June 29, 2010 – CHICAGO, (EWA) – Since the 107th Congress (2001), equine welfare advocates across the country have been trying to get elected officials to pass legislation to ban the slaughter of American horses. Polls have consistently shown that the legislation has the support of 70% of Americans, but without fail the bills have been stalled, blocked with secret holds, and left off the legislative calendars. Now it appears the European Union (EU) and Canada may stop horse slaughter before Congress.
Strict new traceability requirements will go into effect July 31st, for all horses slaughtered for consumption in the EU. Additionally, the EU is poised to require Country of Origin labeling of all meat. And finally, the EU has begun investigating inhumane slaughter practices in Mexico.
Despite President Obama’s promise to not allow lobbyists to run the country and his support of a horse slaughter ban when he was in the Senate, the agricultural special interests have continually been allowed to prevent the legislation from moving forward. Public records reveal donations from special interest groups to the legislators blocking the bills.
“When it comes to stopping the slaughter of horses, clearly money talks,” commented Equine Welfare Alliance’s (EWA) John Holland.
TALLAHASSEE — Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson is urging horse owners to get their animals vaccinated following an upsurge in the number of Eastern Equine Encephalitis cases. Sentinel chickens that serve as an early warning of the existence of the disease are also being diagnosed with EEE in areas of the state that are not usually affected.
So far this year there have been 16 confirmed cases of EEE in horses. While that is not an unusually high number, seven of the cases were reported on Wednesday, June 23, from counties scattered throughout the state.
“Most of the cases have been in the central and north central part of the state which is normal,” Bronson said. “But we are also seeing increased EEE and West Nile Virus activity in sentinel chickens in the southern part of the state, including Martin County which has not had EEE detected in 30 years. In addition, there has been a confirmed case of EEE in a horse in both Collier and Okeechobee counties. So I want to remind horse owners of the importance of getting their animals vaccinated.”
EEE is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system and is transmitted to horses by infected mosquitoes. Signs of the virus include fever, listlessness, stumbling, circling, coma and usually death. The disease is fatal in horses in 90 percent of the cases.
Bronson says the majority of cases of EEE and other mosquito-borne diseases can be prevented through proper vaccinations. Horse owners are urged to check with their veterinarian to make sure their animals have received current vaccinations and booster shots against EEE and West Nile Virus, and that these shots are kept up to date.
14 June 2010 – FEI President HRH Princess Haya has assured the European Union of the FEI’s support in promoting and improving standards in animal identification and traceability.
Speaking to top European Veterinary officials attending the third European Veterinary Week (EVW) in Brussels today, the FEI President highlighted the need to create a clear distinction between the sport horse as an equine athlete and livestock that is part of the food chain.
Identification and traceability are hugely important to the equine industry, she noted, helping to minimise the risk of disease-spread during the cross-border transportation of competition horses and also enhancing integrity and promoting public confidence in the equestrian industry.
May 22, 2010 – A request to bring commercial development to the Currituck Off-Road Beaches will be heard once again by the Currituck County Board of Commissioners at their June 7, 2010, meeting.
Presented by Bissell Professional Group for developer Gerald Friedman of Swan Beach Corolla, LLC, the proposal — closely resembling two previous requests in 2005 and 2008 — has taken the form of a rezoning request from Residential to General Business – Conditional District. Two parcels in Swan Beach, totaling 37.36 acres, would be rezoned from residential to commercial. If passed, the proposed map amendment could set precedent and allow rezoning to commercial throughout Currituck Off Road beaches.
The Proposal would permit construction of a 320-unit inn and accessory uses, 19,200 square feet of neighborhood commercial, a wellness center, a fishing pier with accessory structures, and outdoor recreational facilities. A chapel, school, and fire station are also included in the request.
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.