To recess or not to recess; to call or not to call

US Capitol Dome and Flag.
US Capitol Dome and Flag. Click to donate to The Horse Fund. Thank you.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — August is typically a time when Congress adjourns for the month and lawmakers return to their constituencies — or in other words, go home.

This is not a typical Congress and August it seems will not be a typical month. Senators are probably the least likely to get out of town even though they seem hard to find except for Sen. Mitch McConnell who is probably afraid to go home.

It may not seem like a good to call. Anytime is a good time!

Offices continue to be staffed regardless of our lawmakers’ whereabouts, so please continue to call. If you cannot connect with anyone at your lawmakers’ D.C. offices, then please call them at their local office nearest you.

Look up your two U.S. Senators here »

Look up your U.S. Representatives here (need your zip +4 code) »

Please continue calling the U.S. House to end horse slaughter »

Join the Horse on the Hill™ Gang »

In the meantime, D.C. appears to be melting down quicker than the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.  And not from the heat outside.

The Washington Post reports:

Talks between the White House and the Senate’s top Republican and Democrat broke up Tuesday with no progress on raising the country’s debt ceiling, an impasse that threatens a financial crisis if left unresolved.

The Senate and House have 12 joint working days before Sept. 29, when the Treasury Department says it would no longer be able to pay all of the government’s bills unless Congress acts. A default would likely set off a major disruption to the world financial system, with a stock market crash and surging interest rates that could send the economy into a recession.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has urged Congress for months to raise the debt limit, but the White House has lacked a unified message and run into resistance on Capitol Hill, where Democrats and Republicans are at odds on key tax and spending issues.

Diversionary Tactic?

This is possibly a diversionary tactic so we worry while certain among them go about their dirty work unnoticed.

Stay Focused

Do not let this allow you to take your eye off the ball. Keep the pressure on legislators. Don’t let them get away with a darn thing.

Calling all Americans to call their lawmakers in Washington to take a strong stand on behalf of American horses. Photographer unknown.
Calling all Americans to call their lawmakers in Washington to take a strong stand on behalf of American horses. Photographer unknown.

Online Contact

We are not unsympathetic and realize there are some of you who do not feel comfortable making phone calls.

This is a good time to use your lawmakers online contact form. Use the “Look up …” links above to find them. Tip: Write up what you want to say. Review it until you are comfortable. Copy and paste!

Our Legislative Wish List

Here are a few items on our Legislative Wish List for horses. We feel they are all reasonable and doable. What do you want? Add yours in comments.

  1. We want horse slaughter banned.
  2. We want the export of horses for slaughter banned.
  3. We want federally protected wild horses and burros left on public lands to live out their lives at liberty, unharassed by the federal government, as the original law intended.
  4. We want a humane plan developed and implemented to relocate wild horses and burros currently stockpiled  by the federal government and its contractors back to their original lands, or lands similar to the ones they were taken from.
  5. We want our wild horses and burros made safe from any form of human use or interference.
  6. We want the Horse Protection Act strengthened so there is not a single loophole wherein serial animal abusers can get away with the obnoxious and grossly cruel practice of horse soring.
  7. We want a federally appointed Commissioner of Horse Racing to govern what has become a massively abusive and murderous industry rife with drugging and cheating who is also empowered to work with federal authorities to send its culprits to jail for race fixing among other egregious crimes.

What would you like to see? Join us in comments.

Take Action in Your State

Action at the State level concerning slaughter and live export for slaughter is also critical in case we have any sort of failure at the Federal level.

Learn how here »

Thank you everyone. You are massively important to the success of these campaigns and we appreciate your efforts.

Racing through the slaughter pipeline — Remember Ferdinand and Exceller

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — U.S. horse racing has an increasingly worsening reputation regarding the treatment of its racehorses chiefly because of the egregious use of illicit drugs and the tragic stream of breakdowns and deaths of racehorses. A recent trend is the alarming number of breakdown and deaths of racehorses as young as two and three during training before they ever make it onto a racecourse. See Patrick Battuello’s site “Horseracing Wrongs” for details.

Some attempt to point out that not all horse racing is as evil as what goes on in the U.S., that in other racing jurisdictions around the world they train and race their horses in a cleaner, more ethical fashion whose horses consequently suffer fewer breakdowns and death.

That may well be true. However, whether this is factual in whole or in part, there is one issue that all of horse racing has in common and it is this — the slaughter of its racehorses.

Jane Allin is unrivalled in her research and reporting on horse racing in N. America. Several years ago, Allin wrote a report called “Racing Through the Slaughter Pipeline” which we have published on our website.

We republish below Part 1 of “Horse Racing Through the Slaughter Pipeline” entitled, “Food for Thought”.  We invite you to read further than Part 1 via the links provided following this excerpt to get an insight into the bloodiness and death endemic to the so called “sport” of horse racing.


Racing through the Slaughter Pipeline
Part 1: Food for Thought, by JANE ALLIN

 *  *  *

“Graceful and sleek, the beautiful bay racehorse was used to the thunder of applause as she swept past the grandstand – not the sound of a rifle. The seven-year-old mare had raced at courses up and down the country, nostrils flaring, long neck straining and mane flying in the wind as she approached the winning post. However, earlier this month, her career ended unceremoniously with one last outing – to the slaughterhouse.  She was led into a 12 ft square metal stall and killed with a bullet fired from the ‘meat man’s’ .22 rifle into her brain.  No more crowds, galloping hooves up the home straight or champagne corks popping.  That single shot was the last sound she heard.” [1]

 *  *  *

FOR DECADES horse racing has been touted as the “Sport of Kings”, resplendent with charismatic beauty, energy and awe-inspiring competition of humankind’s most celebrated and noble companions.

What once began as a sport that captivated the masses in pursuit of exhilarating recreation and honed the excellence of horsemanship required in battle has now become but a mass-producing genetic assembly line in an absurd quest for racing excellence fueled by greed.

The consequences of this development are not pretty.

The multi-billion dollar racing industry cultivates the fallacious impression of retired racehorses living lives of luxury, grazing in fields of Kentucky bluegrass, serving as pampered family pets or well-provided-for riding horses and the like.

In reality the vast majority of thoroughbreds (2 out of every 3) coming off the track, regardless of their health, are either euthanized, abandoned or slaughtered for their meat.

Most of these are young, healthy horses who simply have not met their owner’s expectations or injured during the grueling task of training and racing while pumped full of drugs. [2]

Only a small number of the whole are considered good enough for breeding which is primarily reserved for only the best in the industry. For thousands of Thoroughbreds that do not make the grade, whatever the reason, the end is both terrifying and brutal.

Intentional or not, the horse racing industry now subsists as a principal tributary of the slaughter pipeline ― a confluence where magnificent bloodstock race for their lives toward the equine version of the river Styx ― the river that separates the world of the living from that of the dead.
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[1] http://tiny.cc/5thkg
[2] Allin, Jane; “The Chemical Horse,” Int’l Fund for Horses

• Read more . . .

Part 1: Food for Thought  |  Part 2: The Racehorse as a Commodity  |  Part 3: A Convenient Alternative  |  Part 4: Racehorse Slaughter Knows No Boundaries  |  Part 5: Darkness at the End of the Pipeline

 *  *  *

Remember Ferdinand. Remember Exceller.

Two former U.S. horse racing stars who met their deaths in foreign slaughterhouses drew major attention to the fact that racehorses were being slaughtered not only abroad but also at home. They were Ferdinand and Exceller. Ferdinand was slaughtered in Japan and Exceller was slaughtered in Sweden.

The New York Times reported Ferdinand’s tragic demise this way:

Victories in the 1986 Kentucky Derby and the 1987 Breeders’ Cup Classic figured to have earned Ferdinand a cushy retirement when his racing days were over. Instead, his life apparently ended in a grisly manner, in a Japanese slaughterhouse in 2002, according to the racing industry trade magazine The Blood-Horse, which will report his death in its issue dated July 26. It is believed that his carcass was used to make pet food.

The Exceller Fund tells us this about the brutal and terrifying end of Exceller’s life, handed over to meet his grisly fate by someone he had bonded with and trusted.

Best remembered as the only horse to beat two Triple Crown winners, he [Exceller] proved his quality on a global scale by winning graded or Group 1 stakes on both sides of the Atlantic.

Exceller stopped being Exceller when breeder interest waned. At that point, he became just another horse. His final destination was similar to that of an estimated three million American horses from 1986-’96.

Anne Pagmar, who led him to slaughter, said Exceller knew what was going on. He smelled blood and expressed fear. Tied off and hung by a single hind limb, fractious horses thrash while their executioners bludgeon and bludgeon. They are alive when their throats are cut and they are bled to death.

One American horseman, when told of Exceller’s last walk, said, “They have to die sometime.”

Not everyone has grown cold. Christine Picavet galloped horses after coming to America from France, and one of those horses was Exceller. She went on to become a noted artist and she painted the horse twice. She still bears the scar of a playful bite. When she heard Exceller’s story, she struggled for words describing his generosity and kind disposition. Then, in tears, she apologized, begged for time to compose herself and put the phone down.

Take Action Against Horse Slaughter

There is something you can do in memory of Ferdinand and Exceller and all horses brutally slaughtered for human consumption.

Write or call your U.S. Representative and ask them to co-sponsor and use their influence to pass the SAFE Act — H.R. 113 — that bans horse slaughter and closes the export to slaughter loophole for all horses including racehorses. Go here for more information on how to help.

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FEATURED IMAGE
The 142nd annual Run for the Roses, better known as the Kentucky Derby, which takes place in Louisville, Kentucky. The race for 3-year-old Thoroughbred horses began in 1875 and takes place annually at Churchill Downs.

Photo Credit: Here They Come (c) Dave Black http://www.daveblackphotography.com.

FURTHER READING

See also “10 Dark Secrets From the World of Horse Racing” here »

Bill introduced in the U.S. House to prevent the slaughter of horses

Federal legislation to prevent the re-establishment of horse slaughter on U.S. soil, bar the live export of horses for the purposes of slaughter, and protect the public from the consumption of toxic horse meat was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, April 22, 2015.

H.R. 1942, also referred to as the SAFE Act, is sponsored by Rep. Frank C. Guinta (R-NH-1) and has 41 originating co-sponsors.

“For centuries, horses have embodied the spirit of American freedom and pride,” said Rep. Guinta. “To that end, horses are not raised for food – permitting their transportation for the purposes of being slaughtered for human consumption is not consistent with our values and results in a dangerously toxic product. This bipartisan bill seeks to prevent and end the inhumane and dangerous process of transporting thousands of horses a year for food.”

Rep. Michelle Lujan Griffin (D-NM-1) who helped introduce the bill stated, “Horse slaughter is an inhumane practice that causes great pain and distress to the animals, and poses numerous environmental and food safety concerns. The vast majority of my constituents oppose horse slaughter. I’m proud to support the SAFE Act to ban this cruelty once and for all.”

The bill was referred to two Committees – the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Agriculture.

Featured Image Credit: Horses driven into a holding pen for export for slaughter. Photo by Kathy Milani for HSUS.

US Senate Committee passes horse slaughter ban for fiscal year 2015

Beauty was a ‘throwaway’, a horse nobody seemed to want, slaughter bound in a feedlot. 'Well, I wanted her!' says the lady who rescued her.
Beauty was a ‘throwaway’, a horse nobody seemed to want, slaughter bound in a feedlot. ‘Well, I wanted her!’ says the lady who rescued her. A federal bill protecting U.S. horses from slaughter called the SAFE Act is currently pending. Please contact Washington today to support it.

HORSE ON THE HILL UPDATE

Washington DC — On May 22, 2014, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill (S.2389).  This bill provides funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the 2015 fiscal year (October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015).

The bill contains several provisions that impact equine health, safety and welfare, including a provision that will prohibit funding for USDA inspections at U.S. horse slaughter facilities necessary for domestic horse meat to be exported for human consumption.

HORSE SLAUGHTER

A provision in the consolidated appropriations bill for fiscal year 2014 prohibits the USDA from using federal funds to pay for inspections at horse slaughter plants in the U.S. and ends September 30, 2014.

President Obama’s budget for fiscal year 2015 requests that Congress forbid the USDA from using any of its funds for such inspections.

Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) offered an amendment to the FY2015 U.S. Agriculture Appropriations bill prohibiting the USDA from funding inspections at horse slaughter facilities. It passed the Senate Appropriations Committee by a vote of 18-12.

This amendment prevents horse slaughter facilities from operating in the U.S.

Similar action is expected in the U.S. House of Representatives.

HORSE PROTECTION ACT

The FY2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill also provides funding of $705,000 for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act which makes it illegal to sore a horse, an increase of $8,000 over the FY2014 budget.

APHIS

The FY2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill provides funding of $872.4 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

APHIS is a USDA agency responsible for conducting regulatory and control programs to protect and improve the health of plants and animals. This includes responding to contagious equine disease outbreaks. It sets funding for Equine, Cervid, and Small Ruminant health at $19.6 million, an increase of $117,000 over the FY2014 budget.

The Committee will now send the FY2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill to the full Senate for approval.
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While this is welcome news, and keeps horse slaughter plants from re-opening on U.S. soil, it does not keep U.S. horses from being sent across the border to Mexico and Canada for the purposes of slaughter. The SAFE Act, currently pending before Congress, closes this loophole.

How you can support the SAFE Act »