Saturday, March 30, 2013

Try Again Oklahoma

12 Reasons To oppose Horse Slaughter

Although I'm not able to find this on the Animal Law Coalition's web page anymore (I have contacted them and asked if they will repost) a list of twelve reasons why people should oppose horse slaughter was compiled. This information should be used as points of discussion when interacting with elected officials and pro-slaughter advocates (PSA's). Please feel free to disseminate...

1. Americans don’t want their horses to be slaughtered. Lake Research Partners conducted a recent nationwide poll confirming that 80% of Americans, regardless of gender, political affiliation, urban or rural residence, or geographic location, oppose horse slaughter for human consumption. The poll also found that the vast majority of horse owners oppose horse slaughter.

2. Most of the horses sold for slaughter are healthy and usable. Horses who are purchased for slaughter are not old, disabled, unwanted, or unusable. The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed a study done by Dr. Temple Grandin, which found that 92.3% of slaughter-bound horses are perfectly healthy. Instead of slaughter being a solution for “unwanted” horses, it crates a secondary market that enables poor breeding practices.

3. Horse slaughter is inhumane. Equine slaughter should not be confused with humane euthanasia. Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM and former Chief USDA Inspector, told Congress in 2008 that the captive bolt used to slaughter horses is ineffective.

Dr. Friedlander stated, “These animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck. They are fully aware that they are being vivisected.” The Government Accountability Office has confirmed that ineffective stunning is common and that animals are conscious during slaughter.

4. Horse slaughter is expensive for the American taxpayer. Approximately $5,000,000 was spent annually to subsidize three foreign-owned (Belgian and French) horse slaughterhouses operating in the U.S. until 2007. The meat was shipped overseas and there was no benefit to the American economy.

Current estimates find that $3,000,000 to $5,000,000 would be spent to subsidize private horse slaughter facilities.

5. Communities with horse slaughter plants suffer. Horse slaughter plans cause nuisance odors and chronic sewer and environmental violations. Paula Bacon, mayor of Kaufman, Texas, stated, “My community did not benefit. We paid.” A horse slaughter facility existed in Kaufman until 2007.

6. Eliminating the waste from horse slaughter plants is problematic. Antibiotics given to American horses prevent their blood from breaking down, making their blood and organs unusable for dry blood mill. Communities that have horse slaughter facilities will be required to figure out how to dispose of the blood, internal organs, and waste. This will be substantial, as horses have 1.74 times as much blood per pound of body weight as cows.

7. Horse slaughter does not help the economy. In 2007, horse slaughter plants never created more than 178 low-wage jobs. Many of these positions were held by people who had entered the U.S. illegally.

8. Incidences of horse theft increase near horse slaughter plants. Horse slaughter is demand-driven, and when California banned horse slaughter in 1998, horse theft fell by 39.5%. In the years that followed, the state found an 88% decrease in horse theft.
9. Areas with horse slaughter plants see higher crime rates. When the horse slaughter plant in Kaufman, TX closed, residents experienced a significant decrease in all crime.

10. The FDA does not regulate horses as food animals. Americans do not consume horses and other equines. Horses receive multiple medications, such as steroids, de-wormers, and ointments, throughout their lives. Kill buyers do not know a horse’s medical history.

The FDA bans the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) Phenylbutazone (Bute) in all food-producing animals. Many horses have received Bute, which is a carcinogen and can cause aplastic anemia in humans.

11. It is impossible to humanely transport horses for slaughter. The 2011 GAO report confirmed that USDA/APHIS has not – and cannot – enforce humane transport regulations for equines to be sent to slaughter.

12. Horses are in danger. The welfare of all equines is threatened as long as slaughter remains available.

~"If there are more beautiful, magical and mystical beings in this world than equines are, I have yet to discover them and am not convinced it's even possible for such to exist." – 01/06~

Friday, March 29, 2013

Save Horses From Slaughter

Horse Slaughter - Coming from the State Of Oklahoma

Press release from Governor Fallin after signing Horse slaughter bill

OKLAHOMA CITY — Governor Mary Fallin today signed House Bill 1999, a bill ending the prohibition on horse meat processing for export in Oklahoma. Forty-six states, not including Oklahoma, currently allow horsemeat processing.
Governor Fallin released the following statement:
“In Oklahoma – as in other states – abuse is tragically common among horses that are reaching the end of their natural lives. Many horses are abandoned or left to starve to death. Others are shipped out of the country, many to Mexico, where they are processed in potentially inhumane conditions that are not regulated by the U.S. government.
“Unfortunately, the 2006 federal ban on horse processing plants has made this situation worse. After the implementation of that ban, the Government Accountability Office reported a 60 percent increase in abused, neglected and starved horses. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also noted that over 166,000 horses were sent to Canada and Mexico for processing just in 2012. These animals traveled long distances, in potentially inhumane circumstances, only to meet their end in foreign processing plants that do not face the same level of regulation or scrutiny that American plants would.
“Those of us who care about the wellbeing of horses – and we all should – cannot be satisfied with a status quo that encourages abuse and neglect, or that rewards the potentially inhumane slaughter of animals in foreign countries.
“For that reason, I have today signed HB 1999, which would allow the humane, regulated processing of horses. This bill strictly prohibits selling horse meat for human consumption in Oklahoma.
“My thanks go out to the many horse owners, farmers and ranchers, animal lovers and concerned citizens who have contacted me regarding this issue. I appreciate the willingness of so many individuals and groups to get involved and engage their elected officials. My office diligently worked to ensure input from all sides of the issue was carefully considered during the consideration of this bill. I appreciate and support the efforts of those who have expressed a desire to donate land, money and resources to provide for abandoned horses. I believe the direction pursued by the Oklahoma Legislature, in a bill supported by both Democrats and Republicans and passed by large margins, is both practical and humane.”
“There are currently no processing facilities in the state. Should there ever be a processing facility planned, my administration will work with the Department of Agriculture to ensure it is run appropriately, follows all state and local laws, and is not a burden or hazard to the community. It’s important to note cities, counties and municipalities still have the ability to express their opposition to processing facilities by blocking their construction and operation at the local level.”
HB 1999 goes into effect on November 1, 2013. It was sponsored by Representative Skye McNeil in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senator Eddie Fields in the Senate. The bill passed 82-14 in the House and 32-14 in the Senate.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The cruel industry traffic of horses from us to Mexico

Policy •
Mexico has become one of the leading producers of horse meat in the world, but allegations documented by NGOs reveal the cruelty that is transported and gives death to the animals from United States
Texas • as every day, the fleet trucking of freight goes very early Ranch on the outskirts of Presidio and begins to circulate through its rural roads, lifting large dust clouds that smell like fertilizer and diesel in its path. The convoy is directed to the border with Mexico and in a few minutes will leave behind South Texas into the Chihuahuan desert.
Within minutes, the transport will be parked on the side of the garita de Ojinaga, where it will wait to receive the necessary documentation to make the crossing. But unlike other trailers hoping to move from one country to another with all sorts of products at this time, sounds come from inside. Greater detail, relinchidos and punches. They are hooves that cocean against metal.
If one comes to peek through their vents, you can see some snouts come to sniff the intruder. It's horses: are en route to his death. They have been bought by Mexican traces, dedicated to the production of horse meat for export, a controversial industry that Mexicans know little and that critics say falls squarely in the land of the cruel.
"The way which is transported and then sacrifices himself to these animals is cruel and inhumane. We are convinced that there are no animals for human consumption", says Valerie Pringle, specialist in equine protection of human society of the United States, a non-governmental organization dedicated to ensuring the ethical treatment of animals. "Is made to these horses suffer from terrible form on their way to slaughterhouses in Mexico".
Sonja Meadows, Director of Animals Angels, another pro animal grouping, the second: "we have followed those trucks, loaded with up to 40 horses for more than 36 hours and at no time been given water or allowed to leave to rest (...)" the production of food is no excuse for the inhuman treatment".
It covered Pringle and Meadows is a phenomenon of recent stamp which has led Mexico to become thing of half a decade into one of the leading producers of meat of horse in the world, only behind Argentina and Canada in America and over powers such as France and the Netherlands. Since the U.S. Government banned in 2007 killing horses way industrialized by considering it an inhuman practice, the killing has migrated to the South. Thousands of horses are imported every year to Mexican territory to sacrifice them.
According to data from the Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria (SENASICA) obtained via the Federal transparency law, in five years, 321 thousand horses crossed the Rio Grande and ended up in one of five trails - located in Chihuahua, Zacatecas and Aguascalientes-with authorization from the Secretariat of agriculture, livestock and fisheries. On average, are imported 175 sacrificial horses a day.
The trend is upward.
Ojinaga and Presidio could be defined as the epicenter of the binational horses for trail traffic. Only in la garita shared by both cities, 34 thousand horses were interned in 2012, with figures updated until November. Other 32,000 did for Piedras Negras and Ciudad Juarez.
Before crossing them to Mexican territory, different receivers ranches accumulate the horses in pens of El Paso, Eagle Pass, and Presidio. According to data of the United States Department of agriculture, the heads may come from several thousands of kilometers radius, from States as far away as Utah, Tennessee, Oklahoma and even Minnesota, on the border with Canada.
In this part of South Texas and Northern Chihuahua that equine flow evidence you can see at a glance. Both of those who come from them will be. On ranches, hundreds of animals graze waiting to be loaded into trailers that are going to Mexico.
The butt - some take more than 40 horses-, trucks will then be on the Poe and they will be reviewed by Sagarpa staff, looking for infections or defects. Once approved the paperwork, they internarán in Mexican territory, on a long route that takes them by road to traces of Camargo, Aguascalientes and Zacatecas. During the trip, sometimes it will be possible to see the horses get their heads to try and get some air.
"Every day see them pass", says a soldier stationed at a checkpoint midway between Ojinaga and Camargo, on a route that traffic is scarce. "Trucks and trucks full of horses. It is the only thing that happens on this road."
On average, a horse can be removed up to 150 kg of meat, intestines for sausages, strings for musical instruments and equipment for glue. But in the consumption of a cutting horse where you enter an openly contentious issue. Many countries reject the idea on the grounds that they are pet and bred won not with the specific purpose of slaughter.
On the other hand, drugs that are used to treat horses throughout his life must not come to the food chain. "A horse is not a chicken. It is not a cow. Pringle, who stressed that his organization is suspected drugs provided them have serious risks to human health,"insisted that among the huge flow of horses that runs from United States to Mexico, are being slaughtered some that have hazardous substances in his system.
The debate on eating horse meat ends up being subjective. But largely the Mexicans are not those who consume it. According to figures from the National Institute of geography, statistics, and Informatics (INEGI), in a matter of a decade the equine slaughter in Mexico went from marginal activity - focused on the palate of a few consumer-, multibillion-dollar industry, but with a distinctly foreign market.
For example, the Statistical Yearbook of foreign trade recorded between 2009 and 2012 were exported to more than a thousand 700 million pesos "of horse meat of the species" to 13 countries on three continents. Horse cuts produced in Mexico buyers have emerged in Belgium, France, Russia, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Sweden and Swaziland, among some of the few Nations in the world taking it without taboo.
It is a particularly high rise if one takes into account that the industry did not exist before. Since 2004, the profits of the Mexican traces have grown 500 percent. Today they play the 468 million pesos. The production of meat for export has expanded also to triple digits.
For 2011, the figures reached a historic record, with some 10,000 747 tonnes of meat produced, the bulk of which comes from two plants of Zacatecas, Fresnillo and Jerez. It is one of the higher yields around the world, according to statistics from the United Nations for agriculture (FAO). At that rate, and without being a country where there is a significant consumer of horsemeat, Mexico could become one of the world leaders in its production before the end of the Decade.
But the rapid rise of this industry has had a strong price. At the same time that the closure of the traces in the United States has brought unprecedented profits to those who are engaged in the business of horse slaughter in Mexico, animal protection organizations have documented a long string of violations and mistreatment that open the question whether these horses - even if your final destination is the trace - are suffering more than you need.
On its own, this reporter was able to observe first-hand how, in Presidio from a ranch truck was parked in a lot for three hours, with an average temperature of 35 degrees. During that time, as export papers prepared, it was possible to listen to the horses give kicks against the doors, unless no one approached to provide them with water.
One of many routes that it has been dubbed by activists "the death road" starts about 400 kilometers north of the border with Chihuahua, in the town of Los Lunas, New Mexico in. In the wake of the ban on horse slaughter in the United States, thousands of horses are taken to auction, the Southwest Livestock Auction company.
U.S. and Mexican businessmen come every week to do business and buy animals whose final destination is the trace. In the industry are known as killer buyers (buyers of death).
The price assigned to some of those horses is minimal: sometimes fail to $5 per head, despite the fact that among the lots there are young and healthy foals whose market value could be 50 times that. After being sold, hacks and horses begin a long path marked by a cruel treatment.
Millennium had access to a series of videos in a hidden by researchers from the Organization Animals Angels, which, at the end of 2012, followed from beginning to end several of these shipments, bound for the traces in Camargo, Fresnillo and Aguascalientes. The images listed different signs of abuse, as the drivers with sticks beating horses, chopping them with Puya from outside of the trucks and leaving them outdoors, despite the high temperatures of the desert.
Inside a trailer, there is a horse falling and is crushed by his companions. In another, the animals are completely crowded, unable to move, covered in manure. Some have open, bleeding sores or infections in the eyes. An image taken in a pen, shows a Mare and a foal deaths, side-by-side.
Animals Angels plans to launch an advertising campaign in Europe to denounce the conditions in which Mexican horse meat is produced. "Our Organization has worked on the issue since 2007. We have conducted hundreds of investigations and we are currently preparing a campaign in Europe to raise awareness of consumers about the brutality and cruelty of this industry in Mexico, "said Meadows.
Its researchers have also infiltrated traces of Jerez, Camargo, and Aguascalientes, recording in a hidden extremely graphic videos. According to Meadows, they prove that even to point of being slaughtered, the horses are subjected to an experience that is too cruel.
"Based on our observations, there is excessive cruelty. On the floor of Jerez, for example we saw live horses that were being dragged with a cable by its hind legs. We filmed embryos dead in the yard. And on the floor of Camargo saw very low standards,"said.
The United States Humane Society also has been launched against the industry of the trail in Mexico. In a hidden, one of its researchers was able to document makes indiscriminate use of an instrument known as "lace", a knife usually used to kill cattle, with much less long than of the equine necks in the slaughterhouse of Juarez.
The result, say specialists, is needless suffering for the animal, even in violation of the laws of United States and the European Union, which explicitly prohibit the acquisition of meat for horses that are slaughtered in inhumane way.
"Some plants in Mexico use what is known as a knife of lace, which is nailed to the base of the neck of the horse, that would have to cripple it. But not necessarily cut the nerves. I.e., even though he is hamstrung, when they hang him and open them pit, we argue that they are probably feeling the pain. Are they still conscious,"said Pringle. "For us, the only way to kill a horse is through the use of drugs with a trained veterinarian." But it does not usually happen. Not with food.
"Unfortunately once these animals have been designated as a meat product, any attention to their needs are thrown out the window. Which is unfortunate because they are animals for slaughter", he deplored.
[Click on image to enlarge]

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Editorial: Horse slaughter foes ignored

By World's Editorials Writers

Related Story: Horse slaughter bill likely to get Fallin's support

For some inexplicable reason, Oklahoma leaders seem determined to allow horse slaughter in the state, despite strong and vocal opposition. Long-time political observers cannot remember another issue on which political leadership and rank-and-file voters were so far apart. What's going on here?

Some politicians keep dismissing the opposition to horse slaughter as ignorant urbanites influenced by out-of-state interests. But recent SoonerPoll findings show that's not the case at all.

According to the scientific poll, a majority - 66 percent - of likely state voters opposes passage of a horse-slaughter measure. Of those who oppose, 88 percent strongly oppose it.

A majority of rural respondents - 65.1 percent - opposes horse slaughter, according to the poll. In the Tulsa region, there was 69.6 percent opposition, and in the Oklahoma City region, 64.3 percent.

According to the poll, significant majorities of all political parties are opposed: 72.5 percent of independents; 67.6 percent of Democrats and 63.4 percent of Republicans.

The opposition grew even higher when respondents were asked their views on having a slaughterhouse in their community: 72.3 percent opposed a nearby slaughterhouse, with 91.9 percent strongly opposed.

But lawmakers and now even Gov. Mary Fallin have signed on to this controversial, unwanted proposition, purportedly because it provides a "humane" solution to a problem - overpopulation and unwanted animals - that experience shows can be resolved through other means.

Perhaps they should enjoy this term of office while they can, because it might be their last. The poll also showed more than 54 percent of likely voters won't vote to send them back to office if they vote in favor of horse slaughter.

Senate OK's Horse Slaughter Bill

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow for a horse-slaughter facility in Oklahoma.

The measure, House Bill 1999, passed by a vote of 32-14 and heads to Gov. Mary Fallin's desk.

Supporters said the measure was an issue of private property rights. Critics said it is not necessary and is inhumane.

The bill would ban consumption of horse meat in Oklahoma but allow for it to be shipped out of the country.

Sen. Eddie Fields, R-Wynona, and Rep. Skye McNiel, R-Bristow, are the authors of the measure

Oklahomans Against Horse Slaughter in 2012 and Beyond

HB1999 FINAL VOTE: 32 Yeas and 14 Nays.
BOO OKLAHOMA legislators that made this a property rights and agriculture/product issue!!
Please call Senator Bass, McAffrey and Johnson and THANK THEM for debating.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Moran Calls on USDA to Deny Horse Slaughter Facility Permits

Requests agency include slaughter ban in FY ’14 budget
Washington, DC – Congressman Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat and co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, today sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack calling on the USDA to deny permit applications for horse slaughter facilities, citing concerns with the cost and safety of the practice. Moran’s letter follows a New York Times report that the USDA may approve horse slaughter facilities in the near future.
“Horses are not raised as food animals and are routinely given substances that are banned by the FDA from administration to animals destined for human consumption,” Moran wrote. “At a time when USDA’s budget is diminished by budget cuts and sequestration…every dollar spent at horse slaughter plants would divert necessary resources away from beef, chicken, and pork inspections - meat actually consumed by Americans.”
The five-year ban on horse slaughter for human consumption ended in 2011 when the final House-Senate appropriations conference agreement removed Rep. Moran’s amendment that barred funding for USDA inspections of horse meat. In the letter, Moran praised the USDA’s support for legislative efforts to prevent horse slaughter and asked the USDA to include similar language in the agency’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposal.
Moran continued: “While I work to restore this ban, I strongly urge you to exercise all available options to prevent the resumption of this industry.”
Moran’s letter also highlighted the negative economic impact horse slaughter could have on the entire U.S. meat industry. Earlier this year, the European Union discovered horse meat had made its way into the EU’s beef supply. In the month following media reports of horse meat-laced products, sales of frozen burgers in the U.K. collapsed by 43 percent.
“When asked if such a disaster could occur in our country, USDA representatives expressed confidence in the American food supply by emphasizing that there is no horse slaughter industry here to pose a food safety risk,” Moran wrote. “That reassurance that will no longer be available if horse slaughter is allowed to return.”
Full text of the letter below:
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
I write to express my concern that the slaughter of horses for human consumption may soon resume on American soil. According to a February 28th New York Times article, the USDA is moving forward with processing Valley Meat Company’s application for horse slaughter inspections. I also understand that four other facilities have filed applications for horse slaughter inspections. USDA has verified that, in less than two months, a grant of inspection could be issued, and the slaughtering of horses could resume in the U.S.
Widespread public opposition to horse slaughter led to the closure of the last U.S. horse slaughter plants in 2007. A prohibition on the use of taxpayer dollars for horse slaughter inspections was included in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 Agriculture Appropriations bill and routinely included each year until 2011, when the language was excluded from the FY 2012 appropriations bill. The language was incorporated into the FY 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill after I offered it as an amendment in committee, but unfortunately that bill was never enacted. With the funding prohibition lifted, Americans – 80 percent of whom polls show are opposed to the slaughter of horses for human consumption – may soon see their taxpayer dollars spent to finance horse slaughter.
At a time when USDA’s budget is diminished by budget cuts and sequestration, it would be irresponsible to divert millions of dollars a year to inspect horsemeat consumed entirely by foreign consumers. Every dollar spent at horse slaughter plants would divert necessary resources away from beef, chicken, and pork inspections - meat actually consumed by Americans. In addition, horses are not raised as food animals and are routinely given substances that are banned by the FDA from administration to animals destined for human consumption. Contrary to the claims of slaughter proponents, these horses are not old and unwanted, with USDA statistics showing that 92 percent of all horses sent to slaughter are in good condition.
Recent events in Europe demonstrate the threat the horse slaughter industry could pose to the U.S. meat industry. This year’s scandal over horse meat mislabeling and toxicity has shaken consumer confidence in the safety of all meat on the European market. In the month following media reports of horse meat-laced products, sales of frozen burgers in the U.K. collapsed by 43 percent, sales of frozen-meat dishes in France fell by 30 percent, and sales of ready-made pasta dishes, frozen foods and meat sauces in Italy dropped by 30 percent. When asked if such a disaster could occur in our country, USDA representatives expressed confidence in the American food supply by emphasizing that there is no horse slaughter industry here to pose a food safety risk. That reassurance that will no longer be available if horse slaughter is allowed to return.
I am encouraged by USDA’s statement of support for appropriations language to prohibit taxpayer dollars for horse slaughter inspections. I also appreciate your support for a “third way” solution for unwanted horses rather than slaughtering them for human consumption. In acknowledgement of these positions, I urge you to include language prohibiting funding for horse slaughter inspections in your FY 2014 budget submission to Congress similar to the amendment that I offered the past two years.
I believe that you, consistent with your regulatory authority, should deny Valley Meat’s permit for horse slaughter inspections so further consideration can be given to the important responsibility of monitoring equine drug residues. To this end, I ask that USDA provide an official response to the petition for rulemaking to label horse meat as adulterated prior to issuing a grant of inspection.
Finally, I request that you provide me with an estimate of the total expenditures required to reinstate a USDA horse slaughter inspection program. This calculation should include inspector training, creation of a testing regimen, continuous updates to that testing regimen as new drugs are discovered, creation of a traceability program, and plans for the testing of meat from each slaughtered horse. This last item is critical because, unlike other types of livestock that are raised in lots with similar medical regimens, each horse has a unique medical history. Sampling, therefore, will not be considered an accurate representation of all horse meat.
It is regrettable that Congress allowed the prohibition on federal funding for horse slaughter inspections to lapse. While I work to restore this ban, I strongly urge you to exercise all available options to prevent the resumption of this industry. I also stand ready and willing to work with you in developing a responsible plan for handling unwanted horses.
Thank you for your consideration of this request, and I look forward to your response.
Jim Moran

Secretary of Agriculture Calls for Alternatives to Horse Slaughter

And American’s Agree. Now It Is Time for Congress to Act!
Washington, D.C. – The Animal Welfare Institute applauds Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for joining AWI and the majority of Americans who feel there are better, more humane, more responsible options for horses nearing the end of their lives or their careers than being slaughtered for meat.
Secretary Vilsack, while speaking with reporters earlier this week, called on Congress to come up with other ways for this country to handle aging horses than to slaughter them for meat for human consumption. Secretary Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa, noted that in his home state horses work with inmates in prisons, and that this helps prisoners acquire job skills for when they rejoin society.
AWI has long advocated this kind of alternative to slaughter, along with many others such as therapeutic riding, riding school programs, or even second careers in a variety of equestrian sporting events. These alternatives are a way to provide second careers for horses, while making a valuable contribution to society and the economy. In 2009, AWI screened a documentary called Homestretch on Capitol Hill, highlighting a very successful prison rehabilitation program involving rescued horses.
According to the Indiana Department of Corrections, the “program helps end needless abuse and slaughter of retired race horses by providing humane, viable rescue programs, including permanent retirement and private adoption for thoroughbreds at the end of their racing careers. Offenders are taught equine skills and not only maintain these animals, but also help retrain them so they are suitable for use in qualified handicapped and other therapeutic riding programs.” This laudable program is not only beneficial to the horses; it is a boon to the prisoners and to society. The recitative rate for prisoners participating in the South Carolina Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Second Chances program at Wateree River Correctional Institute in South Carolina was dramatically reduced when compared to the rate for prisoners in the general population of the same institution. Those not in the horse retirement program were many times more likely to commit additional crimes and return to prison.
“We commend Secretary Vilsack for his sensible decision,” noted Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for AWI. “USDA has not been attempting to regulate, and thereby sanction, this brutal business for 6 years, and it is important to move forward not backwards.”
An additional factor that weighs heavily in favor of Secretary Vilsack’s call for humane alternatives is the federal government’s growing budgetary crisis. If the Department of Agriculture were to resume inspection of horse slaughter facilities—something it has not done for several years—the department would be forced to divert limited manpower and funding in order to finance the effort because Congress did not provide additional funding when it removed the annual prohibition on inspecting these facilities. The timing could not be worse, given the current congressional emphasis on shrinking, not expanding, government expenditures.
“A recent national survey found that over 80 percent of Americans support a ban on horse slaughter and Secretary Vilsack is right in representing that position,” said Heyde. “AWI urges everyone who supports an end to horse slaughter in favor of more humane and responsible alternatives to write Secretary Vilsack at AWI’s Compassion Index and urge him to work with Congress on passage of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act.

Poll: Oklahoma Voters Strongly Oppose Horse Slaughter

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    Poll: Oklahoma Voters Strongly Oppose Horse Slaughter

    on Mar 23, 13 • by • with 25 Comments
    A strong majority (66 percent) of Oklahoma likely voters opposes passage of proposed legislation allowing for the slaughter of horses here in Oklahoma, and of those that oppose, 88 percent strongly oppose the legislation, according to a new poll. The Oklahoma legislature is currently considering two bills, House Bill...
    Home » Featured, Statewide » Poll: Oklahoma Voters Strongly Oppose Horse Slaughter
    A strong majority (66 percent) of Oklahoma likely voters opposes passage of proposed legislation allowing for the slaughter of horses here in Oklahoma, and of those that oppose, 88 percent strongly oppose the legislation, according to a new poll.
    The Oklahoma legislature is currently considering two bills, House Bill 1999 and Senate Bill 375, which would allow for slaughter of horses here in Oklahoma for human consumption in other countries but would maintain a ban on the sale of horsemeat in the state.
    A strong majority, 65.1 percent, of respondents in rural counties opposes the legislation, despite claims by the horse slaughter proponents that rural communities support it. Counties within the Tulsa MSA, 69.6 percent, and counties within the Oklahoma City MSA, 64.3 percent, also have high levels of opposition to horse slaughter.
    Significant majorities of all political parties also oppose horse slaughter: 72.5 percent of Independents oppose this legislation, followed by 67.6 percent of Democrats and 63.4 percent of Republicans. Another strong majority, 60.5 percent, of conservative respondents, who make up more than half of all likely voters, is opposed to the horse slaughter legislation, as well as 74.7 percent of moderates.
    When asked about having a horse slaughter operation in their community, an overwhelming majority, 72.3 percent, of likely voters is opposed, with 91.9 percent of these likely voters in strong opposition. Sixty-eight percent of rural likely voters oppose having a horse slaughter facility in their local community, followed by 74.6 percent of likely voters in the Tulsa metro area and 75.8 percent in the Oklahoma City metro.
    A majority of likely voters, 54.1 percent, would be unlikely to vote to re-elect their senator or house representative if he or she voted in favor of this horse slaughter legislation regardless of whether or not it becomes law.
    Voters were also asked about particular organizations. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and The Humane Society of the United States, two groups opposed to horse slaughter, received combined favorability (strongly and somewhat favorable) of 69.5 percent and 64.4 percent, respectively, from likely voters. The Oklahoma Farm Bureau, a group advocating for horse slaughter, had combined favorability among 63.4 percent of respondents.

    Horse slaughter bill appears unstoppable

    By World's Editorials Writers

    The horse-slaughter train is roaring down the track and it appears there will be no stopping it.

    House Bill 1999 would allow the slaughtering of horses in Oklahoma and shipment of the meat to other countries. Horse meat is not consumed as food in the United States.

    The measure has passed the House, cleared committee in the Senate and might be taken up on the Senate floor as early as Tuesday.

    There is something about the rush to pass this misconceived legislation that doesn't smell right. The measure passed a Senate committee last week on a unanimous vote, with no discussion or debate. It is ludicrous to think that an issue as controversial as this would not prompt debate, or at least a few questions raised.

    What this suggests is that lawmakers know that many, perhaps most, of their constituents oppose the horse slaughterhouse bill but the word has come down from the leadership that the bill is to be passed regardless, and with as little fuss as possible.

    On Thursday, Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman lent his support to HB 1999, an unsurprising but still disappointing development.

    Bingman doesn't see slaughtering horses as an embarrassment to the state. He sees allowing slaughterhouses as a humane alternative for dealing with old, feeble or sick horses. That's been the constant refrain on the horse-slaughter advocates.

    The idea that humane care for old, feeble and sick horses is the primary motivation for permitting a practice that as of now is not permitted by any other state is laughable. There is no way that there are enough such animals to profitably operate a slaughterhouse. Healthy animals will have to be imported from other states and ultimately horses will have to be bred and raised for slaughter.

    The pro-slaughter crowd touts the economic benefits but in fact the practice will be of minimal economic benefit, with most of that accruing to the state's horse auctioneers, including the family of Rep. Skye McNiel, R-Bristow, author of HB 1999.

    The horse-slaughter crowd claims that there is no difference between slaughtering horses and cattle, but that's not really true. Cattle are raised to be food. The slaughter of any animal can be a difficult process, but it is the nature of horses to resist, to escape or even fight back when threatened. Horses, at least in this country, are not raised to be food. They are bred and trained to be work mates and companions for people.

    It's probable that a majority of Oklahomans find the slaughter of horses for exported meat repugnant. But it's full steam ahead for the Legislature. If HB 1999 passes the Senate the only roadblock remaining is the scant hope that Gov. Mary Fallin would veto it.

    Get ready. If you liked cockfighting you'll love horse slaughter.

    Fallin supports making horse slaughter legal

    Gov. Mary Fallin has offered general support for a bill to legalize horse slaughter in the state.

    “I think it’s a bill I can support,” Fallin told the Oklahoma Farm Report, a syndicated radio agriculture report, concerning House Bill 1999.

    The bill, currently awaiting consideration by the state Senate, would strike a decades-own state prohibition of horse slaughter but would continue the ban of horse meat sales for domestic consumption.

    The meat would be exported outside the United States, under the proposal, which Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, has predicted could be on the governor’s desk this week.

    Speaking after an appearance at the Oklahoma Youth Expo, Fallin said: “It is important that we have a humane way to be able to take care of abandoned horses and those that are getting older and that have been turned out and abandoned in our state. We’re glad we’ve been able to see some legislation going through that will help address that issue.”

    Fallin said horse slaughter is “certainly an issue I know is very important to people in the agricultural sector and one that’s had a lot of debate in the state of Oklahoma.”

    After Fallin spoke, a statewide poll from of 452 likely voters was released showing strong voter opposition to the horse slaughter proposal.

    The scientific telephone survey asked respondents for their position on HB 1999 and the similarly worded Senate Bill 375. Respondents were asked about the two measures near the beginning of the survey and again at the end after they had been asked a series of questions about claims made by supporters and opponents of HB 1999.

    At the beginning, 53 percent strongly opposed HB 1999 and 11 percent somewhat opposed it. At the end, 58 percent were strongly opposed and 8 percent were somewhat opposed. In both cases, about 25 percent strongly or somewhat supported allowing horse processing in Oklahoma.

    The survey was commissioned by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States.

    Copyright 2013 Tulsa World. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

    Horse slaughter opponents spur last-minute efforts to kill Oklahoma legislation

    Passage of a bill that would allow the slaughter of horses in Oklahoma is expected to be taken up this week. Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, says the measure should pass, and if no changes are made the bill would be sent to Gov. Mary Fallin for her consideration
    By Michael McNutt | Published: March 25, 2013 Comment on this article 7
    With legislation that would allow the slaughter of horses in Oklahoma heading down the stretch, opponents mounted up last-minute efforts Sunday to rein in the legislation's momentum.

    Poll finds voter opposition
    to horse slaughter proposal

    Bill Shapard, chief executive officer of, said his poll showed 66 percent of Oklahoma likely voters oppose passage of legislation allowing the slaughter of horses. When asked about having a horse slaughter operation in their community, 72.3 percent opposed the idea. The poll was commissioned by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States. It was conducted March 16-21 with 452 likely voters in Oklahoma selected to participate at random, Shapard said. The margin error is 4.6 percent.
    Speakers criticized the legislation during a news conference at a horse ranch in northeastern Oklahoma City and released poll results showing a majority of Oklahomans oppose the two measures that would overturn a 50-year ban on horse slaughter.
    The Senate is expected to vote early this week on House Bill 1999, which would allow horse slaughter but would continue the existing ban on the sale of horse meat for consumption in the state.
    A House of Representatives committee is scheduled Wednesday to hear Senate Bill 375, which would revoke the state's 1963 law banning the sale of horse meat and would end the prohibition on horse slaughtering or the sale of horse meat.
    No comment
    Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said he expects HB 1999 will win Senate approval.
    “If you fully understand what they're doing, it's humane, it's better off for the horses,” Bingman said last week.
    If it passes without any amendments being added, it would go the governor for her consideration.
    Gov. Mary Fallin has a policy of not commenting on whether she will support legislation until she has an opportunity to review the final version.
    Paula Bacon, who served as mayor of Kaufman, Texas, when a horse processing plant was operating in her community, talked Sunday about the environmental dangers and the stigma that Oklahoma would face if a similar plant operated in the state.
    She said the city filed legal action against the operators of the plant; still, she said the plant caused environmental and economic havoc in her community until it closed in 2007.
    “It stigmatizes your community,” she said. “Good development does not want to come there.
    “You would be better served to have a lead-smeltering plant and sexually oriented businesses all up and down your main drag than to have a horse slaughter plant in your community,” Bacon said.
    Horseman speaks
    John Murrell, a thoroughbred horse owner and breeder and a former board member of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, talked of the inhumane treatment horses face being taken to processing plants and the cruel fate that awaits them when they arrive.
    “Our horses deserve a much kinder end to their life … than to be sent to a horrific, terrible scary death at a slaughterhouse,” said Murrell, of Dallas.
    “We as Americans do not raise horses for food. The slaughter process is cruel and inhumane. From the time the horses arrive at the livestock auction and during their transport to slaughter, which in many cases can be horrific and lengthy, the horses endure unspeakable atrocities, including multiple injuries.”
    Offering an option
    Mike Spradling, president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, said a processing plant is an alternative for horse owners who can't afford them and are now turning them out on roads, abandoning them on other people's pastures or simply allowing them to starve.
    Contacted Sunday, Spradling said a processing plant is only an option for horse owners.
    He said he expected about one third of Oklahoma horse owners would sell their unwanted horses to the plant.
    “This is a private property rights issue,” said Spradling, of Tulsa. “Those are our animals.
    “We are in the business of producing food and fiber,” Spradling said. “Is it better just to dispose of the animal, euthanize it and put it in a hole … or if there is an option for it ... to go to humans?

    Sunday, March 24, 2013

    Confessions of an Ex-Kill Buyer

    15/03/2013 at 9:50 pm

    I hope that this passes and horses are protected. The horse followers of the Duquette and Wallis and McNeil troupe are misguided and have never walked through a slaughterhouse. I have, its the most grossly malicious thing you could EVER witness, a neighbors stolen horse went into the plant and I was told to stay out-but adrenaline never slows you down, I was a killer buyer, I know the fear in the horses eyes, he was gentle, I didnt find out he was stolen from a neighbors house until I was told by a car who followed me two hundred miles, when I got inside the plant I saw him get beaten, prodded, his head bloodly terrified, the guy had already started bolting his head, I saw them detroy this animal, the stories they are all true. Another man killed a day old filly with a baseball bat to her head. Do you really think that this is the way for the horses to die? I was a killer buyer I know what goes on, I quit that day after 10 years of doing it, I realized that this is not the line of work I could be proud of and I want Americans to know-anything goes just get the horses there, dead half dead, fully alive, just get them there, and no one worries about the condition, broken bones, whatever, because they just dont care.

    The worst part is that the USDA and other organizations knew the laws and so did we, we know in or through the state of Illinois that it was against the law to transport a sick or injured or dying or diseased horse to slaughter, we knew that their laws state NO one can move these animals and that aged horses have to be euthanized and that all injured animals even in transport through Illinois and many other states have to be removed from
    the trailer, travel alone and have to be vetted, thats why when people photograph their trailers the killer buyers and myself carried guns, baseball bats, busted windshield out of their cars, broke camera’s or just beat the people up, because we knew one way or the other we were going to jail, and the more injured or diseased animals or even aged dying animals that we were caught with the more jail time and fines were going to add up. Not to mention we were running with no logs and going from state to state picking up animals and couldnt chance that we would get stopped running too many hours or no proof of where our loads came from.
    So paranoid drivers became violent, some resorted to stealing horses to make more profit and some just hired people who did it for them, some of those people even would up with attempted murder charges when people caught them stealing their horses and would try to save the animals. ITs a dirty business, we buy a horse at auction and then tell the people who really wanted it a higher price and then we laugh when they won't pay for it. Trust me its a sad life-I saw the conditions those animals were in I dont need a antislaughter group to tell me this is stupid. Cheval employees told me they were unlikely to have 5 or 6 horses a week that actually got stunned on the first blow they did hundreds a week and only 5 or 6 would let them do it humanely-so thats a really bad thing. I was a cattleman before that-I saw cattle being butchered I never saw this type of abuse and hatred. I saw things but this appalled me so much I cant do it ever again. As for my neighbor I lost a friend, it doesnt matter I didnt know that was her horse, it will never be repaired, I cant go back and unload him for her-I destroyed her life, I know that.

    I have done things I wish I had never done, I have done things I wish I never knew. Those slaughter people they just get crazy over time and you hear them talk about how they would like to cut people up and do weird things-but until you have been in the plant you cant understand why they are getting so whacked out. Trust me this is not a subject that pro slaughter people will understand until they expirience it. The smell-could never get it out of my nose, seeing all the rotting horses lying dead-the USDA said we cannot stand for this and wham the govenment closed it all down, thank God, now it has to happen again, Permanent. The smell never leaves you. The USDA has tons of information about the trade and none of it is good because it wasnt good. I may be an old man, but I am not a stupid old man-I know whats good for America and its horses and slaughter houses are NOT it.

    5 Horse Slaughter Applications Under Consideration in the U.S.

    There is a battle going on, mostly behind the scenes, to open the first horse slaughterhouse in the United States.
    Front Range Equine Rescue, an anti-slaughter group from Larkspur, Colorado, has revealed four names of horse slaughter applicants vying right along with Valley Meat. These five have filed applications on Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) forms with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
    These five companies want to operate horse slaughtering plants in the United States:
    Valley Meat, Roswell, New Mexico (population 48,386)
    Filed application December 13, 2011. Opposed since then by Front Range Equine Rescue. Company has gone to court to get a federal judge to order FSIS to provide inspections. Company owned by Sarah and Ricardo de los Santos. Slaughterhouse was previously a beef plant that ran into financial problems.
    Rains Natural Meats, Gallatin, Missouri (population 1,791)
    Division of Pro Show Enterprises Inc., wrote January 15, 2013 cover letter signed by manager David Rains. Letter states company is starting changes in their HACCP Plan to address drug residue in horses.
    Trail South Meat Processing in Woodbury, Tennessee (population 2,681)
    Application is dated June 1, 2012. Known in foreign trade directory as a supplier of boxed frozen horse meat to Asia and Europe. Was started in 2012. Chief executive officer is Stanley Dobson.
    Oklahoma Meat Company, Washington, Oklahoma (population 520)
    Owner and manager listed on May 18, 2012 application is Ahsan Amil. This location in Oklahoma is very close to Norman and the University of Oklahoma.
    Responsible Transportation, Sigourney, Iowa (population 2,059)
    Company apparently turning Louis Rich plant into horse slaughterhouse. Want to be up and running by late spring or early summer 2013 to commence killing. Company is supported by Sigourney News-Review. President and chief executive officer is Keaton Walker. Des Moines office of USDA wrote company on December 26, 2012 that they cannot start operations until a “Conditional Grant of Inspection is issued, and provided a worksheet was completed “before or during” a walk-through.
    As we know, Oklahoma has introduced legislation intended to lift its ban on horse slaughter with the caveat that the meat is processed exclusively for export only.
    Originally, USDA declined to provide copies of the applications outside of the formal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process, but since the request filed by the Colorado horse rescue group was approved, FSIS opted to provide them to Food Safety News.
    Per some experts, the consequences of having stopped horse meat inspections several years ago have resulted in more cruelty to animals that before. Per Food Safety News source, “The Government Accountability Office (GAO) of Congress documented those concerns in a report two years ago, and the Obama Administration and Congress opted to lift the ban a year later.”