The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Updated Action Alert...


On March 9, Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) introduced S. 576, the
Senate companion bill of H.R. 297, the legislation that will repeal
the last minute amendment snuck into the 2005 Federal Appropiations
Bill by Sen. Burns (R-MT) last November that allows the commercial
sale of wild horses, thus opening the door for long protected wild
horses to likely be slaughtered.

S. 576 would restore the ban on the commercial sale of wild free-
roaming horses and burros granted by Congress 33 years ago through
the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The bill has recently
been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Inmediate action is needed in order to ensure the passage of this
vital legislation.



Contact your two US Senators and ask them to cosponsor S. 576. You
should also contact ALL the members of the Senate Committee on Energy
and Natural Resources and request that they cosponsor S. 576 and urge
them to quickly bring the bill to public hearing.

You can find a directory of the members of the House Committe on
Resources with phone and fax numbers on the file section of the board
(Filename "Senate Energy-Nat. Resources Committee Contact Info.doc")
and also at

To find out who your Senators are, go to or

CLICK HERE FOR A LETTER TEMPLATE FOR S. 576. (rich text format)

Additional information about this bill can be found at:

Written letters and faxes are much more effective than emails. Phone
calls are also a good way to contact your legislators.

Please start writing, faxing and calling today! Forward this alert to
all your contacts and ask them to do the same.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

America's Wild Horses Face Uncertain Fate

from Voice of America...By Gloria Hillard
Lompoc, California

At the turn of the last century, more than 2-million wild horses roamed free across public lands in the American west. But decades of poaching and culling decimated the herds, and by 1971, when they were granted federal protection through the "Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act," there were only around 20,000 left. Today a limited number of mustangs still roam public lands in ten Western states, their numbers regulated by annual roundups by the Bureau of Land Management. Late last year, without public hearings or debate, a provision was slipped into the federal spending bill that allows the BLM to sell thousands of these captured wild horses for slaughter. That's prompted horse lovers to try to save them...(MORE)

Wild Horse Facts

How Wild is a Wild Horse?...questions and answers about wild horses, from the Reno-Gazette.

Wild horse advocates push for specialty plates

Images of wild horses and burros on state license plates — reflecting Nevada’s Old West aura — soon could be galloping down roadways, the founder of an animal advocacy group said Thursday...(MORE)

Mustang selloff stirs fears over their fate

A wild horse from Southeast Oregon finds a home, but fans of the animals say others could end up in foreign meat markets ...MICHAEL MILSTEIN, the Oregonian...
Horse number 92015845, holding his head tall, had a dignity that Karen Sisson saw in his pictures on the Internet.

"I knew if I could let him keep that dignity, I had to do it," said Sisson, who lives on Florida's eastern coast. "It would be worth any price."

...The law orders federal land managers to offload horses in captivity that are running up government costs, but horse defenders worry unwanted herds will end up as meat in overseas markets.

Sisson, fearing the 13-year-old horse otherwise could be sold for slaughter, quickly paid $1,501 for it earlier this month after spotting the animal on a federal Web site.

"When I saw those Oregon stallions and knew they could go to a really horrible life, I decided if I could get one and help him have a good life, I would," she said.

While animal protection groups and several lawmakers are trying to overturn the sale provisions, land managers across the West are struggling to find buyers like Sisson. Six Oregon horses have been sold so far, while Native American tribes and horse rescue groups have bought another roughly 500 horses from various states...

Late last year, U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., tucked a provision into a giant federal budget ordering the sale of the unwanted horses. It instructs the BLM to sell horses older than 10 years, along with horses offered for adoption three times without success.

...Horse defenders did not learn of the provision until it was too late to fight it.

Burns said the measure gives the BLM more tools to manage excess horses. He has support from ranchers who have pressed for control of herds that gobble grass otherwise used by cattle and wildlife.

...A national campaign led Congress to protect wild horses in 1971 as "living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West," ending their commercial slaughter by the thousands.

But horsemeat remains a sought-after meal in some countries. U.S. processors last year exported nearly $40 million worth of domestic horsemeat, mainly to France, Belgium, Mexico and Switzerland.

...Some groups contend the BLM is too closely aligned with the cattle industry and rounds up too many wild horses to make room for livestock. A new bill, H.R. 297, would restore the prohibition on the sale of horses. It has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health.

"I don't think there is enough room in the system for all these horses or all the others they're going to bring off the range," said Jill Starr, president of Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue in Bakersfield, Calif., which bought 13 horses this month for $1 each...

Michael Milstein: 503-294-7689;

Thursday, March 24, 2005

ADHF Issues Alerts

AHDF - Alerts

Please write your U.S. representative (ask them to cosponsor H.R.
297)and two U.S. senators (S. 576 ask them to cosponsor) to reverse the
recent amendment to the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act
introduced by Senator Burns as a rider to the 2005 Appropriations Bill, and to
request a Congressional investigation into the government's wild horse
management practices. Specifically:

(a) Inform them that the Burns Amendment to the 1971 Act will lead to
the slaughter of this beloved part of our national heritage to supply
horsemeat for human consumption abroad.

(b) Denounce the subversion of the democratic process that allowed a
law enacted with major popular support to be eviscerated without so
much as a hearing or opportunity for public review.

(c) Tell them that your tax-dollars would be better spent on an
in-the-wild management program not based on removal.

(d) Denounce the undue influence of private cattle interests on
public land management.

(e) Urge a call for a moratorium on round-ups AND appropriations for
round ups, until actual numbers of wild horses on public lands have
been independently assessed (an overdue census).
Make sure to include your full name and address and to ask for a
response on IF and WHEN your representative WILL COSPONSOR. Be firm but

Letters to Senators should be addressed to: The Honorable [Name Here],
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510 . Letters to House of Representatives
should be addressed to: The Honorable [Name Here], U.S. House of
Representatives, Washington, DC 20515 . Visit to identify your
representative and senators in D.C.

Your letters matter: in assessing public opinion, Congress counts each
letter received as the opinion of ten people. Please note that letters
sent by physical mail make a stronger statement than emails, which are
too easily dismissed. See sample letters on our site and at

It is also important that we keep the pressure on Senator Conrad Burns
(MT), who introduced the wild horse slaughter amendment, and Senator
Harry Reid (NV), a primary supporter of the Burns Amendment. They need to
hear from their constituents as well as from concerned citizens from
all states protesting this underhanded bit of legislation.

Do not hesitate to also let Bureau of Land Management officials know
how you feel about their removal policy and the sale of wild horses at
livestock auctions. Request a moratorium on these sales and
implementation of an in-the-wild management program. Contact Robert Abbey , Nevada
State Director, Bureau of Land Management, 850 Harvard Way, Reno, NV
89502-2055 and Kathleen Clarke , Director, Bureau of Land Management, 1849
C Street NW Rm. 406-LS, Washington, D.C. 20240 .

Trina Bellak, Esq.
Thanks for Caring -- American Horse Defense Fund, Inc.
In Numbers There Is Strength - JOIN AHDF TODAY

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Sweeney & Whitfield Continue to Be Active Sponsors

Bill Would Keep U.S. Horses Off Dinner Plates By Joe Rominiecki

"The fight to end the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States has been given new life this year, three U.S. Representatives announced Wednesday.

Washington, D.C. - Scripps Howard Foundation Wire - infoZine - Reps. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky.; John Sweeney, R-N.Y.; and Nick Rahall, D-W.V., are the leading sponsors of two bills, one that would outlaw horse slaughter for human consumption in the United States and one that would reverse the Bureau of Land Management's new authority to auction wild horses.

Americans do not customarily eat horse meat, but it is a delicacy in other countries, such as France, Belgium, Italy, Japan, Netherlands and Germany. Three foreign-owned slaughterhouses operate in the United States - two in Texas and one in Illinois.

U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show that more than 66,000 horses were slaughtered for their meat in the United States in 2004.

'We're not trying to change the culture of France or Belgium. We just don't want them to be slaughtering OUR horses for their consumption. They've never been a part of our food chain in America,' Whitfield said.

All three congressmen cited an overwhelming degree of support from the public, and Sweeney said the anti-slaughter bill had 63 House co-sponsors as of Wednesday morning.

Congress has seen similar bills in past years, but they have been blocked in the Committee on Agriculture, Whitfield said. The sponsors have taken a new strategy this year, sending the anti-slaughter bill to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the bill against the sale of wild horses to the Committee on Resources. Sweeney said he has been promised a committee vote on the anti-slaughter bill.

'This is the last time I'm going to come up and do one of these, because we're passing this bill this year,' Sweeney said at the press conference.

Horse slaughterhouses can buy horses in the United States from any source, but the government was not among those sources until December, when Rep. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., slipped a line into the 3,000-page omnibus spending bill that President Bush signed in December.

That rider, which many members in Congress weren't aware of when they voted, gave the Bureau of Land Management authority to auction wild horses that have been pulled off land in western states for population control. This had been illegal since 1971.

Horses under the bureau's watch must be either 10 years old or have been offered for adoption three times without being taken. Approximately 8,400 horses meet these requirements, according to the bureau, although it still looks for buyers who will care for the horses.

However, the law allows the bureau to 'turn a blind eye to who buys the horses, said Nancy Perry, vice president for government affairs for the Humane Society of the United States. She also contested the notion of overpopulation.

Congress called the American wild horse population 'fast disappearing' in 1974, when it was estimated at 60,000, Perry said. The bureau's latest estimate is 37,000.

However, that number is 9,000 more than the level at which the bureau estimates the population can exist in balance with other uses of public rangeland.

Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., is working on an anti-horse slaughter bill in the Senate, but he said he is not as confident of success as House members.

'It's going to be tough to pass, I won't kid you, because there's not consensus on it,' he said. 'With a bill like that, you're not going to be able get floor time. So all you have to do is have one senator object.'

A long list of animal-interest organizations supports the two House bills, but the American Quarter Horse Association opposes them, viewing horse slaughter as a necessary option, Sweeney said.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

What Happens if the Slaughterhouses Close?

One Man's Opinion
by Jerry Finch

The writing is on the wall. Recent closing and consolidations have reduced the number of horse slaughterhouses in the US from fourteen down to two, both located in Texas, and a new one in Illinois. Those Texas plants are now under pressure from both Texas and Federal lawyers to shut down their operations. How quickly it will happen is anyone's guess, but the future of legal horse slaughter is definitely looking grim. The question from people on both sides of the issue is, "What are we going to do with all these horses when the slaughterhouses close?"

The number of horses slaughtered in the US has decreased every year since 1989, when it reached a peak of 342,877. In 2001, the total fell to 56,332, less than one percent of the estimated US horse population of 7 million. In a 2001 Animal Sciences Research Report by the Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, titled, "Characterizations of Horses at Auctions and in Slaughter Plants," stated that slightly over 79% of the horses slaughtered were in good, fat to obese condition, while 88% had poor to excellent hoof condition. Based on these figures, it is estimated that 85% of those horses sent to slaughter are currently in usable condition, although they may require some degree of physical rehabilitation. In other words, in 2001 only 8,450 horses were in such condition that humane euthanasia might have been the best choice.

Far beyond the emotional reasons of the anti-slaughter forces, the closing of the horse slaughterhouses brings a number of benefits to the equine industry. Chief among these are the financial benefit of those directly and indirectly involved with horses. Currently, horses have a total impact on the US Gross Domestic product of $112.1 Billion, including $25.3 Billion directly and $86.8 Billion indirectly, according to the American Horse Council. This translates into an average of nearly $19,000 per horse. Had the 47,882 usable horses not gone to slaughter, the horse industry would have seen an increase in related sales of over $900,000,000.

With the closing of the horse slaughterhouses owners will be faced with the options, after euthanasia, of burial, cremation or rendering. The rendering of euthanized horses has become almost obsolete, since the sale of sick and injured horses to slaughterhouses provided a minimal dollar return. Without doubt, rendering operations will see a large increase in the demand for their services. The increases in this economic benefit alone will far outweigh the estimated payroll and tax base income of the two counties in Texas that contain the foreign-owned slaughterhouses

John Hettinger, owner of Fasig Tipton (the second largest Thoroughbred Auction House), Chairman of the Grayson, Jockey Club Foundation, member of the Board of Directors of The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and NY Racing Association Trustee, states that between 7,000 to 9,000 Thoroughbred Racehorses are slaughtered every year. With the closing of the major outlet for the overproduction of horses, it will make economic sense to both backyard and commercial breeders to curtail the current mass production of foals and become more selective in their breeding programs. The future decrease in foal production will eventually lead to an increase in the selling price of all breeds of horses.

The short-term effect of the slaughterhouse closings will have a negative impact only on those who profit from the disposal of unwanted horses. Many will be forced to look closely at their own financial motivations that currently contribute to the problem. Responsible breeding and horse ownership, when backed by the enforcement of current animal abuse laws, will benefit the majority of those in the horse industry. When the old adage of, "follow the money," points to an increase in financial return in years to come, we will look back on the horse slaughter days of yesteryear and seriously wonder why we let it continue for as long as we did.

Let them be born without fear
Let them live a life of peace
and please God, when it is time.
Let them die as they have lived fearless, painless and peaceful.

Pure Thoughts Inc.
Foal Rescue Foundation
An all-volunteer 501(c)3 Not-for-profit Organization
14731 Halter Road
Wellington, FL 33414

Thursday, March 17, 2005

National Horse Day Makes Impression

'Horse Day' on Capitol Hill deemed a success...Fauquier Times-Democrat
"The American Horse Defense Fund, a horse protection, education and advocacy organization, held its annual National Capitol Hill Week For Horses last week in Washington.

Horse owners and enthusiasts from across the country weighed in with their representatives in the House and Senate on two pieces of legislation that affect the horse industry.

The AHDF officials said that the most important legislation in front of Congress now is a bill penned by Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va. The bill, S.576, is a companion bill to HR 297, introduced recently by Reps. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., and Ed Whitfield, R-Ky. Both reinstate the 34-year-old protection from slaughter for wild horses that was destroyed by a rider Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., attached to an appropriations bill late last year.

Under the Burns rider, all captured wild horses over the age of 10, or those offered but not adopted after three attempts, must be sold 'without limitation.'

This, AHDF officials fear, opens the mustang 'adoption' market to slaughterhouse buyers.

Horse slaughter was the other hot topic on the Hill. A house bill, HR 503, was introduced by Rep. Ron Sweeney, R-N.Y. The bill would effectively end all horse slaughter.

Trina Bellak, president of the AHDF, said that 'in our many meetings we kept hearing about the volume of mail' for the proposed total ban on horse slaughter.

HR 503 has been assigned to the Energy and Commerce Committee rather than the Agriculture Committee, where it stalled last year.

Byrd noted that just a few months ago, the Senate passed a resolution designating Dec. 13, 2004, as the 'National Day of the Horse.' Language in the bill stated that "horses are a vital part of our collective experience of the United States and deserve protection and compassion."

Byd said, 'Surely there are actions that can be taken by the Bureau of Land Management (which handles mustang adoption events nationwide) to ensure the proper operation of the wild horse and burro program without resorting to the slaughter of these animals.'

The AHDF is among a number of so-called 'humane' organizations that support the mustang bill and the bill to end horse slaughter. Included are the ASPCA, American Humane Association, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, the Wild Horse & Burro Freedom Alliance and the Humane Society of the U.S.

Many in the horse industry fear that the ban of horse slaughter for export for human consumption overseas or for use in pet foods will overextend the already critical horse rescue organizations and adoption agencies. Such groups are burdened with finding homes for abandoned and injured horses, and the fear is that an end of legal slaughter will only increase the number of horses left to starve abandoned by their owners.

Supporters of the ban argue that transportation to the slaughterhouses is frightening to horses, and that the captive bolt used to kill a horse is barbaric. There are already a number of bills that control horse transport in all cases, opposition members say."