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

Friday, September 23, 2005

Committee Can "Undo" Work to Prevent Horse Slaughter...

ACTION ALERT: YOUR HELP IS URGENTLY NEEDED! Fate of three humane measures in hands of Conference Committee

September 23, 2005

Dear Humanitarian:

GREAT NEWS! This week, the Senate showed strong support for animals by voting in favor of three amendments to the Agriculture Appropriations bill for the upcoming fiscal year.

Following the example of their colleagues in the House of Representatives, the Senate voted 69 to 28 in favor of an amendment to bar federal funds from being used to facilitate the slaughter of horses during the upcoming fiscal year. The amendment, introduced by Senator John Ensign (R-NV) and Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-WV), will stop the slaughter of horses in the United States and prevent export of live horses for slaughter in other countries as well.

Senator Byrd told his colleagues of the horror that victims of this trade currently endure. "Horses can be shipped for more than 24 hours without food, water, or rest. They can be transported with broken legs, missing eyes, or while heavily pregnant. The horses are kept in cramped conditions, in trucks with ceilings so low that they prevent the horses from holding their heads in a normal, upright position. The cramped nature of their transport often results in trampling, with some horses
arriving at the slaughterhouses seriously injured or dead," he said. Improper use of stunning equipment at the slaughter plant "can result in the animal having to endure repeated blows" to the head, leaving the horse conscious for the slaughter process. Senator Ensign pronounced, "The time has come to put an end to the practice of slaughtering horses in America. As a senator and a veterinarian I am committed to doing what I can for these magnificent animals."

Two other amendments, offered by Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), were approved by the Senate. Though not voted on in the House of Representatives, they will be considered by an upcoming conference committee. The first measure will stop the slaughter of downed livestock, and the second will halt the supply of dogs and cats to laboratories by random source (Class B) dealers.

Within the next few weeks, all three amendments will be considered by a conference committee before going to the President, so your immediate assistance is vital to the success of these key amendments. We must ensure that members of the conference committee, comprised of members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, will fight to keep these amendments in the appropriations bill. Opponents will be working to have all three removed.

WHAT YOU CAN DO - Your immediate help is needed TODAY:

Please call as many members of the conference committee listed below as you can to urge their support for the three separate Agriculture Appropriations amendments to:

  • stop federal funding of horse slaughter,
  • end the sale of dogs and cats by random source dealers and
  • prevent the sale of downed animals.

    The names of conferees have not been announced yet, but below is a list of those who are likely to serve. If you are a constituent of any of these individuals, please be sure to emphasize this when you call.

    In addition, please contact your Senators and Representative even if they're not on the conference committee, urging them to contact the conferees as well.

    All Members of Congress can be reached by calling the Capitol Hill Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

    If you would like additional facts or need to find the name of your legislators, call us at 703-836-4300 or visit our website at Your immediate action is essential to ensure Congress hears from an outpouring of concerned constituents. Please share our "Dear Humanitarian" eAlert with family, friends and coworkers, and encourage them to make phone calls.

    Thank you so much for your help!
    Chris Heyde
    SAPL Policy Analyst

    Likely members of the FY06 Agriculture Appropriations Bill Conference Committee

    Capitol Hill Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

  • Representative Henry Bonilla, (R-TX) Chairman - (202) 225-4511
  • Representative Rosa L. DeLauro, (D-CT) Ranking Member - (202) 225-3661
  • Representative Rodney Alexander, (R-LA) - (202) 225-8490
  • Representative Allen Boyd, (D-FL) - (202) 225-5235
  • Representative John Doolittle, (R-CA) - (202) 225-6511
  • Representative Jo Ann Emerson, (R-MO) - (202) 225-4404
  • Representative Sam Farr, (D-CA) - (202) 225-2861
  • Representative Virgil Goode, (R-VA) - (202) 225-4711
  • Representative Jack Kingston, (R-GA) - (202) 225-5831
  • Representative Tom Latham, (R-IA) - (202) 225-5476
  • Representative Ray LaHood, (R-IL) Vice Chair- (202) 225-6201
  • Representative Marcy Kaptur, (D-OH) - (202) 225-4146
  • Representative Maurice D. Hinchey, (D-NY) - (202) 225-6535

  • Senator Robert Bennett, (R-UT) Chairman - (202) 224-5444
  • Senator Herb Kohl, (D-WI) Ranking Member - (202) 224-5653
  • Senator Christopher Bond, (R-MO) - (202) 224-5721
  • Senator Sam Brownback, (R-KS) - (202) 224-6521
  • Senator Conrad Burns, (R-MT) - (202) 224-2644
  • Senator Thad Cochran, (R-MS) - (202) 224-5054
  • Senator Larry Craig, (R-ID) - (202) 224-2752
  • Senator Byron Dorgan, (D-ND) - (202) 224-2551
  • Senator Richard Durbin, (D-IL) - (202) 224-2152
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA) - (202) 224-3841
  • Senator Tom Harkin, (D-IA) - (202) 224-3254
  • Senator Tim Johnson, (D-SD) - (202) 224-5842
  • Senator Mary Landrieu, (D-LA) - (202) 224-5824
  • Senator Mitch McConnell, (R-KY) - (202) 224-2541
  • Senator Arlen Specter, (R-PA) - (202) 224-4254

  • Wednesday, September 21, 2005


    Yesterday's passage of an amendment to ban federal funds from being used for horse slaughter will last only one fiscal year because it is attached to a spending bill. Our next step is to make sure this horse slaughter ban is put into law through the passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act sponsored in the House by Reps. John Sweeney (R-N.Y.), John Spratt (D-S.C.) and Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.). The act will soon be introduced in the Senate by Sens. John Ensign and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and will prohibit the transport, purchase, selling or donation of both wild and domestic horses to be slaughtered for human consumption here and abroad.

    "Because the amendment is attached to an annual spending bill, it will only halt horse slaughter for one fiscal year, beginning in October. However, the vote in both the Senate and the House demonstrates strong public and congressional support for a permanent ban -- to be achieved through passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.

    'The time has come to put an end to the practice of slaughtering horses in America,' Sen. Ensign said. 'Horses have an important role in the history of our country, particularly in the West, and they deserve protection. As a senator and a veterinarian I am committed to doing what I can for these magnificent animals.'

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005


    As editor of this informational blog, I rarely do anything but point people in the right direction to get good information on the horse slaughter issue. Today I am tearful with joy. The Senate voted 68-29 today to prohibit use of federal taxpayer dollars for the slaughter of horses for food export. Click the image for more details.

    Friday, September 16, 2005



    Last June, your efforts were instrumental in the House of Representatives voting to stop the use of any federal taxpayer funds to slaughter horses. Now Senators John Ensign (R-NV) and Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) are expected to introduce an identical measure in the Senate, in the form of an amendment to the Senate Agriculture
    Appropriations Bill. If the amendment passes in the Senate, it will in effect stop the brutal slaughter of horses - both wild and domestic - in the United States for human consumption abroad.

    Please take a moment to contact your two U.S. Senators TODAY, urging their immediate support of the Ensign/Byrd Agriculture Appropriations Amendment. The Senate will consider the amendment during the week of Sept. 19, so your immediate assistance is
    critical. We must reach every single member of the U.S. Senate and secure their vote. There is no other way to win this battle for America's horses.

  • Call or fax YOUR TWO US SENATORS
  • Ask them to support the Ensign/Byrd Agriculture Appropriations Amendment (prohibiting your tax dollars from being spent on horse slaughter) and respectfully request their specific position on the issue. The fact sheet below can be used for talking points. Your phone call or fax could make all the difference.
  • Pass the message far and wide - it is critical that the phones resonate on Capitol Hill
  • To find your two US Senators, visit or call the Capitol Hill operator at (202) 224-3121.

    On behalf of the horses, thank you for your support,

    The AWHPC Team
    American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign

  • Last year three foreign-owned slaughter plants cruelly slaughtered more than 65,000 horses for human consumption in Europe and Asia.
  • Tens of thousands more of America's horses were exported and slaughtered in other countries. Slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia. Horses suffer horribly on the way to and during slaughter.
  • Passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA) will reduce animal suffering - hence its wide support throughout the equestrian and veterinary world, as well as the humane community.
  • Americans support an end to horse slaughter for human consumption overwhelmingly (polls from Kentucky, Texas and Utah respectively show that 82, 72 and 69 percent of those questioned oppose the practice). In California, a 1998 ballot initiative (Prop. 6) banning horse slaughter for human consumption passed with 60 percent of the vote.

    1. Sick and old horses to slaughter

      Question: Is it true that slaughter is only a last resort for infirm, dangerous or horses who are no longer serviceable?

      Answer: 92.3 percent of horses arriving at slaughter plants in this country are in "good" condition, according to the US Department of Agriculture's Guidelines for Handling and Transporting Equines to Slaughter.

    2. Neglect and abuse

      Question: Will horse abuse and neglect cases rise significantly following a ban on slaughter?

      Answer: There has been no documented rise in abuse and neglect cases in California since the state banned horse slaughter for human consumption in 1998. There is no documented rise in Illinois following closure of the state's only horse slaughter plant in 2002.

    3. Cost of caring for "unwanted horses."

      Question: If there is a ban on horse slaughter, will horse rescue and retirement groups have the resources to take care of unwanted horses? Should the government have to pay for the care of horses given up voluntarily by their owners?

      Answer: Not every horse going to slaughter will need to be absorbed into the rescue community. Many will be sold to a new owner, others will be kept longer and a licensed veterinarian will humanely euthanize some. Opponents of this legislation admit passage of the bill will not necessarily lead to an increase in the number of horses sent to rescue facilities, precisely because humane
      euthanasia is so widely used. It is not the government's responsibility to provide for the care of horses given up voluntarily by their owners, as these animals are private property. Hundreds of horse rescue organizations operate around the country, and additional facilities are being established (a list is

    4. A safe and humane solution for sick, old and unwanted horses

      Question: If slaughter is not an option, what will we do with sick, old and "unwanted horses?"

      Answer: Approximately 690,000 horses die annually in this country (10 percent of an estimated population of 6.9 million) and the vast majority are not slaughtered, but euthanized and rendered or buried without any negative environmental impact. Humane euthanasia and carcass disposal is highly affordable and widely available. The average cost of having a horse humanely euthanized and safely disposing of the animal's carcass is approximately $225, while the average monthly cost of keeping a horse is approximately $200.

    5. Export of horses for slaughter abroad

      Question: If there is a ban on horse slaughter in the United States, will there be an increase in the export of horses for foreign slaughter? Will horses suffer from longer transport for slaughter in countries where there may be weaker welfare laws?

      Answer: Horse slaughter has declined dramatically in the United States over the past decade, but there has been no correlating increase in the number of American horses exported for slaughter abroad. Further, the AHSPA prohibits the export of horses for slaughter abroad and contains clear enforcement and penalty provisions to prevent this from happening. Risk of federal
      prosecution and the high costs associated with illegally transporting horses long distances for slaughter abroad are strong deterrents.

    6. Standards of care at sanctuaries and rescue organizations

      Question: Is it true no standards exist for horse rescue facilities that take unwanted horses?

      Answer: The Doris Day Animal League and the Animal Welfare Institute published "Basic Guidelines for Operating an Equine Rescue or Retirement Facility" in 2004. Additionally, the Association of Sanctuaries and the American Sanctuaries Association provide accreditation programs, a code of ethics and guidelines for the operation of sanctuaries and rescue organizations. Horse rescue
      groups must also provide for the welfare of horses in their custody in compliance with state and local animal welfare laws.

    7. Use of horsemeat in pet food

      Question: If there is a ban on horse slaughter, will horsemeat no longer be available for pet food?

      Answer: There is no horsemeat in pet food. This practice stopped decades ago and has some connection to the enactment of protections for America's wild horses in 1971. The US public and Congress were outraged to learn federal agencies were rounding up and allowing the exploitation and slaughter of these
      national treasures for items such as pet food. Some by-products of the horse slaughter industry are used in various consumer items, but they are derived from the rendering of dead horses (a different process than slaughter and not affected by the AHSPA) and other animals.

  • Thursday, September 15, 2005

    Wash. Times Editorial Urges Senators to Side with Their Public

    Save the horses
    Most Americans would sooner starve than eat fillet of horse with cranberry chutney, or however they do it in Europe. It might then come as a surprise that 66,000 horses were slaughtered for consumption in the United States last year, and 20,000 more were exported abroad for the same purposes. Even more so when one considers that nearly none of this horse flesh ends up on American platters -- and for that we are thankful.
    While cattle and poultry are bred specifically for food, horses are not. Many of those sold to slaughterhouses are privately owned or caught in the wild by the federal Bureau of Land Management, which then tries to find adoptive homes. When it cannot, the horses go to the highest bidder, in this case either to one of the three Belgian- or French- owned plants.
    Fortunately, there is growing opposition in Congress to this kind of thing. In June, the House passed by a bipartisan majority an amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill banning the use of federal funds in the slaughtering of horses. The Senate is schedule to vote on the amendment, sponsored by veterinarian Sen. John Ensign, next week. We encourage senators to support this ban...[READ MORE]

    Tuesday, September 13, 2005

    Bring an end to horse slaughter--Call your senators now

    (from the St. Petersburg Times)
    A Times Editorial
    Published September 13, 2005

    Horse slaughter has no place in the United States. The House of Representatives confirmed that earlier this year by passing an amendment to the agriculture spending bill that would, in essence, stop the practice. Now it is the Senate's turn.

    Currently, horses that are no longer wanted or sold to buyers who presumably seek them for recreation or as pets too often end up in slaughterhouses or in the hands of exporters who send them outside the country for slaughter. Sometimes the buyers hide their true intentions and make a profit by selling the horses for slaughter. Each year, nearly 100,000 horses are subjected to a cruel end to their lives.

    Horse meat for human consumption hasn't been sold in the United States for decades and isn't even used in pet food here. If a horse is near the end of its useful life, there are more humane ways for an owner to get rid of it. Adoption groups offer horses a peaceful retirement, and if the horses need to be euthanized, it can be done painlessly and humanely for a couple hundred dollars.

    The Senate vote could come up in the next few days, so those opposed to horse slaughter should contact their senators and tell them to support the amendment, which would deny the Agriculture Department taxpayer dollars for the inspection of horse meat. Without such inspections, legalized horse slaughter in this country will end. And good riddance.

    Monday, September 12, 2005

    CALL NOW! The senate vote is upon us...

    (from the Humane Society of the United States)

    Thanks to the outpouring of support and assistance from our members, supporters, and friends, The Humane Society of the United States is continuing our animal rescue operation in response to Hurricane Katrina. We know it is a difficult time for both people and animals and, now, we face another enormous challenge. We need your help immediately to save our horses.

    A crucial vote on whether to end the slaughter of American horses is expected to take place as soon as Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the U.S. Senate. This is our big chance to stop the annual killing of 90,000 American horses for food exports. It is absolutely essential that we reach every single member of the U.S. Senate today to secure their votes for the Ensign-Byrd horse slaughter amendment. Please call and email your two U.S. Senators today!

    1. Make a Call. Please make a brief, polite phone call to each of your two U.S. Senators and urge them to support the Ensign-Byrd horse slaughter amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to your Senators or call their Washington, D.C. offices directly.

    Not sure what to say? You can simply say this:

    "My name is [your name] and I'm calling from [your city and state]. I'm calling to urge Senator [your Senator's name] to support the upcoming Ensign-Byrd* horse slaughter amendment on the Agriculture Appropriations bill. I care very much about our horses and am horrified that thousands are sent to slaughter for European and Asian markets each year. Thank you."
    *Pronounced "En-sin" and "Bird"

    2. Take action. Send an email to your Senators and urge them to support the Ensign-Byrd horse slaughter Agriculture Appropriations amendment. Click here to contact your Senators now.

    3. Spread the word. Every single Senator needs to hear from concerned citizens like you. Ask your friends and family to call their Senators as well. Click here to tell five friends to take action now.

    You have the power to help put an end to the abhorrent practice of butchering our horses for menus overseas. The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed an amendment to prevent the use of tax dollars for horse slaughter. This tremendous victory could stop the slaughter of horses in the U.S. and prevent horses from being shipped elsewhere for slaughter -- IF the Senate passes the Ensign-Byrd amendment this week. Click here to take action today.

    Please stand with us to spare the lives of our wonderful horses. This is the homestretch -- with your help, we can push this legislation across the finish line and save America's horses from a horrible fate. Thank you for all you do on behalf of animals.


    Wayne Pacelle
    President & CEO
    The Humane Society of the United States

    P.S. If you are having trouble clicking on the links above, you can take action by cutting and pasting this URL into a new web browser window:

    Saturday, September 10, 2005

    The time is now to stop horse slaughter for good...

    If you are near one of the parties, please go!

    As soon as this week, the U.S. Senate will consider an amendment to ban horse slaughter. We must be ready to save tens of thousands of American horses from slaughter this year. Please contact your two U.S. Senators at 202-224-3121 and ask them to support the Ensign-Byrd Agriculture Appropriations Amendment to ban horse slaughter.

    Horses in Need Find a Champion in Author Sara Gruen

    Author Sara Gruen speaks up against the slaughter of America's wild horses and burros.

    (PRWEB) September 10, 2005 -- Once again, novelist and horse activist Sara Gruen is rising to the defense of our most vulnerable equine friends.

    Gruen, a lifelong horse lover, took on the PMU industry in her debut novel, Riding Lessons. Gruen says she learned of the production of pregnant mares’ urine for use in hormone replacement therapy while researching the book.

    "I was horrified to discover that the foals that are quite literally byproducts of this industry go to auction, and from there, almost always to slaughter. Now that the health risks associated with hormone replacement therapy are known, the problem has gotten worse. Hundreds of farms are closing completely. It’s no longer just the foals that are at risk--the mares and stallions are also being auctioned off. It’s heartbreaking. I had to do something."

    Gruen donates a portion of her royalties to horse rescues and uses her media appearances to raise awareness of the ongoing slaughter of thousands of horses in North America. One of her supported charities--Live & Let Live Farm in Chichester, NH--rescued and adopted out 104 PMU horses, half of them pregnant, this past winter. They are currently seeking homes for thirty more horses scheduled to arrive in early October.

    With her second novel, Flying Changes, Gruen continues the tradition. In addition to the PMU horses, Gruen is taking on a new cause: working to get the Burns Amendment overturned.

    The Burns Amendment (named for Senator Conrad Burns of Montana, who slipped the unrelated rider into a 3000-page Appropriations Bill) removed almost thirty-four years of protection from wild horse and burro populations, allowing them to be auctioned off for slaughter. The American Farm Bureau Federation supported the Burns Amendment and strongly opposed any legislation that would ban horse slaughter. "Basically, they want the land for cattle grazing," Gruen says. "It’s disgusting, nothing short of a death warrant for America’s wild horses. We have a chance to stop this, but we need to act. Two bills have been introduced--S. 576 and H.R. 297--that would repeal the Burns Amendment. I encourage--no, I beg--you to contact your congressman and senators and urge them to reinstate protection of our wild horses and burros before it’s too late."

    Saturday, September 03, 2005

    Update from Friends at NHPC--Hurricane Katrina Relief

    Dear Friends,

    The first load of hay, feed and supplies is on its way from DeKalb, IL to Gonzales, LA! The truck will arrive in LA late Sunday evening or early Monday morning.

    Thanks to the generous donations of many people, some 550 bales of hay, 60 or so bags of shavings, several tons of horse feed, dozens of halters, leads, water and feed buckets, medical supplies, and a variety of other much needed items are now enroute to the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales!

    The Lamar Dixon Expo Center is the designated holding facility for horses who are being rescued throughout greater New Orleans and surrounding communities. The horses are being cared for by a wonderful staff of dedicated veterinarians and volunteers who are addressing the horses veterinary needs as well as providing daily care and feedings.

    I would like to thank the many people who donated time, money or supplies to make this relief effort possible, first and foremost, our wonderful team of truck drivers, John and Barb Hendrickson of Danville, IL ; Schneider Trucking Company, for donating the trailer; Blackberry Feed Station in Elburn, IL for their generous donation of feeds and bedding; local hay growers Ben Anderson, Jim Burnett, Steve Hillison, Ann Jackson, Roger Klein, Dale Maile, and Scott Yordy; Fred and Bonnie Walker who donated use of their out-building for storage; the many horsemen of Illinois Horse Online for donations of supplies and cash; the horsemen of the Chronicle of the Horse forums for their generous financial contributions; the many horse lovers who sent in donations for fuel and supplies, and finally the volunteers who helped to load the truck.

    A big thank you goes to the Animal Welfare Institute and Doris Day Animal League for their generous financial grants to this effort. These two groups, who started the national campaign to end horse slaughter, have also helped bring so many together for the horses.

    I also want to send a special thanks to my very dear friends Eddie Kilroy and "Catfish" of the Hank's Place radio show, and the Hank's Place posse members (truckers) who are all just simply amazing!. Without the help of Eddie, Catfish and the 'posse," this shipment of supplies would not have been possible!

    Getting our first load of supplies down into the disaster area posed a great many problems along the way, but now that we have established the correct channels necessary to gain entrance to the area (thanks to the hard work of Jerry Finch and his team at Habitat for Horses!), we fully intend to continue to funnel supplies for horses for weeks if not months to come.

    The teams on the ground in LA and MS are only just beginning to assess how many horses have been displaced, and it is anticipated that the numbers will be very great.

    That said, we can only sustain this effort with your continued support. We have several loads of donated hay and trucks ready to go, we just need to be able to keep the trucks fueled up! Please continue to help us help the horses by spreading the word of this relief effort and by making a financial contribution.


    If you have hay or feed to contribute to this effort or if you would like to start an effort in your area to gather hay and feed for the animal victims of Katrina, please call me at 815-761-4937 or email to

    Again, our deepest heartfelt thanks to all who helped to make this much needed relief effort possible!

    Gail Vacca
    Illinois Coordinator
    National Horse Protection Coalition
    DeKalb, Illinois
    Tel: 815-761-4937
    Fax: 815-787-4957

  • Friday, September 02, 2005

    Horse Rescue Groups Mobilizing Hurricane Relief Effort

    Horse Rescue Groups Mobilizing Hurricane Relief Effort

    In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, horse rescue groups are mobilizing to provide assistance to horses and livestock impacted by the devastating storm and are seeking financial support for the effort.

    The National Horse Protection Coalition, along with Texas based Habitat for Horses and the Louisiana Equine Council have joined forces to assemble and deliver much needed relief for the animal victims of hurricane Katrina.

    The NHPC has secured a donated tractor-trailer that organizers hope will be filled with hay, feed, and veterinary supplies for horses and other livestock who have been displaced by the hurricane.

    "We are hopeful that our efforts will not only reduce animal suffering, but will also help to reduce any further financial and emotional loss to those affected," said Gail Vacca the Illinois coordinator for the NHPC.

    The NHPC is currently seeking donations of hay, straw, horse feed, livestock feed, and veterinary medical supplies which are being gathered in DeKalb, Illinois to be transported to animal welfare organizations who are already set up in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The loaded truck is scheduled to deliver the supplies in Louisiana as early as Sunday, Vacca said.

    "Many of these animals are injured and hungry and in order to ward off any further loss of animal life in the aftermath of this tragedy, we are doing everything we can to get these supplies down to the hardest hit areas as soon as possible," Vacca said.

    While Vacca's group is seeking donations of hay, straw, feed, and veterinary medical supplies from those in the DeKalb, Ill. area, others can make financial contributions are also needed and can be mailed to: National Horse Protection Coalition, 16217 State Route 23 , DeKalb, IL 60115 . Put "Katrina equine relief" in the memo. Information on how to donate online can be found at