A Horse’s Independence Day Speech

4th of July horse painted as flag

July 4, 2014/span>

 Pete’s Equine Independence Day Speech

By: Jerry Finch, President of Habitat for Horses
Originally posted July 2010

If my horse, Pete, were to give an Independence Day Speech before Congress, this is what he would say: 

4th of July horse painted as flagI do not know why you have asked me to speak here today, nor do I understand what object you have asked me to represent in the celebration of your Independence Day. You celebrate freedom and justice, reflected in your Declaration of Independence, but that paper does not apply to me, or to any other animal that shares this earth with you. 

For your sake, I am pleased that you have reached such high levels of freedom. Would that sole document reflect your outlook for horses as for humans, I would be first to celebrate with you. Sadly, such is not the case, for horses are not included, nor are the safeties and securities granted to you held in common with those of us who have helped you build this great nation. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. As you celebrate, I must mourn for the loss of millions of my kind to your lust for power and money. 

To halter me, tie a lead rope on me and pull me into this magnificent hall to speak of your freedom is once again a sample of your inhumane treatment and a mockery to the justice of which you are so proud. You, who have thrown the bodies of dead horses in stacks that reach to the heavens, ask one of us to tell you of the glories of America? I think not. 

For it is not your joy I hear, nor the fireworks booming in the skies. I hear the cry of millions of my kind, tied in backyards, stuck in dark, wet stalls, left unfed and unloved. I hear the plaintive moan of those being trucked thousands of miles to face a horrible death at your hands. As I look out at you, I see them and what you have allowed to happen to them in your name. 

On your Independence Day, the future of my kind looks far darker than ever before. Far worse than the conduct of those who occupied these seats in the years before you came, those of you who presently sit within this majestic hall now conduct yourselves with an arrogance that is both revolting and hideous. You have tied yourselves to the pockets of those who profit from the suffering of my kind, you make false statements on their behalf and refuse to represent those constituents whose vote brought you into this once hollowed hall of honor.

I do not stand before you as the honored guest, representing the triumphant battles for freedom I fought with you. I do not stand as your partner in memory of our great history together as we conquered nations, fought our way to the west, plowed fields and fed millions with our combined labor. I will not, for I now know, as do those citizens who call me their friends, what you truly think of my kind. You who occupy these seats have trampled upon the Constitution for the right to pocket pieces of gold. You refuse to represent the horses of this nation when we turned to you. You have made fun, ridiculed and ignored those citizens you represent as they have pleaded our case before you, and for that I can say nothing positive about you, the system you represent or the freedoms you allegedly vowed to protect.

Do I need to stand before you and argue that the slaughter of horses is wrong? That point is past. It is conceded and acknowledged in private and only disputed in public by the repetitious lies of those who profit from your murderous ways. Do I need to show you the truth behind the lies? They are known and open for you, if you are of the mind to look beyond the hands of those who give you money for your next reelection effort. Do I need to tell you of those citizens whom you allegedly represent who want you to stop the slaughter? Look at your call logs, your emails, your fax machines. 

Am I to tell you that it is wrong to have us stolen from our loved humans, to be beaten with sticks, shocked, transported without rest or water, shoved into kill chutes, terrorized and injured by captive bolts or guns, hung by our legs while we are still alive and sold by the pound when we are dead? There is not a man among you who would suffer to the point of death as we do, yet you deny us the right to be free from this horror. 

What then is your argument, that you have a divine right to our death? That your interpretation of dominion gives you a reason to kill us for the dollars it places in your pockets? Is that indeed your concept of God’s will? If that is your God, then those humans who love us are not a part of your world. 

Those days of intellectual debates are a thing of the past. You do not need to hear the arguments, nor do you need to see the light. Instead, you will feel the thunder, stand in the storm and be burned by the firestorm you created, for those humans that support our freedom are aroused and your hypocrisy toward the honor of your Constitution will bring your downfall. 

Do not ask me to celebrate with you, for I am not free. I am your slave, to be destroyed at your whim. Only when you grant the right of the American people to turn their beliefs into laws that stop the insane practice of horse slaughter will I be able to stand before you in honor.


DSCF3174(Pete, at eight months of age, was the first horse to become part of Habitat for Horses. In 1997, I bought him from a killer-buyer at a local auction( the only time i ever gave money to a KBer). Now, 16 years later, he hangs around the ranch teaching all the newbie geldings where to get the best hay, what mares to tease and how to talk the volunteers out of extra carrots.)

AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
  • Sue


    July 4, 2014
  • arlene

    Thank You !!!! you have written the truth, let us change it to what it should be !!!!!!!!

    July 4, 2014
  • Louie C

    In the name of FREEDOM

    Posted on July 1, 2014

    Veteran Calls Feds’ Treatment of Sheldon Horses “Disgraceful”

    As news that Sheldon had scheduled its last assault on wild horses and burros, native Nevadan, noted Reno-area pediatrician and Vietnam veteran Patrick Colletti, M.D. released a statement, characterizing as “shameful” the federal government’s treatment of the historic Sheldon mustangs. “It is a disgrace to all veterans that these horses, whose forebears suffered so much and saved so many soldiers’ lives, should be summarily removed from a lifetime home and then probably killed like so much scrap.”


    July 4, 2014
  • Louie C

    Sheldon Wildlife Refuge had an agreement with Velma Johnston (Wild Horse Annie) and the Wild Horses were to REMAIN in the refuge.
    That agreement should be honored.

    Craig Downer worked with Wild Horse Annie. The following is from an interview with Craig:

    That’s one thing I remember about my work with Wild Horse Annie. She had established an apparently solid agreement with the Sheldon National Wildlife Reserve, that the horses would be recognized in perpetuity as an integral part of the Sheldon wildlife community. Sheldon had a magnificent herd of horses that remained for nearly four decades thanks to her agreement. The officials there used to say, yes, the horses have been here for centuries and people love to see them, and they integrate well with the pronghorn and other wildlife. There were studies done by Jo Meeker at University of Nevada proving that they harmoniously exist with the pronghorn antelope. But recently there seems to be a vendetta. Basically we are talking about a war of values here.

    July 4, 2014
  • Louie C

    Letter from Congress About Sheldon Horse & Burro Management
    Congressional Letter to USFWS_Sheldon_7-19-06

    July 4, 2014
  • Louie C

    WHY are America’s Federally Protected being removed from Sheldon Wildlife Refuge….WHY?

    Here is the link to the notice posted on the Federal Register

    Fish and Wildlife Service/Department of Interior
    Monday June 9, 2014
    Non-Federal Oil and Gas Development Within the National Wildlife Refuge System
    Pages 32903 – 32903 [FR DOC # 2014-13303] PDF | Text | More

    July 4, 2014
  • Louie C

    From PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)

    After Years, Fish & Wildlife Service Still Unprepared to Propose Specific Safeguards
    Posted on Apr 24, 2014
    Washington, DC — Despite admitting “significant damages” from oil and gas operations on national wildlife refuge lands, there are still no safeguards against spills, leaks and other preventable contamination of these preserves. The responsible agency is still on the ground floor of adopting protective rules years after announcing that it would, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

    The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), which operates the network of 562 wildlife refuges, estimates oil or gas deposits exist on nearly half of all refuges; more than 200 refuges contain oil infrastructure with more than 100 active drilling operations, including 1,700 active wells and 1,300 miles of pipeline. Altogether, drilling on refuges accounts for approximately 1% of domestic production.

    Unlike other federal land agencies, FWS has no rules governing basic safeguards such as spill prevention, reclamation bonds or requirements that best management practices be employed. In April 2011, PEER filed a formal rulemaking petition urging FWS to adopt rules modeled on enhanced rules then proposed by the National Park Service. More than a year later in June 2012, FWS announced that in response to the PEER petition it would begin “promulgating regulations for administering private minerals on refuge lands” and would “conduct a thorough… analysis of the proposed regulations, most likely resulting in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).”
    For months, there was no public activity until a Federal Register notice of February 24, 2014 in which FWS issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking and notice of intent to prepare an EIS, declaring:

    “The Refuge System has sustained significant damages to refuge resources from leaks and spills, inadequate plugging, abandonment and reclamation.”

    July 4, 2014
  • Louie C

    Effects on Resources

    Oil and gas exploration and production activities can cause both direct and indirect effects on refuge resources.
     Leaks and spills of oil, brine, or other contaminants are a key concern. Soils, vegetation, water quality, fish and wildlife, and air quality can all be harmed by the release of contaminants.
     Fish and Wildlife Habitat can be altered, fragmented, or eliminated. Oil and gas activities can disturb and displace wildlife, cause physiological stress, and can even result in wildlife deaths.
     Introduction of invasive species, especially along road and pipeline routes, can alter habitat. Disturbance caused by oil and gas activities can result in fundamental changes in ecological functions and processes, and lead to increased predation of declining species, reduced reproduction, and increased susceptibility to disease.

     Public use of refuge areas may be restricted or prohibited. Although the areal extent of oil and gas exploration and production may be limited, the cumulative effects may extend to a much larger area.

    July 4, 2014