Thursday, March 19, 2009

Could This Be Why Horse Theft Appears To Be On The Rise?

March 18, 2009 at 17:52:21

Prices soaring for unwanted horses
by John Holland

The auctions call them “loose” horses because they are run through the auction ring without riders and are sold mostly to “killer buyers”. Slaughter advocates including the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) call them “unwanted” horses because they clog up the market for new foals and new registration fees. But whatever you call them, they are suddenly in increasingly short supply.
The last three horse slaughter plants in the US were closed in 2007, but the industry quickly shifted to exporting the horses for slaughter in Canada and Mexico. By the middle of 2008, there were more horse slaughter houses killing American horses than at any time in the past decade. Yet the closings galvanized the meat packing industry which saw them as a dangerous victory for “animal rights advocates” and their perceived “vegan agenda”.
Within weeks of the first closings, countless anecdotal stories began appearing about how America is awash in unwanted horses. Lawmakers in almost a dozen agricultural states have put forward initiatives aimed at bringing slaughter back to the US, based largely on these accounts. But the actual sales statistics from the horse auctions tell a very different story.
For example the New Holland auction in Pennsylvania is one of the largest slaughter auctions in the country. In October of 2008, they sold a total of 815 slaughter grade horses at an average price of $323, but despite rapidly worsening economic conditions, by February that number had dropped by 28% to 582 horses and the average price had risen by 31.6% to $425. It is largely the same story at auctions across the country.
Leroy Baker, owner of the Sugar Creek Auction in Ohio, has been heard publicly assigning the shortage of sellers to bad publicity including an HBO documentary about race horses going to slaughter through his auction.
Moreover, the USDA recently fined Baker an unprecedented $162,800 for numerous violations of the Commercial Transport of Equines to Slaughter Act (CTESA). The act prohibits the transport to slaughter of late term pregnant mares, foals, blind horses and horses that cannot support their weight on all four legs; prohibits the use of double deck trailers; and specifies minimal rest and feeding intervals.
And Baker has not been the only source of bad publicity for the horse slaughter industry. In response to a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request, the USDA recently disclosed 900 pages of photos documenting some of the grizzliest violations imaginable that occurred at the Texas slaughter plants prior to their being ordered closed in 2007.
The photos, which were taken in an attempt to enforce compliance with the CTESA, show horses with horrific injuries ranging from severed legs to crushed skulls. Still other photos show blind horses, newborn foals and even a mare standing on the unloading docks with her placenta still draping to the manure covered floor.
The exposure of these photos was a double embarrassment to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medicine Association). The evidence surfaced just as the AVMA was getting traction on a well financed PR campaign to convince lawmakers that the US plants should be reopened because they had been more humane.
Every indication is that the supply of unwanted horses will only get worse because production has been destroyed. The reason for this lies in the nature of the source of slaughter horses.
Contrary to popular perception, most horses sent to slaughter are not old, but young and healthy. They are largely the “culls” from an industry that over breeds in a quest for perfection. When times are good, the profits are made on the best foals and the culls (be they slow race horses or simply horses of the wrong color) are dumped to slaughter.
But the market for top grade riding and performance horses has tanked, once again proving the old adage “The best way to make a small fortune in horses is to start with a large one.” So breeders have cut back. With less breeding there are fewer culls.
Some breeders liquidated in response to the low horse prices and high feed prices, while still others were forced out of the business when their properties were lost to foreclosure.
A Kentucky breeder, for example, gave away his entire prized Arab bloodline to keep the horses from going to slaughter.
And the “kill auctions” are losing yet another source of horses. Slammed by bad publicity, an increasing number of horse tracks have put in place “zero tolerance” programs that ban owners and trainers caught selling their horses to slaughter. In October, the Magna Entertainment Corporation announced that all nine of their tracks would have a zero tolerance policy and they were quickly joined by at least three other tracks.
Kill buyers have adapted to the shortage in a number of ways, including placing ads on sites like Craig’s List. In one memorable case, a kill buyer and his wife showed up at the seller’s house saying they thought the horse would be a perfect starter horse for their young daughter. The horse was a Thoroughbred (racing) stallion.
But there remains one possible reservoir of unwanted horses. Since the first plants were closed in Texas, there have been countless unsubstantiated stories about horses being abandoned. Some slaughter advocates have estimated that as many as 170,000 such horses were abandoned just last year. This valuable pool of unwanted horses could serve as a kind of “petroleum reserve” for the horse slaughter industry if only they could be found. And for that matter, there are always the unicorns.
John Holland is a freelance writer and the author of three books. He frequently writes on the subject of horse slaughter from his small farm in the mountains of Virginia, where he lives with his wife, Sheilah, and their 12 equines. Holland is a charter member of the Equine Welfare Alliance and serves as senior analyst for Americans Against Horse Slaughter, an organization composed entirely of volunteers.
John Holland

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Make a Video and You May Win $1000.00 for The Horse Rescue of Your Choice!

YouTube Horse Slaughter Contest
From AlexBrownRacing
Jump to: navigation, search
1 The Contest
2 The Rules
3 Determining the winner
4 Entries
5 Media Coverage
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The Contest
Alex Brown Racing is sponsoring a YouTube contest that will run from Tuesday, February 10 to Sunday May 10 2009. We will offer a $1,000 prize, to be sent to the horse rescue organization of choice of the winning entry, as of Noon eastern time, May 10, 2009. All entries are to be completed, posted and approved, by Noon on Friday April 10, 2009.
Entrants must read and be familiar with the document: Deconstructing the Horse Slaughter Issue: Chapter Horse Slaughter.
The Rules
Anyone can enter, regardless of age and country of origin.
Each video is to be 1 - 4 minutes in length.
Each video discusses specific aspects of the horse slaughter issue as noted in the above document, whether it is to agree, reinforce or disagree with the issues noted in the document.
Each video must be without gory details, PG 13 please.
Each video must use the phrase "horse slaughter" in the title, and the video must be tagged with the phrase "horse slaughter". The video should also be tagged with the phrase "ABR Video Contest".
Each entrant (video producer) can produce as many videos as he or she desires.
Each entrant needs to add his or her videos to the ABR YouTube group and e-mail Wendy.
Wendy needs to approve each entrant for the contest prize via adding a comment to the video (see the rule re: no gory details).
To be eligible a video must be completed and posted by end of day, April 10, 2009 and must be new content as of February 10, 2009.
All submissions must comply with Youtube's Copyright Infringement Policy:
"YouTube respects the rights of copyright holders and publishers and requires all users to confirm they own the copyright or have permission from the copyright holder to upload content. We comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and other applicable copyright laws and promptly remove content when properly notified. Repeat infringers' videos are removed and their accounts are terminated and permanently blocked from using YouTube." If you have questions about how to comply with this policy, please visit:
Determining the winner
The winner will be determined by multiplying the number of comments the video received, by the rating of the video. And then adding the number of views of the video. This calculation will be made at Noon eastern, May 10, 2009
Horse Slaughter: Our Forgotten Veterans Deserve Better BrookePSU
Horse Play - Saving Horses From Slaughter horseplayri
No More Horse Slaughter horsesrule925
End Horse Slaughter thoroughbredlover3
Another Chance: Saved from Horse Slaughter millertime83
Please Stop Horse Slaughter sandyelmore490
Horse Heroes - Stop Horse Slaughter wendyu1
Media Coverage
Friday Fun: For the Heart, Head & Soul Diva Marketing Blog, February 28, 2009
Youtube Horse Slaughter - $1000 - Open to all - 1 to 4 minutes - Over Due: May 10th, 2009 The Video Contest Community, February 26, 2009
Teaching An Old Horse New Tricks Triple Dead Heat, February 17, 2009
Horse Slaughter Video Contest
Video contest on horse slaughter issue Horsetalk, February 11, 2009
Videos To Stop Killing The Horse Racing Stars Triple Dead Heat, February 11, 2009
Horse slaughter...Have your say Gathering The Wind, February 11, 2009
Bright Future Thoroughblog (bottom of entry), February 11, 2009
Breaking News Texas Horse Talk, February 11, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Agriculture Associations Misrepresent Horse Slaughter!

Equine Welfare Alliance
Contacts: John Holland & Vicki Tobin

Agriculture Associations Misrepresent Horse Slaughter

CHICAGO, (EWA) - At a time when Americans are experiencing the worst economic period in most of our life-times, Cattle and Agriculture Associations have taken the economic downturn as an opportunity to further the agenda of promoting horse slaughter. The word slaughter has been replaced with the word “Harvest” to portray crops that have ripened and need to be gleaned. Although there is no market in the US for the crop, proponents of this fraud want to ensure healthy horses are killed so there is a continuous supply of meat on the hoof that must continually be shipped to overseas markets that Americans do not own nor profit. This is referred to as the never ending cycle of breed and dump.

Using a benign word such as Harvest, a word we all cherish, is an insult and outrage to horse lovers everywhere. This fraud attempts to reduce the horse, the animal which in partnership with man built this nation – attempts to reduce the horse to a commodity such as corn, wheat, barley, or oats.

Not only are the cattle and agriculture associations promoting horse “harvesting” but organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) are often quoted and named in their articles and speeches as supporters and misuse the word harvest to portray a cruel process which they attempt to mask with a word with pleasant associations in the American vocabulary..

These are the very organizations that are entrusted to promote equine welfare and care. They are organizations that have seen recent results of three year long U.S. Department of Agriculture Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) probe by animal cruelty investigator Julie Caramante which resulted in the release of photos and reports from investigations of the department that clearly depict the cruelty and abuse inherent with the entire horse killing process FOIA Reports. The three year cover-up by the USDA has been dubbed by some in the media “Slaughtergate”. It is hardly a harvest.

Horses are not food animals in America. They are trusted work, service, sport, therapy and companion animals. It is time for Americans to stand up and end the hold the predatory foreign market has on the American Equine Industry. It is time for Americans to stand up and let their legislators know that horses are not crops, and that it is imperative that The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009 be passed swiftly and without hesitation by the Congress and signed into law by President Obama.

Horses are not a vegetable crop. They aren’t even food. Would you harvest your dog, your cat, or yes, even your gerbil? Tell these organizations it’s just fine to promote their belief that killing horses for profit is the American way, but at least they should be honest in the language they use to describe this unspeakably cruel act where horses are hung upside down to bleed to death after their throat is cut, an act in which their hooves are often removed while they are still conscious.

For information on legislative activity, visit: Legislative Activity