Republic of Horse


view:  full / summary

Finch: "I Quit"

Posted on January 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Jerry Finch, who's fought for the dignity of the horse for many years, is saying he's fed up with the lame reasons people use to justify slaughter. It's about money, no matter how often proponents simper about "welfare" and "unintended consequences". That's a smokescreen that Americans, for heaven's sake, should be savvy enough to see through. It's about money, political favors, clout, big business squelching individual voices... It's about our loss of humanity.

Get ANGRY. If you don't care about horses, there are plenty of other areas where government serves the special interests that wine and dine them and pay for their elections. Find out about the area that you care about, and care enough to do something. We don't have to be diminished. We don't have to lose our voice. Find out where your government has sold itself to something you hate, and GET ANGRY.

By Jerry Finch on Horseback Magazine

Commentary: Habitat for Horses Founder Issues Manifesto Saying, “I Quit”

January 12, 2012

I’ve finally had all I can take – filled to the limit, my cup ran over. I’ve listened to all the excuses, tried to understand, tried to reason, to engage in logical discussions, tried everything I know to grasp the meaning and motivation of those who hurt animals. “Understand your enemy,” has been a mantra, a driving force behind hours of classroom work, literally hundreds of books, articles and long discussions with those far wiser than I.

The psychosis of hoarding (don’t tell me it’s just a neurosis. I’ve seen the horror up close and personal. Even neurotic people have their limits), the sociopathic beatings, the purposeful starvation, the power driven need to show complete dominance over all living things (including spouses and children), the utter and complete ignorance and lack of desire to learn about anything outside of giving pleasure to their own mortal bodies – I’ve studied all of it, tried to comprehend, did my best to overcome my bias, to swallow the thoughts of disgust and contempt.






Eckhoff: Texas Mayor Kicks Slaughter Tail

Posted on January 10, 2012 at 11:40 PM

Vickery Eckhoff, blogger for Forbes Online, has batted another home run in her latest article, "Texas Mayor Paula Bacon Kicks Some Horse Slaughter Tail". She begins:

"Every small-town mayor is bedeviled by something. For Paula Bacon of Kaufman, Texas, it was Dallas Crown, which slaughtered horses next door to her friend Mary Nash’s 40-acre farm off Highway 175.

"Dallas Crown was shuttered during Bacon’s last term in office after a 20-year legal battle over environmental violations that constantly overwhelmed the city’s wastewater plant with horse blood and discharge. But news that horse slaughter plants may be returning to the U.S in 2012 has Bacon speaking out about what one horse slaughter plant with 46 non-unionized employees can do to a small town of 6,700 hard-working people."

Read more at Forbes Online...

Horseback: Wallis Leaves United Horsemen

Posted on January 2, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Press release from United Horsemen published on Horseback Magazine, January 2, 2012:

Wallis Steps Down From United Horsemen Post to Focus on “Business of Humane Horse Processing” in New Years Day Announcement

HERMISTON, OR (United Horsemen) – We have some big changes to announce, with more to come in the coming days and weeks. You already know that we are working hard every day to make a real difference for horses, and for horse people. Now we are reorganizing our leadership, streamlining our organization, implementing new systems and programs, and cementing our many close relationships with allies and partners across the country.

Read more at Horseback Magazine...

Long: EWA's "War Horse" Assault on Pols

Posted on December 31, 2011 at 11:00 AM

From Horseback: Equine Welfare Alliance Launches "War Horse" Assault on Three Troubled Political Careers

By Steven Long
December 31, 2011

Billboard Plea to Save Horses Up In 24 Cities Coast to Coast

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The Chicago based Equine Welfare Alliance launched the most sophisticated assault yet against the return of equine slaughterhouses with a 90 screen breakout ad to be shown within 10 minutes of the opening credits of Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse.” The ad campaign will target three Washington politicians who pushed the cancellation of a prohibition against funding horse slaughter inspectors. The targeted ads will run in the districts and states of Georgia Republican Rep. Jack Kingston, Sen. Roy Blunt (R) Missouri, and Wisconsin Democrat Sen. Herb Kohl.

Read more at Horseback Magazine online...

Bloodhorse: Plan for Retired Racehorses

Posted on December 27, 2011 at 10:15 AM

From Bloodhorse: NY Panel Issues Plan for Retired Racehorses

By Tom LaMarra
Posted: Sunday, December 25, 2011

"A New York task force has recommended a percentage of revenue from video lottery terminals and purse accounts go toward retraining and retirement programs for racehorses in the state.

"The New York State Task Force on Retired Racehorses was created by the state legislature to identify productive uses for retired racehorses and increase the number available for such uses. The task force also was charged with finding “new and innovative methods that can utilize private and public funding sources to place retired racehorses,” according to a report released Dec. 23."

Read more on Bloodhorse...

Eckhoff: Lobbyists Work Through Holidays

Posted on December 25, 2011 at 6:55 PM

On Forbes: "Lobbyists Work Through Holidays To Block Humane Legislation"

By Vickery Eckhoff

Vickery Eckhoff identifies key legislators and lobbyists working to dismantle provisions that protect animal and horse welfare:

"Lobbyist Charlie Stenholm has been working hard since before Thanksgiving. First, there was his Opinion piece in The Washington Times blasting proposed legislation protecting circus elephants, tigers and zebras from abuse—something that would hurt his client, Ringling Brothers.

"Then, there was the push to get horse slaughter inspection bans reversed, which was accomplished a week later by three U.S. lawmakers who quietly revised a long-overdue spending bill behind closed doors."


Read more on Forbes...

Harmonay: New York's Racing Industry

Posted on December 24, 2011 at 11:45 AM

New York's racing industry must be responsible for retired racehorse care

Maureen Harmonay reports on a statement just issued by The New York State Task Force on Retired Racehorses:

"Stakeholders in New York’s racing industry—not taxpayers or the betting public—must take responsibility for the humane aftercare of retired racehorses, according to a comprehensive report that has just been issued by The New York State Task Force on Retired Racehorses.

"Specifically, the 12-member Task Force recommends that owners should be prepared “to financially support a transition, retraining and placement program for at least six months at a cost of $400 per month, if not longer.”"



Eckhoff: How Many Congressmen?

Posted on December 23, 2011 at 10:35 AM

From Vickery Eckhoff, Forbes Contributor: "How Many Congressmen Does It Take To Screw A Horse?"

In her 12/21 blog post for Forbes Online, Eckhoff succinctly outlines recent legislative tactics designed to get horse slaughterhouses up and running in this country again. In answer to the question "How many Congressmen does it take to screw a horse?" she responds:

"Only three. This is the number it took to remove language from an agriculture appropriations spending bill on November 18, reversing a five-year ban on horsemeat inspections. The culprits? Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA). Their strategy? The old closed-door-session-on-Capitol-Hill trick.

"This was of course executed at the last moment, allowing Kohl, Blunt and Kingston to hold up the appropriations bill until a government shutdown loomed. The tactic worked as planned, forcing President Obama to sign, despite a 2008 campaign promise to ban horse slaughter and the export of horses for slaughter. And the best part: hardly a word of media coverage was leaked for a good ten days."

The public media is also notable for its slack handling of the horse slaughter issue. Rather than doing any apparent research whatsoever, journalists grab sound bites from agriculture lobby press releases and report them as news. Eckhoff nails it:

"The press had ten days to research (flaws undermining the legitimacy of the GAO report, horse-slaughter industry activists in Congress blocking legislation like the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act in one session after another, food safety issues), yet somehow managed to tell only the pro-slaughter story. Why did they marginalize both the issues and concerns of a majority of Americans? Because they—the 70% against horse slaughter—don’t have lobbyists who speak for them through the media."

Follow Eckhoff's series on horse slaughter for real research, real questions, and real information.


EWA: Mystery of Abandoned Horses Solved

Posted on December 18, 2011 at 9:00 PM

From Equine Welfare Alliance

December 18, 2011


John Holland

Vicki Tobin

Mystery of Abandoned Horses Now Solved

A six month investigation by the EWA and other animal investigation organizations has finally determined the predominant source of abandoned horses in the Southwestern US.


The findings show that most or all of more than 5,000 horses a year are being abandoned after being rejected for slaughter at the Mexican border.


The investigation explains the source and reason for abandonments, most of which have been reported in the vast stretches of isolated land north of the Mexican border since 2009. Most of these horses could clearly be identified as domestic stock from such indications as nail holes in their hooves (where shoes had recently been removed) but no other clues to their source were found.


Until now articles about their discovery have speculated that they were abandoned by individual owners because they could no longer afford to feed them. The horse slaughter lobby has further suggested that this was made worse because individuals “no longer had a slaughter option”.


Equine advocates countered this hypothesis by pointing out that there had been no decrease in slaughter to force such actions, and that the areas where they were being found did not have significant domestic horse populations.


Moreover, it made no sense that someone who could not afford to euthanize and bury a horse would elect instead to pay for hauling it hundreds or thousands of miles only to turn it loose. In fact, many horse advocates had good reason to suspect the reports were bogus.


Following the closure of US horse slaughter plants in 2007, there were a large number of stories published claiming horses were being abandoned because of a lack of slaughter. These reports ranged from reclaimed strip mines in Kentucky to the Florida Everglades and Oregon ranches. For a year each of these was investigated and found to be false or hugely distorted.


But in the past two years there have been an increasing number of authenticated reports of abandoned horses, mostly in the remote stretches of the southwest Border States. A few of these horses actually had hide removed, apparently to obscure a brand.


In August, the first piece of the puzzle fell into place when approximately 300 horses were spotted from the air starving and dead in a remote feedlot near the port-of-entry town of Presidio, Texas. The fact that living horses were found in different stages of starvation and the dead horses were in various stages of decomposition, indicated they had been dumped there at different times.


The situation became all the more puzzling when it was revealed that the feedlot was operated by the C4 Cattle Company and Intermeat Inc./Dallas Crown the Belgian meat company that had formerly operated the Dallas Crown horse slaughter plant in Kaufman, Texas. The company buys horses for slaughter in Mexico. It was also discovered that about 40 of the horses came from kill buyer Trenton Saulters.


The question was of course why they had left the horses to perish only a few miles from the border crossing where they could have been sold to the slaughter plants in Mexico.


An answer came in the European Union’s (EU’s) report (DG(SANCO) 2010-8524 – MR) from the 2010 audit of their horse slaughter plants in Mexico. In section, the report divulged that Mexico had rejected 5,336 slaughter horses out of 62,560 presented at six OISAs (Border Crossing Offices) during the audit period between January and October 2010.


The horses were rejected under a new system of controls implemented in December, 2009. Reasons for rejection included health problems, advanced pregnancy and injuries.


The final piece of the puzzle came from an investigation by EWA on how the USDA’s APHIS (Animal and Plant Inspection Service) tracks horses bound for slaughter. EWA’s Valerie James-Patton was researching the Owner/Shipper certificate system which is supposed to allow APHIS to assure humane regulations are being followed. When asked what happens to horses rejected at the Mexican border, she was told simply “they fall out of the system.”


Normally kill buyers who haul slaughter horses to Mexico try to fill their trailers with cattle and other animals on the return journey. So clearly they need to dispose of the rejected horses, and the most economical way to do so is to simply abandon them on a deserted stretch of road or in an isolated lot.


Ironically, while the horse slaughter lobby has been claiming abandonment was a result of a lack of slaughter, it now appears it is in large part a result of the practice.


Equine Welfare Alliance

Obama Signs Appropriations Bill Legalizing Equine Slaughter

Posted on November 20, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Press Release (Download as PDF)

Media contact: Simone Netherlands (928) 925-7212

For immediate release:

Agricultural appropriations bill signed by President Obama legalizes equine slaughter and requires taxpayers to subsidize a foreign horse meat industry.

Equine welfare organizations denounce the actions of three legislators (Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Sen. Herb Kohl(D-WI), who in a closed door process stripped the Agriculture appropriations bill from language that prevented equine slaughter for human consumption in America, thereby legalizing the practice. The bill was signed into law by President Obama on November 18th, 2011.

For the first time since 2006, and in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, Americans are required to subsidize a foreign owned industry that exports horsemeat served as a delicacy in fine restaurants in some European and other countries.

Americans don’t consume horsemeat. Polls have consistently revealed over 70% of Americans oppose horse slaughter. “It is outrageous,” says Vicki Tobin, vice president of Illinois-based Equine Welfare Alliance, “that American taxpayers would be required to subsidize foreign owned businesses that Americans oppose and that produces meat from animals that are not raised for food”.

Simone Netherlands, founder of Respect4Horses, added, “In this time when the focus of Congress is supposedly on reducing spending and creating jobs it is a ludicrous measure to spend tax dollars in order to reinstate an inherently cruel predatory business, from which Americans stand to gain nothing. Horse slaughter plants operating until 2007 have never created a total of more than 178 jobs.”

And, they are not good jobs, according to Paula Bacon, former mayor of Kaufman, Texas where a horse slaughter facility operated for years. “Horse slaughter means very few, very low wage jobs. This so called business brought in virtually no tax revenues and local governments incurred substantial enforcement costs in trying to regulate these facilities. The standard of living dropped during the time horse slaughter facilities operated. Having a horse slaughter facility drove away good businesses.”

Equine slaughter has also been found to increase and abet horse theft in areas where facilities are located or horses are held for transport to slaughter.

In addition, American horses are not raised, fed and medicated within the FDA and European Union guidelines established for food animals, making them unfit and unsafe for human consumption. Equines are given many drugs banned in food animals such as pain killers, steroids, de-wormers and ointments throughout their lives.

A 2010 study in the Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal showed a drug given routinely to equines like aspirin, phenylbutazone or Bute, is a carcinogen and can cause aplastic anemia in humans. The FDA bans bute in all food producing animals because of this serious danger to human health. The recent EU FVO reports on U.S. equines exported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter show banned drug residues and falsified drug affidavits. (

The unsubstantiated claims of pro horse slaughter legislators such as Representative Jack Kingston (Georgia) are that it will solve neglect and abandonment. All we have to do is look at Canada to confirm that this is erroneous. They have had the same increases in neglect cases as we have here in the US. The demographic of people who hang on to their horses in spite of their inability to care for them, is the kind of demographic that does not want to send their horses to slaughter, therefore horse slaughter is not a solution for that demographic. One could argue that horse slaughter in fact makes people afraid to sell their horses to anyone for fear of them ending up in the slaughter pipeline and therefore increases neglect and abandonment. Even Kentucky Derby winners such as Ferdinand have ended up on someone’s dinner plate in a foreign country.

In fact, it creates the problems it claims to solve says R.T. Fitch, founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation “As a convenient and lucrative means of disposal, Horse slaughter has created an over-population problem of horses, by enabling irresponsible breeding, and encouraging a quick turn around and dumping of horses. Very much like the housing market and the banking industry, the horse breeding industry is self destructing by saturating the market and horse slaughter is the bail out”.

Horse Welfare Organizations wonder why breed associations continue to reward millions of dollars in breed incentives each year, while refusing to use some of that money as funds for horse rescues, funds for gelding, and funds for humane euthanasia.

Equine Slaughter is a grave risk to public health, is inherently inhumane and causes the very problems it claims to solve. Currently there is a bill in the house - HR 2966- and in the senate -S1176- that would prohibit the export of horses for human consumption and effectively end this brutal practice all together.

“After all, there is a large market for dog and cat meat as well in China and Japan, does that mean that American tax payers should foot the bill to pay for the USDA to start inspecting dog and cat meat?” asks Richard “Kudo” Couto, founder of Animal Recovery Mission.

These equine welfare groups ask Congress to take immediate action and pass the horse slaughter prevention act of 2011. (S 1176 and HR 2966)

Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA)
Respect4Horses (R4H)
Animal Law Coalition (ALC)

Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF)
The Cloud Foundation (TCF)
Animal Recovery Mission (ARM)
Americans Against Horse Slaughter (AAHS)
The Celebrate the Horse Network (CTHN)

Animals’ Angels (AA)