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

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

HORSE SLAUGHTER--House Votes on HR 503 Sept. 7

Press Release
Source: The National Horse Protection Coalition

Nationwide Poll Reveals 7 Out of 10 Americans Oppose Horse Slaughter
Wednesday August 30, 6:00 am ET

T. Boone Pickens Joins Horse Supporters to Launch National Ad Series

DALLAS, Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by The
National Horse Protection Coalition:

As Congress prepares for the September 7 vote on The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503), a bipartisan bill that would end the slaughter of horses for human consumption, a national poll revealed that 69% of American voters are opposed to killing horses for people to eat.

"It is very clear that Americans don't think that horses should be killed for people to eat," said Glen Bolger, a national pollster and founding partner of Public Opinion Strategies, the firm that conducted the poll. "The opposition to horse slaughter crosses all lines -- it doesn't matter what race you are, where you live, or whether you vote Republican or Democrat -- Americans are opposed to horse slaughter by an overwhelming margin," Bolger continued.

Key findings from the poll:
  • 71% of Americans believe that horses are part of America's culture and deserve better treatment.
  • 65% of Americans believe that in many states it is illegal to sell horse meat to eat therefore we should not be killing horses in America for the benefit of restaurants in France and Japan.
  • 64% believe that horses are not raised for food. Horses are companion animals just like dogs and cats and killing a horse to eat is no different than killing a cat or a dog to eat.
  • 49% of voters spanning diverse geographic, political party affiliations, gender and races are less likely to vote for their Member of Congress if they oppose a ban on horse slaughter.

    "It's time for Congress to stand up for America, and for our ideals, and stop allowing our horses to be killed and served on dinner tables in France, Belgium and Japan. If those countries want to eat horses, then they can do their own dirty work," said T. Boone Pickens, legendary oilman and philanthropist, who along with his wife, Madeleine, is an outspoken opponent of horse slaughter.

    Life-long animal lovers, T. Boone and Madeleine Pickens, are joining forces with key horse organizations, including The National Horse Protection Coalition, to launch a campaign in support of H.R. 503. Starting today, they will run a series of full-page ads in USA Today, The Dallas Morning News, San Antonio Express-News and San Diego Union Tribune asking the public to contact their lawmaker to urge support for The American Horse Prevention Act and end the slaughter of horses for human consumption.

    T. Boone Pickens and representatives from The National Horse Protection Coalition will join Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY), XM Radio host Eddie Kilroy and Sky Dutcher, a 12 year-old girl whose horse, Cimorron, was stolen and slaughtered in 2004, at a September 5 rally in Washington D.C. in support of The American Horse Prevention Act.


    Although the slaughter of horses for human consumption is illegal in many states, foreign-owned companies who process horsemeat here are using federal loopholes to continue killing horses, sending 39.5 million pounds of horsemeat to France, Belgium and Japan in 2005.

    Every day three horse slaughterhouses in the U.S., Dallas Crown in Kaufman, Texas, Beltex Corporation in Fort Worth, Texas and Cavel International in DeKalb, Illinois, ship out thousands of pounds of fresh horsemeat abroad. Bragging, "from the stable to table in four days," these foreign-owned plants slaughtered nearly 100,000 American horses last year alone.

    The process begins when owners across the country take their horses to a legitimate sale, never suspecting that within days their horse could end up on a plate in a high-end restaurant overseas. Three years ago, 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand ended up in a slaughterhouse in Japan. And because of the quick kill and export, these slaughter plants have become a convenient dumping ground for stolen horses. In fact, horse theft in California dropped 34 percent after that state instituted a ban on horse slaughter in 1998.

    Horse slaughterhouses receive USDA oversight that costs taxpayers millions of dollars -- all for horsemeat that is sold and consumed as a delicacy in high-dollar markets and restaurants in France, Italy and Japan. Moreover, these slaughterhouses use accounting loopholes to pay little or no taxes -- shipping 100% of the horsemeat and the profits abroad.

    The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, a bill to end the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States and the export of live horses for the same purpose, was reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Congressional Horse Caucus Co-Chair John Sweeney (R-NY), Representative John Spratt (D-SC), Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and Representative Nick Rahall (D-WV). Senator and veterinarian John Ensign (R-NV) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) have reintroduced an identical measure in the Senate.

    The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act has the support of 202 co-sponsors and is widely supported in the U.S. House of Representatives and championed by more than 500 organizations, including such industry groups as the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Churchill Downs.

    H.R. 503 is scheduled to go to a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives on September 7.


    Source: The National Horse Protection Coalition

  • Sunday, August 27, 2006

    ACTION ALERT-Rally for Horses Scheduled for Sept. 5, Washington, DC

    (from the Society for Animal Protective Legislation)

    US House of Representatives to Vote on H.R. 503

    August 22, 2006

    Dear Humanitarian:

    If you are available, please join the Society for Animal Protective Legislation (SAPL) at the Washington, D.C. Rally for Horses in support of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA).

    When: Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2006 at 10:00 a.m.
    Where: Cannon platform, at the corner of Independence Ave. and New Jersey Ave., S.E. (see arrow on attached map)


    The US House of Representatives is expected to vote on H.R. 503, the AHSPA, on Sept. 7. This vote will represent the culmination of five years of campaigning by concerned constituents on behalf of the horses. Since SAPL and the Doris Day Animal League began their national campaign to end horse slaughter for human consumption in late 2001, more than a quarter of a million horses have been brutally killed in the three remaining US slaughterhouses and sold overseas to be served to the patrons of upscale restaurants. As we continue our fight to end this tragedy through passage of the AHSPA, we must remember an estimated 2,000 horses are slaughtered each week as the bill awaits adoption by Congress.

    We can still make a difference. The American people are being heard through the calls, emails and faxes that have flooded Congress, and legislators are listening. However, we must redouble our efforts and keep pressure on Congress to act strongly and decisively now. Please continue to contact your Representative (you can be connected to his or her office by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-224-3121), and encourage your friends, family and coworkers to do so as well. While support has been overwhelming, we can do even better for the horses. SAPL will not stop its campaign on behalf of America's horses until the bill has passed and the brutal horse slaughter industry has been abolished.

    If you have any questions, please contact us at 703-836-4300 or, or visit SAPL online at You might also wish to purchase a shirt, hat or bag at to promote our fight and to wear to the rally. As always, thank you for your help.


    Cathy Liss
    Legislative Director

    P.S. Please visit our new website,, to locate your legislators and see how they stand on animal welfare legislation.

    Sign up for SAPL eAlerts to receive the latest legislative news on what you can do to help us protect all animals.

    Yet Another Poll Voicing Disdain Over Horse Slaughter

    Results of the Agritalk ("The Voice of Rural America) poll:

    Do you think Congress should pass a bill banning the slaughter and
    processing of horses for consumption?



    Not Sure

    [Editor's Note: The poll on this site reflects close to the same ratio; as does every poll this writer has ever been able to dig up. So, let's demand proper representation in our government on the issue.]

    Thursday, August 24, 2006

    Willie Nelson Voices Disgust at Horse Slaughter

    Willie Nelson and US say “no way” to horse slaughter

    "WASHINGTON- Texan Willie Nelson is speaking out in defense of a symbol of the American West, the remaining stock of roaming wild horses. Country singer Nelson is the latest to join an effort to ban the slaughter of horses in the U.S. for consumption of their meat abroad. The U.S. House is scheduled to vote Sept. 7 on a bill aimed at ending horse slaughter.

    'If you've ever been around horses a lot, especially wild horses, you know they are part of the American heritage. I don't think its right that we kill them and eat them,' Nelson said in a telephone interview Tuesday to the Washington Post.

    'It's like eating cats or dogs,' said Jerry Finch, president of Habitat for Horses, which rescues abused horses. 'We just don't do it in this country.'

    But they do in Europe and Japan, he said. Finch estimates 400 horses in the United States are slaughtered every day, specifically to provide horse meat for consumption abroad.

    Polls shows about 80 percent of Americans are horrified at the idea of eating horsemeat, and are against the slaughtering of horses for food..."

    Horses Deserve More Than Slaughter

    Horses that need help
    Special to the Star-Telegram

    "...Of course, if you accept the slaughter industry's line of argument, we would have no laws against any form of cruelty. The dogfighter or cockfighter could just as readily invoke this principle in defense of his own depravities. The argument further unravels when you realize that there are already good federal laws -- including the Horse Protection Act -- that forbid the harming of horses for profit. In fact, historically, it was rank cruelty to horses that first inspired our state laws against cruelty.

    The foreign slaughterhouses attempt to argue that they slaughter our horses 'for their own good,' claiming that we'd be overrun with horses but for the slaughter plants. But every reputable humane organization rejects this nonsense. Even if a horse is not faring well, it's much better for these animals to be humanely euthanized where they live, rather than to ship the animal as many as 1,000 miles to a slaughterhouse.

    Horse slaughter is not a question of property rights but a matter of personal responsibility and public standards in the care of animals.

    As Laura Hillenbrand, the author of Seabiscuit, has written, 'Here are these exquisite, immensely powerful creatures who willingly give us their labor in return for our stewardship. ...We owe them more than we can ever repay. To send these trusting creatures to slaughter is beneath their dignity and ours.'"

    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    Seller Beware...the Adoption Process Can End in Slaughter


    Think domestic horse slaughter is going away any time soon?

    Here’s a troubling update:

    Intelligent legislators like Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-Kentucky), John Sweeney (R-New York) and John Spratt (D-South Carolina) have strongly and consistently decried the horrendous practice of killing horses for the purpose of turning them into delicacies for European steak connoisseurs.

    Last year, at their insistence, Congress overwhelmingly agreed to cut the funding for “ante-mortem” (before death) United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspections at the three existing foreign owned slaughterhouses in Texas and Illinois.

    President Bush signed the measure into law. The law is the law: No inspections, no ability to export meat for human consumption. Sounds like a wonderful end to the story, right? Well, you won’t believe what happened next.

    In November, the slaughterhouses actually petitioned the USDA to allow them to pay for the inspectors with their own money. What did the USDA do in light of this clear attempt to circumvent a congressional mandate? In February, the agency not only amended its regulations to permit the voluntary “Fee-for-Service Program” for ante-mortem inspectors requested by these equine butcher shops, but also stated that federal funds would continue to be used for “post-mortem” (after death) inspections, the clear intent of Congress notwithstanding. Bad enough? Just wait, for as Alice related in her descent into Wonderland, things get “curiouser and curiouser.”

    The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act was introduced in the House of Representatives in February 2003. What did Congress do with this proposal?

    Nothing, because the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) opposes the bill and kept it bottled up for two years. In fairness, Committee chairpersons prevent the advancement of all sorts of legislation, all the time. For lawmakers, inertia is an accepted virtue. What makes Goodlatte’s prevention of floor action on the Prevention Act so curious is this: At one time, the bill was co-sponsored by no fewer than 225 congressmen, and it takes only 218 votes for passage. At that time, passage of the bill would have been a slam-dunk, provided the bill was ever allowed out of the locker room.

    The bill was amended in 2005. Instead of banning slaughter outright, the proposed legislation now prohibits transport of, and trafficking in, horses for the purpose of introduction in the human food chain. The modified measure was re-introduced as House Resolution 503. Finally, subcommittee hearings on the bill were conducted in late July of this year, with the full House scheduled to vote on the proposal after the summer recess. While Goodlatte’s Agriculture Committee reported the bill out of committee “unfavorably”, another committee discharged the bill without vote or recommendation. A perusal of some of the testimony before an Energy and Commerce subcommittee confirms that passage of H.R. 503 is far from a sure thing.

    Both the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) continue to oppose the bill.

    Dr. Doug Corey, vice president of the AAEP offered this surreal statement, “I would prefer to have these horses processed in the United States where there are regulations.”

    Presumably, the horses will appreciate being slaughtered under the watchful eye of Uncle Sam. Another unbelievable comment came from Richard Koehler, an official at one of the processing plants. Koehler stated that his company takes great care to ensure that horses remain “calm” during their killing, explaining that, "If a horse is under strain, it will lead to inferior horse meat."

    Luckily, the proponents of the bill benefited from the persuasive testimony of noted equine surgeon Patricia Hogan. Dr. Hogan who, along with husband Eddie Lohmeyer breed and campaign Standardbreds, offered her first person account of the horrors of equine slaughter and her professional opinion that horses in the processing line, unlike chickens or cows, possess the awareness that others are being slaughtered before their eyes, and that they are next.

    The bottom line is that any major policy change in Washington occurs only after years of struggle, if the policy changes at all. The equine slaughter issue is no different. Horses are being slaughtered today; they will be slaughtered tomorrow. We shouldn’t hold our breath. Of course, if nobody sends their horses to slaughter, none get slaughtered. Sound simple enough? Assuredly, it’s not, and that’s where our collective awareness must kick in and save our horses from a sickening death.

    Consider this scenario - Your old beloved broodmare has served you well. You don’t want to pay a board bill or keep her until she paces off this mortal coil, so you decide to either sell her for a nominal sum, or give her up to an “adoption” service. You would never even think of sending her to a meat processing plant. Here’s the question: How do you know she won’t eventually end up on the dinner menu at a five star Parisian restaurant? The answer is that you don’t, unless you take some proactive measures before transfer. Consider the following:


    Just who is this kind person or entity that is willing to take an old horse off your hand and give it a good life? A slick business card or flowery website does not provide enough information to satiate all concerns. A widely reported story in 2004 involved a top owner on the New York Thoroughbred circuit buying back a claimed horse for $5,000 simply to place it in the hands of an adoption agency. The thoughtful owner identified a “riding academy” in Massachusetts, and placed the horse there with the assurance that the beloved retiree would provide trail rides to children. A week later, a rescue agency alerted the owner that the old claimer was destined for a Texas slaughterhouse, having failed to sell at an auction. The lesson learned is that the wolves often come in sheep’s clothing. Have you visited the facility that is willing to “adopt” your horse? Have you checked out all its references? How long have the other horses been there? Do they look well cared for? Your horse can’t send a postcard back home if things aren’t working out. You must stay on top of things.


    If the group you entrusted with your animal can’t care for it any longer, what right do you possess to ask for it back? If you are sending the horse to a “placement” agency, what type of follow-up does the group perform once they find your old friend a new home? Do they conduct routine site checks at the adoptive homes? Does their adoption agreement mandate return of the horse if it is not being well cared for? Though you place your horse with a “reputable” group or person, it does little good if you, or they, do not monitor or cannot control the chain of custody once your horse leaves their hands.

    Consider this scenario:

    You give your aged trotter to trusted friends that own a horse farm in a neighboring state. Their teenage daughter rides the horse daily and loves him. You visit once or twice, are satisfied with what you see, and are content that you’ve done the right thing. The next September, the daughter enters a university 500 miles from home. By November, your friends realize that the horse serves no further purpose other than to eat and grow enormous. Thinking that you don’t want to take the animal back, your friends sell him for a small sum to a local Amish farmer. After a few weeks, the farmer realizes that the horse simply isn’t pulling its weight on the farm. He enters it in an auction sale frequented by killers. By the time your friends’ year-end holiday card arrives explaining the situation, the horse has already experienced the kill-pen. Though both you and your friends abhor equine slaughter, the horse is now horsemeat. That’s how easy slaughter can happen, despite the best intentions of considerate owners. The vigilance required to protect the well being of a previously owned horse does not end with your presumptively responsible transfer of the still very viable animal. While many healthy horses do get killed, an old, lame, “problem” horse is obviously more likely to have a one-way ticket on a cattle trailer than one that still maintains a degree of functionality. Once you give him up, your horse is certain to not get any younger. Whether he eventually dies of natural causes or from vivisection while possibly still conscious in a slaughterhouse depends upon whether any human cares for the horse’s welfare in its reclining years. If you care, your “out of sight” horse should never be “out of mind.”


    While rescue and adoption are issues of concern for all breeds of horses, a special consideration arises with placement of Standardbred racehorses. Assume your veterinarian indicates that your sophomore pacer’s pulled suspensory ligament will eventually result in a torn ligament if you continued to subject the filly to a race-training regimen. The decision to pull the shoes and retire the girl was both altruistic and expensive on your part. Eventually, you sell the filly to someone who purportedly will re-train her for a less strenuous second career. You get a check; he gets the halter and executed registration papers. Soon, you realize that you sold the filly to an unscrupulous individual. No, he didn’t enter the horse in a kill sale; he entered her in a $5,000 claimer at the local harness track! Maybe this is not a fate worse than death, but it’s darn near close to death if she’s even slightly injured in the race. Remember, there are unspeakable places for injured fillies.

    If you can sell a papered horse without papers, you avoid these types of problems. If you are going to sell a horse along with U.S.T.A. papers, there should be a strict and enforceable understanding regarding your desire that the horse never see a harness again or reproduces a registerable foal. If someone offers one price for your horse with papers, and another without, you have obviously just identified the wrong person to buy your horse.


    Rescue and placement groups are not “dumping grounds.” If you want to put your horse up for adoption, a reputable group will solicit a contribution towards maintenance of a horse while it is in “foster care,” pending adoption. Any owner knows full well the enormous expense associated with maintaining a horse. Showing up with a lead shank and empty pockets is simply not responsible. You are asking a group with no steady source of funding to assure your horse’s health and safety for perhaps the next twenty years. Moreover, you are shifting your financial responsibility to them. Fortunately, most established adoption groups have qualified pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code as nonprofit organizations, thus qualifying donations of cash, items and sometimes horses for tax deductibility, within stringent guidelines. When contemplating placement, and certainly before anything is signed, a tax professional should be consulted.

    For some, a kind and gentle euthanasia might be considered. Nobody is adopting a 26-year-old broodmare, and for exactly that reason, “donating” such an animal to a rescue group simply burdens the agency for years to come, as they must now allocate resources to care for a horse that you, and no one else for that matter, wants to maintain. There is no hypocrisy here. While one might argue that slaughter for steak burgers and euthanasia both result in death, the differences are in the purpose and mode employed. If you absolutely do not have the financial resources for care for an old or chronically sick or lame horse for the rest of their natural lives, consider all options. If you can find an equine adoption group to accept such a horse, also consider the financial burden you are shifting to a charity that no doubt struggles for every dollar, and make appropriate arrangements.


    As with all issues involving rights and responsibilities, a written agreement is important, whether the placement is with a private individual or a group. Among the items to be addressed are:

    a) Prohibiting the horse’s participation in racing.

    b) Whether the horse may be used for breeding.

    c) Whether the horse may be used for any business or commercial purpose (i.e., “trail riding only”).

    d) If a placement agency, whether the group conducts regular spot checks of adoptive homes during the life of the horse.

    e) Permitting the prior owner access to inspect the horse during reasonable horses.

    f) That the adoptive owner agrees to keep the horse’s inoculations current, and otherwise provide reasonable vet care for the horse.

    g) Establishing the right to unilaterally demand a horse’s return if it appears to be ill or poorly taken care of by the adoptive owners.

    h) Establishing the right to be notified if the horse is to be sold or otherwise transferred, and granting the placement agency or prior owner a “right of first refusal” (meaning the first right to meet the conditions of transfer and buy back the horse).

    i) Establishing the right to be informed if the horse requires euthanization. If circumstances required immediate euthanization, then the right to be notified immediately after the procedure takes place.

    Selling a horse or giving it up for adoption because you can no longer maintain it is not an irresponsible act. Blindly handing over your horse to somebody you don’t know or haven’t checked, without any form of writing articulating post-transfer conditions, is irresponsible, and potentially deadly. The killers are everywhere, and Congress may not do much to stop them. Know what? I don’t need an Act of Congress to protect my horse from slaughter. Neither do you.

    Chris E. Wittstruck, an attorney and Standardbred owner, is the founder and coordinator of the Racehorse Ownership Institute at Hofstra University, New York and a charter member of the Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Law Network.

    Courtesy Of Chris E. Wittstruck, Esq. and the United States Trotting Association

    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    Bill to End Horse Slaughter in Trouble; Top Equine Surgeon Speaks Out Against Slaughter Before Congress

    Bill to end US horse slaughter in trouble
    Horsetalk - Canterbury,New Zealand
    ... a horse for processing for human consumption. Supporters and detractors appear to hold entrenched positions. Supporters of the bill argue that slaughter for ...

    Equine surgeon urges US to stop slaughtering horses
    Millstone Examiner - Millstone,NJ,USA
    UPPER FREEHOLD - A local veterinarian took her concern for horses before members of Congress last week.

    On July 25, local veterinarian Dr. Patricia Hogan joined people like T. Boone Pickens, a legendary Texas oil man, in testifying before the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce subcommittee to support the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act known as HR 503.

    The American Horse Slaughter Act would end the slaughter of horses for human consumption, and the domestic and international transport of live horses or horseflesh for human consumption.

    Although estimates vary, most experts believe that between 80,000 and 100,000 American horses are slaughtered each year at three plants in the United States, two of which are located in Texas and the other in DeKalb, Ill. Horse meat is considered a delicacy in some European countries, as well as in Japan.

    Hogan, one of the country's few female equine orthopedic surgeons, is an Upper Freehold resident who practices at the New Jersey Equine Clinic in the Clarksburg section of Millstone. She has treated some of the top racehorses in the country, including Afleet Alex and Smarty Jones, the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner.

    In her speech to the subcommittee, Hogan said, "I urge this subcommittee to swiftly send the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act to the House floor and call upon the House of Representatives to vote to end horse slaughter, once and for all."

    Hogan told the subcommittee that she is surprised no one ever openly discusses the "absolutely deplorable way these animals are treated on their way to the slaughterhouse.

    "Once these horses enter the path to the slaughterhouse, their treatment is not humane in any way," she said. "I dismiss the triviality of the studies detailing the number of whinnies per hour or the number of horses that arrive with or without a broken leg as statistical evidence of humane treatment."

    Hogan told the subcommittee that sometimes veterinarians, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) hide behind the term "humane." She said the word is often used as the catchall phrase to make us feel that things are done correctly and within the letter of the law.

    "However," Hogan said, "the whole act of being taken from an environment that is familiar, then thrown into a hostile herd environment, shipped very long distances without food or water, and then placed in an assembly line where they can see, smell, hear and sense the terror of what is happening in front of them is not humane."

    Hogan said there are levels of intelligence dictating the rank of species in this world and at some point someone must draw the line.

    "Horses are very intelligent and can perceive fear in a different manner than other forms of livestock such as a chicken or even a cow," she said. "The concept of humane treatment entails different basic requirements for different species."

    To illustrate her comments, Hogan told the subcommittee that the American culture does not accept consumption of dogs or cats, while other cultures in this world do.

    "That being said, Americans do not eat horse meat and in poll after poll, the American people say that the practice of horse slaughter is unacceptable and should be stopped," Hogan said. "Yet we allow our American horses to be slaughtered for foreign consumption. Where is the difference here?"

    Hogan told the subcommittee that horses are not, nor have they ever been, raised as food animals in this country.

    "Horses have traditionally been work animals throughout our history," she said. "But as society changes and evolves, so has the role of the horse changed in our culture."

    Most horses, according to Hogan, are now more commonly companion or sport animals.

    Hogan told the subcommittee of a time she visited the slaughterhouse as a surgery resident while in Texas.

    "I found it to be a disgrace," she said. "I was not there on an announced visit as those who defend horse slaughter were. I was absolutely revolted at the way the horses were treated and the behavior of the people that were employed there."

    She explained that she had also visited a beef and a chicken slaughter plant.

    "The treatment of and reaction by the horses was very much in contrast to that of the other livestock I had observed," she said.

    Hogan defined the differences between euthanasia and slaughter for the subcommittee.

    "Horse slaughter is not euthanasia by anyone's definition," she said.

    According to Hogan, euthanasia is a peaceful process that most commonly involves an overdose of an intravenous anesthetic drug administered by a veterinarian.

    "The horses are not afraid, and there is no fear of anticipation," she said. "In most cases, the animal is sedated and then euthanized in a familiar environment."

    According to Hogan, horse slaughter uses a method called the captive bolt, which involves aiming a bolt gun at the forehead of a partially restrained horse in what is commonly termed the "kill pen."

    "This pen is at the end of an assembly line of horses that are fed through the plant," she said. "If the bolt is applied properly, the horse is rendered unconscious upon impact and drops to the ground so that the carcass can then be bled out prior to death."

    Hogan said there is a great deal of room for human and technical error with the captive-bolt method. She also said the recommendation for "adequate restraint" is loosely defined and open for interpretation.

    Hogan offered to show the subcommittee videos of euthanasia and slaughter.

    "We are all concerned about the fate of unwanted horses if and when horse slaughter is eliminated, but allowing the practice to continue is not the right answer to the problem," she said. "Surely we can do better."

    Besides passing the act, Hogan told the subcommittee that cruelty awareness and responsible horse ownership education has to also expand across the country. She also said the horse industry needs to clean up its overbreeding, cruelty, neglect and proper long-term care.

    "People must be educated and made responsible horse owners," she said.

    In conclusion, Hogan said, "We have the opportunity to rid ourselves of a form of cruelty by passing the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, something that should have been done years ago.

    "We need to make sure that as we try to clean up this complicated problem," she added, "we continue to do whatever we can to continue to care for horses."

    Hogan graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia and has completed several years of specialty training in Kentucky and Texas in order to refine her veterinary focus to the surgical disciplines of the horse. She is a board-certified surgeon and has been practicing exclusively in the field of equine surgery for the past 10 years.

    Hogan has also received international recognition for her work in the treatment of equine sports injuries, arthroscopy and internal fixation of fractures. Her clientele is somewhat exclusive, according to Hogan, who works on some of the best thoroughbred and standardbred racehorses in the country. Often, the market value of some of her patients runs into the many millions of dollars.

    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    Letters to the Editor Pinpoint Goodlatte's Mission

    Goodlatte and the horse-slaughter bill
    -from the Washington Times

    "In the editorial 'Stop horsing around' (July 25), Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican is shown for what he is: a man who will stop at nothing to derail the efforts to ban horse slaughter in this country. The feelings of his own constituents, the very people he was elected to represent, don't matter to Mr. Goodlatte.

    Mr. Goodlatte made this clear at a town hall meeting in June 2004 when he was confronted by angry horse owners who were rightfully upset with his position on H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA). When a horse owner asked him, 'What do we have to do to get you to stop blocking this bill?' Mr. Goodlatte defiantly replied, 'You must convince me, and you have not done so.' Shocked, another person stood and asked, 'What kind of a democracy do we have if one man can block the will of the whole country?' Mr. Goodlatte's response was: 'This isn't a democracy; it is a republic.'

    It would seem Mr. Goodlatte's definition of the word republic differs from John Adams' view, given more than 200 years ago: 'A republic is a government whose sovereignty is vested in more than one person.'

    Fortunately the sponsors of the AHSPA rewrote the bill so it would fall under a different committee, essentially taking control of the issue away from Mr. Goodlatte and the Agriculture Committee, which he chairs.

    However, he just won't let this issue go. On Thursday, the Agriculture Committee had a one-sided review of this bill, allowing no testimony in support of H.R. 503. Among those who spoke against the bill was former Agriculture Committee Ranking minority member Charles Stenholm, who spouted his usual unfounded rhetoric about 'unwanted horses.' I listened to their discussion of this bill, and I have to say, the side supporting horse slaughter sounded like a bunch of petulant children who aren't getting their way.

    I'll make it clear: I applaud Republican leadership for allowing this issue out to the full House of Representatives for an up-or-down vote. I also applaud the sponsors of H.R. 503 and their 203 bipartisan cosponsors.

    However, people like Mr. Goodlatte and his blatant disregard for due process are an embarrassment to the Republican party and should be a concern for Republicans, especially in an election year. Perhaps they should consider censoring Mr. Goodlatte before he does more damage.

    Malibu, Calif.

    Arguments against Horse Slaughter as A Means to Control Excess Horses

    Where Would All the Horses Go? from The Blood-Horse June 28, 2003

    "The pro-slaughter forces seek to minimize the problem by stating that less than 1% of horses wind up being "processed" (their word). However, by making this (true) assertion, they show that their concern about 'where would all the horses go?' is essentially bogus. The percentage of increase in the overall horse population would be extremely small. There were approximately 350,000 horses slaughtered in the United States in 1990. This was down to about 40,000 in 2002. Did this drastic reduction in the number of horses slaughtered result in dramatic increases in neglect and cruelty to horses? Certainly not; no one ever claimed that. As a matter of fact, between 1992 and 1993 the reduction in the number slaughtered was 79,000 (responding to market forces), twice the number which would be saved if slaughtered ended completely tomorrow! The idea that a system that ceased to slaughter 79,000 horses in one year would face disastrous condition is somewhat under 40,000 ceased to be slaughtered now is ludicrous.

    "Another question asked is 'what would be done with all these dead horses? It is estimated that the horse population of the United States is about 6,900,000 and that somewhat less than .07% of these horses wind up in slaughterhouses annually. A simple answer to the question of what is to be done with them when they die is that this is a totally insignificant increase, and that they should be disposed of in the same way as the ones not presently sent to slaughter, the overwhelming majority of the horse population...

    "The claim of the pro-slaughter forces is that their concerns are humanitarian and unrelated to financial concerns. There are those who would disagree with them; for example, Pernell Hopkins, a police officer specializing in equine investigation, who for two years ahs monitored Pennsylvania horse sales that sell to slaughter. Officer Hopkins states in a letter published in the June 2002 edition of The Horse that slaughter encourages neglect, and that 'Money is the only objective of selling horses to slaughter. Those of us in the trenches have seen enough.'

    "The logical proposition goes this way. We have a potential perpetrator (one who might abuse a horse) and a potential victim (the horse). The answer offered by the pro-slaughter forces is to kill the potential victim so that the potential perpetrator can't perpetrate! Comments here are unnecessary..."


    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    "Poison Pill" Amendments Inserted into Anti-horse Slaughter Bill

    Bill banning horse slaughter saddled with problems - Lexington,KY,USA
    WASHINGTON - The House Agriculture Committee attached "poison pill" amendments yesterday to a bill designed to outlaw horse slaughter, potentially damaging the ...

    Don't count DeLay out of House campaign yet
    Dallas Morning News (subscription) - TX,USA
    ... Two House hearings put a spotlight last week on the US horsemeat industry, centered at slaughterhouses in Kaufman and Fort Worth. ...

    Legendary Oilman Testifies Before Congress to Ban Horse Slaughter
    PR Newswire (press release) - New York,NY,USA
    ... Although the slaughter of horses for human consumption is illegal in Pickens' home state of Texas, foreign-owned companies who process horsemeat here are using ...

    Six amendments added to horse slaughter bill
    Thoroughbred Times - Lexington,KY,USA
    ... Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns assume responsibility for all unwanted horses to starting a pilot program that would ban horse slaughter in Kentucky and ...

    ... The House version of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act progressed nicely through the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week, but then was ...

    South Dakota Cattlemen's Association: eUpdate for July 28, 2006
    Dakota Voice - Rapid City,SD,USA
    ... Agriculture. The topic of the hearing was Representative John Sweeney's (R-NY) HR 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. On ...

    Powerful Oilman, T. Boone Pickens Applauded For Joining Crusade to ... (press release) - USA
    ... to convince Congress to enact the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. ... of this shocking treatment of American race horses ... she founded Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue. ...