September 7, 2011 – Chicago (EWA) – The long awaited Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on horse welfare fell far short of the respectable reporting we have come to expect from the GAO, even raising questions as to the agency’s credibility.
The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) and Animal Law Coalition (ALC) have issued an exhaustive analysis and executive summary, demonstrating the embarrassing and shocking lack of evidence for GAO’s findings.
The analysis concludes that the GAO report is “disturbing” as it is filled with speculation, anecdotes, hearsay and unsupported opinions. The GAO sources appear to be largely known slaughter proponents.
“The GAO’s pro-slaughter bias is clearly evident in the report’s defamatory accusation that the Cavel fire in 2002 was started by so-called anti-slaughter arsonists,” states co-author and EWA vice president, Vicki Tobin. The cause of the fire was never determined and it was Cavel’s owners who benefitted from the fire, claiming $5M when the damages were estimated at $2M.
The EWA/ALC analysis details how, instead of doing the hard work of gathering actual data, the GAO relied on chitchats with a handful of state veterinarians with a few livestock board and other state officials and on information provided by pro-slaughter organizations.
Chicago (EWA) – A coalition of animal welfare groups including the Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) and the Animal Law Coalition has announced the first International Equine Conference (IEC) to be held September 26-28 at the Marriott Residence Inn, Old Town Alexandria, Va.
The three day event will feature renowned experts on the welfare and preservation of both domestic and wild equines, legislators and medical experts. Presentations will address many aspects of the field ranging from horse slaughter to wild equine preservation and will include related human and animal health concerns.
“Few subjects have been clouded by so much misinformation as these,” says John Holland of the Equine Welfare Alliance. “We intend to provide a forum where attendees can get a documented, factual understanding of these complex issues.”
Among the many distinguished speakers will be Madeleine Pickens of Saving America’s Mustangs, Senator Mary Landrieu, Congressman Jim Moran, State Senator Dave Wanzenried, Paula Bacon the former mayor of Kaufman, TX, Ann Marini, Ph.D., M.D., Ginger Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation, Michael Blowen of Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Facility, Keith Dane with The Humane Society of the U.S., Lonita Stewart with Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, Katie Fite with Western Watersheds Project and authors Deanne Stillman and Alex Brown. A complete list of the presenters can be viewed at http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/Int_l_Equine_Conference.html.
June 22, 2011 – Chicago (EWA) – In an effort to appear credible, the United Organizations of the Horse (UOH) has created what it calls communication tools to “to help the horse industry counter hysterical anti-slaughter claims with sound science and common sense.”
The simple marketing rule of “know your audience” has eluded UOH which offers it “tools” to the horse industry that overwhelming opposes horse slaughter. A recent poll on Popvox, a barometer for Congress to assess support on legislation, indicates 76% support the legislation (S 1176) to ban horse slaughter.
One of the most egregious of Wallis’ “communication tools” is the total disregard of FDA and European Union food safety regulations. Wallis has actually written her own regulations on Phenylbutazone (bute), a medication routinely given to U.S. horses that is banned in horses intended for food. She doesn’t think it’s a problem for people to eat horsemeat that contains a known carcinogenic and which can cause other deadly diseases.
The “science and common sense” has already been determined and it is up to Wallis to follow the law, not rewrite it.
Food safety laws aren’t “hysterical anti-slaughter claims”. Wallis’ refusal to follow food safety laws by creating her own rules should be a red flag to Congress about the misinformation offered to support horse slaughter.
June 19, 2011 – Chicago (EWA) – A long overdue Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the effect of closing the US horse slaughter plants is scheduled for release on Wednesday, June 22. Although the report’s contents are to be kept confidential until released, slaughter supporters have been indicating for months that they were leaked the report and have now orchestrated an “Unwanted Horse” teleconference late in the day of the release, presumably to promote the report’s findings.
The teleconference, called “Ask a Vet” is being presented by The Horse, the magazine of the American Veterinary Medical Association, a long term supporter of horse slaughter, and features veterinarian Tom Lenz, the former Chair of the American Horse Council’s “Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC)”. The UHC, supposedly founded to propose solutions to the excess horse problem, has instead concentrated on promoting the phrase “unwanted horse” to take the focus off of overproduction, which slaughter actually encourages, and imply slaughter horses are somehow unusable except as meat.
Pfizer Pharmaceuticals sponsoring a teleconference on solutions to the “unwanted horse” problem is beyond brazen. Pfizer owns Wythe Pharmaceuticals, the producer of a line of hormone replacement therapy drugs made from pregnant mare urine and is one of the largest producers of excess, poorly bred and untrained foals in North America.
Chicago (EWA) – United Horsemen (UH), a 501c3 non-profit organization that promotes horse slaughter, has launched an advertizing and editorializing campaign that defies credulity. The campaign is an obvious attempt to derail the Rep. Moran (VA) amendment to the agriculture budget that continues a policy of defunding horse meat inspections.
Horseback Magazine <http://horsebackmagazine.com/hb/archives/9390/comment-page-1> has recently run a series of these self-contradictory articles from the group that has stunned readers. The most glaring inaccuracies are those on food safety. U.S. horses have no production records since they are not raised or regulated as food animals and often contain prohibited substances.
The spin started by calling horse slaughter opponents “anti-horse” and then by firing off euphemisms like “horse processing” and slogans like “taking back the reins of the horse industry”, it pirouettes into a frenzy of reality bending distortion not seen since Alice ventured down the famous rabbit hole. In many cases, a paragraph directly contradicts the preceding one.
The articles claim that slaughter opponents have misrepresented a recent European Union (EU) report on drug residues in horses. It then sites the wrong report as proof. The sited report was for drug residues found in European raised horses under their strict micro-chip based “passport” system for tracking medications.
Chicago (EWA) – The Equine Welfare Alliance and Animal Law Coalition applaud Rep. Jim Moran and House of Representatives Appropriations Committee members who stood up for the horses this week. Rep. Moran introduced an amendment to the proposed agriculture appropriations bill to make sure commercial horse slaughter in the U.S. remains illegal.
The amendment was accepted by the Committee on a vote of 24 to 21 and it’s now on to a vote by the full House on the agriculture appropriations bill on June 15.
The amendment de-funds (prohibits funds from being spent on) ante-mortem inspections of horses to be slaughtered for human consumption. Without these inspections required by federal law, horses cannot be commercially slaughtered for human consumption in the U.S. The inspections have been de-funded since 2006. http://www.animallawcoalition.com/horse-slaughter/article/1809
The next step must be a ban on exports of U.S. horses for slaughter for human consumption. More than two thirds of Americans support a ban on horse slaughter. Proponents have avoided discussing what is clear to most Americans – the inherent cruelty of horse slaughter. As Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector, told Congress in 2008, “The captive bolt is not a proper instrument for the slaughter of equids, these animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck, they are fully aware they are being vivisected.”
Chicago (EWA) – Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) joins its Canadian partner, Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC), in calling for the withdrawal of an episode scheduled to air Monday, May 16 on the Food Network’s program Top Chef Canada.
The program features “French Cuisine” including horse meat and foie gras, angering both horse advocates and animal welfare groups across the globe. The timing of this episode coincides with CHDC’s May Equine Awareness campaign.
In choosing these menu items, the program has completely ignored the cruelty involved in their production. Foie gras is diseased duck liver produced by force feeding ducks using a feeding tube thrust down their throats several times a day until they are too fat to even stand up. The liver becomes hugely swollen in an attempt to deal with the process.
Horse meat in Canada comes from horses that often suffer incredible abuse even before they arrive at slaughter. Beyond this, horse meat is likely to contain drugs that are illegal in food animals.
March 21, 2011 – Chicago (EWA) – United Horsemen (UH), a 501c3 non-profit organization that promotes horse slaughter, is taking its fight against the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to a new extreme. Not only does this group oppose every piece of legislation that benefits the welfare of horses but tries to garner support with bogus scare tactics.
The latest attack, made under the guise of a property rights issue, is against a proposed ban on “horse tripping” in Nevada. Horse tripping is a deadly and sadistic event which has found its way into the US from third world “Charro” rodeos and involves roping the legs of a running horse. The event commonly causes fatal injuries or permanent lameness to the animal.
“They are misleading the public with false information and trying to scare people into opposing the legislation. This is not an attack on rodeos or a first step to anything. It is a bill designed to end the cruel, dangerous treatment of horses as was the ban on horse soring,” stated Vicki Tobin of the Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA).
In its latest email to its supporters, UH provides a list of invalid talking points that are an insult to the public’s intelligence and a disservice to American rodeos. The group claims that the Charro Rodeo Association voluntary banned horse tripping in 1995 when in fact, they were forced to do so by a 1994 law, AB 49x – a law that was not spearheaded by the HSUS.
September 1, 2010 – At the moment, the news is rife with stories about the level of equine neglect in the United States, with many of the articles blaming the “unintended consequences” of closing the US horse slaughter plants and calling for them to be reopened. But in reality, we are coming up on a once in a lifetime opportunity to get rid of this abominable practice once and for all. To understand this apparent paradox, one needs to get past unsubstantiated myths to the real forces at play in the market.
First, one needs to understand that it is completely impossible to blame the current glut of excess horses on the closing of the slaughter plants because the closings simply sent the horses over the Mexican and Canadian borders for slaughter. In 2006, the year before the closings, 142,740 American horses were slaughtered, and that number only dropped by 14% the year the plants were closed. By 2008, slaughter was back to the second highest level in almost ten years.
Next, it is necessary to understand what really causes neglect, and that is unemployment. After years of studying the relationship between neglect rates and slaughter volumes, I had concluded that there was no relationship whatever. Then I looked at the rates of neglect in Illinois in comparison with unemployment in the state. The correlation was striking.
July 31, 2010 – CHICAGO, (EWA) – The National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) has passed a resolution calling for the reinstatement of USDA inspectors for horse meat.
The NCSL is a non-governmental lobbyist organization which serves the nation’s 50 states legislators to advocate and lobby for the interests of states before Congress and federal agencies. The resolutions NCSL passes are not binding and merely allow them to lobby on behalf of the states.
Representative Sue Wallis (WY), who is vice chair of the NCSL’s Agriculture and Energy Committee, went on record asking that she be allowed to slaughter horses to feed Wyoming children, the poor and prison inmates without having the meat federally inspected for consumer safety. The Wyoming livestock board responded quickly by stating in no uncertain terms that “horse slaughter is not an option.”
The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) strongly opposes the misuse of tax payer dollars to fund inspections for an industry that is not needed or wanted by the overwhelming majority of Americans.