Tag Archives: horse slaughter

How the GAO Deceived Congress and Opened the Way for Horse Slaughter to Return

GAO report 11-228 is titled HORSE WELFARE Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter. It was issued in June of 2011.

This document has been the main claim to legitimacy of those who wish to bring horse slaughter back to the United States. It has been quoted by the national press, and referenced in virtually every political debate on the issue. It was even sighted as evidence in Valley Meats vs. the United States Department of Agriculture, and countless other documents.

But GAO-11-228 is completely devoid of supporting data and is constructed of fraudulent misrepresentation and hocus-pocus analysis stuck together with the unsubstantiated opinions of anonymous “officials”.

The report has been widely criticized since its release, but only recently has data surfaced to prove it is, in fact, fraudulent and intentionally designed to deceive Congress. The report’s inaccuracies begin with its title, and by the end of the first page the case for its deceit is sealed.

How the GAO deceived Congress about horse slaughter (VIDEO)

Background

In 2006, Congress passed the agriculture budget with the “Ensign/Byrd” amendment that removed the funding for horse slaughter inspectors. The defunding was delayed by a conference committee until March, 2007, and then by court challenges. By the time the defunding was in place, all the US plants had already been shut down by state laws, but the defunding assured no new plants would open in the US.

In January of 2011, six months before the report was released, Charles Stenholm of the horse slaughter lobby firm Olsson, Frank and Weeda announced to a pro-slaughter conference in Las Vegas that the report would be favorable to them. This leak was first acknowledged and then refuted by the GAO.

In June, 2011 the report was finally issued and within months it had the desired impact. The Senate did not include the defunding language in its version of the agriculture budget. Since the House did have such language (the Moran Amendment), the matter was decided in conference committee. The vote was 3 to 1 in favor of stripping the language and restoring funding for inspectors. The three members voting to strip it were Senators Kohl and Blunt, and Representative Kingstoni. These were the very individuals who had requested the report!

Click Here for More Background on the GAO and full article.

By: John Holland, Equine Welfare Alliance

Check Out the New Saving America’s Mustangs Site
www.SavingAmericasMustangs.org

EWA and ALC Produce Evidence Showing GAO Horse Welfare Report Was Fraudulent

EWA (Chicago) – The Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) and the Animal Law Coalition (ALC) announced today that they have irrefutable evidence showing that the Government Accountability Office fraudulently misrepresented horse abuse and neglect data in their report GAO 11-228.

The GAO report blamed falling horse prices and increased abuse and neglect on the closing of the domestic slaughter plants in 2007. Shortly after GAO issued the report, a conference committee reinstated funding for horse slaughter inspections, opening the way for slaughter to return to the US. Widely quoted in the media, the report is also provided as evidence in the lawsuit filed by Valley Meats against the USDA.

The EWA and ALC have provided both a video and a white paper showing how the fraud was committed. The ten minute video, How the GAO deceived Congress about horse slaughter, was released on YouTube, and shows step by step how the GAO hid information in its possession showing abuse and neglect was in decline and misrepresented the data as showing it was increasing.

The fraud was discovered by the EWA while collecting data for equine abuse and neglect rates across the country. “We were looking for the correlation between various factors such as unemployment, slaughter and hay prices on a state by state basis,” explained EWA’s John Holland, “and when we looked at the Colorado data, we were reminded of its mention in the GAO report.”

The GAO claimed in the report to have contacted state veterinarians across the country and to have been told that abuse and neglect was increasing everywhere in the wake of the closing of the US plants in 2007. These were the same officials EWA contacted looking for states that kept records.

The EWA found data from six states: Oregon, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Georgia and Colorado. The records showed that abuse and neglect had been in decline between 2008 and 2010 (the last year of the GAO study), and that the GAO had used the wrong dates on the Colorado data to make it appear abuse had increased 60%.

“We had accepted that abuse was probably increasing as the result of the bad economy,” says Holland, “so imagine our surprise when we found it had been decreasing.” The EWA study finally showed the reason: drought. Drought and the subsequent increases in hay prices correlated tightly with the abuse and neglect numbers, and outweighed the influence of the recession and other factors.

“Not only did the GAO misrepresent the data, they completely missed the importance of hay prices and availability,” said Holland. The EWA filed a FOIA request for the data used by the GAO and the request was denied. The EWA also filed an IG complaint, and finally had a conference call with the GAO to request the report be withdrawn. The GAO refused any response except to say that their reports were flawlessly cross checked.

Victoria McCullough, owner of Chesapeake Petroleum and internationally known equestrian, said “Acceptance of lower standards results in failed policies and most significantly failures of public interest.”

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSxUPNgzgn4&feature=youtu.be

White Paper: http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/How_the_GAO_Deceived_Congress-final.pdf

The Equine Welfare Alliance is a dues-free 501c4, umbrella organization with over 250 member organizations and over 1,000 individual members worldwide in 18 countries. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.

www.equinewelfarealliance.org
https://www.facebook.com/EquineWelfareAlliance
https://twitter.com/EquineWelfareAl

The Animal Law Coalition (ALC) is a coalition of pet owners and rescuers, advocates, attorneys, law students, veterinarians, shelter workers, decision makers, and other citizens, that advocates for the rights of animals to live and live free of cruelty and neglect. www.animallawcoalition.com

Contacts:

John Holland
540-268-5693
john@equinewelfarealliance.org

Laura Allen, Executive Director, Animal Law Coalition
425.419.7301
lauraallen@animallawcoalition.com

Horse Slaughter Plant in New Mexico Approved to Open Soon

Dear Friends & Supporters,
Saving America’s Mustangs is appalled over the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recent decision to approve an application for a horse slaughter facility at Valley Meat Company LLC in Roswell, NM on the grounds that killing horses for human consumption is inhumane and creates a serious health risk to consumers. Similar applications are pending for Rains Natural Meats in Gallatin, Mo., and Responsible Transportation LLC in Sigourney, IA, and could be approved as early as Monday.

It’s the first time since 2006 that a horse slaughter plant has been approved to operate in the U.S. The plant will undergo more compliance testing before opening so we still have a small chance that a loophole will be found.

All of this new legislation poses a sincere threat to all American horses — both wild and domestic — and we are standing with all horse supporters on this issue and Saving America’s Mustangs will stop at nothing to try and ensure that these slaughter operations are halted.  In recent polls, nearly 80 percent of Americans want horse slaughter to be banned entirely. That statistic is likely to be much higher when word gets out that this is happening.

We are elated that the amendment sponsored by Reps. Jim Moran (D-VA) and Bill Young (R-FL) to eliminate federal funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughter facilities passed the House Appropriations Committee last week. The amendment helps keep horse slaughter facilities from opening. Rep. Moran spoke in favor, with no one speaking against. This amendment is the vital loophole we need to prevent this slaughter plant from getting the inspectors in for testing.

Crucial new legislation, titled the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 1094/S. 541), was recently introduced in Congress that will protect consumers from toxic horsemeat and end the cruel slaughter of America’s horses as well as their export for slaughter abroad. It’s something that more Americans need to learn about to prevent horse slaughter and toxicity in our food supply.

Please find your state Rep and write or call them and tell them this is NOT what the American people want and that you support the SAFE Act. http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

Sincerely,
Madeleine Pickens & the Saving America’s Mustangs Team

Contact New Mexico Governor:
Governor Susanna Martinez
Email her: gloria.marquez@state.nm.us
Call her:   (505) 476-2200

WRITE TO THE BLM:

Department of the Interior
c/o Secretary Sally Jewell
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
Phone: (202) 208-3100
E-Mail: feedback@ios.doi.gov
Office of Communications: 202-208-3752

BLM Washington Office
1849 C Street NW, Rm. 5665
Washington DC 20240
Phone: 202-208-3801
Fax: 202-208-5242
E-Mail: director@blm.gov

Saving America’s Mustangs
2683 Via De La Valle G313
Del Mar, CA 92014

Check out the new Mustang Monument website:
www.MustangMonument.com

Study of Equine Abuse and Neglect Patterns Produces Surprising Findings

June 24, 2013 – EWA (Chicago) – The Equine Welfare Alliance today released a statistical study on the rates of equine abuse and neglect across the US since 2000. The research examined equine abuse statistics from Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Maine and Oregon.

Historical records of the number of cases of equine abuse and neglect from these states was correlated with three potential causes: the rate of equine slaughter (or lack of it), unemployment and the cost of hay.

Surprisingly, the researchers found that the rate of abuse has been in decline in four of the six states since 2008. Five of the six states had shown a spike in abuse and neglect around 2008 and two have shown a significant increase in the past two years.

The dominant factor the analysis produced in every state was the price of hay. “My assumption was always that unemployment was the dominant factor,” admitted EWA president John Holland. “In fact, the analysis showed that the rate of unemployment in the state was the least important predictor of the level of abuse and neglect.”

The analysis showed the second most important correlation was the rate of slaughter, but the analysis found more slaughter consistently correlated with more abuse and neglect.

“Correlation is not proof of causation,” explained Holland, “but it certainly contradicts the theory that slaughter decreases neglect by culling unwanted horses.”

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) have long urged Congress not to ban horse slaughter on the basis that to do so would increase abandonment, abuse and neglect.

This study follows on the heels of a peer reviewed paper in the Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agricultural, and Natural Resources Law by Holland (EWA) and Laura Allen (Animal Law Coalition). That paper documented enormous increases in the cost of horse ownership between 2000 and 2011. The paper demonstrates, among other pressures, that a shift of land use from hay to corn for ethanol has reduced the hay available to horse owners, cattlemen and dairy farmers.

Severe drought in some states has made an already insufficient supply of hay all but collapse. In 2011, Congress ended the long standing subsidy for ethanol in gasoline and removed tariffs on sugar cane. EWA hopes this will put a downward pressure on hay prices in coming years.

Report Link: http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/History_and_Causes_of_Equine_Abuse-Neglect.pdf

Graphic Link: http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/Abuse-Neglect_by_State.jpg

The Equine Welfare Alliance is a dues-free 501c4, umbrella organization with over 250 member organizations and over 1,000 individual members worldwide in 18 countries. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.

www.equinewelfarealliance.org

https://www.facebook.com/EquineWelfareAlliance

https://twitter.com/EquineWelfareAl

Contact:

John Holland
540-268-5693
john@equinewelfarealliance.org

Urge Support for the Landrieu Amendment to Protect America’s Horses from Slaughter

Dear Humanitarian,
Last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) Agriculture Appropriations bill to block inspections of horse slaughter facilities by USDA officials. On Thursday the Senate Appropriations Committee will consider an identical amendment to their version of the FY14 Agriculture Appropriations bill.

This bipartisan language had been included in every Agriculture Appropriations bill since 2005, until three legislators quietly removed it behind closed doors late last year. Without this important provision, foreign-owned companies and interests will be able to reestablish horse slaughter in the United States at the expense of taxpayers, food safety, and most dramatically, the welfare of horses. In fact, a horse slaughterhouse could open in New Mexico at any time.

President Obama included this defund language in his FY14 budget proposal to Congress. While this isn’t binding, it does demonstrate the administration’s support for ending slaughter. Congress must follow the president’s lead and support passage of this defund amendment in the FY14 Agriculture Appropriations bill before any plants open.

At a time when Congress is drastically cutting back federal spending and eliminating federal programs, it is disappointing that some in Congress want to revive an unpopular taxpayer-subsidized program that existed solely to support foreign-owned slaughter facilities that inflicted tremendous suffering on American horses.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

The full Senate Appropriations Committee will vote on the FY14 Agriculture Appropriations bill this week. An amendment will be offered by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to restore language prohibiting the USDA from spending your tax dollars to inspect horse slaughter facilities. This language defunding USDA inspections of horse slaughter facilities is vital to protecting American horses. If your senators are on the Appropriations Committee, it is critical that you email or call TODAY and urge them to strongly SUPPORT the Landrieu amendment to defund horse slaughter inspections.

You can call the main Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to the offices of your senators, or use AWI’s Compassion Index to quickly send an email or locate the direct office number, and view your legislator’s voting record on the issue.

Please be sure to share this eAlert and ask friends, family, and coworkers to do the same. As always, thank you for your continued and critical support on this important issue!

Sincerely,
Chris Heyde
Deputy Director
Government and Legal Affairs

Animal Welfare Institute
900 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20003
T: (202) 446-2142 ~ F: (202) 446-2131
www.awionline.org ~ www.compassionindex.org
Facebook ~ Twitter

 

Jack Knowlton of Sackatoga Stable and Assemblyman Jim Tedisco to Be Honored by Equine Advocates

Equine Advocates Founder and President Susan Wagner with Assemblyman Jim Tedisco. Photo credit – Sue McDonough.

Twelfth Annual Awards Dinner & Charity Auction in Saratoga Springs, Co-Chaired by Bebe Neuwirth and Julie Bonacio

Saratoga Springs, NY (June 11, 2013) – Many organizations will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of racing in Saratoga Springs. When determining which events to attend during a packed summer racing season, choose an event that gives a voice to the wonderful animals without whom this anniversary would not occur. On August 1, 2013, Equine Advocates will host its Twelfth Annual Awards Dinner & Charity Auction to be held at the Saratoga Springs City Center.

“In this historic year of celebrations for Saratoga Springs, horses and racing, we are delighted to honor two outstanding individuals who have each made history on their own,” said Susan Wagner, President & Founder of Equine Advocates. “It has been ten years since Jack Knowlton and Sackatoga Stable’s Funny Cide became the first New York Bred to win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Since then, Jack Knowlton has become a strong voice against equine abuse and slaughter. Assemblyman Jim Tedisco has dedicated his life to the protection of animals and now is fighting for the passage of legislation to ban the slaughter of equines in New York State, which will have national implications as we move forward in passing a federal ban.”

Jack Knowlton will receive the 2013 Safe Home Equine Protection Award.  He has been the Operating Manager of Sackatoga Stable since 1995, serving as the racing manager for their Thoroughbreds, including 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide. Mr. Knowlton served on New York State’s Task Force on Retired Race Horses from 2008 through 2011, when the task force issued its recommendations.

“I am honored to receive Equine Advocates’ 2013 Safe Home Protection Award. As a long time race horse owner, both Standardbred and Thoroughbred, I am dedicated to the cause of preventing the slaughter of these wonderful equine athletes and securing suitable second careers or homes for them following retirement,” said Mr. Knowlton.

Assemblyman Tedisco is being honored for his humanitarian work, legislative efforts and strong public stance against animal abuse, and will be awarded the Ellen & Herbert Moelis Equine Savior Award. He wrote Buster’s Bill and worked tirelessly to get it voted into law by the New York State Legislature in 1999. The act amended the Agriculture and Markets Law, in relation to aggravated cruelty to animals. He is an active co-sponsor of AO3905, which would ban the slaughter of equines in and from New York State.

“It’s truly an honor to receive the prestigious Equine Advocates 2013 Ellen and Herbert Moelis Equine Savior Award. Horses are athletes and companions. They work the farm and provide therapeutic services to veterans and people with disabilities.  Horses carried American soldiers into battle and helped build this country.  It’s unpatriotic to allow our horses to be sent abroad to be inhumanely slaughtered and turned into food,” said Assemblyman Tedisco. “Moreover, this is a public safety issue as there’s no guarantee horse meat — which is not fit for human consumption — will not end up in the U.S. food supply.  I will continue to advocate for passage of legislation to ban the slaughter of horses both here in New York State and across the nation.”

EquineAdvocatesLogoThe event will be co-chaired by Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress Bebe Neuwirth and Saratoga’s own Julie Bonacio, who, along with her husband, Sonny, owns Bonacio Construction. Equine Advocates honored Ms. Neuwirth in 2009, and Ms. Bonacio received a special award in 2011.

General tickets are $250 per person. Tickets at front tier tables are $500 per person. For more information, please call (518) 245-1599.

Equine Advocates is a national, non-profit equine protection organization and sanctuary based in Chatham, NY.  Founded in 1996, Equine Advocates has helped and rescued thousands of equines from slaughter, abuse and neglect. The sanctuary is home to eighty-three remarkable equines, including horses, ponies, donkeys and mules. For more information and to view the organization’s Open Day Schedule for visits, please go to: www.equineadvocates.org.

Equine Advocates – P.O. Box 354 – Chatham, NY 12037
Website: www.equineadvocates.org – Email: info@equineadvocates.org

Please Contact Your Legislator Today Urge Support for an Amendment to Protect America’s Horses

Dear Humanitarian,
The House Appropriations Committee is poised to decide whether or not to block a wasteful and harmful expansion of the federal government, save taxpayer dollars, and — of particular interest to humanitarians — protect horses from being cruelly slaughtered for human consumption.

Later this week, the House Appropriations Committee will consider the FY14 Agriculture Appropriations bill. Last year, the Committee approved an amendment by voice vote, sponsored by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) that prevented tax dollars from being used to fund inspections of horse slaughter facilities. This bipartisan language had been included in every Agriculture Appropriations bill since 2005, until three legislators quietly removed it behind closed doors late last year. Without this important provision, foreign-owned companies will be able to reestablish horse slaughter in the United States at the expense of taxpayers, food safety, and the welfare of horses. In fact, representatives of such companies are already making rounds looking for a plant location.

For the first time, President Obama has included this defund language in his FY14 budget proposal to Congress. While this isn’t binding, it does demonstrate the administration’s support for ending slaughter. Now Congress must follow in the president’s footsteps and support passage of this defund amendment before any plants open.

At a time when Congress is dramatically cutting back federal spending and eliminating federal programs, it is disappointing that some in Congress want to revive an unpopular taxpayer-subsidized program that existed solely to support foreign-owned slaughter facilities that inflicted tremendous suffering on American horses.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
The full House Appropriations Committee will vote on the FY14 Agriculture Appropriations bill this week. An amendment will be offered by Rep. Moran to restore language prohibiting the USDA from spending your tax dollars to inspect horse slaughter facilities. This language defunding USDA inspections of horse slaughter facilities is vital to protecting American horses. It is critical that you email or call TODAY and urge your legislator to strongly SUPPORT the Moran amendment to defund horse slaughter inspections.

You can call the main Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to the office of your representative, or use AWI’s Compassion Index to quickly send an email or locate the direct office number, and view your legislator’s voting record on the issue. The majority of legislators on the House Appropriations Committee have supported previous efforts to end horse slaughter. If your representative has been among the ban’s supporters, mention that when you call and urge continued strong opposition to any effort to restore horse slaughter.

Please be sure to share this eAlert and ask friends, family, and coworkers to do the same. As always, thank you for your continued and critical support on this important issue.

Sincerely,
CHRIS HEYDE
Deputy Director
Government and Legal Affairs

ANIMAL WELFARE INSTITUTE
900 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20003
T: (202) 446-2142 ~ F: (202) 446-2131
www.awionline.org ~ www.compassionindex.org
Facebook ~ Twitter

Official Wild Horse Report Comes Out on Wednesday; We Need Your Help TODAY

Dear Supporters & Friends,
We have asked you to voice your opinions over the last several years in support of America’s wild horses. This time marks a pinnacle in how the Wild Horse & Burro Program is going to move forward. If you haven’t taken action with us before, please let today be the time you do.

On Wednesday, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is going to release its report on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program. The new Interior Secretary, Sally Jewell, has said that she’s waiting for this report to decide how the program should be handled going forward.

The BLM has paid for this report and it’s been clear from all sides waiting to read it that it will formulate the direction of every aspect of how our horses are managed from here on out. We hope that it is a positive step forward for our wild ones. We are uniting together, as always, against slaughter and against federal roundups. Please join us and voice your own opinions before it’s too late.

Sincerely,
Madeleine Pickens & the Saving America’s Mustangs’ Foundation

CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION: DEADLINE TUESDAY, JUNE 4TH

Mailing Address:
Department of the Interior
c/o Secretary Sally Jewell
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
Phone: (202) 208-3100
E-Mail: feedback@ios.doi.gov
Office of Communications: 202-208-3752

You can also tweet Secretary Sally Jewell on Twitter:
@SecretaryJewell
(please use #SAVEAMERICASMUSTANGS when tweeting)

Saving America’s Mustangs
2683 Via De La Valle G313
Del Mar, CA 92014

Check out the new Mustang Monument website:
www.MustangMonument.com

Horse Meat Scandal

We recently wrote about the cruel slaughter of American horses shipped overseas for human consumption. We also wrote about the serious threat to the U.S. food supply if the growing scandal in Europe of horse meat found in “beef” products spreads to America.

Grocery store and restaurant chains in Europe were found to be selling frozen “beef” products made of horse meat — and testing showed hundreds of beef products contained traces of horse DNA. Fortunately, new legislation has been introduced in the U.S. to protect consumers from toxic horse meat and end the cruel slaughter of American horses as well as their export for slaughter overseas. We’re working hard to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act and other animal protection legislation and we need your help — please donate today.

Your support has never been more important. Will you give $50 or whatever you can afford today to help us pass this crucial legislation, as well as advocate for other important federal and state legislation on behalf of animals?

The threat of dozens of veterinary drugs commonly used to treat horses ending up in the food chain, as well as the lack of any tracking mechanisms when horses are scooped up from random sources and put into the horse slaughter pipeline, is something we must stop. But we need your help to do it.

Now, more than ever, there’s hope to prevent this problem from spreading to the U.S. Your generous donation will allow us to continue advocating for the Safeguard American Food Exports Act and other priority animal protection bills before Congress and the state legislatures. Please donate today to stand with us as we help horses and other animals facing threats from inhumane industries.

Together, we can give horses and other animals the protections they deserve from cruelty and abuse.

Sincerely,
Mike Markarian
President
Humane Society Legislative Fund

Horses and Our Food Supply Are Both in Jeopardy

Last week, we told you about the cruel slaughter of American horses shipped overseas for human consumption. We also told you about the serious threat to the U.S. food supply if the growing scandal in Europe of horse meat found in “beef” products spreads to America.

Grocery store and restaurant chains in Europe were found to be selling frozen “beef” products made of horse meat — and testing showed hundreds of beef products contained traces of horse DNA. Fortunately, new legislation has been introduced in the U.S. to protect consumers from toxic horse meat and end the cruel slaughter of American horses as well as their export for slaughter overseas. We’re working hard to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act and other animal protection legislation and we need your help — please donate today.

Your support has never been more important. Will you give $50 or whatever you can afford today to help us pass this crucial legislation, as well as advocate for other important federal and state legislation on behalf of animals?

The threat of dozens of veterinary drugs commonly used to treat horses ending up in the food chain, as well as the lack of any tracking mechanisms when horses are scooped up from random sources and put into the horse slaughter pipeline, is something we must stop. But we need your help to do it.

Now, more than ever, there’s hope to prevent this problem from spreading to the U.S. Your generous donation will allow us to continue advocating for the Safeguard American Food Exports Act and other priority animal protection bills before Congress and the state legislatures. Please donate today to stand with us as we help horses and other animals facing threats from inhumane industries.

Together, we can give horses and other animals the protections they deserve from cruelty and abuse.

Thanks for all you do for animals.

Sincerely,
Mike Markarian
President
Humane Society Legislative Fund