Tag Archives: AWI

House to Consider Ban on Hauling Horses in Double-Deck Trailers

Calls Urgently Needed to Oppose Gardner Amendment

Dear Humanitarian:
At long last, the U.S. House of Representatives is poised to consider a ban on the use of trailers with more than one level for hauling horses. This week, the House is expected to take up consideration of the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, H.R. 7. At present, language explicitly banning ALL hauling of horses on double-deck trailers is included in the bill – a safe and sound measure. However, opponents are trying to undermine this modest yet important legislation. Representative Cory Gardner (R-CO) has offered an amendment to strip the double-deck trailer ban from the bill and allow this inhumane practice to continue.

Support for banning the use of double-deck trailers is strong, and includes the American Veterinary Medical Association, National Black Farmers Association, Animal Welfare Institute, and Veterinarians for Equine Welfare. Equine rescue, humane, and professional organizations all realize it is cruel and dangerous to haul horses on double-deck trailers. Even the U.S. Department of Agriculture has expressed opposition to double-deck hauling of horses, stating that, “We do not believe that equines can be safely and humanely transported on a conveyance that has an animal cargo space divided into two or more stacked levels.” (9 CFR Parts 70 and 88). In fact, the USDA has already prohibited the use of these trailers to transport horses to slaughter, but its rule does not cover horses being transported for any other purposes. All horses, regardless of where they are going, deserve this important protection, and the language included in the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act will provide it.

Continue reading House to Consider Ban on Hauling Horses in Double-Deck Trailers

Victory for Wild Horses in North Carolina

February 8, 2012 (Washington, D.C.) – The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) commends the House of Representatives for unanimously passing H.R. 306, the Corolla Wild Horses Protection Act, introduced by Representative Walter B. Jones (R-NC).  This bill will provide for a new management plan for the free-roaming Corolla wild horses in and around the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

The Corolla horses’ presence on the island is thought to coincide with the arrival of the Spanish explorers on the American coast in the early 16th century.  Today, these beautiful horses roam over 7,500 acres of public and private land in coastal Currituck County, North Carolina.

“This critical piece of legislation will enable the protection and responsible management of a prized herd of Colonial Spanish Mustangs,” noted Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for AWI. “Wild horses have held a significant role in North Carolina and our nation’s history and this bill will ensure their preservation.”

Continue reading Victory for Wild Horses in North Carolina

Horse Sense Prevails: House Committee Approves Bill with Ban on Double-Deck Trailer Transport

Friday, February 3, 2102 – Washington, D.C. — The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is pleased to report that the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, H.R. 7, approved earlier today by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, includes a prohibition on the hauling of horses via double-deck trailers. The move to incorporate this prohibition within the larger transportation bill was strongly supported by AWI and championed by Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) and Committee Ranking Member, Nick Rahall (D-WV). The entire bill now goes before the full House of Representatives for a vote.

While the overall transportation bill is by no means an unqualified success and contains many unsavory elements from an animal welfare perspective, final passage of this ban on double-deck transport in interstate commerce would represent a clear and important victory for horse protection. AWI has long fought to have this inhumane practice outlawed, and in the present instance AWI worked to fend off a last-minute attempt by committee member Representative Rick Crawford (R-AR) to amend the bill so as to strip out the double-deck transport ban.

Continue reading Horse Sense Prevails: House Committee Approves Bill with Ban on Double-Deck Trailer Transport

Willie & The Nelson Family Release “Wild Horses” Video to Help Raise Awareness for America’s Wild Horses

Monday, October 3, 2011 — Washington, D.C. — Earlier this year, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) was honored to announce the exclusive release of the Rolling Stones’ classic “Wild Horses” – performed and produced by the legendary Willie Nelson and his family members. Now, Willie & The Nelson Family have followed up with the release of a video for the song featuring Willie, his daughter Paula, son Lukas and many others from the Nelson family. The video, filmed and produced by Luck Films, was shot at Willie’s ranch in Luck, Texas and features some of the over 40 horses, both wild and domestic, that Willie has helped rescue from slaughter. Willie & The Nelson Family are donating the proceeds from the sale of the song to AWI’s campaigns on behalf of wild and domestic horses. Willie and the entire Nelson family are long-time supporters of AWI and its efforts to end horse slaughter and preserve the right of wild horses to roam free.

“The BLM has been rounding them up at an alarming rate, supposedly for their own good. Sadly, there are more wild horses in holding pens than in the wild. Something is wrong with that, so we must act now before the BLM has managed these magnificent animals into extinction,” said Willie Nelson. “It’s time for the cowboys to stand up for the horses.”

The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was enacted in 1971 to halt the disappearance of these iconic animals from public lands in the American West. Since then, however, over 21 million acres of land set aside by Congress for wild horses have been removed from their range, even as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – the very agency charged with their protection – claims there is not enough land to support existing herds. The BLM is unnecessarily removing horses based on spurious claims of damage to range and other adverse impacts. The BLM’s mismanagement of America’s wild horses is largely designed to benefit a livestock industry that has, for decades, exploited western public lands while profiting from massive subsidies funded by taxpayer dollars. Willie & The Nelson Family and AWI are calling on the BLM and the Obama administration to immediately halt all wild horse round-ups, restore the land provided by law to wild horses and stop warehousing horses on private lands at even greater expense to the taxpayer.

Continue reading Willie & The Nelson Family Release “Wild Horses” Video to Help Raise Awareness for America’s Wild Horses

Managing for Extinction: Shortcomings of BLM’s National Wild Horse & Burro Program Available

The Animal Welfare Institute’s updated report on the state of America’s wild horses is now available. If you would like a copy you can click on the link below or if you would like to order a large number of the booklets please email directly with your request.


Managing for Extinction: Shortcomings of the Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Program

An overview of the BLM’s failure to properly manage these symbols of the American West, 2011, 30 pages.

Executive Summary

A government program biased against the very animals it is designed to protect threatens today’s wild horses and burros. Our national Wild Horse and Burro Program and related federal lands management policies are so flawed that the long-term survival of these animals is in serious jeopardy, as is the health of public lands on which they reside. The federal agencies assigned management authority for the program, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the US Department of the Interior and the US Forest Service (USFS) in the US Department of Agriculture, have lost sight of their legal mandate to “protect” wild horses and burros. Instead, agency officials have focused almost exclusively on accommodating livestock and other commercial uses – at the expense of the welfare of wild horses and burros. This report will demonstrate that:

Continue reading Managing for Extinction: Shortcomings of BLM’s National Wild Horse & Burro Program Available

Senator Kirk Introduces Bill to End Inhumane Transport of Horses on Double Deck Trailers

Washington, D.C. (June 28, 2011) – Late Monday night, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced The Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2011 (S. 1281) to ban double deck trailer transportation of horses in the United States. Senator Kirk has worked to end the use of double deck transports for hauling horses since serving in the House of Representatives, following a horrific double deck trailer accident that took place in his state.

“Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is elated that Senator Kirk has chosen to reassert his strong commitment to the issue since his election to the Senate last year,” said Christine Sequenzia, federal policy advisor at AWI. “Humane horse transportation is one of our top priorities and we felt that committee passage of a standalone bill during the 111th Congress was an important step forward.  We now look forward to seeing the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2011 signed into law.”

Double deck livestock trailers on the road today were built to meet the specific design and engineering requirements of short-necked livestock species, like cattle, sheep, and swine.  Unfortunately, a few irresponsible haulers have used these trailers against manufacturer intent to transport horses, leading to inhumane travel conditions for equines and unsafe roadways for drivers.  The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the National Agriculture Safety Database (NASD) have recommended ceiling heights no lower than 7’-8’ to transport horses safely, while average double deck trailer ceiling heights range from 4’7”-5‘11”.  The U.S. Department of Transportation only requires bridges to have a vertical clearance of 14′ in both rural and urban areas, making it impractical to build or modify a trailer large enough to transport equines on two levels.

“Besides being an inhumane way to transport horses, double-deck trailers pose a major safety threat to the drivers of the imbalanced, oversized vehicles, as well as to other motorists,” said Senator Kirk. “Unfortunately, crashes due to these factors have occurred, and the results of the accidents are devastating. Following an accident in 2007 in Wadsworth, Ill., authorities worked for five hours before they were able to free the horses from the wreckage.”

Continue reading Senator Kirk Introduces Bill to End Inhumane Transport of Horses on Double Deck Trailers

GAO Study Wastes Time and Tax Dollars

Washington, D.C. (June 27, 2011) – After almost two years and tens of thousands of tax dollars, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released its report, HORSE WELFARE:  Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter with two conflicting conclusions: restore horse slaughter or ban horse slaughter.  Really?

The GAO was given the responsibility of assessing horse welfare from 2007 forward following the closure of the last three foreign-owned horse slaughter plants in the U.S.  However, and vital to understanding horse welfare, the GAO was not asked to consider the impact slaughter had on America’s horses while plants were operating in the U.S. or what it would be like for the horses if restored. In the end, one of two contradictory recommendations was to ban slaughter in the U.S. and the export of horses for the same purposes (what the Animal Welfare Institute has said for years).

In addition to this being the best alternative for the horses, this will also virtually eliminate any regulatory burden whatsoever to the USDA.  In this time of economic strife, it is ludicrous to expend taxpayer dollars to benefit a few foreign investors (whether the plants are located in the U.S. or abroad).  The only way to stop the abuse inflicted on American horses by the slaughter industry is for Congress to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, banning horse slaughter domestically and prohibiting the export of horses to Mexico and Canada.

Continue reading GAO Study Wastes Time and Tax Dollars

Act Now to Stop American Horses from Being Slaughtered in the U.S. and Abroad!

Contact Your Senator Today!

On June 9, 2011, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reintroduced S. 1176, the “American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011” that would end the slaughter of American horses here and – most urgently – would stop these horses from being exported for slaughter. The sponsors, who have long championed the cause, have bipartisan support from 16 colleagues who are co-sponsoring the bill. This bill is identical to the version that passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee in 2009.

Click here <http://capwiz.com/compassionindex/issues/alert/?alertid=50698776> to send an email to you Senators urging them to support this important bill.

Thanks for your continued commitment to America’s horses!

Deputy Director
Government and Legal Affairs

900 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20003

www.awionline.org ~ www.compassionindex.org

Facebook: <http://www.facebook.com/pages/Animal-Welfare-Institute/11601155278> ~ Twitter: <http://twitter.com/AWIOnline>

The Animal Welfare Institute has been working to alleviate the suffering inflicted on animals by humans since 1951.

Please join us in our work to protect animals – visit our website to find out more and to sign up for AWI eAlerts: www.awionline.org.

Amendment to Restore Horse Slaughter Not Considered by Full House

Earlier today on the House floor, Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) offered an amendment to strike the prohibition on fee-for-service in the defund language.  This would have allowed for slaughterhouses to pay the USDA for part of their inspections and resume operation.  She claimed people should be able to pay for their own inspections and it wouldn’t cost taxpayers anything.  Of course, that isn’t true.  Individuals wouldn’t be paying for these inspections, the foreign owned plants would.  Furthermore, even a fee-for-service program costs federal tax dollars.  The slaughterhouses would only pay a small portion of the USDA inspector’s salary.  The taxpayer would pay most of their salary, benefits, training, etc…  As horse welfare champion Representative Jim Moran noted in his speech in opposition to the amendment on the floor, it would also pull critical inspectors away from our own food safety oversight. Fee-for-service is basically another taxpayer subsidy for corporations.

After debate on her amendment was concluded, Representative Lummis withdrew it from consideration and the House moved on to the next item on the agenda. We can be assured horse slaughter proponents are not going away on this issue.  Their arguments persist and have become very emotional therefore horse owners and those concerned about the welfare of America’s horses must continue to contact their legislators in support of a permanent ban on horse slaughter.

Thankfully, Representative Jim Moran (D-VA) and Representative Dan Burton (R-IN) were on the floor to talk about overwhelming support for the full ban.  AWI commends them for their continued leadership on this important issue.

To view this eAlert online, please visit: http://www.awionline.org/ht/display/ContentDetails/i/42301/pid/11187.

Chris Heyde
Deputy Director, Government and Legal Affairs
Animal Welfare Institute

URGENT eALERT: Calls Needed TODAY in Support of Keeping Federal Government Out of Horse Slaughter Business!

June 13, 2011 – This week, the House of Representatives will decide whether or not to save taxpayer dollars and protect horses from slaughter for human consumption.

On May 30th, the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the FY2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill that prevents your tax dollars from being used to fund inspections of horse slaughter facilities.  This bipartisan language has been included in every Agriculture Appropriations bill since 2005.  Without this important provision, foreign investors will be able to reestablish horse slaughter in the U.S. at the expense of taxpayers, our own food safety, and the welfare of horses.

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

The full House of Representatives will vote on the FY12 Agriculture Appropriations bill this Wednesday, June 15.  An amendment may be offered to remove the Committee-approved language prohibiting the USDA from spending your tax dollars to inspect horse slaughter facilities.  Maintaining the USDA language defunding inspections of horse slaughter facilities as currently included is vital to protecting our horses.  It is critical that you call TODAY and urge your legislator to strongly OPPOSE ANY amendment to restore horse slaughter.

Continue reading URGENT eALERT: Calls Needed TODAY in Support of Keeping Federal Government Out of Horse Slaughter Business!