August 13, 2013
In talking with my younger prototype, RT Fitch, this morning about the continued insanity surrounding horses, it occurred to me that we were discussing the same things 10 years ago. Different people, different locations, but when you get right down to it there are still hundreds of horses a day being butchered, Washington is still looking at all sorts of bills that never seem to pass and the BLM is still wiping the plains clean of any trace amounts of horses and secretly selling them off to their friends, the killer-buyers. As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same.
During all those years I’ve been writing, speaking, ranting and raving about the same topics that are in the news today. There is no bigger equine abuse and neglect story than the daily slaughter of 300+ innocent horses, but the lies, the corruption, and the coverup still continues. Personally, I’d like to move on to something else, to spend my autumn years writing about the horses I’ve known and loved.
There are a group of 20 or so people like me that try to stay in contact with one another during the course of the week, gathering tidbits of information and sharing what we’ve heard. Each of them reach out to their own network in the same way, so except for the usual “secret” missions, we each have a fairly good grasp on the current status. We all had hopes that the National Academy of Science report and the Salazar replacement would have a big impact on the BLM. We had strong hopes that the horsemeat-in-your-food-supply story in the EU would have a strong impact here in the US. Even greater was the EU announcing last year that they would no longer accept American horses, yet here we are approaching the Fall of 2013, dealing with the same issues.
Something needs to change. We, the 80%, are getting pretty sick of being ignored.
On with the news. This first story comes straight out of John Holland’s work, although it doesn’t mention his name.
The vast majority of Americans—over 80 percent—oppose the idea of slaughtering horses in the United States. Not surprisingly, there was minimal public oppositionwhen, in 2007, Congress, citing rampant welfare abuse and safety violations, cut off funding for the USDA inspection of U.S. horse slaughterhouses. This decision effectively ended the business of slaughtering horses domestically.
In November 2011, however, an agriculture appropriations bill signed by Congress reinstated funding for inspection. The legislative path for states to reopen horse slaughterhouses is now clear. Today, with the domestic cattle market in a drought-induced tailspin, New Mexico, Missouri, Wyoming, Tennessee, Iowa, and Oklahoma are on the verge of sending horses it once sent to Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses into the clutches of domestic abattoirs. Other states, seeking a way to capitalize on horses that have lost their value or can be bought cheaply at meat prices, are eager to follow. A New Mexico meat processing plant has even made arrangements with the Navajo Nation to corral wild horses in anticipation of the impending slaughter fest. All that’s holding this off for right now is a lawsuit from the Humane Society of the United States.
“They’re bucking horses that won’t buck and racehorses that won’t win and quarter horses that nobody is buying from breeders because hay prices are too high.”
The pivotal piece of evidence that convinced Congress to change its mind on the matter of domestic horse slaughter was a GAO analysis published in June 2011(PDF). Senators Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) and Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) and Representative Jack Kingston (R-Georgia) commissioned it. Titled, “Actions Needed to Address Unintended Consequences From Cessation of Domestic Slaughter,” the report found “a rise in investigations for horse neglect and more abandoned horses since 2007”—the year the plants were closed. The “unintended consequence” of closing horse slaughterhouses, the report explained, was an increase in the abuse of horses. Reinstating domestic slaughterhouses, it suggested, would diminish this rising problem of neglect among owners who neither wanted to keep their horses nor were willing to send them abroad for slaughter. This argument was one that the slaughter lobby has been making since slaughterhouse closings in 2007. Pro-slaughter advocates were more than pleased to hear the news.
Something about this report, however, seemed suspicious before it was even published. Charlie Stenholm, former Texas Congressman and now policy advisor to the D.C.-based law firm Olsson, Frank, and Weeda (which specializes in helping agribusiness negotiate federal red tape and recently hired an attorney who specializes in agricultural deals with Native Americans), told a conference of pro-slaughter interests in Las Vegas that the GAO report—which would not come out for another six months—contained very good news.
CONTINUED – and please read and comment. The writer did a good job in getting it all down.
The second story should make you jump out of your chair and run down the street screaming. The BLM again running out of control…
Roundup Proceeds on Tribal Grounds Despite Federal “Stop Work” Order;
Documents Implicate Feds in Horse-Laundering Scheme
Winnemucca, NV (August 12, 2013)…. Late yesterday, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) notified a coalition of wild horse advocacy and conservation groups that it was “issuing a stop order” to helicopter wranglers hired to roundup hundreds of wild horses on USFS, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and tribal lands on the Ft. McDermitt Paiute Shoshone Reservation on the Nevada/Oregon Border and transport them to a slaughter auction.
The Forest Service’s decision to pull out of the roundup operation came after the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and its parent organization, Return to Freedom, The Cloud Foundation and the Western Watersheds Project sent two letters to the USFS outlining the multiple ways in which a stealth agreement between the Service to conduct the operation violated federal law.
However, the Forest Service also informed the coalition that the tribe was proceeding with the roundup, and, in fact, had captured 277 horses and already shipped 130 of them to the Fallon Livestock Exchange as of yesterday afternoon. The Forest Service also stated that it also had “no specific information about whether any of those animals came off National Forest or outlying [Bureau of Land Management [BLM] lands.”
The participating agreement between the Forest Service and the Fort McDermitt Tribal Council and a separate agreement between the BLM and the Forest Service, previously authorized the tribes to push wild horses from public lands onto reservation lands for the purpose of capture and sale to a slaughter auction. The area in question is in close proximity to the BLM Little Owyhee Herd Management Area (HMA) where federally-protected mustangs live.
“The Forest Service and the BLM have a responsibility to protect unbranded horses in this roundup. It is well documented that horses from the Owyhee Complex range outside the HMA to the border of the Forest Service lands in question,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHPC director. “Although the Forest Service has issued a ‘stop order’ to the helicopter wranglers in response to our legal letters, serious questions remain about whether the federal government continues to be complicit in this shady operation where federally-protected wild horses are headed to a slaughter auction this Saturday. ”
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