Not Obama Not Romney Cartoon by Daryl Cagle / MSNBC.

The campaign ad with the dancing horse and the rooftop dog that won’t go away

Not Obama Not Romney Cartoon by Daryl Cagle / MSNBC.
Not Obama Not Romney Cartoon by Daryl Cagle / MSNBC.

There is a big fuss going on about the Obama presidential campaign ad featuring the Romney’s dressage horse Refalca dancing around while Romney fumbles for an answer to a question about his tax returns.

Some say it is poor taste for Obama to feature the horse said to be Anne Romney’s therapy horse (must be part-time if the horse also performs) in a political message. Others say it is demeaning to equines to use a horse humiliated into dancing in one.

Whatever the sentiment, right or wrong, it is utter nonsense for either Obama or Romney to display any sort of concern about the alleged mistreatment of animals, especially horses.

If you care about horses and are a dedicated horse advocate, neither of these characters is a good choice for President.


L to R: Craig Downer, Lady Advocate, Elyse Gardner at Las Vegas rally earlier this year wearing protest signs.
L to R: Craig Downer, Lady Advocate, Elyse Gardner at Las Vegas rally protesting wild horse roundups during a visit by President Obama.

The Obama Administration has been a disaster for both our domestic and wild horses. Obama has ignored this country’s loud and consistent pleas for mercy during his entire time in office concerning the slaughter of America’s equines (80% of those polled being against it); and the cruel and unnecessary roundups of our wild horses and burros.

Now if you could care less about our wild horses and burros, keep reading.

You might like to know that part of the Obama mustang tragedies is the documented misuse of US taxpayer dollars by the United States Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management to remove them from public lands set aside for them by federal law, breaking up family bands, destroying their herds, and stockpiling them around the country in federal pens and on private lands to the tune of millions and millions of federal tax dollars.

All of this is being conducted on your dime while the country is struggling financially, taking necessary funding away programs that benefit the human population.


In the case of Romney, his wife having horses indicates absolutely nothing about their attitude concerning the care of animals. Being advocates, we know all too well that custody or ownership does not automatically translate into good animal husbandry.

Besides, we already have a clear example dating earlier that demonstrates what the Romney philosophy about animal welfare looks like.

Members of the Romney family displayed a very public example of reckless and unsympathetic care toward their dog Seamus during a family trip that is still biting them on their political backsides.

Dogs Against Romney. Image by Spencer Platt / Getty Images.
Dogs Against Romney. Image by Spencer Platt / Getty Images.

Take a look at this from the Washington Post.

” . . .the tale of Seamus, the Irish setter who got sick while riding 12 hours on the roof of Mitt Romney’s faux-wood-paneled station wagon, is ballooning into a narrative of epic proportions.

“Late-night host David Letterman has been giving the dog near-nightly shout-outs. There are parody Web videos, “Dogs Aren’t Luggage” T-shirts and Facebook groups. (“Dogs Against Romney,” which protested outside last month’s Westminster dog show, has more than 38,000 Facebook fans.)

“The New Yorker featured a cartoon, with Rick Santorum riding in Romney’s rooftop dog carrier, on its cover last week. In the five years since the story was revealed, New York Times columnist Gail Collins has mentioned Seamus in at least 50 columns.”

This quote in the same article sums it nicely:

John Brabender said, “Quite frankly, I’m not sure I’m going to listen to the value judgment of a guy who strapped his dog to the top of the roof of his car and went hurling down the highway.”


If you want to make good political choices that will benefit horses, we suggest you pay very close attention to who your Representative and Senators are in Washington DC and right there in your home States. These are where the decisions get made and where you can have the most influence.

Be sure to check out how they vote on all animal-related bills — particularly equine legislation — and the answers you get back when you write to them on these issues. If in doubt, call their offices and campaign offices and ask them where they stand. Have a pen and paper handy to write down what they say.

Remember, too, that the US Congress adjourns for the whole month of August and will be in their local constituent offices and likely out campaigning in your area till election time.

Insofar as the Presidential election, the clear choice is Not Obama, Not Romney, if you care about animals. Best to take other issues important to you into consideration when deciding who you want to be your next President.


No one in our offices and none of the volunteers who replied finds the Obama ad with the dancing horse offensive, but maybe that’s just us. Here it is. You decide.

The End.

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We love your comments, but please keep them on point, and about horses and their political issues. Thank you!

10 thoughts on “The campaign ad with the dancing horse and the rooftop dog that won’t go away”

  1. I really thought obama would step up to the plate ,and have a huge input on horse slaughter, he may still come thru. I think Jerry Finch should run for president and willie nelson for vice president, what a better world it would be, for horses and people.


  2. I agree with the basic premise that the strength is in a ” do nothing Congress”. I live in Texas. My Senator, Kay B Hutcheson is co-chair of the committee that will not bring the Senate Anti-Horse slaughter to the floor, thanks to her primarily I’ve been told. John Cornyn, the other Texas Senator, would slaughter his own Mother for a campaign contribution and has taken fortunes from the Big Ag and Big Oil. More than just about any other Senator. Joe Barton, who apologized to BP, is my Representative. He is afraid to make any move that might rile the Republican strong hold. I have written, called, faxed, emailed and begged, all to no avail for 2 years. My governor, Governor Good Hair Perry is the one who would not accept a petition from a 10 year old girl who had ridden her donkey to the steps of the Texas Capital with 300,000 signatures to stop the eradication of the burros in Big Bend Park by shooting them. All of these are Republicans, who care not one whit for women’s rights or humane care of animals , two most important issues for me. Therefore, I campaign for Democrats so that perhaps there can be a change in the results that I have on issues that I care about.
    I am politically active, just returning from testifying against Horse Slaughter returning to Texas, in front of the Ag Committee Chair. I am willing to take any action that might change things, and am open to suggestions.


  3. Oh dear, Barbara. Horses are not “its” and neither are dogs or any other sentient being. I am sure that was just a slip of the tongue and you did not intend to be demeaning. One thing we agree on; the Romney dog story stinks!

    At any rate, our point is that neither one is a good president choice when it comes to horses. And that is what this blog is about.

    We could care less how people vote for president. That is not where the power is. Anyone who has spent any time in DC knows that.


  4. Two years ago I sent to Obama’s office a packet of information including a CD of what happened inside the slaughter plants Bouvry part’s 1,2,3 and Richelieu parts 1,2,3. Along with pages of information on the cruelty, drugs and asking him to put a stop to the killing of US horses in Canada/Mexico. I am still waiting for a answer that never come. I am fed up with the Obama presidency and I intend to vote for Romney. I don’t like the direction this country is heading in with Holder and his lawsuits against states that are trying to protect their populations from illegal immigration. If the rest of you want to support Obama that is up to you. But the dog on the roof had diarrhea the moving car made it sick it did not get sick because of riding on the roof. If any of you never had a dog develop diarrhea in a car you are extremely lucky. You either have to abandon the car or take it directly to a car wash and try to locate a bucket and some soap and two rolls of paper towels along with a bag and rubber gloves and hope you can get the stink out before continuing on. Would anyone want to have to do what I described above?? And on top of that the dog had to have a bath along with everything else and try to find something for the diarrhea. If you were on the middle of nowhere what would you do?? I rest my case.


    1. Who in their right mind straps a cage to the top of their car with their family dog in it for a 12 hour trip in the elements at highway speeds????? Ridiculous and cruel.

      I rest my case.


    2. There’s no excuse for strapping your dog to the roof of your car and driving that way for 12 hours. You have no case to rest.


    3. Barbara, Are you seriously condoning strapping a dog to the roof of a car for any reason?? I don’t care if he had explosive diarrhea and was vomiting from the other end! You don’t strap your pet to the roof of your car any more than you would strap a sick child to the roof!!! I don’t care if you have to take your car to the car wash and find a bucket and gloves to clean it. So what, been there done that. My animals have more meaning to me than any car. I have cleaned up some pretty nasty messes from my children and animals over the years and I do it because I love them. When they are sick I don’t consider it some kind of inconvenience and toss them out the door (or on the roof) to avoid having to clean a mess. That is despicable and says a hell of a lot about someones character!!

      As to the commercial, I didn’t find it offensive at all.


  5. Obama did not co-sponsor the horse slaughter bill until he decided to run for President and saw that Hillary had. Hillary co-sponsored it almost as soon as it came out. We personally lobbied him for over a year and he said he had already co-sponsored the number of bills he intended to. This is a standard answer and means nothing. Not long he told us that, he co-sponsored a different bill!


  6. In President Obama’s defense, he did co-sponsor the bill against Horse Slaughter when he was a Senator. I believe he has also told the USDA not to rush to approve inspectors for horse slaughter plants. I feel like to blame him for the Ag Appro. Bill signature is unjust. The Moran bill was omitted the night before the vote by a committee of legislators. The bill was then passed by house and senate, and the President had to sign it because it has the appropriations for school lunches, food stamps and other issues that would effectively shut down the government. The BLM is part of the DoI which I hope will get some attention in his next administration, but there have been many serious problems on his desk, and those rogue agencies just seem to have a way of covering their tracks. I felt like Salazar should have been fired over the MMS screw up in the Gulf Oil Scandal, but he was able to put the blame on the underlings, and keep his job.
    At least with him, we know where his heart is from the Co-sponsor of the Anti-slaughter Bill in the Senate. No such good feelings with Mitt Romney.
    And one more point: Rafalca was never to be Ann’s therapy horse. She was purchased to get her trainer Jan Eberling, whom she has supported with money and horses for years, to the Olympics. Ann has purchased many expensive horses in Europe, both for herself and for Jan. here is the story from Dressage Today in 2004

    I don’t have any problem with wealthy people supporting Olympic athletes. I just don’t believe that the Romneys are in touch with average people with average dogs, and cats and average horses (& other animals), who have Way Above Average love and compassion for the welfare of those animals. Didn’t mean to step on any toes… Just my opinion, and the history of Ann and dressage which I have followed for years.


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