MAKE AMERICA SAFE FOR HORSES
The SAFEAct (S. 541/H.R. 1094) will stop the slaughter of American horses for human consumption and prohibit the transport of horses across the USA borders for slaughter. The SAFE Act is currently being considered by the Energy & Commerce and Agriculture Committees.
Please TAKE ACTION and ask your friends, family, and colleagues to do the same.
-Contact committee members: http://bit.ly/16k74fr
-Urge your local legislators to Co-Sponsor the SAFEAct: http://bit.ly/11AuGH9
In addition, contact legislators throughout the country by way of email, phone calls, and fax communications.
~ Horses For Life
Source: Animal Legal Defense Fund
Horse slaughter for human consumption has been outlawed in the United States for many years, but a recent push by the animal agriculture lobby aims to open the slaughterhouse doors to horses once again.
Fortunately, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 1094/S. 541) was recently introduced in Congress. The SAFE Act aims to protect the food supply in the United States from the dangers that consumption of horse meat poses—since horses aren't raised to be food in the United States, there are no meaningful safeguards to ensure that the consumption of horse meat is safe. Many horses, such as racehorses, are treated with drugs that would harm a human if eaten, according to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
If passed, the SAFE Act would prohibit people from selling or transporting equines and equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for human consumption. Aside from the fact that eating horse meat likely poses a serious threat to human
health, ALDF takes the position that caring for horses is important in its own right—regardless of what purpose a horse may be used for. Horses should be cared for and respected—not eaten. This bill presents a good opportunity to prevent the horse slaughter industry from being revived in our country.
The SAFE Act is currently being considered by the Energy & Commerce and Agriculture Committees. Take action today to respectfully demand a full hearing on the bill pending in each chamber. We are confident that if the bill receives the full attention of our lawmakers it will pass—and our laws will be stronger in protecting horses from cruel and inhumane practices. We urge you to take five minutes and use our one-click action form to contact the members of these committees.>> Take Action!
The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Agriculture, Forestry & Conservation will be making a decision on L.D.1286, a bill that would ban the slaughter, sale and transport of horses intended for human consumption.
Committee members need to hear from animal advocates in great numbers over the next few weeks or this important equine-protection measure may never advance to the full House or Senate for a vote. Contact members of the committee and urge them to vote “YES” on L.D.1286.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION —► http://bit.ly/ZS7oxZ
ROSWELL, N.M. - Agents of the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted a walk-through of Valley Meat Co. on Tuesday, days after the Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue submitted a notice of intent to sue if the agency agrees to provide inspections required for the facility to slaughter horses.
The walkthrough does not constitute a final determination for Valley Meat, according to attorney Bruce Wagman, a partner at the Schiff Hardin law firm who represents both potential plaintiffs. "It means they did an inspection of the facility for certain criteria,"Wagman said. "It doesn't at all mean that there's an approval of horse slaughter. The walkthrough is part of a chain of events, sort of like saying once you get the nomination that you're actually the president. You may get nominated, but that doesn't mean you're going to win."
In their submission, Larkspur, Colo.-based Front Range Equine Rescue and the national Humane Society note that horse slaughter is a threat to the environment and to wildlife in the vicinity.
USDA activity related to Valley Meat is not necessarily affected by the notice of intent to sue, Wagman said. However, he emphasized that opening a horse slaughterhouse would require a final grant of inspection by the USDA, not just a walkthrough.
In threatening to sue, the organizations say wastewater and other slaughterhouse byproducts produced at Valley Meat could damage the habitats of several threatened or endangered species. That means more obstacles to approval for the plant, Wagman said.
"In order to approve the site as a slaughterhouse," he said, "USDA is required to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service over the potential damage to those endangered species and their critical habitats."
Valley Meat is located near the South Spring and Pecos rivers, Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Bottomless Lakes State Park. Among species mentioned in the notice are the Pecos bluntnose shiner, three snail species and a freshwater
Should the USDA give Valley Meat final approval, owner Ricardo De Los Santos still faces other obstacles. Wagman said plans to export the meat to eastern Europe and Asia would not comply with the New Mexico Food Act.
"Under New Mexico food law, horse meat is adulterated and cannot be sold," he said. "You can't sell it to somebody else, either. Doesn't mean, 'Oh, you can sell it to Europeans.' It means it can't be sold - period."
In the New Mexico Food Act, revised in 1993, Chapter 25, Article 2 refers to adulterated or misbranded food. The text is online at nmenv.state.nm.us.
Source: The Toledo Blade, by Tanya Irwin
Lake Schools in Ohio is planning to go ahead with a donkey basketball fund-raiser at its high school today despite several efforts to stop the event. Virginia Holmes of Walbridge, who has two elementary-aged children in the district, has set up a petition on a Web site to sign in favor of banning the event. As of Monday afternoon, the petition, which can be seen at: http://tinyurl.com/bandonkeyball, had 364 signatures.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also sent out an Action Alert via email urging recipients to send Lake Schools officials emails expressing their concerns about the game. They suggested addressing them to Jim Witt, superintendent of schools; Lee Herman, principal of Lake High School; and Dolores Swineford, assistant principal of Lake High School. None of the three replied to attempts for comment Monday.
“Donkey basketball games are loud, chaotic, and utterly bizarre events in which docile animals are pulled, shoved, screamed at, whipped, and forced to carry riders who are too heavy for them,” said Gemma Vaughan, a caseworker in PETA’s cruelty investigations department. “Used again and again, the donkeys are lugged from place to place for months on end in small, poorly ventilated vehicles — with no consideration for their welfare, safety, or happiness.”
Equines subjected to such stress can develop unpredictable temperaments that put riders and bystanders at risk, Ms. Vaughan said. “There has been a record of injuries associated with donkey basketball games, including a case in which an injured participant successfully sued a school for more than $110,000 in damages,” she added.
Mrs. Holmes calls the event “sadistic” and said she is concerned the district is getting away from its professed values: “responsible,” “respectful,” and “ready to learn." “There is nothing ‘responsible’ or ‘respectful’ about teaching the children
that abuse and humiliation is OK if the target is an animal,” she said. “This behavior should not be allowed or encouraged in any of its forms.” Mrs. Holmes wrote a letter to Mr. Witt and copied Mr. Herman and Ms. Swineford.
The high school principal responded, stating that in past games, he never witnessed abuse of the animals. The school’s superintendent also responded to her letter. “He said he discussed the petition with the principals, and they decided to
continue with the fund-raiser plans as they have a non-refundable deposit they would lose and an extra fee charge for cancelling so close [to] the date,” she said.
Mrs. Holmes said her research turned up no similar events in northwest Ohio.“This is the only district that is doing it,” she said. “Others do an ‘all-stars’ basketball fund-raiser and other events. Springfield Schools used to do it but has stopped.”
The Ohio Voters for Companion Animals also is urging area residents to voice their concerns to the school district’s leaders. The group posted about the event on its Facebook page.
Horses for Life, a national group dedicated to ending horse abuse, also posted about the event, saying: “We are not endorsing this activity, we are asking people to take action to have this activity stopped. No donkey should be used as a makeshift party favor, nor should young people be given the message that this sort of objectification is acceptable.”
The school district’s Web site states that advance tickets for the event are $6, while tickets at the door are $8. Children 6 and under are free. Funds raised will be used for events for graduating seniors. The school invites children as young as preschoolers to be spectators, Mrs. Holmes said.
“There’s another serious, but delicate, side of this event: The bullying,” she said. “Since the donkey does not care if people call it names, mock him, or use put-downs and humiliation, the school brings young children to engage in it. But bullying is bullying regardless of the target. The school is encouraging this as acceptable, and this is so bad for our young children.”
Four years ago the BLM conducted a helicopter roundup in the South Steens Herd Management Area (HMA) and removed hundreds of wild horses from
the range and then stockpiled them into long-term holding pens. Now the BLM is planning another roundup in the HMA, targeting over 300 horses for removal.
72% of the forage in this HMA is allocated to a private rancher who grazes his livestock on our public lands at tax-subsidized rates. Clearly there is ample room for adjusting forage allocations to maintain the current South Steens wild horses on the range where they belong.
Please send a message to the Bureau of Land Management via this action alert created by American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign —► http://bit.ly/ZjCPSh Deadline for comments is 4/29. Thank you!
Amid the unfolding horse-meat scandal, a New Mexico slaughterhouse (Pecos Valley Meat Co.) has moved closer to becoming the first in the United States since 2007 to be allowed to process horses for human consumption. Owner, Rick De Los Santos, has been seeking U.S.D.A. approval for his processing plant in Roswell, N.M., since December 2011.
“Grants will not be issued until an establishment is able to produce a safe product in accordance with the Federal Meat Inspection Act,” said an Agriculture Departmen spokeswoman, Catherine Cochran.
In 2009 and 2010, the U.S.D.A. itself suspended inspection of Pecos Valley Meats, effectively suspending its operations, after finding problems with its sanitation and food safety program including “inadequate” testing for E. coli and “irregularities” in the segregation and disposal of “specified risk materials.”
On Monday, an advocacy group for horses sent a letter to the U.S.D.A., asking it not to grant permission for Mr. De Los Santos to operate the facility because he had failed to disclose two felonies on his original application form, as well as on a second, subsequent form.
“Is this really a guy we want to be operating a regulated business, one in which the U.S.D.A. will rely on his representations?” said Bruce A. Wagman, a lawyer representing Front Range Equine Rescue, the advocacy group.
Read full New York Times Article: http://nyti.ms/13sEtQR
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco and Sen. Kathleen Marchione seek Ban on Horse Slaughter in the state of New York
Source: Associated Press
GREENFIELD, N.Y. — Two state lawmakers will join the owner of a Kentucky Derby winner at an upstate ranch for retired thoroughbreds to announce stricter legislation aimed at preventing any horses from being shipped out of New York for slaughter.
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (teh-DES'-koh) and Sen. Kathleen Marchione
will be at the Old Friends at Cabin Creek in the Saratoga County town of Greenfield on Thursday morning to announce new legislation aimed at protecting horses from being sold for slaughter. The ranch is located near the Saratoga Race Course. They'll be joined by Jack Knowlton, owner of 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide, and others in the thoroughbred industry. The lawmakers say thousands of horses are taken to Canada or Mexico each year for slaughter and the meat shipped overseas for consumption.
New Mexico Attorney General Gary King released a statement questioning the safety and risks associated with eating horse meat. The comments come as Roswell moves closer to opening a proposed horse slaughtering plant.
King said current laws on the books will keep New Mexicans from consuming horse meat because of the chemical substances routinely used on horses. "As Attorney General, I have specific authority to enforce New Mexico food safety laws that are applicable to such a facility in our state," he said in a statement.
If the horse slaughter plant is approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, King said his office will watch it closely. "I will vigorously pursue all legal remedies available to me if we discover any violations of New Mexico food safety laws."
Legislation to End Rampant Cruelty in Tennessee Walking Horse Competitions Endorsed by Animal Welfare Organizations
The Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA support Horse Protection Act amendments that make key reforms including elimination of corrupt industry self-policing scheme.
Animal welfare organizations applaud members of Congress for introducing federal legislation to stop the cruel practice of “soring”—the deliberate infliction of pain to the hooves and legs of horses to produce an artificial high-stepping gait that gains unfair competitive advantage at horse shows. The Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act of 2013, H.R. 1518, was introduced by lead sponsors U.S. Reps. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., along with Reps Joseph Pitts, R-Pa., Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., and Jim Moran, D-Va., as original cosponsors.
The PAST Act strengthens the Horse Protection Act, originally passed in 1970. The bipartisan bill is endorsed by The Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, and the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), along with a broad and unusually diverse coalition of horse industry and veterinary organizations, including the American Horse Council, American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Veterinary Medical Association and Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.
The Horse Protection Act was enacted more than 40 years ago, but the systematic abuse of Tennessee walking horses and related breeds persists. Unscrupulous trainers spend their efforts devising a gruesome array of techniques to make it painful for these gentle creatures to take even a step, so they will lift their front legs extremely high in the unnatural gait known as “the Big Lick,” rewarded by judges at some of this industry’s horse competitions.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, said: “Without these strong amendments to the decades-old Horse Protection Act, ‘Big Lick’ show horses will continue to suffer at the hands of unethical trainers and owners who abuse
horses to win blue ribbons. We’ve upgraded our federal laws in recent years relating to dogfighting and cockfighting, and now it’s time to do so for horse soring.”
Rep. Whitfield said: “Far too often, those involved in showing the Tennessee walking horses have turned a blind eye to abusive trainers, or when they do take action, the penalties are so minor, it does nothing to prevent these barbaric acts. Thisamendment does not cost the federal government any additional money and is essential in helping to put an end to the practice of soring by abusive trainers.”
Rep. Cohen said: “In Tennessee, soring horses is illegal and unacceptable. Those responsible for abusing these horses should be punished severely and banned from the sport. How we treat animals is a direct reflection of our character, both as individuals and a nation. There is no ribbon, no prize nor championship worth the price of one’s humanity.”
Former Sen. Joseph Tydings, D-Md., the author and original sponsor of the Horse Protection Act of 1970, said: “I commend Congressman Whitfield on his leadership in organizing this bipartisan effort to strengthen and improve the Horse Protection Act of 1970, which is long overdue and greatly needed.”
A 2010 USDA Office of Inspector General audit of the agency’s Horse Protection Act enforcement program found that trainers in the industry go to great lengths to evade detection of the cruelty to which they subject their horses, rather than comply with federal law and use humane training methods. The O.I.G. audit also pointed out the serious conflicts of interest in the current system, which allows inspectors to be chosen by the horse industry organizations representing the trainers and putting on the competitions.
Key reforms in H.R. 1518:
HORSES FOR LIFE