Lexington, KY – June 2, 2010 – On Friday, May 21, 2010, third graders from Simmons Elementary School in Woodford County, Kentucky, had a chance of a lifetime. The young children visited the spectacular Kentucky Horse Park as part of the SPEAKS program. The acronym stands for Supporting and Promoting Equine Awareness in Kentucky Schools (SPEAKS) program. The SPEAKS program is a way to take equine education to the next level. Bobby Murphy, who has been the main component of spreading the SPEAKS vision, visited Simmons Elementary School in December 2009 and found that the program can be just as effective in the classroom as it could be at the Kentucky Horse Park. Five months later he fulfilled his promise to bring the children to the Kentucky Horse Park for this wonderful opportunity.
Loxahatchee, FL – May 27, 2010 – The Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center (VTRC) recently returned from the Special Olympic State Equestrian Games, held May 21-22, where 16 of their top students had the opportunity to compete. This year’s competition was held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, FL.
VTRC took home five gold medals, nine silver medals, nine bronze medals, five fourth place ribbons, two fifth place ribbons and one sixth place ribbon. The team representing VTRC included 16 riders who participated in 19 events. The events included English and western equitation, trail ride competition, dressage, and pole bending. VTRC had numerous riders compete in the level ‘A’ classes that requires them to walk, trot, and canter unassisted. Pole Bending proved to be one of the most successful events for VTRC as all of the athletes maneuvered exceptionally well through the poles.
Washington, DC (May 26, 2010) – Members of Congress and constitutional experts testified today before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security on the recent Supreme Court decision invalidating a law prohibiting interstate commerce in crush videos, dog fighting videos, and other depictions of extreme animal cruelty. (Crush videos portray scantily clad women in stilettos, or even their bare feet, literally crushing, stomping on, or impaling small, helpless animals to satisfy sadistic viewers with a bizarre sexual fetish.)
When this law was passed in 1999, at the request of prosecutors, the market for crush videos quickly dried up. The Supreme Court took up the case of an individual challenging his conviction for selling dog fighting videos, and overturned the law on grounds that it was overbroad and violated the First Amendment.
Within hours of the Supreme Court’s decision, the crush video market reopened. Two bills, H.R. 5092 (with 306 cosponsors) and H.R. 5337, have been introduced to restore the ban in a way that will pass constitutional muster.
Washington, DC (May 24, 2010) – The need for federal legislation ending the slaughter of and providing safer transportation for American horses came to the forefront again last Tuesday, as we witnessed another horrific accident involving an overturned cattle trailer carrying 30 horses.
At around 6:00 am on May 18, 2010, Christopher Dobbin of Missouri fell asleep behind the wheel of a stock cattle trailer hauling horses bound for slaughter in Mexico to a temporary feedlot in Texas. Eleven of the 30 horses died as a result of the careless and inhumane transportation methods used by Dobbin, who was issued a reckless driving citation. This unfortunate accident underscores the desperate need for quick and thorough legislative action to end the slaughter of American horses and provide safer transportation for equines.
May 17, 2010 – CHICAGO, (EWA) – Equine Welfare Alliance and Animal Law Coalition applaud the grass roots efforts in 2010 that have resulted in a series of political defeats for those who want to bring horse slaughter back to the United States.
Of course, commercial horse slaughter for human consumption remains illegal in the U.S. and no state law can change that. Nonetheless, proponents of the cruel practice have tried to use state legislatures to try to convince Americans to bring horse slaughter back to the U.S.
In Missouri, for example, a bill, H.B. 1747, introduced by state Rep. James Viebrock, purported to allow the state to register and license and even provide inspections for horse slaughter facilities. There was even talk of building a horse slaughter plant in a small town in the state.
The Women’s Horse Industry Association, the largest business networking group in the world for women in the horse industry, is bringing together all of their contacts both in the horse industry and in the music industry to raise funds for the horses and owners who were affected by the recent flood in Middle Tennessee.
“A great number of horse and farm owners in Middle Tennessee have lost everything including their barns, their tack, their feed, their bedding and in some cases, even their horses. We have a huge network of women and manufacturers around the country who want to help these horses and owners. We also know that there are a lot of country music stars living in Middle Tennessee who would like to help. So, we are setting up a coalition to bring everyone together to raise the funds to help these horses and owners,” states Catherine Masters, Executive Director.
The association which is based in Nashville, Tennessee will be working with rescue groups around the country, manufacturers, horse industry suppliers and entertainers to give support for those in need.
WESTPORT, CT – May 10, 2010 – The EQUUS Foundation received a $25,000 grant from Newman’s Own Foundation to support its mission to educate the public about horses; provide financial support through the award of grants; offer insight on management and financial practices of the charities through a thorough review of their operations; and provide a network of interested individuals for volunteer recruitment.
“We are so grateful to Newman’s Own Foundation for their generosity, especially now in these difficult times for charities,” said Jenny Belknap, EQUUS Board Chairman. “This grant will help us build a more sustainable environment for horses and for the people whose lives they are benefiting, and enhance the ability of charities across America focused on equestrian and horse-related issues to accomplish their missions. What a majority of the general public is not aware of is in providing horses with homes and useful lives, people benefit, especially children.”
May 4, 2010 – NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A horse slaughter bill that was criticized by Willie Nelson has failed this session of the Tennessee General Assembly.
The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Frank Niceley of Strawberry Plains was unanimously sent to a summer study committee by the House Finance Committee on Tuesday. The companion bill has been withdrawn from consideration in the Senate.
Niceley’s proposal stated that the slaughtering of horses is “best addressed by proper state regulations and inspection and not by banning the humane slaughter of surplus domestic horses at the federal level.”
Lausanne (SUI), 19 April 2010 – All horses show normal nerve sensation or sensitivity. Where that sensation is increased beyond normal limits it is called hypersensitivity. Hypersensitivity can be produced by a range of normal occurrences, such as an insect sting or accidental self-inflicted injury.
Hypersensitisation is the term used to define the artificial production of hypersensitivity and is contrary to horse welfare and fair play.
At FEI competitions, the determination of hypersensitivity in the horse is made by a combination of thermographic and clinical examinations, carried out by at least two experienced equine veterinarians.
Thermography is a means of detecting abnormal heat patterns of the skin through the use of an imaging camera. The clinical examination is carried out by observation and palpation (applying manual pressure).
Geneva (SUI), 15 April 2010 – The FEI Bureau today gave its unanimous approval to new Stewards’ guidelines on warm-up techniques produced by the Working Group formed after the round-table conference held in Lausanne on 9 February 2010.
One of the key stipulations in the Working Group’s report was that all unacceptable training methods and techniques must be stopped immediately. The Working Group was also insistent that abuse of the horse should be avoided and, in particular, stressing the horse, aggressive riding and inflicting pain and/or discomfort on the horse must be prevented.
The current guidelines for FEI Stewards already include instructions covering aggressive riding, but the Working Group has created a new Annex (XIII) that includes clear instructions on action to be taken if necessary relating to flexion of the horse’s neck during pre and post-competition training.