We promote veganism at the Fund for Horses as a way to spare all animals from pain, suffering and a brutal, terrifying death by slaughter.
Horses are a big part of that, killed and used in so many ways — not just for their meat. There is a tannery at most slaughterhouses. Horses who arrive too skinny to be killed for their meat, are killed, bled out and skinned, their hides sold on for a variety of purposes. Their hooves and tails are also highly marketable.
We came across this super company that makes vegan leather from cactus. Imagine that!
DESSERTO, an incredibly eco-friendly vegan-leather created from cactus, that boasts “great softness to touch while offering great performance for a wide variety of applications and complying with the most rigorous quality and environmental standards,” per the article. Additionally, the material does not contain any toxic chemicals, phthalates, or PVC, a popular plastic that’s very detrimental for the environment.
The brand was founded by two Mexican entrepreneurs, Adrián López Velarde and Marte Cázarez, who came up with the idea after spending time working in the furniture, automotive, and fashion industries and seeing firsthand the impact of environmental pollution. As a result, they left their jobs and set out to make a vegan leather made from cactus (also known as nopal).
Learn more about the backstory and get to know how the company makes an environmental impact below.
Years and years ago, when working in Washington D.C. and stuck there over the Christmas holidays, our Founding President Vivian Farrell created a cartoon horse for the Fund for Horses’ gift shop. It took off and she created more. And more! She named the series Hattingdon Horses®.
It being a holiday and a Saturday, we thought we would share one with you just for fun. This is a brand new hat silhouette Mrs Farrell created just the other day. In honor of 4th July, she has made it up in a red, white and blue colorway. Each hat has its own identifying name — this one is called “Elise”.
As Hattingdon says, “Hugs and kisses, and millinery blisses”.
We closed our Zazzle shop and will be reopening in the Fall on Etsy. In the meantime, visit Hattingdon’s blog for a “hatful of smiles”.
Gardaí believe some animals have effectively been smuggled into the food chain
THE IRISH TIMES by Connor Lang (2 Jul 20) — Gardai have arrested five people as part of a lengthy investigation into horse meat unfit for human consumption entering the food chain by manipulation of safety measures. The five were held on suspicion of taking part in organised crime.
While horse meat is not widely consumed in Ireland there is a larger international market to which Irish meat is exported. Gardaí believe some horses that should have been slaughtered at the end of their lives, which were not fit for human consumption, have effectively been smuggled into the food chain.
“When horses are unfit for human consumption a fee must be paid to have them destroyed. However, if a horse is deemed fit for human consumption, it would fetch a fee.”
Members of the Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the serious crimes squad, on Tuesday arrested five men, aged between 35 and 55 years, for questioning at Garda stations in Longford and Roscommon towns and Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.
They were arrested on suspicion of “participation in a criminal organisation” and were being detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allows for suspects to be questioned for up to seven days without charge.
The inquiry being conducted by the Garda is about two years old and also involves the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.
“These arrests are part of an ongoing investigation into a number of persons engaged in offences of organised deception and fraudulent practices, involving the tampering of identification passports and microchips of horses presented for slaughter in this jurisdiction,” Garda Headquarters said in a statement of Tuesday’s five arrests.
Just over 12 months ago gardaí raided farms, houses and commercial premises as part of the investigation. On that occasion some of the properties searched were linked to people gardai regarded as victims of the fraud rather than being part of it.
During those raids in June, 2019, a large quantity of documentation and other evidence was gathered for analysis, with today’s arrests effectively the next phase of the same investigation.
Every horse has a passport and is micro-chipped as part of a traceability system. However, gardaí believe fraudsters have been manipulating the system for profit.
In 2018, for example, a batch of microchips was seized en route to Ireland from China. They were from Eastern European horses that had died years earlier.
Gardaí and the Department of Agriculture believe the chips were about to be presented to abattoirs in an attempt to pass off some horses as being fit to enter the food chain, though they were not fit.
Horses receiving certain medicines during their lifetime, for example, would not be fit for use as food, but a new chip could allow such a horse to bypass the rules and be accepted.
When horses are unfit for human consumption a fee must be paid to have them destroyed. However, if a horse is deemed fit for human consumption, it would fetch a fee.
A study involving Arabian horses from 12 countries found that some populations maintained a larger degree of genetic diversity and that the breed did not contribute genetically to the modern-day Thoroughbred, contrary to popular thought.
An international team of scientists was led by the University of Florida’s Samantha Brooks, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of animal sciences; Cornell University’s Doug Antczak, the Dorothy Havemeyer McConville Professor of Equine Medicine at the Baker Institute for Animal Health; and Andy Clark, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor in Cornell’s department of molecular biology and genetics.
“The Arabian horse has a special mystique due to the long recorded history of the breed. Arabian horse breeders, in particular, know their horse’s bloodlines many generations back.” — Samantha Brooks
The group collected and examined DNA samples from 378 Arabian horses from Qatar, Iran, UAE, Poland, USA, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark and Canada. The research, published June 16 in the journal Scientific Reports, was conducted over an 8-year period, beginning in 2014 before Brooks made the move from Cornell to UF. The process was a lot of effort, she said, in part due to traveling to collect the Arabians’ blood and hair samples, as well as natural delays in working with international colleagues to collect and ship other samples.
The samples were anonymized for data analysis purposes, except to note the horse’s location and categorizing them as endurance competition, flat course racing or show horses. The data set was also expanded using information from past studies on other breeds, which included Thoroughbreds, Persian Arabian, Turkemen and Straight Egyptians.
“The Arabian horse has a special mystique due to the long recorded history of the breed,” Brooks said. “Arabian horse breeders, in particular, know their horse’s bloodlines many generations back. What we found was that in the area where this breed originates—likely the near East region, but we don’t know exactly—there’s a healthy level of diversity. This is particularly evident in populations from Bahrain and Syria, which suggests these are some pretty old populations.”
The horse is prized for characteristics like heat tolerance and endurance, as well as its unique appearance, with a dish-shaped facial profile, wide-set eyes, an arched neck and a high tail carriage. It has been exported from its ancestral homeland for centuries, with some modern lineages drawn strictly from these smaller genetic pools, giving the breed a reputation for inbred disorders. While this was true for some groups they tested, Brooks noted, they also found remarkable diversity when considering the breed as a whole.
Brooks contrasted the discovery of more diverse populations with the samples they received from racing Arabians. Another longstanding myth says that the Arabian contributed genetically to the modern Thoroughbred, but the racing Arabians’ DNA told a different story.
“What we found in these samples was not that much Arabian ancestry was part of the Thoroughbred line, but the opposite: that Thoroughbred DNA exists in most of the modern racing Arabian lines.” — Samantha Brooks
“What we found in these samples was not that much Arabian ancestry was part of the Thoroughbred line, but the opposite: that Thoroughbred DNA exists in most of the modern racing Arabian lines, indicating a more recent interbreeding within this group,” Brooks said. “I can’t speculate on the how or why, but this is clearly the story the DNA is telling us.”