The Equine Welfare Alliance issued this press release late last night about the imminent issuance of permits for horse slaughterhouses in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa:
http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/USDA_Inspections.pdf

This is all extremely mystifying given that appropriations committees for the US Senate and House of Representatives each passed amendments to defund inspections for equine slaughter as of 2014, thus effectively ending horse slaughter in the US (but not yet stopping our horses from being shipped out of the country for slaughter.) The defunding language also appears in the White House budget for 2014. This was the first major step toward passing a full federal ban of horse slaughter where no equine from the US could be slaughtered here or in any other country. The US has been moving steadily toward the passage of a federal ban so this news about permits is a shocking and disappointing development.

In addition, the Equine Welfare Alliance recently issued this important study:  http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/History_and_Causes_of_Equine_Abuse-Neglect.pdf which soundly refutes the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on horse slaughter. The GAO report is an embarrassing, poorly researched and poorly written document which horse slaughter proponents have been using as the basis and argument to bring horse slaughter back to the United States. Dr. Caroline Betts at the University of Southern California, John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance and other highly-respected experts have denounced the GAO report as being non-factual, unprofessional and filled with untruths.

The news about the issuance of these permits, however, does not mean these plants will definitely open – plus there is the question of waste water and run-off from the NM plant that is a major concern: http://www.noequineslaughter.org/?p=501 and the fact that the NM Attorney General called horsemeat tainted and a public health risk: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/11/business/horse-meat-plant-in-new-mexico-faces-hurdle-after-ruling-on-drugs.html?_r=2&.

We have to feel that our side is in a better position than the small pro-horse-slaughter factions that are pushing for its return. Still, there is reason for concern as to why this is happening now, given that there will be no funding for horsemeat inspectors in several months.

Please stay tuned and also keep your eye on these people/groups that are definitely involved with trying to bring about the return of horse slaughter to the US:

  • Senator Max “Tipsy” Baucus (D-MT) – After a well-publicized drunken rant on the Senate floor, followed by his announcement to retire from the US Senate, Max Baucus has nothing more to lose. Consequently, he is pouring a lot of his energy into bringing horse slaughter back to the US. This could be an indication of where he will be going next and who he will be working for when he leaves the Senate. Perhaps he will go the route of the late Montana Senator Conrad Burns who went to work for western ranching interests when he left, after passing one of the worst pieces of legislation in history: The Burns Amendment (surreptitiously attached to a 3,000-page spending bill in 2004 which privatized America’s Wild Horses & Burros without so much as a hearing.) He became a hero to the pro-horse slaughter ranchers who want America’s Wild Herds exterminated so they can use the vast range as grazing land for their cattle.
  • Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) was a member of the Congressional Conference Committee to fund horsemeat inspections last year, when that was recently reversed and the Senate and House Appropriations Committees voted not to fund them as of 2014. He has been a huge horse slaughter proponent for years and is one of the main forces behind the construction of a horse slaughterhouse in his State of Missouri.
  • Congressman Steve King (R-IA) – One of the cruelest members of Congress (http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/07/31/615951/steve-king-dogfighting/ ) is behind pushing hard for Ag Gag laws. He is pro-horse slaughter, pro dog fighting and for allowing for the treatment of animals without consequence even if cruel and inhumane He is behind the permit for the construction of a horse slaughterhouse in Iowa. He has reportedly been working with “Slaughterhouse Sue” Wallis and Dave Duquette of United Horsemen, a pro-horse slaughter group.
  • Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) voted on the Congressional Conference Committee to fund horsemeat inspectors last year. That move, however, was just reversed by Congress, but that reversal does not take effect until 2014. Read all about Kingston’s and Blunt’s agenda to bring horse slaughter back to the US in this great Forbes article by Vickery Eckhoff: http://www.forbes.com/sites/vickeryeckhoff/2011/12/21/how-many-congressmen-does-it-take-to-screw-a-horse/.
  • “Slaughterhouse Sue” Wallis (R-WY) – State Senator from Wyoming (http://rtfitchauthor.com/2013/03/22/slaughterhouse-sue-wallis-the-equine-advocates-gift-that-keeps-on-giving/ ) who is one of the founders of United Horsemen, a group formed to support and promote horse slaughter.
  • Dave Duquette (http://rtfitchauthor.com/2012/05/26/duquettes-hometown-mayor-says-horse-slaughter-stinks/ ), President of United Horsemen. He works with “Slaughterhouse Sue” Wallis and others who want horse slaughter in as many states as possible.
  • Charles Stenholm – Former Democratic Congressman from Texas who is now a lobbyist for the horsemeat industry. He is known for trying to get American Indian tribes to agree to slaughter horses on their reservations.
  • Mary Fallin, Governor of Oklahoma signed a bill this year legalizing horse slaughter in Oklahoma (http://newsok.com/oklahoma-gov.-mary-fallin-signs-horse-slaughter-bill/article/3778068), despite the fact that 80% of Oklahomans were opposed to it. Who is she really working for? Obviously not the vast majority of her constituents. Inquiring minds want to know!
  • Oklahoma State Rep. Skye McNiel, (R) wants to use the food chain to dispose of horses, rather than humanely euthanizing them. Why? Maybe because her family members make their money in the slaughter auction business: http://rtfitchauthor.com/2013/03/20/toxins-sweepin-down-the-plains/.
  • The American Farm Bureau Federation (http://www.fb.org/index.php?action=about.home) is a pro-horse slaughter organization. Most recently the NY Farm Bureau issued its opposition to legislation that would ban horse slaughter in New York.
  • The National Cattlemen – there are several groups, but especially the ones out west using our federal lands for cattle are the most involved in promoting horse slaughter. Most of those ranchers are in support of killing off all of America’s Wild Horses and Burros and are in favor of sending the over 50,000 BLM Mustangs being held captive in government pens to slaughter now. See this link where they issued an official statement back in 2007, but is still representative of their opinion, particularly in the western states: http://www.uscattlemen.org/TheNewsRoom/2007_News/4-25HorseSlaughter.htm.
  • The American Association of Equine Practitioners and The American Veterinary Medical Association are more concerned with promoting and placating breeders who would rather take meat money for a surplus horse rather than take responsibility for that animal through humane euthanasia or taking the time to find a kind home.

This is a list of the major players. There are more, but they are all very much outnumbered by the 80% of Americans who want horse slaughter banned once and for all.

Take Action!

  • Now would be the time to contact your local and federal lawmakers no matter which state you live in to express your outrage about this happening now and demand that horse slaughter inspections be defunded as planned and as voted on by the House and the Senate. Also, please contact President Obama (http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/write-or-call#call) and Vice President Biden http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact-vp). They both are already opposed to horse slaughter, but it is important that they hear directly from you and know how strongly you feel about this!
  • Please view, send out and use the talks by equine experts during the 2013 American Equine Summit presented by Equine Advocates back in April. Everything you need to know about the horse slaughter issue was discussed there, most notably by John Holland, Dr. Ann Marini, Victoria McCullough, “Mayor Paula” Bacon, Dr. Kraig Kulikowski and others.
  • Also, Robert Redford made his feelings known about his opposition to horse slaughter with a letter that he issued to Equine Advocates earlier this year, which can be shared.

We, at Equine Advocates are committed to fighting the return of horse slaughter to the US and to stopping the transport of America’s Wild and Domestic Equines to Canada, Mexico, Japan or any other country for the purpose of slaughter. Please keep the pressure on your local and federal lawmakers and do not let up even if you already called or wrote to them. This is too important an issue and we are too far ahead to start moving backwards now. With your help, we can get back on track and prevent those who are desperate to slaughter horses from reversing all the recent progress and end this horrendous practice once and for all. Thank you…and please stay tuned for more updates!