Yes, 2014 is the year of the horse -according to the Chinese calender.
But my query refers to this year truly being a year when these beautiful
creatures will get much needed protection from the exploitation of
man. They suffer in many ways - from owners who neglect to give
them proper care- from greedy race track owners who only view them as
goals to reap huge sums of money in racing events, and from the poor
horses in N.Carolina who are subjected to the terrible practice of
sorring which makes them high step as a result of the horrible pain
to their hooves and legs.
Even our government has a track record of indifference and exploitation
of the wild horses of the West. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has
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for years -under all the presidents of the recent past- consistently
tried successfully to water down the 1971 Horse a nd Burro Protection Act-
an Act won by the hard work of Wild Horse Annie (Velma Johnston). Were
she alive, she would be truly heartbroken re the BLM's treatment of these
majestic free-roaming horses who often end up on the plates of Europe's
Her presence is still felt by the horse organization she started -
International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB)
which is admirably led today by Karen Sussman. When her bulletins
appear in my mail box, I know I will be kept abreast of all the recent
news re the wild horses of the West.
Her last offering spoke of the foals freezing to death in one of the two
recent polar blasts to the upper tier of the US- experienced by many of us
as well in January. Sadly, she also reported that many cattle perished from
this deep freeze too. What a terrible way to die. Should the cattle have
been there in the first place?
Our public lands were deeded to the wild horses of the west by the 1971
protection act, but the BLM has also given access to these grazing lands to
cattle barons. Isn't this a violation of using public lands for private
And probably- to ensure grazing for the cattle, the BLM has been using
helicopters periodically to run off horses from their home. The horses find
the whirring blades of the helicopters frightening and run for their lives.
Some will not see day's end as they run to exhaustion in the heat- without
water or rest. This must be particularly cruel for pregnant mares and
young foals. One of the horses ran himself to the ground and died. There
were probably others who suffered the same fate. I think this is a cruel
act funded by our tax dollars.
TWO VERY DIFFERENT WOMEN - SENATOR MARY LANDRIEU AND SUE WALLIS.
When you think about horses - these two women will often be mentioned. One
is a champion of the horses and the other would love to see horse slaughter-
houses spring up in the US once again.
Senator Landrieu and a few other compassionate legislators have consistently
championed the rights of these beautiful free-roaming horses who are to
any thinking person an expression and symbol of America -the land of the
free. Sadly, not all legislators look upon them this way and in 2005 -
the then Senator Conrad Burns from Montana slipped into an appropriation
bill an amendment which gave authority to the USDA to inspect horse
Some horse slaughterhouses were quickly built and the slaughtering of our
wild horses began. T he horse meat was sent for the tables of Belgium, Japan,
and other countries which eat horse flesh.
Thankfully, members like legislators Landrieu, Moran, Whitfield, and Rahall
were able to introduce the Horse Protection Act in 2007, and this act closed
down the slaughterhouses in the US. Unfortunately, it did not stop the
unscrupulous "meat" men from snapping up the horses the BLM auctioned off,
and these were sent to the cruel slaughterhouses of Mexico and Canada. The
crowded trip to these two countries was extremely painful for our horses, and
the eventual slaughter was horrific, especially in Mexico. This still continues
today. Do you wonder why I have little respect for our Presidents and Congress?
Cruelty to animals in no form should be tolerated. I believe that the
majority of Americans would agree with me in this matter.
SUE WALLIS, a Wyoming legislator, has consistently lobbied for the re-opening
of horse slaughterhouses in the US. I was surprised to read recently that this
middle-aged legislator and fierce proponent of horse slaughter died this year.
And then the wonderful news this year that SENATOR LANDRIEU was able to get
an amendment into the new Farm Bill which would not allow for the inspection
of US horse slaughter houses in the US. The building of horse slaughterhouses this
year was pretty close to becoming a reality, but with this amendment, our horses
are safe - at least for the time being from being slaughtered in the US.
Sadly though- our horses that are still being rounded up by the BLM helicopters
are being auctioned off and most are sold to the meat men who send them to the
slaughterhouses of Canada and Mexico.
I am disappointed in the new Sec. of the Interior -Sally Jewell. I had hoped
she would be concerned about our wild horses, but she has okayed two more
helicopter round-ups. The one good thing is that she is looking into finding
a horse contraceptive - something we should have done years ago to help keep
wild horse numbers manageable.
WANT TO STOP OUR HORSES FROM BEING SENT FOR SLAUGHTER TO MEXICO AND CANADA?
THE ANSWER IS THE SAFE ACT -(SAFEGUARD FOOD AMERICAN EXPORTS).
For those of us who want to see compassionate changes for the horses and the
stopping of them being sent to Canada and Mexico - we need to support the SAFE
Act. Please write your Congressional legislators to support this Act. So far
it has not received the overwhelming support from our legislators it deserves.
I was shocked that my Ohio legislators, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Senator Sherrod Brown,
and Senator Rob Portman have not responded favorably to my request that they co-
sponsor this humane legislation. In fact, two of them didn't even have the
decency to respond at all to my 2 or 3 requests I made in this regard. To say
that I am disappointed is an under statement.
I am glad S enator Elizabeth Warren of Mass. is one of the co-sponsors. I am
so impressed by so much she stands for and wrote her to co-sponsor this act and
found out that she already had. God bless her.
Now, we need many more Congressional legislators to join her. I have given up
on my Ohio legislators though I hope other Buckeyes will try. We all need to
try -especially if we care about our horses being sent to Canada and Mexico for
It is so imcomparably easy to contact our legislators. They all have e-mail
addresses and all you have to do is to ask them to support the SAFE ACT (Safeguard
Food American Exports). While this act is geared principally to keep people safe
from unsafe horse meat tainted with drugs, it will also, for all practically purposes,
dry up horse meat exports from the US because some of our horses (racing) have
been exposed to drugs. Sadly, some horses who have raced faithfully for their
owners are sold without a glance back- by in my opinion, ungrateful owners who
should have rewarded them with retirement - not slaughter.
I hope all you who say you care about the wild horses of the West, will get your
legislators on board so that the SAFE Act will be passed and that no more of our
beautiful horses will be sent for slaughter to Canada and Mexico.
For anyone who is passionate about this effort, you might consider composing a
petition on Change, Care2, and/or Avaaz in this regard. This is something I have
tried and failed at- but not in this area re the importance of the SAFE ACT.
I end by learning today that a champion for horse welfare is retiring. I am deeply
saddened that Senator Jim Moran of Virginia is leaving congress. Our horses will
certainly lose a cherished friend indeed, but all of us who care about horses wish
the Senator the best. We and the horses will miss him, but realize that he finally
will be enjoying -hopefully a vey happy and well-deserved retirement. God bless
you Senator Jim Moran of Virginia!