouse closed two years ago and some U.S. horses are now being sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico.

However, most owners can't afford to ship their horses outside the country. Nationwide, rescue farms are packed and there have been huge increases in the number of abandoned horses.

In states with more open land and wild horses, such as Idaho and Nevada, owners are turning the animals loose, hoping they'll be accepted into a wild herd.

In Fremont County, where about 70 percent of the land is public, authorities have found horses shot, turned loose and deserted, Romrell said.

"The value of horses, at least in our region and I think all over the state, has plummeted because we don't have a good way of disposing of them," he said. "There is no market for old, worthless horses."

The county does not have a law barring guns at the landfill in St. Anthony.

"Unfortunately, there are not many options available to them if they cannot afford to feed them," County Attorney Joette Lookabaugh told the Standard Journal.


What is needed are controls on overbreeding, more low-cost gelding and euthansia services, and more support for equine rescues and retirement facilities: Just say WOAH to horse slaughter.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

UPDATE: Nature Vally Farm Memorial

Nature Valley Farm was one of the most horrendous horse-slaughter plants in BC. Anti-horse slaughter advocates have been trying to shut it down for years, even risking their lives and going undercover to catch the many health and humane violations on film. The video they produced was widely circulated and I am quite certain was influential in shutting them down.

The advocates planned a memorial at the site of the now abandoned facility, and here is how it went;

Dear all,

Thank you all SO much for your incredible memorials, tributes, poems and thoughts. We suspended them at the gates of Natural Valley Farm's rendering pits yesterday. You can see the video here:

Click on title above to see vid com/watch? v=-T-b8JRayUs.

We had just enough time to hang all of the memorials when one of the workers arrived on a tractor and tried to intimidate us into leaving. We stayed and read out your words, Michelle. It was heartbreaking that even the remains of these horses couldn't have a moment of peace without a man crushing them further by rolling over them with his tractor. The man was making numerous phone calls and knowing we still had to drive by the plant to return to the highway, decided it best to leave early. When we passed the turn off to the plant, a large grey truck carrying 2 large men sped up on us. Travelling at speeds in excess of 130 km/hr on the gravel roads, the truck caught up to us, pulled up along side us then pulled out in front of us, trying to force us to the side (or edge - as much of the roads in the Qu'Appelle Valley drop off into huge gulleys on either side). Thanks to my skillfull driver, we maneuvered out but the men continued pursuing us until we reached the highway, then thankfully turned off into the town of Grenfell .

The whole experience was incredibly upsetting. It was supposed to be a moment of peace for the horses, but even this small charity could not be extended by workers and management at the plant.

I take some pleasure in knowing that the workers who certainly pulled it all down the minute after we left couldn't have helped but read one or two of the tributes. I also hope that the strong winds of the Qu'Appelle Valley pulled at least a few off and scattered them into the valleys and fields, to be found by a farmer tilling his field.

Thank you all again for taking the time to think of these horses. The love and support poured out for them is heartening and moving. Please spread the video far and wide.



Sunday, April 12, 2009

Eighteen Arabian Horses Doomed to Local Kill Sales

For Immediate Release
Denkai Animal Sanctuary
(970) 895-2337

Eighteen Arabian Horses Doomed to Local Kill Sales

Grover, CO - For the last eleven months, the fate of Eighteen Arabian
Horses left abandoned by a Niwot, CO Breeder has been stalled. Denkai
Animal Sanctuary of Grover, CO has housed these horses in an effort to save
them from the ultimate ending that will place them on a dinner plate in
European and Asian countries of which horse meat is considered a delicacy.
As a result of the court hearing March 30, 2009, the court has ordered that
these 18 horses be sold in accordance with the Colorado State Statute. The
lives of these horses will be spared no longer without the help of caring
individuals willing and able to provide funding and or take them in.
Colorado State Statute; C.R.S. 38-20-206, explains the procedure of sale
upon receiving a judgment on an agistor’s lien. According to this
statute, the sale must take place not more than forty-five days after the
judgment at the nearest public livestock market in Colorado. Any public
livestock market in Colorado must be licensed through the Colorado Brand
Board. Being legally bound to follow this statute, Denkai Animal Sanctuary
is forced to take these eighteen Arabian Horses to a livestock auction.
The owner of Dry Creek Arabians failed to appear in court March 30, 2009;
Denkai was prepared to ask the owner to sign a bill of sale, which would
have saved her eighteen Arabian horses from the hands of local kill buyers
by preventing them from having to go through public auction. Denkai was
ready to forgive the lien owed against these horses. This would have given
Denkai Animal Sanctuary the ability to gain brand inspection and adopt
these horses into new homes.
There are many stories, facts and figures blowing across the media and
e-mail regarding the number of unwanted horses. The solution that the
agricultural industry among others continues to hammer at is slaughter;
this is how we dispose of “unwanted horses”.
How to dispose of “unwanted” horses is not the solution to this issue;
these eighteen horses are a perfect example. Through irresponsible
breeding practices due to known defects, housing over 40 horses on a total
of 2.7 acres, and the inability to care for these Arabians, their owner has
placed them in a life and death situation.
Breeding operations need to be regulated, new and individual horse owners
need to be educated in the care and cost of owning horses, economic times
are very difficult for many people, funds can be established to aid in
gelding expenses, low-cost vaccinations, a 30 day hay supply for those that
qualify. Those in the rescue industry are not the only ones finding
abandoned horses dumped in their laps, farmers and ranchers are dealing
with this as well. There are alternatives that can help to regulate the
cause, not the symptom.
The majority of these Arabians are younger to middle aged. A few have had
some training and most are very trainable, viable horses. If kill buyers
purchase these Arabians, their future will be short. They will be scared,
hungry; most of them will end up with injuries from the trip and being
crammed in with numerous other horses. Most likely they will encounter
lice, ticks, ringworm, broken bones and much worse.
Visit: to understand this
process and exactly how close this is to home for all of us.
Individuals interested in one of these horses can visit ( for a photo and profile of each horse. Photographs courtesy of Ray Reichley. If interested, contact Denkai at: or call (970) 895-2337. Individuals are encouraged to attend and bid on these horses in an attempt to get them to safety.
Denkai is exploring the option to purchase the horses back, thus giving the
Sanctuary brand inspection, i.e. ownership and the ability to adopt these
horses in to pre-screened homes.
This can happen with contributions totaling $7,000 to purchase them at
auction, average cost in this area runs .44 per lb. and a total of $22,000
that would cover costs for the next twelve months to house, train, and
adopt these eighteen horses into permanent homes. Denkai can not simply
just purchase these horses back without having the funding in place to care
for them. If the Sanctuary can raise a total of $29,000 by April 15, 2009,
this is a viable option.
There is no limit to what we can accomplish with your help for the animals.
Contributions toward these horses can be made to: Denkai Animal Sanctuary
36710 WCR 126
Grover, CO 80729
Or Via our website at:, click any donation button.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

AAHS Action Alert

Dear Friends,

We are launching what could be one of the largest letter writing campaigns yet!

But, we can't succeed without your help! Our membership and grassroots organization is stronger than ever because of you.

Now it's time to show how well organized we really are and to underscore our united effort as Americans Against Horse Slaughter!

This collaborated effort is designed to create huge impact and to strengthen our membership.

Please join us in the "Letters to the Editor" Campaign from now until April 30th. We will provide you with a link that will take you to all the Newspapers across the country. Just click on your state and click on the Newspapers you wish to write to. You can write to 5 newspapers at one time and even continue to write to more of them if you have the time.

Please feel free to write your own letter or copy and paste the templated letter below. The templated letter was designed to be short and to the point. Please use your own name but always add Americans Against Horse Slaughter to your signature to show that power is in numbers.

Good Luck and please let us know if you get your letter printed.

Americans Against Horse Slaughter

The Link:

The Letter:

Wake Up America!!
Not even the Sport of Kings could provide a Royal ending for Ferdinand.

Horse Slaughter is still alive and thriving.
I recently learned about the cruel and brutal practice of horse slaughter and had no idea that Ferdinand; the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner was slaughtered in Japan and sold as a delicacy for human consumption.

I was astounded to learn that in 2008, approximately 133,000 U.S. Horses were exported to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered for their meat and sold for the sole purpose as a delicacy for dinner plates overseas.

In fact, according to the USDA, 92% of our horses going to slaughter every year are the young and healthy horses that could easily go on to second careers and new homes.
There is much wrong with those that continue to turn their back on the only American icon that helped build this country. Horse Slaughter is NOT euthanasia. Horse slaughter is a painful and brutal ending to a horse’s life.

Please urge your U.S. Representative and two U. S Senators to co-sponsor The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act - House bill, H.R.503 and the Senate bill, S.727.

(insert your name here/city and state)
Americans Against Horse Slaughter

This message was sent from Americans Against Horse Slaughter to It was sent from: Americans Against Horse Slaughter, 1551 Willow Pond Dr., Yardley, PA 19067. You can modify/update your subscription via the link below.

California's unwanted horse Problems

I stumbled across this weeks old article about Californias "Unwanted Horse" problem,....of course, a Vet opines that the closing of the slaughterhouses is partly to blame.....

That arguement is soundly rebutted by the fact that more American horses than ever before are being sent to slaughter. What part of "slaughter-option" still available dont they understand?

UC-Davis fact-finding session seeks solutions with a wide application

Apr 1, 2009
By: James M. Lewis

DAVIS, CALIF. — A faculty organization at the University of California-Davis took another step toward finding better ways of dealing with California's rising unwanted-horse population and eventually creating a template that communities in many states could follow.

The International Animal Welfare Training Institute (IAWTI) gathered animal-control experts, veterinarians, animal-welfare representatives and other interested groups for a Feb. 18 fact-finding session on the scope of the problem, what is being done now and what more can be done near-term and in the future.

The IAWTI, organized at the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and led by Dr. John Madigan, a professor and clinician at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, presented a schematic at December's American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) convention showing how shelters could be set up to deal with unwanted horses on a triage basis much like animal shelters handle unwanted cats and dogs.

Some California organizations have well-run programs already in place from which much can be learned, officials say.

The fact-finding session, titled "The Unwanted Horse," included lectures, outreach and work sessions for sharing data. Nearly all attendees reported that horses lacking adequate food, housing and health care are flooding California's horse-rescue facilities, sanctuaries and control stations.

"It's a crisis," Madigan told the group, adding that court rulings that closed the nation's last three horse-slaughter plants that exported horse meat for human consumption and proposed legislation banning the transport and export of horses for slaughter have exacerbated the unwanted-horse problem in California and elsewhere. "One thing that is clear to me," Madigan told attendees, "is that any legislation banning end of life for horses in a slaughter facility ... should have provided an alternative mechanism to deal with the continued life of those animals in a humane manner."

California and other states can't afford, economically or morally, to ignore the problem, Madigan said. More research is needed to find alternative solutions and implement guidelines, but funding for that is lacking, he said.

The meeting highlighted a need for outreach programs and public education on various options for caring for, rehabilitating and in some cases finding new purposes for unwanted horses.

As an example, Beth DeCaprio, a leader of the Grace Foundation, explained how her organization has operated an "ideal facility" in Northern California since 2003, providing critical care and rehabilitation for abused and neglected horses, then using them in learning and therapeutic programs for children and youth, benefiting some 5,000 children to date and permanently housing more than 50 horses. The group has a full-time veterinarian on staff.

Representatives of other horse-rescue groups discussed their operations, the need for scientific criteria for horse-welfare programs and carcass-disposal regulations.

Euthanizing a horse has an emotional and dramatic component that is different from euthanizing cats and dogs at shelters, said Dr. Jeff Smith, a past president of the California Veterinary Medical Association, who discussed the euthanasia option and community attitudes toward it.

Madigan explained that because a horse is unwanted hasn't previously been a valid reason for a veterinarian to end its life, even though that is a daily procedure for small animals. "A thousand-pound horse that is euthanized presents a significant issue with regard to handling the remains ... given regulations that usually prevent burial on a person's property." Legislation is needed to provide better guidelines for horse-carcass disposal and environmentally responsible means of euthanasia, he said.

More responsible equine breeding is another way to decrease unwanted horses, Gregory Ferraro, director of UC-Davis' Center for Equine Health, told the group.

"If solutions are not found to stem the flow of excessive equine births and more effectively absorb current horse populations into recreational and sporting use, the horse will face the same fate as the thousands of abandoned cats and dogs that overcrowd America's animal shelters. The need for a solution is vital," Ferraro said.

IAWTI members include more than 20 UC-Davis faculty members dedicated to animal welfare across all species. The group has international connections to deal with global emergencies and disaster response.

About the Author
James M. Lewis
Managing Editor

James M. (Mike) Lewis joined DVM Newsmagazine as its managing editor in January 2007, after 25 years at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio's largest newspaper, where he was a news and features copy editor, page designer and travel writer. He was previously a copy editor for the Toledo (Ohio) Blade and the Houston Chronicle, and was managing editor and reporter for three smaller daily newspapers in Ohio and Indiana.

Mike edits the copy written by DVM Newsmagazine staff members and contributing authors, manages production flow and serves as an at-large reporter, covering a variety of veterinary news subjects and features.

He lives in a suburb of Cleveland with his wife, Margo, a sales representative. He has a son, Zachary, a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer; and daughter, Amanda, a licensed acupuncturist in Ithaca, N.Y. Articles by James M. Lewis

State Horse Counsils to Offer Low-Cost Gelding

...Well, one state horse counsel, anyways. Why cant they all do this?

Kentucky Group to Offer Low Cost Gelding Services
by: Edited Press Release
April 06 2009, Article # 13909

In an effort to help horse owners manage herd populations and breed responsibly, the Kentucky Horse Council, in partnership with Morehead State University (MSU), is offering a low cost gelding clinic April 28 and 30, 2009.

The service, funded by Save Our Horses, a tax deductible fund to support KHC health and welfare programs, will allow Kentucky horse owners to pay for gelding services at a discounted rate based on income. Low income owners might qualify for free services through the program.

"The Kentucky Horse Council recognizes the importance of educating horse owners about responsible management practices," said KHC Board President Madelyn Millard. "Castrating colts and stallions that aren't slated for breeding either because of performance, conformation, registration, temperament, or other factors is good herd management. We believe it is important to support those horse owners with financial limitations that have horses in need of castration and this program allows us to do just that."

Surgeries will be performed by MSU faculty member Phil Prater, DVM, Dipl. ACT, a licensed veterinarian and Professor of Veterinary Technology. Assistance for the procedures will be provided by students in the Veterinary Technology program.

"Partnering with the MSU Veterinary Technology program is a winning combination because we provide the opportunity both for horse owners to obtain the service they need and for students to learn through hands-on experience," Millard said.

To qualify for the gelding clinic, all male equines in the possession of the owner must be castrated.

Space in the clinic is limited and available by advance application only to Kentucky residents with non-commercial operations. Restrictions and limitations apply. Owners are responsible for presenting horses with a current negative coggins and health certificate and for transportation.

More information including requirements, limitations, and a program application are available online at or by contacting the Kentucky Horse Council at 859/367-0509 or e-mail

The Kentucky Horse Council is a non-profit organization dedicated, through education, to the protection, growth, and development of the equine industry in Kentucky. They provide educational programs, grants, scholarships, personal liability insurance, trail riding programs, and an annual statewide equine industry directory.

Friday, April 10, 2009

EPA Joins Horse-Slaughter Fray

EPA says appeal barriers to Montanas Horse-slaughter Bill May be a Problem


The House is rejecting the governor's proposed changes for the horse slaughter bill even though the Environmental Protection Agency says it and another bill could cause problems for the state.

Lawmakers on Wednesday rejected the governor's amendments for House Bill 418 on a 59-41 vote. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Ed Butcher, R-Winifred, will now move to the Senate, which is also likely to buck the governor's amendments.

In its original form, Butcher's bill would have erected barriers to lawsuits directed at preventing a horse slaughter facility from operating in the state.

Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer struck those key provisions and sent it back to the Legislature last week, arguing that it would have set too many limits on the public's right to appeal permits over environmental concerns.

It now turns out that Schweitzer received a letter from the EPA on March 25 expressing a similar concern about the restrictions on permit appeals built into HB 418 — as well as appeal limits built into a centerpiece GOP bill to speed up permits for energy projects in the state.

The EPA letter says House Bill 483, sponsored by Rep. Llew Jones, R-Conrad, could impact whether state programs meet federal approval requirements.

In particular, the letter states the bill may set impediments to public challenges of air and water-quality permits that run contrary to requirements under the Clean Air and Water Acts.

In a footnote, the federal agency also notes it has some of the same concerns with Butcher's bill, which requires challengers to post a bond worth 20 percent of a slaughterhouse's construction costs.

Jones' bill, which seeks to streamline permitting for energy projects such as a coal-fired power plant, has passed the Legislature and now awaits action by Schweitzer. The governor has not said whether he will sign or veto the legislation, but he has met with Jones to discuss the bill.

Jones said the EPA correspondence is a "boilerplate" letter that is commonly sent out in response to energy legislation. He also said a lawyer has looked at the agency's concerns and found they should not be a problem for his bill, because it only limits appeals that are found to be "deleterious."

The EPA said the letter was not common but not unusual. Agency spokesmen also said it was not written to interfere with the legislative process, but rather to provide facts.

"What we're trying to point out to the governor is that the bill changes whatever playing field the state had when it was empowered to enforce federal law," said Eddie Sierra, an EPA administrator.

States have authority to enforce compliance with federal laws about air and water quality only as long as the EPA finds their statutes meet federal requirements.

The governor's office did not comment on the specific concerns raised in the letter, which is the only one of its kind received this session, but said they have no more weight than other comments received.

"We give that letter the same concern we give all letters and comments on consideration," said Sarah Elliott, spokeswoman for the governor.

Mo' Money for Farmers & Ranchers

Vilsak Announces $17 Million in Grants for Beginning Farmers

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, during a recent trip to Missouri, announced more than $17 million in USDA grants are available under the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. In addition, Vilsack described recent initiatives, such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), designed to help producers and keep farmers on the land.

“This program underscores President Obama's commitment to support the nation's beginning farmers and ranchers,” Vilsack said. “Through the beginning farmer and rancher grant program, we can help ensure that we are doing all we can for the next generation of America's farmers and ranchers.”

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help U.S. farmers and ranchers – specifically those who have been farming or ranching for less than 10 years.

Congress authorized funding for this program in the 2008 Farm Bill, including another $19 million in mandatory funding for FY 2010. USDA will make grants available to state, local, tribal, regional, non-profits, community-based organizations, academic institutions and networks, both public and private, to design programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers.

The projects will be limited to 3 years. Budget requests are due May 13, 2009, and must not exceed $250,000/year. USDA is looking for proposals from these areas:

Mentoring, apprenticeships, and internships;
Resources and referrals;
Assisting beginning farmers or ranchers in acquiring land from retiring farmers and ranchers;
Innovative farm and ranch transfer strategies;
Entrepreneurship and business training;
Model land leasing contracts;
Financial management training;
Whole farm planning;
Conservation assistance;
Risk management education;
Diversification and marketing strategies;
Curriculum development;
Understanding the impact of concentration and globalization;
Basic livestock and crop farming practices;
The acquisition and management of agricultural credit;
Environmental compliance;
Information processing; and
Other similar areas that would be useful to beginners

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Montana House Rejects Slaughter Bill Amendments

by: Pat Raia
April 09 2009, Article # 13925
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The Montana House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected gubernatorial amendments to a bill that would facilitate the establishment of privately owned horse processing plants in that state.

In its original form, HB 418 prohibited state courts from granting injunctions to stop or delay construction of horse slaughter or processing facilities based on permit or licensing challenges or on environmental grounds. The measure also required anyone challenging permits to submit a surety bond representing 20% of the facility's estimated building cost. The bill awarded attorney and court fees to plaintiffs in cases District Courts deem harassing or without merit.

The bill passed both houses of Montana's legislature and was presented to Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who on April 3 vetoed the measure, removed provisions concerning licensing and court challenges, and sent his amended version back to the House for review.

Lawmakers rejected the governor's amendments 59-41 and returned the bill to its original form. HB 418 sponsor Rep. Ed Butcher said the proposed amendments gutted the legislation.

"No company is going to invest $5 or $6 million in a plant unless there is something here to protect it against licensing and court challenges," he said.

The bill now returns to the state's senate for review.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Equestrian Arts Ballet / Cavalia

Poetry in Motion. Beautiful!
Click on title to go to website and see vid;

Monday, April 6, 2009

No More Horse-slaughter at Natural Valley Farms!

Great News for Horses! Natural Meat Company Shuts Down

We are pleased to inform you that Natural Meat Company (formerly Natural Valley Farms) in Neudorf, Saskatchewan, closed its doors in mid-February. No more horses are being slaughtered in that facility!

According to the Director of Parliamentary Affairs for Canada, Natural Meat Company was shut down by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for food safety concerns. At this time we are attempting to clarify details surrounding the closure.

Graphic evidence of animal welfare violations was documented at Natural Valley Farms in April/May 2008. This footage was released to CHDC by undercover investigators, and the concerns were aired on CBC's No Country for Horses the following month: Click on title above to see vid; .

In September 2008, CHDC Western Region Director, Twyla Francois, filmed horse blood from the slaughter plant being illegally dumped on the banks of a nearby river: .

We applaud the Equine Welfare Alliance for serving as an intermediary between our efforts and the many wonderful grass roots groups involved in the state and federal initiatives in the U.S.

Remember the Horses

May the equine spirit be the wind beneath our wings until slaughter is ended forever.


Canadian Horse Defense Coalition

P.O. Box 26097

Westbank, B.C.

V4T 2G3

Ph/fax: 250-768-4803


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pro-Slaughter Mt. Governor partially vetos horse slaughter bill

By KAHRIN DEINES Associated Press Writer

Montana's governor has vetoed part of a contentious horse slaughter bill, sending it back to lawmakers after striking the key legal protections it allowed for slaughterhouses.

Citing the famous Greek story of the 'Trojan Horse' that held enemy soldiers in its belly, Gov. Brian Schweitzer said the horse slaughter bill hides "unintended consequences" for the right to challenge companies' operating permits.

"The appeal rights we have as citizens for environmental protection" would be gone, Schweitzer said in a Friday news conference.

House Bill 418, sponsored by Rep. Ed Butcher, R-Winifred, aims to limit the kind of legal challenges that forced the country's last slaughterhouses in Illinois and Texas to shut down in 2007.

But Democrat Schweitzer's partial veto strikes the bill's two key provisions for discouraging such lawsuits.

One would require challengers to post a bond worth 20 percent of the slaughter facility's construction costs, and potentially saddles them with liability for damages incurred by the company due to the trial. The other prohibits courts from halting construction once a facility has been approved by the state.

Schweitzer said that as a livestock owner and horse owner he supports processing horses in a humane way to produce meat for human consumption. But he said Butcher's bill enacts special legal protections without addressing any of the real bars to horse slaughter in the U.S.

"(The problem) is that Congress has passed legislation that disallows using the USDA stamp on the carcass of the horse," Schweitzer said, referring to a federal spending restriction on inspections of horse slaughterhouses.

Without the U.S. Department of Agriculture stamp, horse meat could not be exported outside Montana borders to overseas markets that consider it a delicacy.

Butcher blasted the governor's amendments, which he plans to lead a charge to reject.

"That's the whole purpose of the bill," Butcher said. "I mean otherwise it's an empty shell because nobody's going to invest five to six million in a business in Montana if they're going to be harassed."

If Butcher can win the support of the majority of the Legislature to reject the changes, the bill will go back to Schweitzer in its original form to await his action again. The governor said he will have to see what happens before he decides about a veto.

The governor's office has been inundated with e-mails and phone messages from across the country about Butcher's bill, as were state lawmakers. As of Wednesday, 746 of those calling supported the bill and 652 opposed it.

Calls from Montanans were about 2-to-1 in favor of Butcher's bill.

"Obviously the governor caved into the environmentalists and the animal rights crowd," Butcher said. "He's following his East- and West Coast money rather than the ranchers of Montana."

Schweitzer said he would support a horse slaughterhouse in the state, but that the bill would do nothing to bring one here.

"Not a single person has come forward from anywhere in the world to say they'd like to build a horse slaughter plant in Montana," he said.

A Royalty Tax on the Breeding of Equines?

Why not?

The equine industry in the USA has a long history of over-production resulting in so many "unwanted" horses they pose a threat to public health and safety, cause an undue burden on equine rescues and devalues the worth of the American horse in general. Therefore, the breeding of equines should be subject to a tax of some kind, in hopes to compel less, but better, breeding.

The monies thusly generated could be put into a national or state run fund to assist existing equine rehoming and retirement facilities, and to create more.
Just like the royalty tax some are proposing for mining on federal lands, to make it more equitable for everyone;

By Sue Major Holmes, AP Writer

U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman says there's no justification for continuing hard-rock mining on public land under a law passed well over a century ago.

Bingaman, D-N.M., has introduced a measure that would set royalties on hard-rock mining on federal lands for the first time, establish a fund to reclaim abandoned hard-rock mines and eliminate patenting — which has conveyed title to mining companies to develop mines on public land for as little as $2.50 an acre. Congress has passed annual moratoriums on further mineral patent applications since October 1994.

Mining for metals such as gold, silver and copper currently is governed by a law passed in 1872 after the California gold rush, when Congress was trying to encourage settlement by offering free minerals and land to those willing to go West and mine.

"We don't have that for coal, we don't have that for oil and gas," said Bingaman, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The 137-year-old law needs reform, particularly in light of today's economy and the health, safety and environmental issues raised by mining and abandoned mines, he said Friday.

"We need to keep a healthy mining industry, but there's no way to justify continuing to operate under this law. ... There's some general agreement about that. The question is can we get agreement on the right set of changes," he said.

For decades, both Republicans and Democrats have introduced bills to change the mining law, but Bingaman said none has passed the Senate in the 27 years he's been in Washington.

In 1995, then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt highlighted the law by rolling out a large Christmas-wrapped box with "$2.9 billion" stamped on the side when mining rights estimated to be worth that much were turned over to a private company for $1,745.

Bingaman's proposal calls for royalties, to be determined by the interior secretary, of between 2 percent and 5 percent of the value of the mine's production (5% of the value of the animal?). The amount is comparable to what Canada, several Canadian provinces and several states, including New Mexico, charge in royalties, he said.

Royalties could be reduced for all or part of a mining operation if the mining company shows clear and convincing evidence that production would not occur without a reduction. Royalties would not be collected on land producing in commercial quantities at the time the law is enacted.

The revenue would go into a reclamation fund.

Mineral activities on federal land also would require a permit and financial assurance for reclamation.

The National Mining Association said it supports an update of the mining law.

"We believe that would help provide some greater level of predictability on where federal mining legislation is going to be," said Carol Raulston, spokeswoman for the agency.

She said the association will look at the proposed royalties "in light of the new economic environment."

Past efforts to reform the law have run into problems because of the gap between House and Senate proposals, particularly in the area of royalties, Raulston said.

In recent sessions, the House has proposed 8 percent royalties, which Raulston said would be the highest government royalties in the world. She said that would harm the competitiveness of the American industry, "since all these commodities are sold on the world market and the price is set on the world market."

Jeremy Vesbach, executive director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, said Bingaman's measure is a big step forward.

"This will bring us more into the modern age of mining, similar to oil and gas, where they lease the land but not own it," he said.

Royalties would mean some money to restore land and water as well, Vesbach said.

The proposal also addresses reclamation, establishing a program to reclaim abandoned hard-rock mines in 14 western states, partly funded by a fee based on the value of production.

Raulston said the Washington, D.C.-based mining association was pleased by the cleanup provisions.

The measure would set up a grant program for states for reclamation projects and for public entities and nonprofit organizations for collaborative restoration projects to improve fish and wildlife habitat affected by past hard-rock mining.

State Mining and Minerals Director Bill Brancard said his agency appreciates the effort to fund cleanup.

"New Mexico's long history of mining has left a legacy of thousands of abandoned mine features that pose a threat to public health and safety," Brancard said in a statement.

The bill also directs the secretaries of interior and agriculture to work together to prevent "undue degradation" in administering mining activities on national forests.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Montana Gov "Vetos" Slaughter Bill for WRONG Reasons, Cites "Constitutional Concerns" with Language of the Bill

Apparently, the Mt. Gov is OK with the idea of a horse-slaughter plant in Montana, stating that .. "I believe owners should have access to a legal method to put their horses down as necessary and appropriate -- due to age, infirmity, or other legitimate circumstances..."

Did anybody tell the gov that there already is "a legal method to put (their) horses down as necessary?" Its called Humane Euthansia!...
Apparently, this guy is not against horse-slaughter per se, he is just concerned about the Constitutionality of the bill, as written with all those protections against legal challanges. He did not actually "veto" the bill in toto, but made suggestions for amendments.

Wait and see, the amended bill will be back before him soon, and will pass next time when the bill can withstand constitutional scrutiny.



Montana Governor Vetoes Horse Slaughter Bill
Cites Constitutional Concerns April 3, 2009

The Honorable Bob Bergren Speaker of the House State Capitol Helena, MT
59620 The Honorable Robert Story, Jr. President of the Senate State
Capitol Helena, MT 59620 Dear Speaker Bergren and President Story:
In accordance with the power vested in me as Governor by the
Constitution and the laws of the State of Montana, I hereby return with
75-1-201, 75-2-104, 75-5-614, 75-5-621, 75-5-641, 81-9-111, 81-9-112,
81-9-115, 81-9-116, 81-9-201, 81-9-229, AND 81-9-230, MCA." I
begin by saying that my proposed amendments do not prevent the licensing
and operation of a horse slaughter facility in Montana. My amendments
retain those aspects of HB 418 that clarify existing law to ensure that
a horse slaughter facility, if licensed to operate in Montana, conforms
to Montana's current laws pertaining to all livestock slaughter
facilities. My amendments are focused on eliminating what I believe is
the unnecessary and potentially harmful special treatment that would be
granted to one particular industry under this bill. Before addressing
my specific amendments, I want you to know that, like you, I believe
horse owners must be responsible for the health and care of their
animals. Like you, I believe it is unacceptable that any horse would be
left starving or to die due to neglect. I also believe owners should
have access to a legal method to put their horses down as necessary and
appropriate -- due to age, infirmity, or other legitimate circumstances.
While I understand the value in licensing horse slaughter facilities, it
is equally important that any facility approved to operate in Montana
comply with this state's health and environmental laws. Therefore,
a person applying to license a horse slaughter facility who wishes to do
so in accordance with Montana law has nothing to fear from the
amendments I propose. Specifically, my amendments address the
limitations imposed upon a person seeking to bring a legal challenge to
a license approving a horse slaughter facility. Those limitations are
found in sections 1 and 2 of HB 418, which my proposed amendments would
strike. I believe sections 1 and 2 of the bill are unnecessary, cast
too wide a net, and suffer from potential constitutional infirmities.
Section 1 of HB 418 would prohibit a court from enjoining the
construction of a horse slaughter facility based on a challenge to a
permit or license approving the facility under Montana's
environmental laws. An injunction is a remedy in equity available to
litigants to preserve the status quo where a remedy in law would be
inadequate. The remedy of injunction is not freely granted. It is my
opinion that current statutory standards for the issuance of injunctions
already provide sufficient safeguards to ensure the remedy of injunction
will only be available to a party under limited and justified
circumstances. For example, § 27-19-201, MCA, authorizes a court to
grant a preliminary injunction only if it appears the applicant will be
successful on the merits, a great or irreparable injury would occur if
the activity were allowed to continue, when it appears the adverse party
is doing or threatening to do an act in violation of the applicant's
rights, or for other similarly justified equitable reasons. In other
words, I believe that the legal standards currently in existence
sufficiently safeguard the rights of all parties, and, conversely, that
the restriction upon a court's power to enjoin construction of a
facility unnecessarily tips this balance. Section 1 of HB 418
additionally would impose liability for "all financial losses"
incurred by the facility as a result of an injunction halting operations
of the facility if the person bringing the challenge is ultimately
unsuccessful. As a practical matter, and I assume the bill was so
designed, this penalty provision would have the effect of chilling any
efforts to enjoin the operation of a constructed horse slaughter
facility by a person challenging the adequacy of the permit,
notwithstanding the real harm that might be caused by the continuing
operation of the facility. I am unaware of any equivalent provision in
Montana law, and I believe its inclusion in this bill unfairly tips the
balance by discouraging a challenger from seeking what would otherwise
be a legitimate injunction for the benefit and protection of public
health and safety. Again, I believe the current, established legal
standards relating to the issuance of injunctions – including the
current standards pertaining to an award of costs and damages to persons
wrongfully enjoined – are sufficiently stringent and properly
balance the competing rights of litigants. I do not believe special
rules are necessary or appropriate for this particular industry.
Turning to section 2 of HB 418, I am concerned that this mandatory
surety bond requirement, established in the bill at the high rate of 20%
of the cost to build or operate the facility, and imposed upon any
person who challenges a license granted to operate a horse slaughter
facility, would effectively deny citizens access to the courts in
Montana, in contravention of Article II, section 16 of the Montana
Constitution. I am unaware of any other provision in Montana law
requiring the posting of a surety bond as a condition to bringing a
challenge to the issuance of a permit under Montana's environmental
laws. I also question the language found in subsection (4) of section
2, which authorizes an award of attorney fees and costs on grounds that
the challenge was "without merit." I believe the meaning of
that expression is unclear and would, itself, lead to litigation.
Current law already provides courts with well-settled authority to
sanction parties or their attorneys who file pleadings in court for
improper purposes. As with my other concerns, I see no reason to impose
new, special, and undefined standards in this bill, applicable to this
one industry, where current law adequately provides for sanctions in
proper circumstances. In addition to the above amendments, I also
propose an amendment to section 12 of the bill. As written, the bill
requires "investor-owned" horse slaughter facilities to be
licensed pursuant to Montana's licensing laws. My amendment would
require all horse slaughter facilities, whether "investor-owned"
or otherwise, to be licensed. The remainder of my amendments are
necessary to coordinate with the amendments to strike sections 1 and 2
of the bill. I recognize that HB 418 has stirred the emotions of
many. As a current and long-time horse owner, myself, I understand
those feelings. However, I have endeavored to make my decisions on the
bill based on what I believe is the correct approach from both a policy
and a legal perspective. I respectfully ask that you support my
proposed amendments to HB 418. Sincerely, BRIAN SCHWEITZER
GOVERNOR cc: Legislative Services Division

Friday, April 3, 2009

Illinois Tables Horse-Slaughter Bill

Click on title above to read more good news about a defeated horse-slaughter bill

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kentucky Gives Non-racing Breed Incentives

Wed Apr 1, 2009 8:03 am (PDT)
Kentucky Horse Racing Commission Approves Funds to Non-racing Breeds

Eleven groups to receive funding
(Still, no money for rescue and/or retirement)

Jamie Eads, KHRC

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC) recently voted to provide ten applicant groups of non-racing breeds with funding from the Kentucky Horse Breeder’s Incentive Fund (KHBIF) for the period covering 2009-2011. A total of sixteen applications were submitted to the Commission. Applicants were selected based on the criteria set forth by the KHBIF statutes, regulations and mission of the fund.

"The non race advisory committee met to review and discuss the applications and I applaud their due-diligence,” said Jamie Eads, director of the Division of Breeder’s Incentives. “The KHBIF was thrilled with the added interest from so many breeds and is excited to continue working together to ensure the strength and growth of the horse industry in Kentucky."

KHBIF will use the same formula established in the first period (2006-2008) for splitting the monies proportionally among the breeds. This formula is the number of horses certified by each national registry residing in Kentucky divided by the total number of horses submitted by each affiliate’s national registry.

The resulting percentage will be multiplied by the monies collected to give the breed their total dollar figure award from the fund. This percentage will cover the three-year period of 2009, 2010, and 2011.

The Commission approved the following applicants (applicants new to this registration period appear in


• Kentucky Appaloosa Owners Association

• Kentucky Arabian & Half-Arabian Breeders Association

• Kentucky Miniature Horse Association

• Kentucky Morgan Horse Association

• Kentucky Paint Horse Club

• Kentucky Paso Fino Horse Association

• Kentucky Quarter Horse Association

• Kentucky Rocky Mountain Horse Association

• Kentucky Saddlebred Owners & Breeders Association

• South Central Hackney Association

The following applicants were denied for KHBIF funding for the 2009-2011 period. These applicants did not meet the criteria established by the KHBIF and Non-Race Advisory Committee.

• Kentucky Belgian Warmbloods of Kentucky

• Mountain Horse Breeders Incentive Fund (AGHA, KMSHA, MPH, UMH).

• Purebred Morabs of Kentucky

• Kentucky Pony Association

• Kentucky Shayga Arabian Horse Association

• Walk Horse Alliance of Kentucky

The Commission elected to defer the Kentucky Walking Horse Association application to be reviewed by the Rules Committee and re-submitted to the Commission at a later meeting.

For more information, please visit our website or call 888-KYBREDS.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Montanas' "No Challange" Slaughter Bill UnConstitutional?

Helena IR Editorial Urges Schweitzer Veto of Horse Slaughter Bill
Will the governor brandish his veto pen?

By Dan Testa , 03-30-09

"Left in the West" points out an editorial I missed: The Helena Independent Record's board last week urged Gov. Brian Schweitzer to veto the bill encouraging horse slaughter in Montana, which recently passed the state Legislature. I anticipate increasing calls from many on the left for Schweitzer to kill this bill in coming weeks. The objections derive from, not so much the issue of horse slaughter itself, but the provisions in the bill which prevent environmental legal challenges to a proposed horse slaughter operation at certain stages of its development. And that's exactly what the Helena IR editorial points out:

The fact is, all horses die, and not every owner can afford to euthanize the animal and give it a proper burial. It’s a costly process, and you can’t just euthanize a horse and leave it in a field to rot.

However, Butcher’s bill is far off base, and raises significant questions.

Since when can a legislative act limit the legal authority of a court?

Or, for that matter, how can the Legislature limit a citizen’s right to challenge a government action by any legal means possible?

This bill would set a poor precedent for an industry that has already shown disregard for environmental regulations elsewhere.

Over at Left in the West, Jay Stevens wondered why this bill didn't draw more objections earlier in the legislative process. It's a good question, and I, for one, thought the language in the bill preventing courts from halting construction of approved facilities, or requiring legal challengers to post bonds for 20 percent of a slaughter house's construction cost, would have gotten altered somewhere along the line as the bill moved through committees. Surprisingly, somehow it didn't. Maybe environmental concerns over a horse slaughter house aren't considered as serious as, say, large-scale coalbed-methane development. Or maybe interest in fast-tracking some industrial development in this session is simply too powerful to stand in the way of. But the decision now rests in Schweitzer's lap as to what to do with this bill, and on this issue, I'm not willing to predict which way he's going to fall.

Click on title above to see comments;

Horse Drawn Coaches to Replace Busses in Ca Town

Horse drawn coaches to replace Blue Buses

By John Wilkes Booth

April 01, 2009

COLORADO AVE — In light of $21,000 worth of fines leveled against the Big Blue Bus for some eco-unfriendly practices by the California Air Resources Board, the city-owned Big Blue Bus company announced Tuesday some very eco-friendly and sustainable changes in its operations.

As a pilot program, fuel-burning buses will be abandoned on three BBB routes and replaced with horse-drawn coaches. The horse-drawn coaches will hold up to eight people with six inside and two on the roof. Each coach, similar to the stagecoaches of the old west, will have a team of eight horses and a driver.

Coaches will not carry strong boxes, so armed guards will not be needed.

The three routes featuring the exclusive horse-drawn conveyances will be the no. 11 Crosstown, The Sunset Ride and the no. 4 San Vicente Boulevard and Carlyle Avenue lines.

"This is the first time in nearly 100 years a municipal transit company has embraced the tried and true, old technology of horse--drawn vehicles to eliminate fuel purchases and carbon emission problems," BBB spokesperson Lotsa Seats said.

The non-fuel vehicles will be phased in during the summer months. If the pilot program is successful, Phase Two will see horse coaches operating on the no. 3 line on Montana Avenue/Lincoln Boulevard, and no. 2 Wilshire Boulevard line.

City Hall expects to initially purchase 92 coaches from an Amish company, the Bird-In-Hand Coach Co. of Lancaster, Ohio. The Amish company also manufactures the high energy fireplaces advertised on television.

Seats disclosed that coaches will begin arriving in a few weeks. With summer coming on, Bird-In-Hand has already switched to coach fabrication from fireplace building, Seats said.

Unlike the old stagecoaches of the Wild West, Santa Monica's coaches will be made of aluminum and have wood frames. They will be painted a "Bruin" blue. Coaches will be stored in a vacant lot across from the Santa Monica Courthouse.

City Hall is purchasing 460 horses that will be stabled in a large tent directly behind City Hall where the old police building was formerly located. Another 320 horses will be rented from "Equines 'R' Us," a motion picture livestock rental firm in Culver City.

"By using horses we eliminate the need for both foreign oil and natural gas," said Santa Monica Mayor Ken Fenser. "The horses are a 100 percent renewable and recyclable technology. They eat hay and straw and the droppings can be sold as fertilizer. You can't get any more sustainable than that."

In a high tech twist, the tented stable is configured to collect the methane gas the horses expel in the tent when they aren't .

Meanwhile, a meth addict was seen cooking a fresh batch in the median near the Fourth Street stairs.

Montana Vet Speaks Out Against Horse-slaughter

From an equine vet in Montana, and a representative of the Montana Grass-roots Horse Coalition;


I know many of you and many of you know me. I know many of you to be very good, honest, decent people and it saddens me to see the lies that are being spread about the issue of horse slaughter. We are all entitled to our beliefs as we are entitled to share & stand up for our beliefs. I feel the need to clarify some absolute lies that have been circulating via email.

If you are in favor of horse slaughter, you are entitled to that, but please know some truths. The pictures and videos are real. They are not made up or sensationalized. The wounds, broken legs, foals born in feed lots, pictures of shod horses, pictures of peoples pet horses in feed lots and at slaughter, videos of horses being repeatedly hit with the captive bolt, overturned cattle trucks with 60 horses mangled..those things are real, they are not made up or sensationalized. Please just accept that fact for what it is. Horse slaughter and its journey for the horse is not humane. If you are OK with that treatment of the horse, that is certainly your choice, but it is sad to me when I hear people deceiving themselves by saying that they are sending their horse to slaughter because it is humane. If I offered to buy your horse and guarantee you that I would haul it and treat it inhumanely then kill it in an inhumane method, there is no way that many of you would sell your horse to me. But that is what we are doing when we drop off our horse at the sale ring and walk away with a small check and a rosy thought in our mind that our horse went to some green pasture with a good owner, mind you, many horses do get this good end, but many do not and to close our eyes & just hope it all works is sad because reality is, the slaughter horse is destined for a very bad journey.

I am tired of the emails circulating that say PETA is sensationalizing, blah, blah, blah. The truth is PETA is NOT at all involved. The people who are spreading that rumor to incite anger are really being ridiculous. I have been a very involved person against horse slaughter, I know the opponents and I assure you PETA is not involved. I also assure you that other rumors circulating are false as well. There is not an abandoned horse problem, the Montana Grass Roots Horse Coalition has done a county by county survey and the rumors are false. Additionally, the allegations have been studied on a national level and have been proven false. It is a ridiculous argument anyway because the reality is that there is still a loose horse market, horse slaughter is still going on so if there were abandoned horses, the people who would do that would do it regardless of access to a slaughter facility as there is still access to horse slaughter. This false rumor is being spread by proponents to incite fear.

Furthermore, the Montana Grass Roots Horse Coalition is simply a group of Montana horse people who are against horse slaughter. In fact, some of the people started out leaning towards being more in favor of slaughter, then the more they researched & studied the issue, they failed to see how or why horse slaughter is a good thing. Not one person who is at the core of the group is a member of PETA, not one person is a vegetarian, not one person is an animal activist and they are all really nice people from around the state who live year round in Montana. Most of you would really like them if you were to ever meet them (or, if you do know them, you already know them to be good people). It is shameful for Linda Grosskopf, the editor of Western Ag Reporter and Stan Weaver to say that the group was made up by Animals Angels. The thing that is made up is the email Stan circulated. That organization does have a website and I personally have downloaded and distributed some of their stuff, but that organization is in no way connected to the Montana Grass Roots Horse Coalition. The reality is that Linda and Stan out & out lied to you about this issue. One of the people in the Montana Grass Roots Horse Coalition does have that email address and she did email around fact sheets. It is ironic that so many of the emails Stan Weaver is sending have so many false things in them and are sent in such a way as to try to elicit fear. Fear of who is involved and lies to create fear. If you are a horse slaughter proponent, you are certainly entitled to that opinion but please make your decisions on facts, not lies or fear.

It is true that the opponents have hired a lobbyist to fight HB 418, but it is also true that AQHA has spent well into 6 digits on their own lobbying for horse slaughter. Additionally, there are MT organizations that have also hired lobbyists in favor of horse slaughter, I assure you, this is no fear that proponents should have, they have more lobbyists than the opponents. Additionally, it is very confusing how AQHA can campaign for us to have horses as partners, family members and pets and yet promote horse slaughter. No wonder so many people don't want to face the reality of how cruel horse slaughter is. The AQHA is totally advertising a double standard.

Another thought, the horse slaughter industry wants young, healthy is a human meat consumption industry, they do not want the old, thin crippled horses. This is not a way to get rid of old horses. The average age of the horse slaughtered is 7. This is reality, so it really should be asked, do you want to raise horses as food animals. That is really the issue and that is what beliefs should be based on. Certainly there are people who will say yes to this and people who will say no but let us argue about that fact, not fears and lies.

There are horses that are unsafe, horses that are ill, people that cannot afford their horses. What would happen if all of us great minds in the horse community came together to deal with these things as a community. What happens if the lobbying money (assuredly, proponents have spent far more than opponents) was used to help programs develop. To help create euthanasia funds, spay and gelding programs, rescue programs, educational programs, feed programs to help people through a short term crisis with their horses, scholarships to help fund equine programs, and lots of other positive things that haven't yet been thought of.

Furthermore, we have learned so much about the care of older horses that still have great value in the horse community.their value in human rehab programs, human therapeutic programs, teachers to young & silly colts and teachers to young and/or inexperienced horse people. There is a lot of work that can be created around these old horses, jobs and money that can stay in our communities and in our industry. Horses of all ages need farrier work, veterinary work, dental work, massage & other body work, feeds, caretaking jobs, etc. All of this is part of the horse community and supports that community. Slaughter plants simply take their profits overseas. Except for the sale rings and killer buyers who make money on slaughter horses, but they do have a food animal market to make money on. They can still make their money there.

Why not come up with good, positive ways to treat our horses humanely and create good and honest work in the horse community. Why not go back to our western roots of helping each other when in need.

We are all good, intelligent people who can do amazing things if we will work together.

In closing, please be passionate about your beliefs, but please base your beliefs on truths not on fear or on lies.

Thank you for your passion and for your efforts,
Dr. Lisa Jacobson
Equine veterinarian
Clyde Park, MT

*It is well to note that EVERY horse councel in every state is organized "for slaughter" under the umbrella policy of The American Horse Council. I personally have sent surveys out to each individual horse council in every state seeking to determine their official stand on the issue. The New York Horse Counsel is the only one that responded and that in the affirmative for pro-slaughter. The others didnt bother to reply, not ONE of them.