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

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Get the facts on horse slaughter...

"Senator, ranchers chew on meaty issues"
By Steve Miller, Journal Staff Writer, Rapid City Journal

"...On the horse-slaughter issue, Johnson said it was difficult to explain to urban congressmen that it is more humane to slaughter old horses rather than let them starve and wither away in pastures.

In an attempt to halt horse slaughter, Congress banned USDA from paying for horse inspections at slaughter plants. USDA bypassed that by charging a fee for the inspections, allowing horse slaughter to continue. But Johnson said another proposal in Congress would halt that practice and the horse slaughter.

'It’s frustrating to me,' Johnson said. 'What are we expected to do — open up horse nursing homes? They think every horse is Black Beauty and is going to live forever.'

Some horse-industry officials say it is too costly and not practical to euthanize large numbers of old horses.

However, racing groups, including the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, oppose horse slaughter, according to the National Horse Protection Coalition Web site..."

Blog Editor: Old horses? All the research this writer has done points to anything but the impending need for equine nursing homes. EPN says it best (from their website):

"Any horse that falls within the profit margin for slaughter. Horses of all ages and sex are slaughtered including pregnant mares and foals. Former racehorses, show horses, pleasure horses, carriage horses, Amish work and buggy horses, summer riding camp horses, police horses, former therapeutic and handicapped riding horses, lesson horses, rodeo horses, wild mustangs, broodmares, mares used in the production of Premarin and the foals that are the byproduct of the production, and companion horses all been purchased and sent to slaughter.

Accomplishments won are no guarantee as demonstrated by the slaughter of 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand and the Hall of Famer Exceller."

  • Visit Mary Nash's site, especially correspondence like THIS ONE

  • All you have to do is meet one...

    Meet Patches...a light-hearted clip to remind us all of the beauty, heart and the intelligence of the horse.
    ...thanks to Beth who passed this along to everyone at the Humanity Against Horse Slaughter Group

    ACTION ALERT--BLM Steps up Campaign to Eradicate Wild Horses


    February 24, 2006

    Dear Humanitarian:

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) continues its campaign to eradicate America's wild horse by partnering with the very associations whose goals have been to rid this country of these national treasures. A recent press release by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) touts an agreement with the BLM and Public Lands Council (PLC) in which cattle ranchers currently holding federal grazing permits will be allowed to buy an unlimited number of wild horses for as little at $10 each. Aside from the obvious concerns, the NCBA and PLC have been leading opponents to the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. Now the BLM will be handing over thousands of wild horses to the individuals fighting to keep horse slaughter alive in the United States.

    This latest scheme, added to what has been the worst period suffered by wild horses since the enactment of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act in 1971, may be the final blow to the future of the wild horses throughout our western public lands unless the American people stand up and demand change.

    The 1971 Act was implemented specifically to protect wild horses from wholesale extermination efforts by the BLM and ranchers grazing their private livestock on public lands. In an effort to grab total control over public lands, the BLM and ranchers orchestrated massive round-ups of wild horses who were subsequently sent to slaughter. Sadly, the BLM was given the job of protecting the very animals they had worked so hard to remove for so many years--a recipe for disaster. Today, the same two parties are again working to remove wild horses from our public lands. Unless action is taken immediately, the fate of these majestic wild horses will be the same as it was in 1971--slaughter.

    To make matters worse, not only are wild horses being removed from public lands to placate the demands of ranchers, but according to a recent study by the Government Accounting Office, public lands grazing by these same ranchers are costing taxpayers over $300 million each year. Amazingly, less than 3 percent of all beef produced in the United States comes from Western public lands--hardly justification for such an enormous taxpayer subsidy and one that is sealing the fate of our nation's wild horses.

    What you can do:

    The only thing that saved wild horses from extinction back in 1971 was public outrage and demand for action. Thirty-four years later, we must again demand the protection of wild horses before it is too late. It is vital that everyone contact Secretary Norton and Director Clarke immediately, requesting that the BLM stop its plan to sell wild horses to livestock ranchers.

    For more background and facts to include in your correspondence on the wild
    horse issue, please visit SAPL's wild horse and burro page:
    1. The Honorable Gale A. Norton
      Secretary of the Interior
      US Department of the Interior
      1849 C Street N.W.
      Washington, DC 20240

    2. Director Kathleen Clarke
      Bureau of Land Management
      US Department of the Interior
      1849 C Street N.W.
      Washington, DC 20240

  • Please write your Senators and Representative, urging them to swiftly enact the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503/S. 1915). By banning horse slaughter, BLM won't be able to dump wild horses and the ranchers will not have an incentive to buy them if, after a short period of time, they are unable to send them to slaughter. To find your member of Congress click here:

    Please share our Dear Humanitarian eAlert with family, friends and co-workers, and encourage them to contact everyone listed above, too. As always, thank you very much for your help!

    Cathy Liss
    Legislative Director

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

  • Thursday, February 16, 2006

    Johanns Claims Legal Issue Pressed Decision

    Ag chief explains horse slaughter stanceBY ALLEN PUSEY
    The Dallas Morning News

    WASHINGTON - Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns denied Tuesday that his department tried to derail efforts to curb the slaughter of horses for meat. He said his department has simply been trying to deal with a legal quandary Congress created...

    The action affected all three U.S. horse meat plants: Dallas Crown in Kaufman, Texas, Beltex Corp. in Fort Worth, Texas, and Cavel International in DeKalb, Ill.
    Industry critics had hoped the move would shut down the $41 million-a-year industry that exports horse meat to Europe, Japan and Mexico. Instead, the Agriculture Department agreed to let the industry pay to continue the inspections...

    'On one hand, the legal mandate wasn't removed. On the other hand, the money was,'Johanns said.

    ...Even so, the department will have to defend its reasoning in court. The Humane Society and other animal-rights groups filed suit Tuesday in federal court in Washington to block the new fee-based system.

    The suit charges that the department ignored Congress' intent, which it says was to end the slaughter of horses for human consumption and bypassed rule-making procedures to make an 'end-run' around last year's legislation..."

    USDA Accepts Public Comments on Fee-for-Service/Horse Slaughter Issue

    Suit Filed Over Horsemeat Inspections (click to read article in it's entirety)
    by: Chad Mendell, Staff Writer, The Horse
    February 2006 Article # 6613

    "...Animal rights groups and U.S. residents living near three horsemeat processing plants jointly filed suit against the USDA on Feb. 13, less than a week after USDA announced a program to allow fee-for-service inspections of horses at slaughter plants. The Appropriations Bill eliminated funding of USDA inspectors at these plants. The groups allege that allowing fee-based inspections for horsemeat goes against the Congressional intent of the Appropriations bill, which they said was intended to end horse slaughter in the United States. They filed the lawsuit in the Washington, D.C., U.S. District Court. For more information the USDA's proposed fee-for-service program see

    'The USDA's subversion of the law to appease the economically marginal and widely reviled horse slaughter industry is a blatant abuse of executive power, a violation of federal law, and an insult to the American people,' said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.

    ...The USDA is accepting public comments regarding the fee-for-service program until March 10, when the program will be implemented. For more information on the program see"

    Tuesday, February 14, 2006

    National Groups Team Up on USDA


    WASHINGTON, DC (Feb. 14, 2006) - Six national humane groups representing
    over 9.5 million members and several individuals filed a complaint in
    federal court today against Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns and
    Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator Barbara Masters,
    challenging the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) decision to create
    a "fee-for-service" inspection system that facilitates the continued
    transport and slaughter of tens of thousands of American horses for
    human consumption abroad each year.

    This action by the USDA is in direct contravention of an amendment to
    the 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Bill that prohibits tax dollars from
    being used to fund the federally mandated inspection of horses for
    slaughter (beginning March 10, 2006), the Animal Welfare Institute,
    Society for Animal Protective Legislation (SAPL), Doris Day Animal
    League, The Humane Society of the United States, the Fund for Animals,
    American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, American
    Humane Association, and the individual co-plaintiffs charge.

    "There is a growing frustration among the public and members of Congress
    with this blatant disregard for a law overwhelmingly passed by the
    Congress and signed into law by the President," said Chris Heyde, SAPL
    deputy legislative director. "The US Congress clearly responded to the
    American publics' demand for an end to slaughter and the USDA is
    choosing to violate this act to shelter three foreign owned

    The USDA action not only flouts Congressional intent in enacting the
    amendment, but violates other federal legal mandates and abrogates the
    public's right to comment on such important matters by making the
    decision with no advance public notice and comment, the groups say.

    "The executive branch is not in the position to interpret law when the
    intent of Congress is clear. Proponents and opponents of the Amendment
    were united in their statements that this measure was and is intended to
    end the slaughter of America's horses for a fiscal year beginning March
    10, 2006," said Heyde.

    Meanwhile, Members of Congress have introduced the American Horse
    Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503 and S. 1915) in both chambers in an
    attempt to achieve a permanent ban on the practice of horse slaughter
    for human consumption.

    The organizations and individuals bringing this suit on behalf of their
    members and constituents are represented by Meyer, Glitzenstein and
    Crystal, a public interest law firm in Washington, D.C.


    Chris Heyde, SAPL deputy legislative director: (703) 836-4300

    Humane Society Files Lawsuit Against USDA Over Horse Slaughter

    (the alert I received in my mailbox today...please visit to read more...)

    Dear Teresa,

    Thank you for speaking out for America's horses and urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to abandon its plan to industry to continue to slaughter our horses for human consumption overseas under a fee-for-inspection scheme. I am also grateful that you took the time to urge your members of Congress to act now and pass a permanent ban on horse slaughter.

    I'm writing to update you on an important development in the fight to stop the slaughter of our horses. Since the USDA has ignored the will of Congress and the American people, The HSUS is taking the agency to court. Just this morning, we filed a lawsuit with a coalition of animal protection groups in federal court to block the USDA from carrying out its illegal plan. Concerned horse advocates like you helped us win a temporary ban on horse slaughter, which was set to go into effect on March 10, and we are not about to sit by and watch this victory slip away.

    It is clear that we can not rely on the USDA alone. We must urge Congress today to pass a permanent ban on horse slaughter. It is the only way we can put our horses out of the reach of agency bureaucrats who will apparently do anything to keep American horsemeat flowing to French and Belgian chefs. Their actions are shameless, and they must be stopped!

    Spread the word. Most people are shocked to learn that our horses are being slaughtered and shipped overseas for human consumption. Click here to tell your friends and family how they can help end horse slaughter.

    Thank you for continuing to stand with us and the horses. With your help, I know we can prevail and save tens of thousands of American horses from the butcher block. We all must take action now to save these horses from a grim and painful end.


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

    Sunday, February 12, 2006

    USDA Defies Congressional Ban on Horse Slaughter

    from the Houston Chronicle, Feb. 11

    "...WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's leading horse protection nonprofit, the American Horse Defense Fund, is outraged that the USDA and three European-owned horse slaughter plants in the US have thwarted the will of Congress and the American people by defying a congressional directive to stop horse slaughter in the U.S. during 2006. On October 26, 2005 Congress overwhelmingly passed an amendment that was meant to halt the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for federal inspections on horses or horse meat at foreignowned slaughter plants in the US, effectively shutting the plants down.

    The amendment would have saved an estimated 30,000 horses from a cruel death at US slaughterhouses in 2006. It would also have opened the door to permanently ending the dangerous and cruel horse slaughter industry in the U.S. However, the amendment, due to take effect on March 10, 2006, could be destroyed by a final rule issued by USDA allowing horse slaughter to continue under a fee-for-service horse meat inspection system. The slaughter plants would pay an estimated $350,000 annually to private inspectors that would replace the required federal USDA horse and horse meat inspectors. The USDA has provided for a public comment period on this action until March 9th 2006.

    ...The American Horse Defense Fund (AHDF) and animal welfare groups across the country are asking the American public to contact the USDA before March 9th and ask that they honor the will of Congress by withdrawing regulations that would permit the US slaughterhouses to bring in fee-for-service inspectors. Comments can be mailed to: Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 300 12th Street, SW., Room 102 Cotton Annex, Washington, DC 20250 or by e-mail at before March 9..."

    Thursday, February 09, 2006

    ACTION ALERT FROM HSUS--USDA Decides to Buck the Congressional Horse Slaughter Ban

    (excerpt from

    ..."It is beyond our imagination in the U.S. Congress that the USDA would flout its mandate and spend tax dollars…to circumvent this law," said Representative John Sweeney (R-NY). "Even our most hardened opponents knew that the purpose of the amendment was to stop horse slaughter—there was never any question about that. It's disturbing that an agency like USDA feels it is appropriate to obstruct a law passed by an overwhelming, bipartisan majority in Congress when their sole mission is to implement the law."

    “The USDA is playing games and ignoring the directives of Congress while the lives of America’s horses, who have served us faithfully and provided us with companionship, are at stake,” said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of The HSUS. “By granting this 11th-hour bid by the slaughterhouses to re-write the law, the USDA is thumbing its nose at Congress and trying to substitute the judgment of foreign gourmands for the judgment of our elected lawmakers...”


    ACTION ALERT--USDA Moves to Thwart Federal Law


    Public Comments Needed to Encourage Democratic Process

    February 8, 2006

    Dear Humanitarian:

    With the help of constituents like you, we convinced Congress to pass an amendment to the 2006 Agriculture Appropriations Bill that prohibits your tax dollars from being used to fund the federally mandated inspection of horses slaughtered for human consumption-thereby protecting America's horses from slaughter. The measure was overwhelmingly approved in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and it was made official on Nov. 10, 2005 when the President signed the bill into law.

    However, the horse slaughter industry refuses to give up-and the ban on horse slaughter is at risk as a result. They have found an ally in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) who is willing to manipulate a very clear federal law to allow the foreign-owned slaughterhouses to continue operating.

    The USDA has issued regulations approving a petition submitted surreptitiously by the three foreign-owned horse slaughterhouses in the United States that would enable the horse slaughter industry to fund its own inspections. This crooked plot will allow the slaughter of tens of thousands of horses for human consumption in 2006-circumventing Congressional intent and flying in the face of the will of the American people.


    Please send comments via mail, email or the USDA website before March 9, urging the USDA to withdraw the regulations that would allow the horse slaughterhouses to keep operating. It is very important that the agency hears from as many concerned Americans as possible.

    Here are some issues you should include in your letter:

    1. The USDA should not be considering any proposal that will allow the slaughterhouses to continue operating. Such an action is a clear violation of Congressional intent and federal law.

    2. President Bush signed into law the 2006 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which Congress amended to prohibit horse slaughter by removing funds required to inspect horses intended for slaughter. This was NOT simply a way to alter how inspections are funded.

    Docket Clerk
    Docket Number 05-036IF
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Food Safety and Inspection Service
    300 12th Street, SW
    Room 102 Cotton Annex
    Washington, DC 20250


    Online: Go to, and in the "Search for Open Regulations" box, select "Food Safety and Inspection Service" from the agency drop-down menu, then click on "Submit." In the Docket ID column, select the FDMS Docket Number (05-036IF) to submit public comments.

    Additionally, please write your Members of Congress to urge their support of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, H.R. 503 and S.1915, if you have not already done so. A permanent ban on horse slaughter is the only way we can ensure that America's horses will truly be safe. Click here to find out more about this and how you can take action:

    Please share our "Dear Humanitarian" eAlert with family, friends and co-workers, and encourage them to submit comments and write their Members of Congress, too. As always, thank you very much for your help!


    Christopher J. Heyde
    Deputy Legislative Director
    Society for Animal Protective Legislation
    (A Division of the Animal Welfare Institute)
    PO Box 3719 ~ Washington, DC 20027
    T: (703) 836-4300 F: (703) 997-1134

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

    Wednesday, February 08, 2006

    More Clips on USDA Action on Horse Slaughter

    Horse Slaughter to Continue Despite Action
    Washington Post - United States
    WASHINGTON -- Horse slaughter for meat will continue in the United States, despite votes in Congress to halt the practice, the Agriculture Department announced ...
    See all stories on this topic

    Bush Administration Ignores Congress Horse Meat Slaughter Ban
    The Moderate Voice - USA
    Congress passed a law trying to stop horse slaughter for meat...but the administration is going to allow it to continue nonetheless, the AP reports: Horse ...

    DJ Livestock Update: CME Hogs Mostly Up; Cash, Short CovTMCnet - USA
    ... WASHINGTON (AP)--Horse slaughter for meat will continue in the US, despite votes in Congress to halt the practice, the US Department of Agriculture announced ...

    Kaufman Residents Disappointed in USDA Decision...

    excerpt from the THE WASHINGTON TIMES (click link to read entire article) By Hugh Aynesworth

    "...On Jan. 17, a group of 40 senators and representatives sent a blistering letter to Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, accusing the USDA of 'direct defiance of congressional intent.'

    The signers asked that the USDA delay its planned new operating system, and that the agency explain its 'course of directly violating congressional intent.'

    Meanwhile, here in tiny Kaufman, about 40 miles southeast of Dallas, the battle is being fought on more visceral, personal grounds.

    Dallas Crown Inc., one of three equine slaughterhouses still operating in the U.S., slaughters several hundred horses every week, then packages the meat and ships it to France, Belgium, Japan and a few other countries where horse meat is considered a delicacy.

    At present, Kaufman's Zoning Board of Adjustment is considering a shut down of Dallas Crown.

    At public hearings last fall, citizens told of relentless odors, bones from slain horses carried around the neighborhood by dogs, blood and feces running through drainage areas and from trucks and the unsettling 'noise' from horses as they were slaughtered throughout the night.

    In 2002, when it was learned that the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner, Ferdinand, had ended up in a slaughterhouse in Japan, horse-slaughter foes in the U.S. became more fervent and the Belgian-owned operators of the U.S. plants began hiring lawyers and lobbyists.

    'After Congress voted so strongly, we thought it would be over -- we could breathe again,' said Robert Eldridge, who lives and works within a block of the Crown complex. 'I wish some of them could visit here and see just how horrible it is...'"

    VERY BAD NEWS--USDA Sidesteps Congress and Allows Horse Slaughter for Meat

    USDA: Horse slaughter for meat can continue
    By TODD J. GILLMAN | Dallas Morning News

    "WASHINGTON - Ignoring congressional disdain for the horsemeat industry, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Tuesday that it would allow slaughter of horses for human consumption to continue in Kaufman, Fort Worth and DeKalb, Ill.

    Lawmakers cut off funding in November for inspection of such horses, whose meat ends up in the kitchens of France, Japan and a handful of other countries. But the three plants that process horse offered to pay for their own inspections, and the Agriculture Department has agreed.

    'It’s absolutely outrageous,' said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of the Humane Society of the United States. 'The agency is substituting the judgment of Belgian and French chefs for the judgment of Congress.'

    Both houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly last year to cut funding for pre-slaughter horse inspections as part of an annual farm spending bill. The House vote was 269-158. The Senate vote was 69-28.

    'USDA is playing games and thumbing its nose at Congress,' Mr. Markarian said.

    ...Bills are pending in the House and Senate to impose an outright ban on horse slaughter for human consumption. The House version, written by Rep. John Sweeney, R-N.Y., has 144 co-sponsors, including four Texas Democrats, Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas, Gene Green and Al Green of Houston, and Charlie Gonzalez of San Antonio. The Senate version, by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., has 14 co-sponsors.

    'Commerce and greed have ruled the day,' said Mr. Sweeney. 'This action is a direct defiance of congressional intent and must be addressed.'

    In Plano, Richard Giron, Texas head of the American Horse Defense Fund, which has been trying to outlaw horse slaughter, called the Agriculture Department's move appalling. '

    ...Mr. Giron recently returned from Paris on a sales trip and spotted fresh American cheval in two or three butcher shops.

    'It’s repulsive,' he said. 'Our government seems to be driven by this source of revenue and commerce, at the expense of disposing of animals in a non-humanitarian fashion. ...We’re so greed-driven these days. These animals don’t deserve this end.'

    President Bush signed an apparent ban on horse slaughter into law in November. The measure bars the Agriculture Department from inspecting horses before slaughter. Because the federal Meat Inspection Act explicitly requires pre-slaughter inspection of cattle and other livestock, including horse, backers thought that would stamp out the $41 million-a-year horsemeat industry, which slaughters about 90,000 horses a year.

    Beltex in Fort Worth already pays for inspections of emu, ostrich and wild boar and offered to pay for horse inspections, too. The Agriculture Department also offers a fee-for-service approach with elk, deer, rabbits and other exotic meat. A month ago, the department confirmed it was studying the companies’ proposal, and its lawyers maintained that such an approach would be allowed by law, because the November farm bill didn’t actually ban horse slaughter.

    The Humane Society and others disagree, arguing that the fee-for-service loophole isn’t permissible because the Meat Inspection Act lists horses as among the species that require inspection by a USDA-paid inspector. In Kaufman, where many residents have been trying to drive out the Dallas Crown plant, which they consider a nuisance, Mayor Paula Bacon decried the agency for circumventing the will of Congress. 'It’s way, way wrong,' she said. 'We’re not losing this country to terrorists. It seems we are close to losing this country to special interests who have bought these regulators, who are now assuming legislative powers.'

    Robert Eldridge, who lives near the Dallas Crown plant, also criticized the Agriculture Department.

    'Whatever the company says, they do,” he said. "They just kind of stuck their finger up to Congress, didn’t they?'

    Dallas Morning News staff writer Jim Getz contributed to this report.



    Monday, February 06, 2006

    against the will of congress and the people it represents...

    Protest the USDA's attempt to thwart Congress' efforts--click here...

    Excerpt from the Christian Science Monitor...

    "...Overwhelmingly supported by the letter writers - and, as it turned out, Congress - the year-long ban gave animal activists one of their biggest victories in more than a decade and hope that a permanent ban was imminent.

    But now, as implementation of the ban nears, the USDA has said it will allow horse slaughter to continue, in what opponents say is a blatant end run around the intent of Congress.

    Each year, tens of thousands of horses are slaughtered here and sent to the tables of Europe and Japan, where the leaner meat is considered a delicacy.

    In 2005, some 85,000 horses were killed at three US slaughterhouses, two of which are in Texas.

    The measure signed into law in November by President Bush bars the USDA from paying for inspections of horses before slaughter, starting March 10.

    The idea, say supporters, was to force plants to shut down because federal law requires all livestock to be inspected before slaughter.

    But the three foreign-owned slaughterhouses say they will pay the inspectors' salaries under a 'fee for service' arrangement, similar to the system used for elk and other exotic animals.

    The USDA has agreed to allow the $4 million industry to continue under this arrangement. In a letter to members of Congress in late December, its deputy general counsel, James Michael Kelly, wrote that the amendment 'does not prevent horse slaughter at all.'

    That angered many in Congress, and earlier this month, 40 members of the House and Senate wrote Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, demanding that inspections of the horses stop.

    'The agency must cease inspection of horses for slaughter. Failure to do so constitutes willful disregard of clear Congressional intent on the part of the USDA,' the letter warned. 'The agency has absolutely no authority to circumvent a Congressional mandate and effectively rewrite an unambiguous law at the request of the horse-slaughter industry...'"