Take a stand with us on horse legislation pending right now in Washington

Fund Horse, US Flag and Capitol Dome. Vivian Grant Farrell.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Here is where The Horse Fund stands on horse legislation pending right now in the nation’s capital. We invite you to please join us.

THE 115th CONGRESS (2017-2018)

H.R. 113 — ENDORSE

THE SAFE ACT — Outlawing the slaughter of U.S. horses at home and abroad.

Committees: Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce » Subcommittee on Health; Referred to House Agriculture Committee »  Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture (or essentially “four committeed”.

Co-sponsors: 86 (as of this writing).

Learn more and take action »  Or go straight to POPVOX and add your voice »

H.R. 1338 — OPPOSE


Introduced in the House on March 2, 2017 by:

Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-4-TN)
2301 Rayburn House Office Building
(202) 225-6831

No Summary. See https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1338/text »

Committee(s): House Energy and Commerce » Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection

Co-Sponsors: 10 (*Originating Co-Sponsors)

Rep. Barr, Andy [R-KY-6]* 03/02/2017
Rep. Black, Diane [R-TN-6]* 03/02/2017
Rep. Blackburn, Marsha [R-TN-7]* 03/02/2017
Rep. Comer, James [R-KY-1]* 03/02/2017
Rep. Duncan, John J., Jr. [R-TN-2]* 03/02/2017
Rep. Fleischmann, Charles J. “Chuck” [R-TN-3]* 03/02/2017
Rep. Guthrie, Brett [R-KY-2]* 03/02/2017
Rep. Roe, David P. [R-TN-1]* 03/02/2017
Rep. Rogers, Harold [R-KY-5]* 03/02/2017
Rep. Palazzo, Steven M. [R-MS-4] 03/17/2017

OPPOSE H.R. 1338. The intention of this piece of legislation is to weaken the PAST (Prevent All Soring Tactics) Act by putting inspections in the hands of the abusers in the gaited horse community. The co-sponsors are all proponents of Big Lick competitions and therefore the egregious cruelty that goes hand in hand with it.

See Roy Exum: “Our Horses vs. DesJarlais“; The Chattanoogan; July 27, 2016.  See alsoAHC Opposes Horse Protection Act bill introduced by DesJarlais” on their website.

— Alternatively SUPPORT H.R. 1847 (see below or go here).

H.R. 1804 — Under Review


Introduced in U.S. House on March 30, 2017 by:

Rep. Andy Barr (R-6-KY)
1427 Longworth House Office Building
(202) 225-4706

This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to modify the accelerated depreciation allowance for race horses to allow a three-year recovery period for any race horse. (Current law limits the three-year recovery period to race horses placed in service before January 1, 2017, and race horses placed in service after December 31, 2016, that are more than two years old when placed in service by the purchaser.)

Committee(s) — House Ways and Means

Co-Sponsors: 0

• H.R. 1805 — Under Review


Introduced in U.S. House on March 30, 2017 by:

Rep. Andy Barr (R-6-KY)
1427 Longworth House Office Building
(202) 225-4706

This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code, with respect to the preferential tax treatment of gains and losses from the sale of depreciable property used in a trade or business, to eliminate “horses” from the definition of “livestock” (thus making the 24-month holding period requirement for livestock inapplicable to horses and allowing horses to be treated as capital assets subject to the existing 1-year holding period requirement).

Committee(s) — House Ways and Means

Co-Sponsors: 0

Comment: Isn’t it rich? While Kentucky State lawmakers rush a bill through reducing the status of Kentucky horses from that of a domestic animal to a livestock animal,  you have a U.S. Representative from Kentucky sponsoring a federal law that would “eliminate ‘horses’ from the definition of ‘livestock’ ” in the Internal Revenue Code. Which is it boys and girls?

Why can’t these brainiacs get together and give horses their own, unique and significant classification and build from there, not only elevating and protecting horses but also building in financial incentives for those who do so. Takers, anyone? —Editor.

• H.R. 1806 — Under Review


Introduced in U.S. House on March 30, 2017 by:

Rep. Andy Barr (R-6-KY)
1427 Longworth House Office Building
(202) 225-4706

No written summary. Go here to read the Bill’s full text »

Committee(s) — House Ways and Means

Co-Sponsors: 0

H.R. 1847 — ENDORSE

THE PAST ACT — Closes the loopholes in the Horse Protection Act that will eliminate Big Lick animal cruelty.

Committee(s): Referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Co-Sponsors: 2o8 Originating Co-Sponsors; 220 Co-Sponsors as of this writing.

Read more and take action »  Or go straight to POPVOX and add your voice »

• H.R. 2032 — Under Review


Introduced April 6, 2017 by Rep. Walter C. Jones (R-NC-3). Co-Sponsors: 0. Referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Summary: This bill directs the Department of the Interior to enter into an agreement within 180 days with the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, Currituck County, North Carolina, and the state of North Carolina to provide for the management of free-roaming wild horses in and around the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge.

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• Why do Kentucky lawmakers appear to despise horses? »

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Horse by Bob Langrish. Artwork by Vivian Grant Farrell. © The Horse Fund.

What does the election of Trump mean to America’s Horses

Updated 11:26 am


What does the it mean for America’s horses that Donald Trump was elected President?

What will change? What will not change?

In order to get anything done in Washington DC, Americans first of all need to take their country back from corporate control or at least establish some sort of footing wherein they can at least dialog with it.

Until that happens Washington DC for the most part is not where horse advocates can look for much help or improvement in the lives of America’s horses.

Horse advocates are in a stronger position to do some good at the State level.

That does not mean we vacate Washington DC. Far from it. Horse advocates must remain vigilant at the federal level.

President-Elect Trump appointed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to chair his presidential transition team.

However the Washington Post reports that, “Trump ‘has assembled a team advisors and financial supporters tied in with trophy hunting, puppy mills, factory farming, horse slaughter, and other abusive industries.’ Source.

What about the Department of Agriculture’s top job?

A Republican President means a Republican administration that will no doubt appoint a new Agriculture Secretary.

The Secretary of Agriculture is a very important appointment concerning the safety of America’s horses.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has become a somewhat unexpected champion for horses particularly on the issue of horse soring. Vilsack has served as the Agriculture Secretary the entire eight years of Obama’s presidency and I for one will be very sorry to see him go.

What sort of man will President-Elect Trump put in that spot? Hold your breath.

The Washington Post also reports that, “The president . . . has influence over several agencies that create policies that affect animals, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Bureau of Land Management. Donald Trump Jr., who is seen holding up a severed elephant tail in the Humane Society ad, has expressed interest in joining the Department of the Interior.” Source.

Notwithstanding Trump’s trophy hunting son, guess what old arch enemy of the horses still lurks in the halls of Congress?

Republican stalwart Rep. Bob “the Butcher” Goodlatte of Virginia. Remember him?

Goodlatte was one of the most ardent horse slaughter supporters on the Hill and derailed every attempt to outlaw it that he could.

As it stands today, the only federal provision standing between our horses and their return to slaughter on home soil is the annual Agriculture Appropriation’s bill that typically defunds USDA inspections necessary to export horse meat.

This does not bar the export of our horses for slaughter.

American horses are routinely sent across US borders to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. See http://horsefund.org/horse-slaughter-resources.php.

There are no longer EU-regulated horse slaughter plants in Mexico. The EU shut them down because of blatant and egregious health and safety violations. However, the slaughter of horses continues under that country’s own regulatory system.

The EU handed down a mandate a few months ago that horses shipped across US borders into Canada for the purposes of slaughter must live there for 6 months prior to slaughter, a quarantine of sorts.

Some have observed that this EU mandate means that more slaughter horses will be shipped to Mexico.

We called the Secretaria de Agricultura in Mexico. The officer we spoke with stated that Mexico will not be increasing the number of US horses allowed to cross their borders for slaughter, adding they do not have enough plants in operation to take any more with no plans to convert or build more facilities. We hope this is true.

Not surprisingly, subsequent to that conversation we learned that a movement is afoot in Congress to use the Canadian “quarantine” situation as an argument to return horse slaughter to US soil.

Instead of supporting the argument to reinstate horse slaughter in the US because it is no longer economically feasible to ship them to Canada, so where will we dump all of our “unwanted horses” (not our words, a Congressman’s), the new EU mandate actually supports the opposite argument.

The 6 months residency requirement for US horses in Canada intended for slaughter was initiated by the EU — in their minds — to allow time for whatever toxins may exist that bars them from entering the human food chain to “clear out”. These toxins exist due to the numerous and types of drugs given to American horses in their lifetimes.

Yes, we know it has long been the law that horses given Bute are forever barred from slaughter for human consumption, but for decades this has been conveniently overlooked. Bute to horses is like aspirin to humans. What human do you know who has never had an aspirin? It’s the same with horses. This virtually rules out all American horses concerning slaughter. Yet is hasn’t.

The point is this. American horse meat is toxic no matter where they are killed.

For those of you who are disappointed that Hillary Clinton was not elected President, let’s take a look to see if America’s horses would have been better off with her in the Oval Office.

Based on Mrs. Clinton’s track record, domestic horses would likely have had a much higher chance of receiving stronger protections against slaughter. Campaign staff told us that Clinton had expressed interest in giving attention to other horse cruelty issues such as horse racing and horse soring on which they were well versed.

What about America’s wild horses and burros? I say no.

As pointed out in an earlier post Clinton had already decided to give the plum role of chairing her transition team should she be elected President to former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. It was even mentioned that she considered Salazar albeit fleetingly as a Vice Presidential candidate.

We know what having Salazar in any position of power on the Hill would have implicated for America’s wild horse and burro population.

The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) regime under Salazar — whom President Obama eventually sacked — continues.

This means Mustangs are rounded up and removed from public lands, their herd management areas devastated, horded in cruel and hostile environments, with untold numbers ending up in the hands of the meat man.

A portion of these Mustangs continue to be part of the BLM’s “rewards program” where it awards million dollar contracts to a select group of ranchers to maintain wild horses on private lands.

The BLM are responsible for other horrendous practices.

One example is giving wild stallions to prison farms to teach inmates castration procedures (some of which were botched causing horrific suffering and death).

Another is the BLM’s plan to allow a University to perform experimental spaying procedures on wild mares some of which were pregnant.

Then there is its ritual announcement that it intends to “euthanize” thousands and thousands of wild horses stockpiled in holding facilities because they are running out of room and money.

What about Mr. Trump and wild horses? How is Trump likely to view this issue if he takes any view at all?

We cannot tell you. No one from Trump’s presidential campaign ever got back to us.

No matter who is in the White House. No matter what party controls the US House or Senate. Or who the Speaker is.

No matter who is appointed to head the US Department of Agriculture or the Department of the Interior and any other department impacting the lives of our horses in any way.

America’s horses both domestic and in the wild need us to keep a sharp eye on the powers that be in Washington DC and take a stand whenever and however we can to protect them. They have many enemies there.

We hope you will join us, and stay with us, and take action on behalf of our horses.



James Gagliano promotes horse racing bill that can put fox back in charge of the henhouse

Horse tied in stall. Photo credit: HorseRacingKills.com.
Horse tied in stall. Photo credit: HorseRacingKills.com.

Who is James Gagliano? Gagliano is the president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club, which is a member of the Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity.

Gagliano wrote an article for “The Hill”, Washington D.C.’s influential blog entitled, “Restoring integrity to horse racing“.

Pretty much the only bit of information in Gagliano’s composition that rings true is “. . . recent polling found that while the vast majority of adults in the U.S. called horse racing both exciting and fun to watch, only 14% had a very favorable view of the industry.”

I wonder why that is. In part the answer is the fact that the public has at long last caught on that U.S. racing matter of factly drugs and kills its horses.

I will not sport with your intelligence by laying out his argument FOR H.R. 3084. We strongly encourage you to take a stand against this weak piece of legislation. For all intents and purposes it is useless.

What we object to most concerning H.R. 3084 is that if anti-doping agency USADA withdraws is leaves horse racing once again to police itself. And we know how well that is working — a plethora of drugged and dead racehorses.

In our opinion, Gagliano and his Coalition for Horse Racing Integrity have about as much interest in promoting the health and safety of racehorses as the people who take part in horse soring, slaughter, tripping, fighting and so forth.

Come on, give racehorses a break will you?

We urge everyone who cares about the lives of American racehorses to join us in support of H.R. 2641. Find your U.S. Representative.

Jane Allin has written a comprehensive and illuminating report on this subject. Please see “Will federal legislation save American racing or help its horses? Don’t bet on it.; Tuesday’s Horse; August 14, 2015. Pdf version here.

See also Jo Anne Normile’s comparison chart relating to these two bills.

Make a donation to support our lobbying IN SUPPORT OF H.R. 2641 and against H.R. 3084. The lives of racehorses depends on it.

Learn more about H.R. 2641 at Thomas.gov.

— H.R. 2182, Coronado Heights Horseracing Deregulation Act of 2015
— S. 1174, Teller All Gone Horseracing Deregulation Act of 2015

Why is this legislation more important than any other pending before Congress? Because it would remove essential revenues that help keep horse racing alive. See Bloodhorse.com article, “Repeal Interstate Simulcast Law.”

Find your U.S. Representative [1] »
Find your U.S. Senators [2] »

Horse sorers gain 10 despicable friends in Congress

Tennessee Walking Horses competing with stacks.

Cross-posted from The Tennessean

ROY EXUM. Source image.
ROY EXUM. Source image.

The scurrilous crowd that is desperately trying to halt a national effort to eradicate horse abuse, or soring, of Tennessee Walking Horses has just gotten 10 despicable friends.

Shockingly, the 10 are actual members of Congress and seven are from Tennessee, the epicenter of a depraved and sadistic method of “training” the beautiful animals with caustic wraps and electric shocks in order to achieve an unnatural and sickening gait called the Big Lick.

Currently there is a very good bill pending in Congress called the PAST Act, which stands for “Prevent all Soring Tactics.” The bill, sponsored by Ed Whitfield (R-Ky), is quite popular; a majority 265 of 435 members of Congress are now listed as co-sponsors of H.R. 1518. A similar bill in the Senate (S. 1406), sponsored by Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), is also well on its way with 47 of 100 senators listed as co-sponsors.

But there is fierce opposition to the legislation in Tennessee. A small segment of the Walking Horse industry, called the “Big Lick” crowd, has generously funded the state’s representatives for years and as the PAST Act gained momentum, Republicans from Tennessee in both Congress and in the Senate refused to endorse the bill and some have vociferously spoken against it.

Instead, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) recently introduced an alternative bill, HR 4098, that would greatly reduce the measures being sought by Whitfield’s PAST Act. Blackburn’s bill would not only allow the grotesque pads, or stacks, which are believed to be used to hide “action devices,” but would also virtually eliminate inspection efforts called for in the PAST Act that a great many believe are now necessary to stop over a half-decade of torture and the scofflaw reaction to it.

Not surprisingly, the rest of Tennessee’s embarrassing Republicans in Congress have co-sponsored Blackburn’s laughable alternative. They are Diane Black (R-TN-6), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-4), John “Jimmy” Duncan (R-TN-2), Stephen Fincher (R-TN-8), Charles “Chuck” Fleischmann (R-TN-3), and David “Phil” Roe (R-TN-1).* The three others who have endorsed Blackburn’s bill are Garland “Andy” Barr (R-KY-6), Nick Rahall (D-WV-3), and Harold “Hal” Rogers (R-KY-5).

Dr. Whitney Miller, assistant director for the American Veterinary Medical Association, scoffed at Blackburn’s bill, saying, “In fact (it) will do nothing to protect gaited horses and stop the egregious practice of soring. This legislation is nothing more than an attempt to maintain the status quo in an industry riddled with abuse and will ensure that the broken system of seeing horses sored at an alarming rate does not have to answer for its crimes.”

So what should the Congress and the Senate do? “The PAST Act, which AVMA supports, takes many important and necessary steps to end soring,” Dr. Miller said. “It makes the act of soring illegal; overhauls the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s enforcement system; bans incentives to sore, and improves the penalty structure against violators. The bill is supported by the AVMA, AAEP, every state veterinary medical association in the United States, and many other groups and individuals.
* Including Rep. Marsha Blackburn who introduced the bill, that makes 7 out of 9 US House Representatives from the State of Tennessee who endorse the heinous acts of cruelty associated with horse soring.

Read full article Roy Exum: Our Ruse in Congress, The Tennessean, 5 March 2014.

Featured image from MSN.com


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