Ruin of Nature. US new law "to slaughter or kill 50,000 native wild horses"; Canada closes slaughterhouse doors to US horses
Washington Times - The week before US Thanksgiving 2011, President Obama quietly signed into law a spending bill that restores the American horse-slaughter industry
President Obama last month quietly signed into law a spending bill that restores the American horse-slaughter industry.
The ban on horse slaughtering had been imposed in 2006 when Congress defunded the government’s ability to inspect plants that butchered horses for consumption. Without inspections, the meat couldn’t be sold, and the industry withered.
But the Agriculture spending bill Mr. Obama signed the week before Thanksgiving dropped the prohibition on inspections, and the administration said it now stands ready to conduct them should anyone open a horse-slaughter plant.
During these trying times, is the only thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on is that Americans need to eat horses? Notwithstanding that 80% of Americans oppose horse slaughter. Wyoming state representative Sue Wallis and her pro-slaughter group estimate that between 120,000 and 200,000 horses will be killed for human consumption per year
Horse slaughter plants are legal again in the United States. Restrictions on horse meat processing for human consumption have been lifted. In a bipartisan effort, the House of Representatives and the United States Senate approved the Conference Committee report on spending bill H2112, which among other things, funds the United States Department of Agriculture. On November 18th, as the country was celebrating Thanksgiving, President Obama signed a law, allowing Americans to kill and eat horses. Essentially, one turkey was pardoned in the presence of worldwide media while in the shadows, buried under pages of fiscal regulation, millions of horses were sentenced to death.
Horse slaughter has been prohibited in the United States as funding for inspections of horses in transit and at slaughter houses was non-existent. This worked because the horse meat cannot be sold for human consumption without such inspections. The House version of the bill retained the de-funding language and the Senate version did not. The conference committee charged with reconciling the two opted to not include it. The result is that it is now legal to slaughter horses for humans to eat.
Notwithstanding that 70% of Americans oppose horse slaughter, that President Obama made a campaign promise to permanently ban horse slaughter and exports of horses for human consumption (horses can be sent to Mexico and Canada), that documentation of animal cruelty, slaughterhouse stench, fluid runoff and negative community impact exists, it is taxpayers that will bear the costs!
Wyoming state representative Sue Wallis and her pro-slaughter group estimate that between 120,000 and 200,000 horses will be killed for human consumption per year and that Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Georgia and Missouri, are considering opening slaughter plants.
During these trying times, is the only thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on is that Americans need to eat horses?
Feb. 12, 2012 - Protect Mustangs: Outrage over documents planning to kill or slaughter 50,000 native wild horses
Preservation group asks for pro-slaughter activist to be replaced on national Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Panel
WASHINGTON (February 10, 2012)—Protect Mustangs asks Secretary Salazar, overseeing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), to replace the pro-slaughter appointment of Callie Hendrickson, for the ‘General Public’ position on the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board with a neutral person. Hendrickson has a history of lobbying in support of slaughter and zeroing-out wild horses. Protect Mustangs is concerned that the BLM has given the green light to plans to kill and slaughter the more than 50,000 American wild horses taken off the range as revealed in secret documents including one found on Wikileaks.
“We are opposed to BLM’s outrageous decision to choose a pro-slaughter and anti-wild horse activist for the advisory board,” states Anne Novak, executive director for Protect Mustangs. “It is fiscally irresponsible to roundup and warehouse more than 50,000 wild horses but to slaughter and kill them is a heinous act.”
The preservation group and members of the public are gravely concerned the BLM is preparing to kill the 50,000 wild horses in holding according to secret reports from 2008 discovered by Dr. Pat Haight, President of the Conquistador Equine Rescue and Advocacy Program’s FOIA research. The report reveals planning for massive wild horse sales to slaughter and euthanasia on an epic scale that will wipe out the American wild horse.
Protect Mustangs recently learned about a Wikileak document titled Federal Lands Managed by the BLM and Forest Service issued to the 110th Congress in February 2009 discussing how to “dispose” of wild horses.
“In destroying the last wild horses, the U.S. government’s BLM is continuing to destroy the planet,” states Michael Blake author and Academy Award-winner for Dances with Wolves.
Protect Mustangs wants the BLM to honor their promise of ‘a new direction’—not continue to break the public’s trust.
“More than 80% of Americans are against horse slaughter,” explains Kerry Becklund, director of outreach for Protect Mustangs. “Wild horses are a national icon—they are beloved by the public from coast to coast.”
By taking the majority of wild horses off the land at great taxpayer expense, BLM created a fiscal problem. Some ask if it was to ‘help’ big business’ land grab. Now the mustangs are in the care of the BLM and killing them or selling them to slaughter is not supported by the American people.
“BLM is going against the public’s wishes by cruelly rounding up wild horses in secrecy and denying media access,” states Novak. “Are they now moving forward to slaughter and kill all the mustangs they took off the range? If so, this mustang massacre must be stopped.”
# # #
*Update Sep 14, 2012*
Twenty-one highly-endangered Przewalski’s horses have been returned to the wild in a nature reserve in China.
The horses were released into the National Nature Reserve in Dunhuang in northwest China’s Gansu province on Thursday, China Daily reported. Their release follows a successful trial that turned seven horses loose in the same area in 2010.
“So far, everything goes well. All the horses have adapted to their new home and none have health problems,” Sun Zhicheng, an official from the nature reserve, told the newspaper. The horses had traveled well during a 10-hour road journey to the reserve and were thoroughly checked before release.
The Przewalski’s horse is considered the only remaining species of wild horse. It was once common in Eurasia but hunting and habitat destruction led to their extinction in the wild. However, a zoo breeding program has maintained the breed and more than 1000 Przewalski’s horses now survive in zoos around the world. In the 1980s, a program began to return a number of the horses to their natural habitat. The number of Przewalski horses in the National Nature Reserve has grown from 18 in the 1980s to 75.
Zhao Chongxue, deputy director of the center, said one concern in the reserve was maintaining water supplies, which had been affected by exploitation of groundwater. Park staff had dug 10 new springs this year to help the horses, and personnel break ice in winter to ensure their water supply.
Video Graphically Documents Cruelty of Federal Wild Horse Roundups
Exhausted Older Mustang Mare Collapses in Helicopter Chase at Antelope Complex (NV) Roundup; Groups to File Complaint Against Head of NV’s Wild Horse and Burro Program
Video footage of an older Nevada mustang collapsing during a helicopter stampede in a roundup conducted by the U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is evidence of the extreme cruelty of the federal wild horse program, according to the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), a coalition of more than 40 horse advocacy, public interest and conservation organizations.
The AWHPC has publicly released the footage of the incident, which occurred on Thursday, January 27, 2011 at the BLM’s Antelope Complex roundup in northeastern Nevada. The group announced today that it will file a formal complaint against BLM official Alan Shepherd, the wild horse and burro lead for the state of Nevada, who is in charge of the operation. In an interview with Channel 4 television in Reno, Shepherd blamed the mare’s predicament on the snow and not the relentless helicopter stampede.
“It’s was hard to watch the cruelty of this inexperienced round up crew who are so inept and uncaring, and it was particularly sad to see them running these older wild horses who should be allowed to die with dignity in their wild homes.” stated Ginger Kathrens, Emmy-award winning filmmaker who observed the Antelope roundup last week.
“We filmed the running of an old mare who collapsed in a snow drift, steam rising from her sweaty body, and still they came after her on foot and with the helicopter.”
“The continuing roundup of the last of the mustangs is a sad, costly, and disgusting indictment of the Department of Interior, the BLM, and the managers of the Wild Horse and Burro Program. Shame on all of you,” Kathrens, volunteer director of The Cloud Foundation, an AWHPC coalition member, continued.
Kathrens, who has been observing and documenting the BLM’s management of wild horses for the past 16 years, noted other objectionable practices observed last week, including the cramming of horses into alleys and pens, fast loading of horses onto trailers (one horse was shot after falling in the trailer and breaking her hip), and chasing horses by helicopter for miles, resulting in horses arriving at the trap site exhausted and covered in sweat. Although Standard Operating Procedures for previous roundups included a 10-mile limit for the helicopter chase, the SOP for the Antelope roundup contains no such limitation.
“The fact the BLM allowed this mare to be harassed even after she collapsed from exhaustion shows that this is the wrong agency to be managing and protecting our wild horses,” said Deniz Bolbol, who took the footage released by AWHPC today. “The BLM roundups indiscriminately stampede the elderly, the infirm, the crippled and the very young along with the able-bodied, subjecting them to extreme, and sometimes fatal, terror, trauma and exertion. This is not management and protection; it’s flat out abuse.”
The BLM aims to remove more than 2,000 mustangs in the Antelope roundup, leaving behind as few as 470 horses in the 1.3 million-acre public lands complex. Meanwhile, the agency authorizes the 2,400 cattle and 10,400 sheep to graze the same area. The BLM’s mass removal of mustangs from public lands in the West has resulted in the stockpiling of more than 40,000 wild horses in government pens and pastures, a number that now exceeds the population of wild horses left in the wild. The costs for this federal program are expected to exceed $77 million this fiscal year.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is calling for:
• A suspension of roundups in all but verifiable emergency situations while the entire BLM wild horse program undergoes objective and scientific review;
• Higher Appropriations Management Levels (AML) for wild horses on horse those rangelands designated for them
• Implementation of in-the-wild management, which would keep wild horses on the range and save taxpayers millions annually by avoiding the mass removal and stockpiling wild horses in government holding facilities.
*Update October 13, 2012"
Canada closes its slaughterhouse doors to American horses - Horse dealers and "killbuyers" arriving with their trucks filled with American horses slated to be slaughtered in Canada for their meat were told early Friday morning to take their horses and go home. According to the Equine Welfare Alliance, New Holland Auction in Pennsylvania, Sugarcreek Auction in Ohio, and Shipshewana Auction in Indiana all confirmed rumors that although the Canadian borders were open, the trucks were turned away as they arrived at the slaughterhouses.
In 2007, the last slaughterhouse in the United States closed when Congress ended the funding of federal inspectors. Since then horses have continued to be exported to Canada and Mexico where they are slaughtered for their meat which is then sent to European markets.
It is unclear whether this ban will be permanent or temporary, but the decision to stop the slaughter of American horses in Canada comes one day after the report by the Commission's Health and Consumers Directorate-General was released which stated the veterinary records of horses are "insufficient" to guarantee health standards relating to the European Union's concerns about United States horses' medication histories.
Speculation continues to make horse advocates and killbuyers wonder if the surprise ruling originated from the Canadian government, the European Union (EU) or the packing plants.
By July 31, 2013 the EU will require lifetime medication records for slaughter bound horses. Thus far the Equine Identification Documents required for all horses bound for slaughter have brought doubt as to their accuracy.
Almost all American horses are routinely treated with the anti-inflammatory phenylbutazone (bute) which is classified as a carcinogen and disqualifies the horse from being slaughtered for human consumption. Horses in the United States are not raised as food animals. It has not been confirmed whether horse slaughter has been discontinued for American horses in Mexico although most of their trade is with the EU.
Photos courtesy Raymond Gehman, Cassidy F., photo dictionary / Shutterstock, www.horse-games-for-kids.com, petwildanimalswallpapers.blogspot.com, the-best-top-desktop-wallpapers.blogspot.com, and www.whitegadget.com
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