Today, President Obama signed into law an omnibus $1.1 trillion, 1,582-page spending bill that contains some very good news for horses and those of us who love them.
Most immediately, the Act ensures that horses will not be slaughtered for human consumption in this country for the time being—restoring a ban on using any Federal dollars to inspect horse slaughter facilities. Without those government inspections, slaughterhouses are not legally able to comply with Federal Meat Inspection Act standards.
Although no horse has been legally slaughtered for food on U.S. soil since the remaining plants were finally shut down in 2007, last year three facilities in New Mexico, Iowa & Missouri were granted permits to start slaughtering horses again—after one plant sued the USDA to allow the killing to begin. This was only possible because Congress’s previous inspection funding ban expired in 2011, demonstrating that targeting inspections is at best a temporary and tenuous tool in the effort to permanently protect American horses from harm.
Indeed, letting this provision lapse has led a tumultuous, high-stakes battle this past year—with the USDA initially issuing permits to slaughter horses, animal advocates suing to stop them, courts imposing injunctions to halt the process (and then rescinding them), local and state agencies denying permits, and even current and former Governors weighing in publicly to try and stop the killing. It has been a massive drain of time, resources, and energy for all involved.
Thankfully horse slaughter has again been derailed, but just for the moment, as this renewed ban lasts only through September 30, 2014, the end of the fiscal year. In order to truly bring an end to this abhorrent practice, it is time to urge your members of congress to pass the Safeguard American Foods Export (SAFE) Act S. 541 and H.R. 1094. This bill would permanently ban the domestic slaughter of horses and halt the export of American horses for slaughter abroad by prohibiting the “sale or transport of horses in interstate or foreign commerce for purposes of human consumption.” Please make a call today.
But wait, that’s not all… Today’s enacted spending bill also restored protections for wild horses as well. Using the same funding ban tactic, the bill prohibits the expenditure of Federal funds on “the destruction of healthy, unadopted, wild horses and burros…or for the sale of wild horses and burros that results in their destruction for processing into commercial products.” This helps fix a 2004 spending amendment that removed 34-year old protections and allowed the Bureau of Land Management to sell wild horses for slaughter if they were over ten years old or had failed to be adopted at least three times.
Additionally, today’s bill grants the U.S. Forest service authority to spend or transfer funds to help adopt wild horses and burros from National Forest System lands, and also for the BLM to enter into 10-year agreements “for the long-term care and maintenance of excess wild free roaming horses and burros” on private lands.
All-in-all a great day for American horses…but there is still much work to be done.
Now let’s get the SAFE Act passed and make these protections permanent.
Source: Animal Legal Defense Fund by Chris Green
Source: The Examiner by Tracy Campion
On July 8, 2013, the Oregon Humane Society announced that important legal protections for the animals were recently passed by the Oregon state legislature.The Omnibus Animal Welfare Bill, SB6, was passed by both state legislative branches on July 6. The provisions of this bill include the following:
- Recognizes the link between human violence and animal cruelty by elevating penalties for any animal crime committed when there are prior convictions for domestic violence or when in the presence of a minor.
-Grants judges stronger abilities to sentence animal offenders to prison.
- Affords new protections to horses and other livestock by barring those convicted of animal neglect or abuse from possessing horses and other livestock
- Expands state oversight of rescue groups, requiring licensing and permitting inspections.
"This legislation is a big step forward for Oregon's animals. My thanks go to all the animal lovers in our state who let their opinions be known," stated Sharon Harmon, Oregon Humane Society's executive director.
This bill also increases penalties for any crime involving 11 or more pets. This new provision will be a powerful tool
against hoarders and those charged with neglecting large numbers of animals. In cases where animal cruelty is under investigation by law enforcement, the forfeiture and foreclosure process will be streamlined, allowing animals seized
in cruelty cases to be placed into adoptive homes sooner.
Several animal organizations collaborated on this landmark legislation, including: The Animal Legal Defense Fund, The Oregon Humane Society, the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, the Oregon Farm Bureau, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Oregon Dairyman's Association.
Legislators also passed SB 835, which bans horse tripping in Oregon state rodeos. Horse tripping involves using a rope to pull down a moving horse. The practice has been banned in other states because horses can potentially break bones and sustain spinal damage. According to the American Horse Defense Fund, horse tripping involves roping the front or hind legs of a galloping horse, on foot or on horseback. This causes the horse to trip and come crashing to the ground.
Horse tripping is practiced in 3 of the 9 events held in the charreada, or Mexican-style rodeo. Horse tripping is intentional and points are awarded for dropping the horse.
>>Read Full Article
Support the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 1094/S. 541).
Horse slaughter for human consumption has been outlawed in the United States for many years, and the SAFE Act aims to protect the food supply in the United States from the dangers that consumption of horse meat poses.
Consuming horse meat likely poses a serious threat to human health, and the public should be protected from these unsafe products.
Click Here to send an email to the members of the committees currently considering passage of the Safeguard American Food Exports Act and respectfully demand a full hearing on the bill pending in each chamber.
Skimtheexcess on the track.
A Windsor man accused of starving a former race horse to death won't serve jail time under a plea bargain with prosecutors Friday that angered animal rights activists.
Mark Ross, 49, was charged with felony animal cruelty in the death of Skimtheexcess, a six-year-old thoroughbred that died on his family's Jensen Lane ranch in 2010. Advocates said it was allowed to starve beside another horse that received regular feedings. An indentation of the gelding's rib cage was left behind when its emaciated body was pulled from the mud.
On the eve of trial, Ross accepted a prosecution offer that reduced his charge to a misdemeanor in exchange for a $500 donation to a horse rescue group and 200 hours of volunteer work. He also was ordered not to keep horses during his three-year informal probation.
Horse activists who attended his hearing criticized the punishment as a “wrist slap.” They heckled Ross as he left the courthouse with taunts of “You got off cheap” and “We'll be watching you.”
“What happened to that horse was an atrocity,” said Petaluma activist Siobhan Duff. Ross said he didn't intentionally
kill the horse, which was owned by his niece. He switched its food to alfalfa on the advice of an expert and allowed it to graze in an open pasture. When it collapsed one night, he said he was shocked. “It was like losing a family member to us,” Ross said after the hearing. We did try to help that horse. It's absurd to suggest we didn't.” His niece, Nicole Ross, 29, pleaded no contest last fall to felony animal cruelty and was ordered to serve 45 days
District Attorney Jill Ravitch said Friday that Mark Ross' punishment was appropriate given his role in the case. He faced up to three years in jail if convicted of the original charge, she said. “This is about accountability,” Ravitch said. “It's also about sending a message to the community that if you can't care for an animal, call someone to assist you. Don't just leave them to die.”
Horse lovers said it was among the worst cases of animal neglect in Sonoma County in recent years. A veterinarian testified at a preliminary hearing that Skimthexcess, which was raced at Bay Area tracks, was about 500 pounds under weight when he died.
Katie Moore, executive director of CHANGE, Coins to Help Abandoned and Neglected Equines, said a necropsy revealed
the horse had depleted its fat reserves by not being adequately fed. Its bone marrow content — a common measure of horse nutrition — was found to be just 2 percent when it should have been closer to 90 percent, she said.
She said the horse died beside an Arabian horse that was boarded next to it.“The horse absolutely starved to death,” said Moore, whose organization will get the $500.
You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or email@example.com.