Calling the Kettle Black: Pfizer the Horrible

Written by JANE ALLIN

Tom Lenz with Horse
Tom Lenz, who promotes horse slaughter as the final solution for the so-called unwanted horse problem, is pictured here with a tasty sidekick. Lenz recently featured in a Pfizer sponsored live chat on (online version of the AAEP magazine) discussing the GAO report to Congress on the impact of the closure of horse slaughter plants in the U.S.

The recent live chat on “Unwanted Horses” and the GAO slaughter report sponsored by Pfizer featuring Tom Lenz, king and founder of the “unwanted horse” concept, begs for rationalization. Who are they kidding? [1]

Ah, but the writing was on the wall. In June of 2010, the American Horse Council (AHC) partnered with Pfizer to endeavor to champion all aspects of the equine industry, including the “unwanted horse” dilemma and ultimately to promote their slaughter manifesto, albeit veiled in manipulative rhetoric. [2]

Tom Lenz is an acknowledged pro-horse slaughter advocate. Lenz is former Chair of the AHC’s “Unwanted Horse Coalition” (UHC), past President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and long-standing member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), all pro-slaughter organizations. Most notably, however, Lenz is currently the Senior Director, Equine Veterinary Services, at Pfizer Animal Health. With those credentials, Lenz brings a wealth of experience in duping the public with propaganda to ostensibly endorse “humane” horse slaughter. No such thing exists – period.

Terminology such as “horse harvesting”, “productive markets”, “Equine Placement Fund” (subsidized by Pfizer), and of course the misnomer “unwanted horse” has been circumspectly crafted to conceal the unfeigned and fundamental problem of over breeding and lack of accountability. The bottom line is that horse slaughter is a multi-million dollar industry worldwide.

What’s more is the decidedly convenient timing of this “Ask a Vet” teleconference and the release of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) slaughter report. Coincidence? As the press release issued by equine Welfare Alliance clearly points out:

“Although the report’s contents are to be kept confidential until released, slaughter supporters have been indicating for months that they were leaked the report and have now orchestrated an “Unwanted Horse” teleconference late in the day of the release presumably to promote the report’s findings. [3]

This is simply objectionable conduct by the GAO; “the investigative arm of Congress” and “the congressional watchdog.”

GAO supports the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and helps improve the performance and accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people.” [4]

Accountable to whom? Certainly not the estimated 75% of the population opposed to the slaughter of American horses. This conundrum exists due to the collection of registration fees from massive over breeding operations, most notoriously the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), which by the way is endorsed by the AVMA, AAEP and other prominent equine organizations. Significant monies derived from these profitable industries enable the funding of pro-slaughter federal lobbyists – the most powerful driving force behind horse slaughter law in the US. Money talks.

In any case, what this all boils down to is that Lenz and all of his affiliates have masterfully fabricated the “unwanted horse” terminology to provide for the slaughter industry. Clearly the AQHA continues to spew out thousands upon thousands of horses on an annual basis while repeatedly maintaining that slaughter is a “humane” disposal method for “unwanted horses”. How utilitarian for them. These horses are not “unwanted” in the least rather they are desperately “wanted”, wholly and unmistakably for the lucrative horse meat market that whets the pallets of foreign connoisseurs.

Moreover there has long been speculation about the connection between the AQHA, the PMU industry and their promotion of horse slaughter.

“We know that PMU breeders worked out a deal with the AQHA to register the foals that are produced as a result of the PMU industry (usually a cross between a Quarter Horse and a Draft). The AQHA profited by registering more horses and the PMU industry could profit by selling these foals for more money to individuals and introduce a preferred breed for the slaughter industry.”[5]

By all accounts there is an explicit method to their madness and the manipulation of the public via their wordsmanship – a vocabulary of arcane, recondite words to gain advantage and defend their stance. And in fact, to the unsuspecting public and even to some horse advocates, this ploy has been successful to some extent.

Many draw attention to the comments Lenz made in the teleconference regarding other alternatives such as responsible breeding, owner accountability, and increased support for qualified and established rescues for example. Don’t kid yourself this is all part of the package in selling the re-introduction of horse slaughter to American soil. Without compassion and respect there would be little or no support. Conniving indeed.

As an example of the compassion Lenz feels for the plight of the “unwanted horse” he has, on repeated occasions, offered the following as a solution to the “unwanted horse” dilemma.

“Additionally, he suggested that although reopening the processing plants, with greater regulation over the transportation of the horses, might not be the ideal option for dealing with unwanted horses, it would aid greatly in controlling the number of unwanted horses in America until the industry can develop resources to eliminate the need.”[6]

This statement is utterly absurd. Re-open the slaughterhouses to eliminate the excess then close them? Unbelievable. Once re-opened there will be no turning back. Rather than control the so-called “unwanted horse” population in the US this would be the ultimate catalyst for the breeders and their misguided and spiteful intentions. Simply stated horse slaughter is for-profit and demand driven.

What then does Pfizer expect to gain from this?

Under the umbrella of the AHC and its affiliates Pfizer now benefits with the support of the most powerful equine organizations in North America. Although this will not remove the stigma of PMU farming and the cast-off foals of the industry, it nonetheless leverages their position in terms of horse slaughter and the “unwanted horse’ – a “humane” alternative by their standards.

Pfizer Headquarters in New York
In a most transparent and feeble attempt to improve public image regarding the PMU industry in North America, Pfizer’s strategy is not a positive one that serves to better the welfare of the horse, but rather to relocate its PMU facilities to foreign countries such as China, Poland and Kazakhstan – countries where horses are likened to livestock and the acceptance of horse slaughter and human consumption of horses and foal meat is commonplace.

In effect, however presumptuous this approach may seem given the history of PMU farming and the slaughter of innocents, from Pfizer’s perspective it is now justifiable to support horse slaughter since the catch-all phrase of “unwanted” supersedes the valid term “excess”, a direct result of over breeding and the real situation at hand.

However twisted it may seem, and that is exactly how these organizations want it to be, it is on their agenda to instil within the public’s mind that the “unwanted horse” is the causative effect of the prohibition of horse slaughter.

This undoubtedly has been a work in progress on Pfizer’s behalf since the acquisition of Wyeth’s lucrative HRT technology in 2009. In a most transparent and feeble attempt to improve public image regarding the PMU industry in North America, Pfizer’s strategy is not a positive one that serves to better the welfare of the horse, but rather to relocate its PMU facilities to foreign countries such as China, Poland and Kazakhstan – countries where horses are likened to livestock and the acceptance of horse slaughter and human consumption of horses and foal meat is commonplace. Far removed from North America; out of sight, out of mind.

What remains in North America is a mere 26 ranches housing approximately 40 horses each hardly enough to support predicted sales of Premarin® and the soon to be approved combination osteo-hormonal drug Aprela®. With this reduction in the number of horses they have also designed the tactical measure of provision for these “propitious” horses.

“Pfizer encourages ranchers with horses no longer involved in the process, including foals, to place them for uses like ranch work, riding, and show. To facilitate this, Pfizer provides funding and assistance to help those producers provide for the health, feeding, and overall welfare of their horses until those horses can be moved into productive markets. This is done through the Equine Placement Fund, which is overseen by Trustees and has an advisory board made up of prominent U.S. and Canadian experts in equine health and welfare. Pfizer does not allow those funds to be used for sending horses to slaughter.”[7]

This is pure propaganda and a premeditated cover-up for the suffering of horses that will continue to provide the ingredients for their HRT products. The torment has simply moved house.

Undeniably a case of the pot calling the kettle black – supporting the slaughter of the very thing they are purporting to champion – the welfare of the horse.

So who are they kidding?


10 thoughts on “Calling the Kettle Black: Pfizer the Horrible”

  1. Good job on this article Vivian. The worst thing is, think about the money going around. Pfizer is the richest and most powerful pharmaceutical industry. Advil, Zanax, Viagra you name it. The fight against this kind of powerful evil is enormous. We need to get with the competitor pharmaceutical companies for positive promotion of their products and promotion of their humane policies in comparison with pfizer as a first step and spread public awareness about Pfizer and boycott their products. Buy tylenol instead of advil.


  2. There is not one horse breeding industry in the United States that can survive without horse slaughter. This is the very reason that all of them have banded together under the American Horse Council umbrella to convince congress that horse slaughter has to stay. Preferably to open up slaughter plants in the US but if that can’t be done then make sure the slaughter pipeline stays open to Canada/Mexico and Japan. These people have deep pockets. They have donated thousands of dollars to the reelection campaigns of all of the members of the senate. They have no scruples. Now they have Lenz as their poster boy. These breeders have no intention of ever cutting back on their over breeding unless they are forced to by a bill like S.1176 and if enough senators can’t be brought on board then it will die like all of the other bills have. It’s not a pretty picture buts that the reality of it. I would strongly suggest that everyone copy the video that was secretly filmed inside two horse slaughter plants in Canada carnage.html
    All of the videos are on this site. Please send to your senators with a cover letter explaining your stance against horse slaughter. It worked on my state rep last year. It turned him around. It costs $4.00 at the Post Office to send each senator a copy. That’s the price of a gallon of gas. I think these horses are worth it.


  3. “What then does Pfizer expect to gain from this?”


    (1) an appearance of morality and/or ethics;
    (2) continued, unencumbered production and sales, specifically imports;
    (3) stalling tactic; and,
    (4) money.

    Excellent article.


  4. But it does say something about Equine Advocacy: Why would they need to go to such elaborate lengths to glamorize these repugnant industries and philosophies, to scrub them up to appear shiny, thoughtful and ethical?
    And why must they continually fall back on underhanded, backdoor strategies to accomplish that momentum?
    Look at the roster of powerhouses behind this movement. Whatever progress they’re making is slow and costly and certainly does nothing to change the minds of the majority of people who find exploitation of the horse contemptible.
    I have to remain hopeful; it says a lot that Pfizer has had to resort to exploiting other cultures to maintain their bottom line, and that organizations devoted to horse slaughter have had to resort to ‘insider trading’ to further their agenda.
    These people were nowhere to be found when slaughterhouses in the US routinely violated environmental and humane laws. There’s no reason to think they’d do anything differently in their ‘future’.


  5. I don’t think I can improve on Jan’s comment. Lord, they are so obvious, but the public is SO uninformed these days about everything, but they shout out their opinions anyway and won’t listen to anyone that actually knows what they’re talking about. Sometimes, I get so disgusted I want to stop even trying to comment on some of these ridiculous articles. But, I won’t, just on the off chance that someone with half a brain will see the comments and links to documentation and actually help us DO something. Wishful thinking I know…..


    1. No! No! Don’t stop reading and commenting! I know the feeling, you are just a reader, just one reader. But somewhere, one day, you too, were first informed about such things. It caught your attention. You searched for more information.
      You talked to friends about what you had read. You met new friends online and at shows, some sharing your ideas, others disagreeing. It is easy to turn away and ignore. It does get overwhelming to be always inundated with such misery, illness, abuse, death and negativity. But to turn away is to limit the love one can throw out into the world. Love is infinite. I myself find that my frustration is that I have not been able to love enough equines and canines (and a few felines!) yet in this lifetime. Keep talking. Keep writing. We will never ever eradicate abuse in this existence (seeing as it is a natural part of the human psyche), but we can keep trying to spread the love and keep fighting for those who cannot speak for themselves.


  6. Good article – I hsd not known Pfizer had moved business to countries with questionable humane treatment (as in none). This does not bode well for the animals or for the quality and handling of their drugs.


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