Wyoming’s Wild Horses Under Attack

For nearly two weeks, heartbreaking scenes have unfolded as Wyoming’s iconic Red Desert wild mustangs endure being brutally chased down. Full of terror, they are undergoing the largest wild horse helicopter roundup in history.  At least 613 have been captured, with 1,800 more innocent mustangs targeted before this cruel, unnecessary roundup ends.

The BLM seeks to deprive 2,400 wild horses in the Red Desert Complex of their freedom by capturing them using dangerous helicopter stampedes. What results are injuries, sheer exhaustion and even death, which included tiny foals.

The massive roundup comes after five months of brutally hot and too often smokey conditions making innocent horses suffer even more cruelly than ever. With no end in sight for the targeted horses, the BLM already is planning to extend these roundups into 2021.

These are just a few of the tragic results:

  • On one day, 121 wild horses lost their freedom. Meanwhile these same public lands permit over 20,000 sheep to graze each year, and just under 10,000 cattle.
  • On another daythe BLM captured 126 wild horses with one reported death. Note that more deaths often occur post roundup.
  • Just over a week ago, 84 horses lost their freedom after a terror filled chase. One horse who managed to escape the chute was seen alone in the hills, head hanging low from extreme exhaustion and despair as the rest of the family band were gone.

Additional roundup reporting included:
263 wild horses were captured a few days ago at what is called the Lost Creek HMA. One mare died in the temporary holding pen after being kicked in the head by another horse. Below freezing temperatures ranged between 15 to 28 degrees. A foal was seen struggling to keep up with the group as they ran for their lives.

Stop Bureau of Land Management Plan to Surgically Sterilize Wild Mares

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to use a dangerous and unnecessary surgical sterilization procedure on wild mares in Utah.

This barbaric procedure removes the ovaries by crushing and pulling them out with a looped-chain instrument (escraseur). The BLM intends to use this surgery, known as ovariectomy via colpotomy, on mares to be captured in November from the Confusion Herd Management Area (HMA) in Utah.

The procedure has dangerous to deadly effects including infection, hemorrhaging, colic, aborting foal (if pregnant) and evisceration where part of the intestines could protrude through the incision. These mares will already have been extremely stressed and traumatized from a brutal roundup.


Ovariectomy via colpotomy is a rare procedure with a high rate of postoperative complications, some of which can be life-threatening.

There is NO reason for the BLM to use this untested, dangerous procedure as proven and safe fertility control methods are available.

Forms of proven, safe and humane reproductive growth suppression include PZP and PZP-22.

The BLM plan proposes to capture 560 wild horses with 500 slated for permanent removal from the range. Other horses from the remaining 60 will be sterilized and survivors released at some point.

The Confusion herd management area (HMA) covers over 293,000 acres of public and other lands. The BLM setting on an AML (appropriate management level) of 70-115 results in as few as one horse for every 4,195 acres.

In comparison, 11 livestock operators currently grazing animals on five areas which overlap the Confusion HMA are allowed to use just over 25,300 AUMs (animal unit months) of forage per year. What this translates to is one AUM is the forage amount needed to sustain one cow, five sheep or five goats each month.

Currently an estimated 661 wild horses live on the Confusion HMA.

Ovariectomy via colpotomy is a rare procedure with a high rate of postoperative complications, some of which can be life-threatening.

While less dangerous, gelding stallions is also problematic. Gelding a colt too young can stunt its growth, while gelding older stallions has risks of increased bleeding and needs more recovery time. Furthermore, it would require gelding all the stallions in a herd because even a small number of intact stallions can impregnate all the herd mares. Surgical sterilization also changes the behavior of wild, free-roaming stallions causing disruption to how horses interact and maintain family bands.

There are few studies which have evaluated the long-term health of ovariectomized mares. One, by the Center for Equine Health of UC Davis, revealed that in a herd of 20 older ovariectomized mares 18 of them showed advanced musculoskeletal deterioration. Veterinarians involved in the study noted this issue possibly due to removing estrogen from the system, which an ovariectomy does.

Tell elected officials “NO” to untested, dangerous surgical sterilization procedures on America’s wild horses.

Safe and effective population control methods exist and the BLM has used them with success on several wild horse herds. Locate Senators through www.senate.gov and House reps through www.house.gov.

Wild Horse Roundup Horrors Continue

Wild horse and burro roundups are brutal and unnecessary in the best of conditions, let alone with summertime heat and dust filled terrain.

Recently, a 5-year-old wild mustang mare broke her neck after crashing into the panels of a too small trap pen at a Utah helicopter roundup. Observers warned the BLM that the trap’s design would result in horse injuries or breaking their necks trying to escape. The BLM ignored these concerns. More horses crashed into the panels after the young mare died and had been dragged off by BLM workers.

Deadly helicopter roundups are gutting wild horse populations

The helicopter contractors (Sampson Livestock) stampeded and captured close to 800 wild horses to leave a gutted population of about 60 horses. After capture, the horses were forced onto semi-truck trailers and driven to a privately-operated and closed to the public facility as well as to the BLM’s Delta Wild Horse facility. The facility will be closed to the public until August 1 when the horses become available through the BLM’s adoption and sale program.

In addition to gutting the herd through this unnecessary roundup, the BLM is considering using surgical sterilization — to include the dangerous and highly disputed ovariectomy via colpotomy procedure — as a management tool in this HMA.

Further cruelties were documented at this roundup funded by taxpayer dollars:

  • A 5-year old mare crashed into a pen panel trying to escape; she fell and began thrashing her legs around as her neck had been broken.
  • The contractors quickly retrieved a white sheet which two young girls held up the sheet to block observers’ view. Even though the horse was still alive, no euthanasia was provided. Onlookers were told the mare died instantly (see comment in bold below).*
  • An ATV drove up and chains were attached to the horse’s legs, then the ATV dragged the mare behind it.
  • Viewers watched as the mare was dragged off as no sled to carry her had been available for such an occurrence.
  • A foal, either separated from his mother or orphaned due to the helicopter chase, eventually entered the trap. Two wranglers then wrestled him to the ground while waiting for a lasso.

*While we were told that the mare died instantly, photos taken clearly show that the horse is still moving her head/has her head up before the sheet is put over her, which was confirmed by the advocate’s field rep. Photos and videos raise questions about whether the mare was actually deceased at the time of the dragging.

Recently, The U.S. House of Representatives took a stand to ensure that the BLM will no longer be allowed to spend zero percent of its budget on humane fertility control, while two-thirds is used to conduct brutal roundups and warehouse them for life at taxpayer expense.

Summer Roundups Equal Misery for Wild Horses & Burros

More brutal wild horse and burro roundups are slated to begin shortly where Bureau of Land Management (BLM) helicopters will chase and terrify herds living on taxpayer funded public lands in Utah, Colorado, and Nevada.

The largest of these summer roundups is scheduled for Nevada’s Shawave Mountains Herd Management Area (HMA) located about 50 miles northeast of Reno. This HMA is part of a one million acre complex (a grouping of several herds). In this complex, the BLM allows only 333-553 horses and 50-90 burros. Meanwhile, they authorize 1,200 privately owned cattle and 2,700 sheep to graze year-round!

Currently, the BLM is working to gut wild horse and burro herds by as many as 15,000-20,000 each year over several years if Congress makes the decision to fund the BLM’s massive roundup plan.

Summer roundups are grossly inhumane because of brutally hot temperatures, and due to the presence of tiny, very young foals, who have literally run to death from helicopter stampedes across rough terrain and for prolonged distances.

Another concern this year is that cruel and unnecessary roundups could take place out of public view, as the BLM has indicated that it may use COVID-19 restrictions to block the public from witnessing and documenting these events.

The entire situation must be closely monitored to protect the wild horses and burros. Calling and writing to elected officials is one way the public can help. Locate your U.S. Senators via www.senate.gov; House of Representatives through www.house.gov.

Bureau of Land Management Slow to Change Its Ways

A tentative roundup schedule for May through October was released by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It shows that 6,660 wild horses and burros would be captured and removed from their home ranges with only 205 treated with fertility control. This plan clearly indicates there is no real commitment by the BLM to implement humane fertility control immediately in spite of demands from both Congress and the public.

For decades, the BLM has failed to increase the use of existing safe, proven and humane fertility control. Delaying the use of humane population control methods only continues the inhumane and expensive capture and removal practices. Due to increasing taxpayer costs and rising wild horse and burro numbers in government holding facilities, the current administration and Congress have moved closer to allowing the BLM to sell wild horses without restriction (translated as to slaughter) or to “euthanize” them.

It is critical that wild horse advocates and supporters continue to present viable non-lethal solutions to manage federally protected wild horse and burro herds on taxpayer-funded public lands in the West.

For FY2020, Congress did approve $21M for the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program with funds designated to use for non-lethal population control, including funds specific to fertility control. Lawmakers would not release the additional funds until the BLM provided a wild horse management report (which was submitted May 8).

On the range, fertility control is vital to help stop unnecessary and cruel roundups.

Contact your Senators (www.senate.gov) to urge them to hold the BLM accountable for spending funds to keep wild horses and burros protected on the range and humanely managed with existing, safe, humane and proven population control methods (not invasive ones like surgeries or castrations or capture and sell-off without limitations).

Front Range Equine Rescue Provides Testimony to Ban Horse Slaughter

On January 29th, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 961, had a hearing in the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. The S.A.F.E. Act was initially introduced by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and continues to increase its number of co-sponsors (over 224 at this time).

In short, the S.A.F.E. Act would ban the transport and sale of America’s horses for human consumption. In effect, it stops horse slaughter not because it bans slaughter itself, but because it would not allow their transport. In other words, it prevents American slaughterhouses from opening because it bans the transport and sale of horses for slaughter; and it would not allow horses to be shipped across our borders.

Front Range Equine Rescue has been a strong leader in the prolonged fight to responsibly end horse slaughter. For this subcommittee hearing, FRER submitted a factual, well-detailed comment paper (24 pages plus exhibits) as part of the subcommittee’s testimony filings.

Read our introductory statement here:

Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) is a Colorado-based nonprofit group incorporated under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. FRER is actively involved in the rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption to good homes of domestic and wild horses found at auctions and destined for slaughter; and in educational efforts regarding the health and safety dangers of horse slaughter. Since 1997, FRER has assisted thousands of horses through its rescue and educational programs.

From their acquisition at livestock auctions and other sources to the slaughterhouse, horses destined for human consumption are subject to mistreatment and cruelty.

While some of FRER’s horses are surrendered by their owners or received after being abandoned, many are rescued from livestock auctions; others are purchased at feedlots before they are sent to slaughter. For over a decade, FRER has been involved in an objective, science- and fact-based analysis of all relevant issues surrounding the discussions of horse slaughter in the public discourse. For example, FRER surveyed horse owners, equine-related businesses, and equine veterinarians around the country in order to compile a list of over 112 commonly-used drugs administered to American horses. In connection with this list, FRER obtained sworn statements from many veterinarians and individuals involved in the equine industry, that most of the drugs on the list of drugs were given to the majority of American horses. The indisputable conclusion from FRER’s analysis of drug administration to American horses is that it would be illegal, and threaten human health, to eat the meat of almost every American horse that goes to slaughter, because of the dangers of ingesting their flesh.

In addition to its rescue efforts, and as part of its analysis of all aspects affecting the slaughter of American horses, FRER has engaged in an examination of the laws, legal principles, and specifically the jurisdiction of federal agencies over horse slaughter. As part of that analysis, FRER representatives have been engaged in discussions with both the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Food Safety and Inspection Service. FRER’s work in this area has also included analyses of the environmental dangers of horse slaughter operations, as well as the economic analysis of the viability of horse slaughter operations in America.

Read a brief excerpt from our written testimony here:

Traditional food animals, such as cows, pigs, and chickens, are raised in a controlled, heavily regulated environment, and their owners, handlers, and all involved individuals know that they were born to be turned into meat. In stark contrast to that controlled environment, American horses are raised for a variety of purposes, none of which is to become meat. While producers of traditional food animals comply with food safety rules, owners of horses do not even consider food safety rules. And whereas producers of traditional food animals maintain complete treatment records, as a good husbandry practice and to avoid producing adulterated food, owners of horses do not maintain these records. Therefore, virtually all American horses lack complete treatment records, are held “under conditions that are so inadequate that medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues are likely to enter the food supply,” and are therefore prohibited from being processed into meat, and deemed “adulterated”.

The SAFE Act is the only guarantee that dangerous horse meat, in violation of FDA and FSIS requirements, will not enter the market. FSIS has a Compliance Guide for Residue Prevention, which is intended to detect dangerous residues of commonly used drugs in food animals. The Compliance Guide recognizes that without information regarding the origins of animals sent for food production, federal agencies, slaughterhouses, and the public cannot possibly obtain the information necessary to protect the food supply. These entities and individuals rely heavily on self-regulating, easily identifiable producers who can be monitored and re-evaluated on an ongoing basis. This does not and cannot happen with horses who go to slaughter, because (as explained above, and is undisputed) they come from a constantly revolving set of unknown and effectively unidentifiable individual horse owners who are not involved in commercial production and who almost certainly have no understanding of the drug restrictions for food animals. Nor do these individuals have any reason to believe they should be concerned with the drugs their horses are given. And because these original owners of horses that end up as food are unknown, the agencies cannot accurately evaluate the drugs given to them in order to compile a reasonable list of drugs for which to test. This difference between commercial animals and horses destroys the most important link in the FDA’s ability to monitor the improper administration of drugs to horses used for meat because the FDA has no ability to ascertain the identities of current owners of horses who will become meat in the future.

Animals Angels Exposes Kill Buyer Activities

In an investigative report released on January 22, Animals Angels details recent findings when looking into a Colorado kill buyer’s actions. It’s not the first time AA has documented abuses to horses by this horse trader/kill buyer. Read more of their first-hand account here.

This poor horse was starved and blind in one eye.

Fabrizius Becomes a Kill Buyer Kingpin Using Social Media

The once small-scale Colorado horse trader is now a large-scale kill buyer funded by an active online and social media following.

Jason Fabrizius, operator of Fabrizius Livestock, has long made money off the backs of innocent horses, but in the last few years, his once modest operation has evolved into a highly-lucrative kill buying enterprise that consists of multiple tractor-trailers actively transporting horses to slaughter and a large kill pen in Eaton, Colorado.

The subject of ongoing Animals’ Angels’ scrutiny over the years, Fabrizius is well known to our investigators for his bad temper and abusive treatment of the poor animals he buys and sells in his merciless quest to make a profit at any cost. We were thus appalled to observe the increasing success of his online business, which exploits the well-meaning attempts of his followers to save horses from the kill pen when in reality their money is being used to fuel Fabrizius’ growing enterprise and perpetuate the cycle of suffering and slaughter.

Horses stood in dirty pens with no shelter from the elements.

So, how does Fabrizius convince people who love horses to help fund his kill buyer operations? He plays on their compassion, asking them to buy a horse online to prevent him from sending the poor animal to slaughter. Unfortunately, the money paid to Fabrizius to “save” a horse is then used to fund and expand his operation, enabling the once small-time horse trader to become a kill buyer kingpin that has the growing resources to buy more and more horses.

CLICK HERE to read the chilling details.

Horse Slaughter Legislation Update

The ban on slaughtering horses

On September 19, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee included a provision in the FY2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill which would maintain a ban on slaughtering horses in the U.S. This effort was led by Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Susan Collins (R-ME). The bill’s language disallows the use of taxpayer dollars for horse slaughter inspections, which prevents horse slaughter plants from operating.

Similar language was included in the House FY2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill in June. Right now, it is expected the defund will be included in any final spending bill passed by Congress.

Horse slaughter is animal cruelty, unnecessary, and taxpayer dollars should not pay for it. America’s horses are not food animals and are not regulated as such. There are over 115 banned substances for use in food animals which appear in a variety of products and medications used on horses.

America’s horses are unfit for human consumption.

Previously, U.S. horse slaughter plants operated until 2007 and were shipping the meat overseas for human consumption. Some horses were shipped into Mexico and Canada for slaughter as well. When U.S. plants closed, all horses were sent to Mexican and Canadian plants (along with several hundred annually into Japan).

Slaughter is a frightening and torturous ordeal for horses who are victims of this predatory industry. Many horses are severely injured during transport from auctions or kill lots to horse slaughter plants. Some horses regain consciousness after initial stunning or misfired gunshot (2 methods used in the kill box) and are fully aware while being killed.

The language to defund horse slaughter has been maintained via yearly spending bills; however, it is not a permanent solution. At this time only federal legislation which specifically outlaws U.S. horses from being slaughtered on American soil and across our borders will end this vile trade.

The Dark Side of Florida’s Thriving Horse Industry

Several horses did not look healthy. Investigators noted visible ribs, recent scratches, congested noses, and depressed behaviors.

You might think Florida is all about beaches and Disney. However, Florida has a long history as an agricultural state with numerous farming and ranching enterprises. The Sunshine State boasts a large horse population including a wild horse herd in Payne’s Prairie state park and Ocala is known as “the horse capital of the world” and future home to the World Equestrian Center now under construction.

In 2010, then Governor Charlie Crist signed a law which made killing a horse a second-degree felony with a minimum one-year prison sentence.

In addition, some of Florida’s U.S. representatives work at the national level on behalf of horses. Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL) co-sponsored the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 961/S. 2006) which would prohibit the slaughter of horses in the U.S. for human consumption, as well as the export of live horses for the same purpose.

Florida laws against killing a horse along with proposed legislation like the SAFE Act share a common goal – to make horses safer from threats of abuse, neglect, and slaughter. Unfortunately, recent research and investigation show that Florida horses still end up in the slaughter pipeline.

With Front Range Equine Rescue’s support, Animals’ Angels went undercover in Florida to learn more about auctions and horse dealers potentially involved in this predatory industry. Additional evidence was obtained through FOIA requests.

At a monthly FL horse auction, investigators documented:
Two ex-racehorses (1) a 9-year-old stallion with “bad” knees and (2) a 14-year-old gelding. The owner of the stallion appeared very nervous and immediately approached investigators when they took a closer look at this horse. The owner stated the stallion was retired from the track and was supposed to be used for breeding, but he turned out to be sterile.

When the auction began, there were a few known horse traders in the audience. At the end of the sale, only six horses had sold. Both ex-racehorses were bought by private individuals. Two of the other horses, who were both visibly sick and emaciated, were not brought through the ring for sale. However, both were loaded into a truck that was parked in the back of the pen area, along with other horses the same buyer had purchased during the sale.

You can read Animals’ Angels full report here.

This is a preliminary investigation into Florida’s horse trade. Although Florida can boast of beautiful horse farms, equestrian neighborhoods, and a thriving horse show industry, questionable horse traders operate throughout the state. It is critical that research and investigations continue so that no horse ends up in the wrong hands.

Wild Horse & Burro Fiscal Year 2020 Legislation Update

U.S. House bill prohibits Forest Service from selling wild horses for slaughter, but includes funding toward a BLM mass wild horse roundup and sterilization plan.

At the end of June, the U.S. House of Representatives approved language for the FY2020 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations budget bill regarding wild horse and burro management.

The House decision appropriates $6 million to implement a plan to remove large numbers of wild horses over several years. This plan has been promoted by special interest lobbying groups and been met with opposition by many wild horse advocates.

Pressure is expected to be put on the U.S. Senate to maintain wild horse protections in their version of the budget bill regarding wild horses and to not allow the proposed plan to move ahead.

Due to the imminent threat of slaughter for wild horses rounded up last year from the Modoc National Forest in California, the House did include appropriations language to stop the U.S. Forest Service from selling wild horses and burros for slaughter. There is also existing law which disallows the BLM from selling wild horses and burros for slaughter.

Chairman of the House Natural Resources, Raul Grijalva, and Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus championed the important provision to stop the Forest Service from selling wild horses for slaughter.

It is believed that the Senate will take up its version of FY2020 spending legislation late summer or early fall. Constituents are urged to contact their U.S. representatives to ensure America’s wild horses and burros receive full protection under the 1971 law.

You can locate and contact your elected officials thru www.house.gov and www.senate.gov to let them know that humane on-the-range management options should be a priority along with safe, proven population control methods such as PZP. They should not vote for plans which promote dangerous, permanent sterilization procedures.

Federal Legislation Announced to Ban Horse Slaughter

“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a barbaric practice that has no place in America,” U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan said.

Protecting American Horses From Slaughter and Consumption

On January 30th, U.S. House Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) reintroduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act to end the slaughter of American horses for human consumption. The legislation would prohibit the sale and transport of equines for slaughter which would prevent horse slaughter plants from operating in the U.S. and also ending the export of U.S. horses across our borders to Mexico and Canada for this purpose.

Over 100,000 innocent horses are exported for slaughter each year with intense suffering occurring even before they reach the kill box. Kill buyers cram horses into semi trucks usually obtaining them from low-end auctions or owners looking to re-home or sell their horse for free or cheaply. Very often they (or their workers) pretend to be a safe home or even a rescue.

The horses who are not immediately shipped to slaughter often spend time at “kill lots” where they are in filthy conditions with many becoming dangerously ill from contagious diseases. Those in transport often go for over 24 hours without food, water, or rest. Depending upon point of origin, they can be transporting within the U.S. long before reaching the border into Canada or Mexico.

At the slaughter plant, the horror intensifies as the exhausted, sick, injured and terrified horses endure multiple blows to the head in attempts to render them unconscious via the captive bolt method. Gunshot methods for killing regularly involve numerous shots as the panicked horse moves frantically around in the kill box.

Years worth of public polls show a strong percentage (at least 80%) of Americans wanting to ban horse slaughter.

“Horses have a special place in our nation’s history, and these majestic creatures were not raised as food for humans,” U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky said. “The SAFE Act would prohibit any horse slaughter plant from opening; and also end the sale or transport of horses and horse parts in the U.S. and abroad for the purpose of human consumption. I am proud to reintroduce this bill and work with Congressman Buchanan to put an end to this practice.”

“The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a barbaric practice that has no place in America,” U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan said. “I will continue to lead the effort with Congresswoman Schakowsky to ban domestic horse slaughter and end the export of horses abroad for slaughter.”

Horses are not raised as a food animal in the U.S., and they receive a number of medications and other drugs during their lives that make them unfit for human consumption. Front Range Equine Rescue’s legal actions at the state and federal level during 2012-2013 were based upon these facts.

The SAFE Act would prevent millions of taxpayer dollars from being wasted to allow plants to operate in the U.S. where numerous violations were documented when these facilities were open in the past. Regulations and methods for killing at a U.S. plant would not have any significant difference. Horses cannot be slaughtered humanely. Opening U.S. plants does not stop horses from crossing the border as kill buyers have contracts with various slaughter operators. Just like in the past, they would work to fill quotas for each facility whether it’s in the U.S. or in Mexico and Canada.

A similar bill in the Senate is expected to be introduced.

Legal Action Continues to Protect California Wild Horses

Photo credit: S. Paige for Return to Freedom

Updates on U.S. Forest Service’s Plans for Wild Horses

The latest update to our lawsuit filed over the Forest Service’s plans to sell Devil’s Garden wild horses without limitations (which would result in wild horses going to slaughter) is that the Forest Service has now announced that it will not begin those sales until at least February 18.

As of December 10th, 190 wild horses (ages 10 and older) captured during the month-long helicopter roundup remain in danger of being sold for slaughter. Our Federal district court case filed to stop the sale of the older horses is ongoing with an expedited briefing schedule.

In total, 932 wild horses were removed from the Modoc National Forest during the roundup. About 260 of them (ages 10 and up) have been put up for adoption or sale with a restriction against slaughter at the Forest Service’s Double Devil Corrals located at Modoc National Forest near Alturas, CA. Currently, about 70 of the horses have found homes.

The remaining captured horses (ages 9 and under as well as mares with foals) were moved to the BLM’s Litchfield corrals located near Susanville, CA. Weather conditions have slowed efforts to prepare these horses to be available for adoption. The adoptions are likely to begin sometime this month, at the earliest, according to information from the BLM.

The horses at the highest risk of going to slaughter are those to be offered for sale “without limitations” at a price of $1 each. It is hoped that lawsuits filed in Federal court will stop this from occurring as it violates state and federal laws. There are other humane alternatives the Forest Service can consider.

The Pursuit To Stop “Sale Without Limitation” Continues

Updates On U.S. Forest Service’s Plan for California’s Wild Horses

The Forest Service’s roundup of the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory has ended with the permanent removal of over 900 horses from their federally-designated habitat on our public lands in California’s Modoc National Forest. We’ve learned that at least 13 horses have died, including a foal. Three mares aborted foals likely due to the trauma of the roundup.

The Forest Service reported euthanizing 7 horses who showed symptoms of pigeon fever, a contagious but usually non-fatal bacterial infection. In spite of the outbreak, the Forest Service held an adoption/sales event this past weekend knowing that pigeon fever is communicable to other livestock.

At this time, the Forest Service intends to sell older horses by the truckload for $1 a piece without limitation on slaughter beginning January 15 or after.

California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra has spoken out about this clear breach of state law noting that it is a felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison. However, the Forest Service is exploiting a legal loophole that puts hundreds of horses in grave danger.

Our lawsuit to stop the “sale without limitation” of the remaining horses is on an expedited briefing schedule with filings due at Thanksgiving and on Christmas Eve day. It is our goal to ensure none of the horses end up in the slaughter pipeline.

Photo credit to Steve Paige for Return to Freedom, 2016 Roundup.

U.S. Forest Service Warned Against Selling Wild Horses For Slaughter

2016 roundup of Devil’s Garden wild horses. Photo Credit: Steve Paige, Return to Freedom

Attorney General Becerra Speaks up

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has recently submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary and Chief of the U.S. Forest Service urging them to reverse their decision to sell  California wild horses without restriction. The U.S. Forest initially rounded up 1,000 protected wild horses in October from the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory to reduce the horse populations within the Modoc National Forest. The Forest service will prioritize the adoption of wild horses by members of the public until January 10th, 2019.

After January 10th, 2019, any horses that remain from the October roundup will be for sale without restriction. This Forest Service policy change not only risks violating state law but also contradicting federal law in the Department of the Interior. Attorney General Becerra explains, “To slaughter for commercial consumption mustangs that have roamed California for over a century is not only atrocious, but unlawful. These majestic animals captivate the imagination and symbolize the rugged independence of the American West. We urge the federal government to treat the Modoc National Forest and its wildlife with the respect that it is due by protecting these beautiful wild horses from the commercial slaughterhouse.”

Read the Article Here

 

 

Lawsuit Filed to Stop Wild Horse Sale Without Limitation on Slaughter

2016 roundup of Devil’s Garden wild horses. Photo Credit: Steve Paige, Return to Freedom

Advocates Continue Working to Protect Wild Horses in Devil’s Garden

Front Range Equine Rescue has partnered with other advocates to protect captured wild horses from the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory (Modoc National Forest, CA) from being sold by the truckload for $1 each by the U.S. Forest Service.

The lawsuit states, in part, that the U.S. Forest Service has “abruptly and inexplicably reversed the long-standing policy of two different federal agencies concerning the disposal of wild horses removed from federal public lands, all but guaranteeing that federally protected wild horses will now be slaughtered for human consumption in violation of the California Penal Code and multiple federal laws, as well as the expressed will of Congress and the American people.”

Furthermore, “…after a short period when the wild horses could be adopted, the Forest Service has announced that any older horses or horses not successfully adopted will be offered for sale “without limitation.” Sales of wild horses to commercial slaughter are anticipated to begin as early as January 2019.”

The lawsuit charges violations of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (Wild Horse Act) and the National Forest Management Act.

Plaintiffs in the case are Front Range Equine Rescue, The Humane Society of the United States, Marin Humane, Humane Society of the Sierra Foothills, Return to Freedom, humane law enforcement officers Cindy Machado and Rosemary Frieborn.

Advocacy organizations are working hard to find safe, qualified adoptive homes for horses up for adoption as well as humane options for those facing the danger of sale to slaughter. The Forest Service needs to cooperate and do the right thing for the 1,000 horses it removed by adhering to laws protecting wild horses.

 

U.S. Forest Service Condemned for Wild Horse Slaughter Plan

The Forest Service’s plans to sell wild horses without limitation are in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act as well as other federal and state laws.

Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have put the U.S. Forest Service on notice regarding the sale without limitation of horses rounded up from California’s Modoc National Forest.

FRER and HSUS sent a strongly worded letter to the Forest Service (under the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture) which reads in part that they:

are writing to put you on notice with respect to violations of federal and state law in connection with the Forest Service’s plan to sell wild horses “without limitation” after it captures them from the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory, found in the Modoc National Forest in northeastern California. It is commonly understood, and can certainly be proven, that the sale of wild horses without limitation (especially at the announced $1/per horse price) will result in their sale to purchasers who will ship them to Canada or Mexico, where they will be slaughtered for human consumption. 

The Forest Service’s plans to sell wild horses without limitation are in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq. (NEPA), the Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations, 40 C.F.R. parts 1500-1508, the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 551, et seq. (APA), California Penal Code section 598c, the spirit of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (“Wild Horse Act”), 16 U.S.C. § 1331 et seq., Congressional sentiment, and the desire of the majority of the American people. We hope that after review of this letter, the Forest Service will withdraw its decision to sell any wild horses “without limitation” in connection with this gather. If the Forest Service is not willing to change its decision, we will consider all other legal remedies available to our clients and their supporters, to stop the Forest Service’s actions.

FRER and HSUS have given the Forest Service until October 23 to provide a response.

Stop BLM’s Barbaric Sterilization Plans for 100 Wild Mares in Oregon

The BLM plans to conduct inhumane and pointless surgical sterilization experiments on 100 wild mares from the Warm Springs herd management area (Oregon) in conjunction with Colorado State University researchers.

In 2016, the BLM attempted cruel and dangerous sterilization experiments on wild mares with Oregon State University.

Public outcry and lawsuits filed by wild horse advocacy groups like FRER helped to stop this horrific plan…but now, the BLM is at it again. With a few changes, their current proposal is similar to the gruesome plan of two years ago, but this time CO State University applied for the research grant money to participate.

Most of the wild mares will be in various stages of pregnancy. They will use a surgical procedure known as ovariectomy by colpotomy which has known high risks of pain, bleeding, infection, abortion of foals and evisceration where the intestines protrude through the surgical incision. Even the National Academy of Sciences has concluded this procedure is “inadvisable for field application”.

The surgery itself is described graphically by BLM as follows: 

The surgical procedure would involve making an incision, approximately 1–3 centimeters long, in the anterior-dorsallateral vagina. Both ovaries are accessed through this one incision. The incision would be enlarged with blunt dissection to perforate the peritoneum and allow the surgeon’s hand to enter the abdomen. . . . The ovary and associated mesovarium are isolated by direct manual palpation and local anesthesia (5 ml 5% bupivacaine and 5 ml 2% lidocaine) is injected into each ovarian pedicle. . . . The ovarian pedicle would be transected with a chain ecraseur.

Given the serious risks to the mares subjected to this experiment, the BLM has not sufficiently justified the need for the research when (in their own assessment) all the experiment “may” do is provide “more details” about a surgical procedure. This amounts to first-line experimentation on the very horses that BLM is required to protect from harm and suffering which goes against the agency’s obligations under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act to protect wild horses from harm and suffering.

The BLM has numerous alternatives for population management of wild horses including PZP (a safe form of birth control which BLM has not widely used).

Comments on the Environmental Assessment are due July 30th. You can submit them directly to the BLM at  [email protected]

New Sale Policy Puts Wild Horses at Risk of Slaughter

Slaughter must be taken 100% off the table! America’s wild horses and burros are national treasures.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Has A New Sale Policy, Take Action Now!

BLM has revised their sale policy to allow agency officials to increase the number of wild horses and burros sold to individuals and organizations from a limit of 4 now to 25.

The prior policy from 2012 limited individuals and organizations to purchase just four horses in a six-month period. This policy emerged after investigations showed that the BLM was selling horses to a known kill buyer who then sent them to slaughter.

This has left the door wide-open for kill buyers to come and fill their trucks with no regard for the lives of America’s wild horses and burros.

The Department of the Interior must act on behalf of the horses immediately when humane options for wild horses and burros exist.

Responsible management means focusing on finding more humane homes for captured horses with more gentling programs to improve adoption rates. Large-scale fertility control on the range using already developed humane, safe methods (PZP) need to be more widely used. The BLM should make better use of the numerous public-private relationship offers to better manage the horses.

No government agency should be allowed to kill them off to manage their budget or correct a poorly run wild horse and burro program.

Contact your elected officials in Congress to stand up to the BLM and Interior Department which oversees the BLM. Tell Congress to ensure wild horse and burro protections remain in place and slaughter is not an option. Locate your Congresspeople via 202-224-3121.

Wild Horses’ Lives Are in the Hands of Congress

Help us keep wild horses and burros protected as Congress reviews the budget for the fiscal year 2019!

Establishing Language that Protects America’s Wild Horses and Burros

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee is considering the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget bill for the Interior Department. This bill includes funding for the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.

A current draft of the bill protects wild horses and burros from mass killing and slaughter. However, it is expected that Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah will introduce an amendment to remove these protections.

If the House fails to keep protective language within the FY19 Interior Department budget bill, it will be critical that the Senate version provides these protections. And, that the Senate version prevails during a reconciliation of differences between the two bills.

Contact your U.S. House Rep and two Senators through the Capitol operator at 202-224-3121 to keep language which protects America’s wild horses and burros in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget bill.

There is no need for unnecessary roundups to stockpile more horses in holding facilities or seek out untested, dangerous, and even deadly “sterilization” techniques.

The BLM has humane options available, which include:

  • managing horses on the rangelands allocated to them by law.
  • keeping populations in check through the use of PZP (a proven birth control method).
  • improving adoption rates.
  • developing eco-sanctuaries.
  • forming public-private partnerships to monitor the herds.

Fate of America’s Horses in the Hands of Congress

Remember, horse slaughter is never humane and the former U.S. regulated plants had numerous and horrific violations.

Amendment to Prevent Funding for Horsemeat Inspections Fails to be Passed

Last week, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee failed to pass an amendment to prevent funding for horsemeat inspections which would open the door for new U.S. horse slaughter plants. This funding is part of the Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will work on their version of this budget bill shortly. It is critical that they vote in favor of an amendment to stop funding for horsemeat inspections which means horse slaughter plants could not operate in the U.S.

TAKE ACTION NOW!

If your Senator sits on the Appropriations Committee contact him or her today to vote in favor of the amendment to stop funding for horsemeat inspections which keeps a ban on horse slaughter plants in America.

America’s horses are not raised as a food animal. They are not regulated and have multiple owners during their lives. Horses are given medications and other products which contain substances banned for use in food animals. America’s horses are unfit for human consumption.

BLM Releases Plan to Gut Wild Horse & Burro Herds

The BLM wants an Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 26,715 which mirrors the “drastically low” number of wild horses on the range when Congress unanimously passed the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act to protect them.

America’s Mustangs Face Roundups, Mass Sterilization and Killing to Cut Population and Destroy Herds

Wording from the BLM’s plan to drastically cut wild horse and burro populations provides clear evidence of their “manage to extinction” goal:

Option I: This option focuses on achieving national AML in 8 years, while reducing off-range holding costs dramatically over the first 4 years… this would require making use of all legal authorities contained in the Act (especially sale without limitation and euthanasia of unadopted or unsold animals), including use of contraceptives and limited sterilization techniques.

Option II: This option focuses on achieving national AML in 10 years using contraceptive fertility control treatments… and minimal permanent sterilization of mares or stallions.

Option III: This option focuses on achieving national AML in 6 years using an aggressive removal operation in conjunction with sterilization of 3,000 mares and stallions gathered annually… animals that are gathered and not sterilized would be moved to off-range facilities.

Option IV: This option would achieve national AML in 2030 by using an aggressive effort to gather, sterilize and return wild horses and burros to the range… off-range populations would begin to decrease almost immediately through natural mortality and efforts for private care placement… Fertility control treatments would focus on permanent sterilization through FY24 when more than 80 percent of the animals on the range would be permanently sterilized.

While the plan mentions increasing adoptions via a financial incentive, it also states that the BLM should have authority to “sell without limitation all excess wild horses and burros and euthanize horses for which an adoption demand does not exist.” Proposals also include lowering sale-eligibility from over age 10 to over 5 years of age; reduce the one year period to gain title from an adoption to six months and allow adopters to obtain more than 4 animals in a year.

The administration’s budget for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) does not include protections for wild horses and burros. In a few short months Congress will need to review and vote on that budget.

It will be up to wild horse advocates and the general public to fight on behalf of protecting America’s fast dwindling wild horse and burro herds. Let Congress know that tax dollars should not be wasted on inhumane proposals to kill off wild horses and the 1971 Act should not be amended to allow for their unlimited sale, mass killing, permanent sterilization or slaughter. Reach Congress at 202-224-3121.

Congress Leadership Needs to Hear from You on Behalf of Wild Horses!

To avoid a government shutdown, Congress is poised to vote on the FY2018 budget bill by midnight Friday.

The good news is that the current Omnibus spending bill uses the Senate’s version of the Agriculture Department and Interior Department budget bills which (1) prevent funding for horse meat inspections, and (2) keeps language to protect wild horses and burros from unlimited sale, mass killing or slaughter.

But it is not a done deal until the final vote by Congress!

Call now to urge Congressional leaders to keep America’s horses safe by ensuring the final Omnibus budget bill does not allow for funding of horse meat inspectors and keeps protections for wild horses and burros against any unlimited sale or slaughter.

Contact your own elected officials to ensure they will not vote for any budget bill allowing funding for horse slaughter or the mass killing, unlimited sale and slaughter of wild horses and burros. Find your Reps and Senators via Capital switchboard 202-224-3121.

America’s horses are NOT raised as a food animal. They are not regulated as a food animal. There are many humane alternatives in place for both domestic and wild horses. We stand by our horses!

Wild Horse Crisis – How Will It End?

We are at a crossroads for saving America’s wild horses and burros.

We stand by our flag. We stand by our horses.

The American people must decide whether lethal management destroys tens of thousands of wild horses or humane solutions are properly funded and implemented.

For decades the BLM has chosen a “manage to extinction” policy for its Wild Horse and Burro Program. Millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on annual roundups and warehousing of the mustangs (and burros). Powerful and wealthy special interests (livestock, oil & gas, mining) have relentlessly pursued the elimination of the American mustang.

Terror, injuries, and death have resulted from roundups as well as the destruction of tightly bonded family bands. Too many herds have fallen below genetic diversity threatening their viable existence.

Can it all be turned around?

Yes.

But not without tremendous public pressure and support.

Humane solutions are readily available. Many have already been proven safe and successful, but remain ignored or underutilized.

They include but are not limited to, PZP darting for population control, eco-sanctuaries, management on the range, public-private partnerships and more gentling/training programs to increase adoption rates.

Where do we stand now?

The 2018 fiscal year (FY18) budget is being marked up now. The House of Representatives and the Senate each have versions of budget bills submitted by government agencies for 2018.

The Department of Interior’s budget funds the BLM and its wild horse program. Currently, the House version of this bill has no language to protect wild horses and burros from unlimited sale, mass killing or slaughter.

A majority of the BLM’s wild horse and burro advisory board recently recommended “lethal options” to kill off tens of thousands of wild horses and burros including a proposal to send thousands of them to Russia as prey for tigers.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is poised to vote on their version of this bill which needs language to protect the horses.

We cannot let the BLM kill their way out of a self-inflicted budget crisis.

At least 80% of the public stands by wild horses and their protection. Too many are still unaware of this critical issue.

Don’t let time run out for America’s living symbols of our freedom.

Contact members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and urge them to vote on behalf of protecting wild horses and burros from unlimited sale, mass killing or slaughter when they review the FY2018 Interior Department budget bill. Tell them you do not want your taxpayer dollars spent to kill innocent horses when humane and financially responsible options exist.

Wild Horse Crisis Update

Senate Appropriations Committee Takes Up Interior Department Budget Bill

Wild Horse and Burro Lives Are On the Line!

We are NOT food.

Overview:
The federal government’s fiscal year runs October 1 to September 30. Each year an omnibus budget bill is developed, reviewed, edited, and voted on to fund the government. A new approved budget is often delayed meaning the prior year’s bill often carries over into a new fiscal year.

Government agencies submit their appropriations budget bills to make up the omnibus package.

The 2018 Fiscal Year (FY18) budget is currently in the reconciliation phase with final voting expected in early December.

Horses and the Budget:
The U.S. Department of Agriculture appropriations bill determines whether funding for horsemeat inspections (i.e., horse slaughter) is allowed or not.

The Interior Department’s budget bill is where funding is allocated for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to manage programs like the Wild Horse and Burro Program.

Current Status:
The House of Representatives Appropriations failed America’s horses not once, but twice, when (1) failing to vote “NO” on funding for horsemeat inspections by USDA and (2) by not including an amendment to stop the killing and sale to slaughter of America’s wild horses and burros.

Note: The House Rules committee also refused to allow the introduction of amendments to the House Appropriations bills which would protect wild horses and burros from killing and slaughter (Titus-King-Polis amendment) and to prevent funding for horsemeat inspections (Buchanan-Roybal/Allard amendment).

Fortunately, the Senate Appropriations Committee had already voted “YES” on the Udall-Graham amendment to prevent tax dollars from being used for horsemeat inspections (no horse slaughter).

At this time it is critical that the Senate Appropriations Committee allows an amendment to include language in the budget bill to protect wild horses and burros from unlimited sale, killing and slaughter because the House version has stripped away these protections.

It is also critical that the Senate’s version of the Agriculture Appropriations bill which includes language not to allow funds for horsemeat inspections remains in the final budget bill.

The reconciliation process involves keeping the House and Senate versions of budget bills which are in agreement, but it must reconcile the differences. Right now, the fate of America’s horses depends on the U.S. Senate as the budget heads into its final version.

What You Need To Do To Save Horses Now:
Call, write and/or email your U.S. Senators. If your elected official is on the Senate Appropriations Committee, he or she needs to hear from you asap.

With all of the crises in this country and desperate need to use taxpayer dollars wisely, the idea of butchering America’s horses is not only cruel and appalling but clearly a fraudulent waste of tax money.

Find out who your elected officials are at www.senate.gov or reach them through the U.S. Capitol operator, 202-224-3121.

Continue to speak up for horses to your House Rep via www.house.gov or through the Capitol operator, 202-224-3121.

Wild Horse Crisis Continues

We The People Must Stand Up To Save Them

This article from The Hill states that the special interests lobbyists, many of whom are millionaire cattle ranchers, are pushing to slaughter America’s wild horses. The goal of the horse slaughter lobby is to clear public lands of wild horses and replace them with cattle.

Thanks to the greed of tiny but powerful industry lobby, congressional Republicans are about to legalize the slaughter of America’s wild horses – and commit political suicide in the process. Polls show that 80 percent of men, 90 percent of women and 86 percent of Trump supporters oppose horse slaughter. With nine Republican House seats up for grabs according to the Cook Report, opposition should be a no brainer. But this hasn’t stopped Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke from leading the charge, while House Republicans have already passed legislation that would legalize an inhumane practice that has been outlawed for fifty years.

The push to slaughter wild horses is coming from a narrow – but powerful – special interest lobby in the D.C. swamp made up of millionaire and billionaire cattle ranchers on America’s federal lands. Public-lands ranchers make up just 2 percent of U.S. cattle operators, represent just 0.06 percent of total employment in 11 western states and produce only 3 percent of American beef.”

Read more here from The Hill.

House Rules Committee Refuses to Allow Amendments to Stop Horse Slaughter and to Protect Wild Horses from Mass Killing

On September 5 and 6, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Rules Committee rejected bi-partisan amendments which would have stopped the use of tax dollars to (1) fund horsemeat inspectors and (2) protect wild horses and burros from being killed or sent to slaughter.

America’s Horses Need You!

It was clear the votes were there on the House floor to have passed these amendments if the Rules Committee had allowed the introduction of these amendments to the FY2018 appropriations budget bill.

While this is a shameful act displaying “dirty politics” at its worst, it is not the end of the issue.

The Senate version of the appropriations budget bill contains language to prevent any funding for horsemeat inspections. However, the Senate has not yet taken up the issue for wild horses.

Our tax dollars should be used to help disaster victims (hurricanes, wildfires), veterans, health care, infrastructure, the opioid crisis and more — NOT to brutally kill America’s wild and domestic horses to please a profit-driven livestock/agriculture industry or oil/gas interests wanting to take over our public lands!

Tens of thousands of horses’ lives depend on us to speak for them today.

Contact your two Senators and House Rep through the U.S. Capitol operator, 202-224-3121. Tell them politely, but firmly, that you oppose the use of tax dollars to slaughter America’s domestic or wild horses. Tell them to support language in the FY2018 appropriations budget which prevents funding for horsemeat inspections and language which does not allow the mass killing or sale to slaughter of wild horses.

There are numerous humane and successful alternatives for domestic and wild horses other than slaughter.

America’s horses are not raised or regulated as a food animal. They are unfit for human consumption. That includes captured wild horses which have received medications or other treatments which contain substances banned for use in food animals (wormer, vaccines, oral or topical medications).

URGENT Help Needed; Call Your Representatives!

Protect America’s horses! Tell Your Representatives to vote YES!

Attention Horse Advocates!

Your help is urgently needed to protect horses against the cruel fate of horse slaughter in our country.

If your U.S. Representative sits on the House Appropriations Committee (check here ), please call her/him immediately and urge a YES vote on the Dent/Roybal-Allard Amendment to keep horse slaughter plants out of our country.

Horse slaughter plants are rearing their ugly heads to re-open, and they most certainly will if this amendment fails in committee where it will be voted on as soon as next week.

Take two minutes today to place a quick call to your member of Congress if he/she serves on this committee to ensure that no U.S. tax dollars are wasted on propping up this horrific and foreign-owned industry.

America’s horses are not raised for food! Population control, retraining, and re-homing are just a few practical alternatives to slaughter.

Canadian Horse Slaughter: Ugly Realities

Photo via Vice

We thank the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition for working hard to expose and stop the horror of horse slaughter in Canada.

Tens of thousands of American horses are shipped to Canada each year. 

However, their suffering begins long before reaching the border as we (and many others) can testify to. There are four horse slaughterhouses in Canada, and horse slaughter is legal. Some of the meat is shipped to Japan, which we’ve covered before.

There is NO excuse for horse slaughter. Not now, not ever!

“Cut and Kill” Program Puts Horses in Grave Danger!

Tell the government “NO” to wild horse slaughter!

Wild horses are in peril.

The current administration’s budget for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro program proposes a “cut and kill” agenda.

The federal budget looks to cut $10M from the BLM’s budget. Other decreases in spending would occur from reducing roundups and population control measures, but also from gutting wild horse numbers by allowing their sale for slaughter.

Act now before it’s too late to stop this inhumane and reckless attempt at budget management. Practical solutions already exist to responsibly protect and care for wild horses such as management on the range, use of PZP for population control, gentling/training programs to improve adoption rates, eco-tourism and sanctuaries.
Contact your Congressional representatives today to voice opposition to the cruel and irresponsible treatment of America’s wild horses. America’s mustangs are not numbers on paper, but are living symbols of our history! www.house.gov and www.senate.gov
Voice your opposition to Ryan Zinke, head of the Interior Department which oversees the BLM: [email protected]
Wild horses belong on taxpayer funded lands as allocated to them by law

Omnibus Spending Bill Offers Mixed News for Horse Advocates

Wild mares and foals in government holding pens

Details of the federal government’s large Omnibus spending bill to cover the rest of Fiscal Year 2017 (through September 30) were released early this week.

Some good news — the bill includes language to prohibit funding for horse slaughter inspections.

This means no horse slaughter plants can operate in the U.S. However the “reprieve” is only for the next few months when a new budget bill must be passed.

And mixed news for wild horses — the bill contains language to prevent the BLM and its contractors from sending wild horses to slaughter. However, there is concern that some language in the bill could be used to argue for the illegal transfer of mustangs into the slaughter pipeline.

Advocates are very concerned about Section 116 of the spending bill which allows the BLM to remove federal protection from wild horses and transfer them over to states and local governments to use as “work animals.”

Up to 50,000 wild horses could lose protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act due to this provision.

Make your voice heard! Contact your US Senators and Representatives here.

Promising News from Washington D.C.

Things are looking up for Anti-Horse Slaughter Legislation

We need to thank and support those in Congress who stand up against horse abuse!

Be sure to contact your Congressional representatives to get on board with ending horse slaughter now.

According to a recent article on Tuesday’s Horse, Representative Earl Blumenhauer (D-OR) issued a statement about his work with the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus and the recent March Against Horse Slaughter.

His statement was highly encouraging to animal rights advocates, and he has great hopes that the SAFE Act will pass.

“Whether it’s fighting to strengthen existing laws, or working to push forward new ones, we must continue to fight for policies that protect animals in the United States and abroad. Today’s briefing was a small, but significant step in this Congress, and I am proud to have worked to provide a glimmer of light amidst this strange and unusual time.” – Rep. Earl Blumenhauer

Keep up the good work! Contact your Representative here!

Read the article from Tuesday’s Horse Here!

Horse Slaughter in Japan

featured_horses-shipped-live_japan_chdc
Photo from Canadian Horse Defence Coalition via tuesdayshorse.com

Horse slaughter is both cruel and unnecessary.

Horsemeat is not just consumed by some European countries. Japan has put its own twist on this disgusting industry.

Japan is one of the world’s leading importers or horsemeat, and apparently they are now importing horses from Canada. The horsemeat is used in a specialty sushi, and oils from the horses’ bodies are used in beauty products.

Read more about it here.

Pro-Slaughter Measures in KY

kill.lot.may08.mustang.mare
Horse protections eroded if Kentucky legislature passes a new bill.

Pro slaughter at it again!

This is a very dangerous piece of legislation which just passed in Kentucky’s state house agriculture committee.

Those who truly care about equine welfare in Kentucky need to continue pressure on their state legislature NOT to pass this bill as well as the governor to veto it if needed.

Read more from The Horse Fund here.

Update on horse slaughter!

The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 113, has been reintroduced in the new Congress.

Horses at an auction frequented by kill buyers
Horses at an auction frequented by kill buyers.

The SAFE Act will prohibit the slaughter of our horses for human consumption in the U.S. and their export for slaughter.

The bill protects consumers from exposure to toxic horsemeat which was one of the primary arguments in our lawsuits at the federal and state level to ban horse slaughter.

Thanks go to the following Representatives for reintroducing this bill to end a horrific cruelty to America’s horses:

  • Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
  • Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
  • Ed Royce (R-CA)
  • Michele Lujan Grisham (D-NM).

Please contact your federal Representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 113 now! You can find your rep through www.house.gov.

Read more at Vern Buchanan’s website here.

U.S. Government’s Horrific Treatment of America’s Wild Horses Isn’t Just Inhumane—It’s Against the Law

U.S. Government’s Horrific Treatment of America’s Wild Horses Isn’t Just Inhumane—It’s Against the Law

Earlier this month, the federal Bureau of Land Management decided to withdraw its plan to perform sterilization experiments on 225 wild mares, rather than face multiple lawsuits. On the heels of this victory came a shocking announcement: The BLM Advisory Board recommended killing approximately 45,000 wild horses now held captive in government corrals.

Public outrage and the outpouring of opposition were immediate and overwhelming. After just a few days, a BLM spokesperson stated the agency would continue its current practices and not euthanize the horses as recommended. (Being all too familiar with BLM’s double-talk, we must add the caveat “for now” to that statement.) Click here to read more from Hilary’s article on AlterNet.

Sorrow, Remembrance & Hope

Horses have played important roles in human history.

Where human footprints are found, so too are hoof prints.

Equines were our primary mode of transportation helping to settle ancient lands as well as sending Americans westward.

We salute the brave men and women of our military this Memorial Day weekend.
We salute the brave men and women of our military this Memorial Day weekend.

The Pony Express delivered the mail as other horses and mules worked on ranches and farm lands. Paddy wagons and fire trucks were pulled by horses. Thousands of horses were injured or died as they carried brave soldiers into battle.

From the right, from the left, and from the front, shot and shell poured in upon us. Many a brave man went down, many a horse fell, flinging his rider to the earth; many a horse without a rider ran wildly out of the ranks: then terrified of being alone with no hand to guide him, came pressing in amongst his old companions, to gallop with them to the charge. Fearful as it was, no one stopped, no one turned back.
-‘Captain, An Old War Horse’ from Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Today, horses are used for pleasure, sport/competition, ranching, and as companion animals. Their therapeutic benefits have aided countless special needs children and adults including great advances with autistic youth. Programs using horses with wounded warriors are producing extremely positive results.

We honor those who serve our country.

My father, a retired Army captain, used to drive past the stables at Fort Myer in Virginia so his horse crazy daughter (me) might catch a glimpse of the horses kept there. It was a bittersweet day decades later as we walked behind the horse drawn caisson to bury my dad at Arlington National Cemetery.

In Loving Memory

Front Range Equine Rescue’s work is both heart-warming and heart breaking. We want to thank all of our loyal donors for allowing us to save the lives of horses in need, particularly those in danger of slaughter both domestic and wild.

black-horse

To the “forgotten ones” where the suffering and abuse have gone on too long or to an extreme where humane euthanasia is the only option…

Tony_McCoy_fall

To the track horses who are over-drugged, raced too young, breakdown, die or end up at slaughter…

antelope.herd.mare.down

To stopping the war on America’s mustangs with cruel roundups taking away their freedom and destroying family bands forever…

leo.adopter.2016

To those rescued, rehabilitated and with a happy ending…

harmony.field.may2016

And we honor our brave horses whose lives we seek to change for the better. We salute the brave men and women of our military this Memorial Day weekend.

The Pro Horse Slaughter Agenda Remains Active

The pro horse slaughter agenda remains active, yet again, as a move was made to reinstate funding for horse meat inspections in the appropriations budget.

The Senate Appropriations Committee just adopted an amendment, advanced by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Christopher Coons (D-DE), to stop horse slaughter plants from opening in the United States. The Senate action reflects last month’s House of Representatives vote on its version of the agriculture spending bill to deny funding for inspections of horse meat by USDA inspectors.

The House vote was a hard fought win, with Representatives Sam Farr (D-CA) and Charles Dent (R-PA) securing their amendment by a narrow margin, a 25-23 vote.

Kill buyers and others behind the horse slaughter industry pretend they are providing “help” for horses by shipping them to slaughter, but there is nothing commendable about this gruesome business. Horses are whipped, beaten, even dragged into trucks and suffer long transport without food, water or rest just like they did when U.S. plants operated. Long before they reach the kill box, many die or sustain injuries during transport, including broken limbs, backs, and punctured eyes.

Providing veterinary care to a slaughter-bound horse is unthinkable to these profiteers because horse slaughter is only about greed, corruption, cruelty, cheap disposal and making a fast buck.

Our horses deserve far better than this and alternatives to slaughter already exist. Federal legislation must be passed to close the borders and end this brutal, unnecessary practice. There is a nationwide coalition ready to do better for the one-percent of the horse population which ends up brutally killed annually.

Klara was severely injured and ultimately had to be humanely euthanized.
Klara was severely injured and ultimately had to be humanely euthanized.

A kill buyer had “Klara” dropped off to us in Colorado.

She was humanely euthanized due to severe injury to her hip and right hind leg joints (hock and stifle).

America’s horses are not raised as a food animal. Their meat is dangerous, even toxic, for human consumption as they are given numerous banned substances/drugs over the course of their lives.

As you know, Front Range Equine Rescue secured additional victories in NM federal court in recent months on outstanding lawsuits to stop new U.S. plants from opening. The formerly proposed NM plant intends to appeal to the 10th circuit on one of their losses.

New Mexico Horse Slaughterhouse Shut Down After Pressure From Front Range Equine Rescue

Main Photo: www.bhmpic.com
Main Photo: www.bhmpics.com

Original Article by Katie Cleary  –  worldanimalnews.com


SANTA FE, NM, February 5, 2016 – Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER), a national nonprofit working to end the abuse and neglect of horses through rescue and education, in collaboration with the Attorney General of New Mexico, has obtained a court order that permanently ends any possibility of horse slaughter for the purpose of human consumption at Valley Meat slaughterhouse in Roswell, New Mexico.

The court’s order, issued by Judge Francis J. Mathew in Santa Fe yesterday, is the culmination of three years of legal efforts by FRER, local residents, and the state to prevent horse slaughter in New Mexico.

The order permanently banning Valley Meat and any associated company or individual from slaughtering horses originated in a 2013 lawsuit initiated by the Attorney General’s Office, joined by FRER and four residents of Roswell whose health, safety, and enjoyment were threatened by Valley Meat’s operations.

This suit successfully obtained an injunction against Valley Meat’s horse slaughter operations. FRER was the first group to discover that Valley Meat was applying to slaughter American horses, and FRER’s investigations exposed the company’s decades-long record of violating environmental and animal welfare requirements. Over the course of two decades, Valley Meat has accumulated more than 5000 violations of state laws protecting the environment, groundwater, rivers, and other waterways.

Among the most egregious of its misconduct, Valley Meat operated a cow slaughterhouse for nearly three years without any state approval to discharge water at all, thereby avoiding any oversight that might have helped monitor any damage being done. For years, Valley Meat illegally dumped and buried cow carcasses and pieces of dead animals, despite repeated requests from state regulators to cease and desist and clean up its mess.

Read The Full Article Here

Horse Slaughter Victory!

A huge victory after our three years of legal efforts to stop horse slaughter in New Mexico
A huge victory after our three years of legal efforts to stop horse slaughter in New Mexico

Over 135,000 horses were slaughtered in 2015.

While the defund remains in place for the current fiscal year, there is no time to “sit on our laurels”.

We are working harder than ever to ensure:

  • No return of U.S. slaughter plants
  • Increasing awareness of alternatives to slaughter
  • Educating on safe re-homing options
  • Stopping U.S. horses from being butchered in slaughterhouses across our borders

February 4: Valley Meat in New Mexico, and all related companies and individuals, were permanently prohibited by a court order from slaughtering horses for human consumption, and from manufacturing, selling or distributing horse meat products in New Mexico. This is the result of the lawsuit brought by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office and joined in by Front Range Equine Rescue and four Roswell citizens.

This is a huge victory after our three years of legal efforts to stop horse slaughter in New Mexico.

Front Range Equine Rescue wants to give a tremendous thank you to all of our donors who helped with this monumental, grassroots effort and to the NM Attorney General’s Office and four Roswell residents.

This is a critical milestone, but the battle continues on as there remains a great deal of work to be done to responsibly end horse slaughter. This victory means we stopped the expansion of horse slaughter. The NM plant never opened so no additional horses were killed. It is critical to note that U.S. horses shipped to Canada and Mexico even when U.S. plants operated before. They would continue to do so if any U.S. plant opened. Federal legislation is needed to ban horse slaughter within the U.S. and across the borders.

2015 Horse Slaughter Updates

At the federal level, the defunding of USDA inspectors for horsemeat continued in 2015.

durango.earlyjun.07In April 2015, Congress introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R.1942/S. 1214) to prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States and ban their export abroad for that purpose.

The measure also addresses the health hazards that could arise for consumers, given the drugs and medicines horses are routinely administered.

Everyone is strongly encouraged to bring this critical legislation to your elected officials attention. Contact Senators at www.senate.gov; House members at www.house.gov.

Front Range Equine Rescue’s 2012-2013 lawsuits at the state level remain outstanding due to no final judgements on the various cases to stop U.S. slaughter plants from opening.

Rulings which were handed down included a judge granting our motion to intervene in a state court case brought by the New Mexico AG’s office.

This case helped stop Valley Meat from slaughtering horses.

De-Funding Extended for Horse Slaughter Plant Inspections

The President Signed Appropriations Omnibus Bill

jade.beforeWe just received word the President signed the Appropriations Omnibus bill which included continued defunding of USDA inspections for horsemeat.

The de-fund will continue into 2015. The 2015 budget goes through 9/30/15 for the federal government. This means that no horse slaughter plant can operate in the U.S. while this is in effect.

While this is great news, it is by no means permanent and does not stop horses from transporting to Mexico and Canada. It does give all of us an opportunity to continue working all other angles to bring an end to the slaughter of America’s horses.

There is still a lot of work to be done! We need to expand the ‘safety net’ for horses to keep them out of the slaughter pipeline permanently.

We are also closely watching to see what impact the ban on horsemeat from Mexico by the EU will have in the coming weeks.

EU Suspends Horsemeat Imports from Mexico

The European Union (EU) is close to imposing a ban on the import of horse meat from Mexico.

The director of the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Union Commission, Michael Scannell, revealed that a ban was close when he addressed the recent European Parliament’s Intergroup meeting in Brussels.

He also voiced concerns around some of the serious welfare issues identified around the long-haul transport of horses from the United States to Mexico, saying some animals arrived dead or unable to stand.

Read More:

Europe close to banning horse meat from Mexico
Europeans Suspend Horsemeat Imports From Mexico

USDA has denied the application of D’Allendo Meats

USDA Has Denied the Application

Today we learned that USDA has denied the application of D’Allendo Meats to begin slaughtering horses at the same site where Valley Meat in Roswell, NM was located. The denial was based on the fact that there is no funding in the federal budget for USDA inspections of horse slaughter. USDA’s letter did indicate then if funding for inspections became available, then D’Allendo Meats could re-apply

Valley Meat Company in Roswell, New Mexico No Plans to Slaughter Horses

Slaughtering Horses in Roswell

layla.jan09.1Although Valley Meat Company in Roswell, New Mexico recently stated that it has no plans to slaughter horses, that facility was just supposedly sold to a new company which is now trying to start slaughtering horses in the same place. Some of the principals behind Valley Meat are the managers of D’Allende Meats.

These people apparently think they can escape Valley Meat’s history of environmental violations, their inability to get a liquid waste discharge permit, and the New Mexico court order barring them from slaughtering horses by simply changing the name of their slaughterhouse.

Front Range Equine Rescue’s investigation continues, as does its fight to stop the slaughter of American horses.

New Mexico Plant Withdraws Animal Processing Application

The attorney for a New Mexico firm that previously sought approval to process horses is blaming some equine advocates for the company’s livestock processing application withdrawal. Some of those advovates, however, are defending their actions.

Prior to 2007, USDA personnel carried out horsemeat inspections at U.S. horse processing plants. In 2007, Congress voted to strip the USDA of funding required to pay personnel conducting such inspections at the last two operational domestic equine processing plants. Federal funding bills continued to include language denying funding for horsemeat inspections until 2011, when Congress passed an appropriations bill that failed to contain language specifically forbidding the USDA from using federal dollars to fund horse slaughter plant inspections. Shortly after that bill became law, the New Mexico-based Valley Meat Co., LLC applied for and received a horse processing permit.

Shortly thereafter, in April 2013, the Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) brought a federal lawsuit challenging that any permit issued to Valley Meats on grounds that the USDA failed consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the processing plant’s potential impact on the environment. And in December 2013, New Mexico’s Attorney General Gary King filed a lawsuit asking the court to stop Valley Meats’ potential horse processing operation on grounds that the firm allegedly had a poor record of complying with state environmental rules.

To Read More – Click Here

Notice of Withdrawal of Application, Valley Meat

Filed by Valley Meat’s attorney (notice of withdrawal for water permit; they are no longer going to try operating as a horse slaughter plant):

logan.grazing.jun2011STATE OF NEW MEXICO BEFORE THE SECRETARY OF ENVIRONMENT IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF VALLEY MEAT COMPANY FOR GROUND WATER DISCHARGE PERMIT RENEWAL, DP-236 No. GWB 13-05 (P)
NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF APPLICATION

Valley Meat Company, LLC, by and through its undersigned attorney, hereby respectfully withdraws its application GWB 13-05(P) and gives notice of the same. Valley Meat Company must withdraw its application due to the inability of the New Mexico Environment Department’s hearing officer to recognize that New Mexico Statutes and Code only recognize livestock and do not differentiate by species.

Further the Hearing Officer’s report recommends that the Secretary of the Environment violate a previous order from a SWB case. Such failings and the misuse of the hearing officer’s report by the Attorney General in a district court proceeding coupled with the arbitrary delay of almost 7 months by the Secretary in not making a decision has contributed to the destruction of Valley’s lawful business.

Those contributions coupled with predatory litigation designed to interfere and destroy Valley’s lawful business brought by the New Mexico Attorney General, HSUS, FRER and others has led to insolvency requiring that Valley Meat Company, LLC withdraw this application and any plans for operating a livestock processing facility at this location at this time.

Auctioneer 1st Man Charged Under California Law To Protect Horses From Slaughter

Lacey and Squirt

billy_ray_brown_060414
Billy Ray Brown, Jr. and the horse he sold to slaughter, Lacey.

MADERA (KPIX 5) — They were called Lacey and Squirt, two professional rodeo horses and beloved pets. But they ended up sold for meat on someone’s dinner plate overseas.

In a landmark case, a suspect has been charged with delivering at least one of them to slaughter.

The case is the talk of the town in Madera. Sheriff John Anderson has arrested a well-known businessman for an almost unheard of crime. “He will be treated no differently than anyone else,” Anderson said.

Billy Ray Brown Jr., son of the owner of the local B and B Livestock auction, is accused of sending a horse called Lacey out of state to slaughter for human consumption.

Read More:

KPIX 5 Reports On Horse Auctions Brings Changes To Golden Gate Fields
Calif. Race Tracks, Rescue Groups Take Action Against Horsemeat Trade
Undercover Investigation Reveals Little Oversight At California Horse Auctions

New Mexico Horse Slaughter Plant Stuck in Legal Battles

Lately, it’s quiet enough to hear crickets in Roswell’s Valley Meat plant.

That’s because all of the noise is in the courtroom. The owner of Valley Meat, Rick De Los Santos, hopes his facility will soon be used to slaughter horses for people around the world to eat. His vision has been controversial with animal rights activists and even the New Mexico attorney general.

“The meat is safe. It’s not going to harm anyone,” said De Los Santos.

There are several ongoing state and federal lawsuits that will determine if and when Valley Meat will be open for business. The federal government cut funding for inspects that are required for such facilities. Valley Meat is legally fighting to change that. The funding for inspections may be restored after September, and the company’s attorney said at that time, production will begin.

Other lawsuits are also underway involving the New Mexico attorney general and a foundation started by former governor Bill Richardson and famed actor Robert Redford.

In nine days, Valley Meat will find out if the New Mexico Environment Department approves its plan for getting rid of waste water. They want to pump that waste water into a lined lagoon, where it will evaporate instead of contaminating the environment. If that permit is denied, Valley will have to explore other options for disposing their waste water.

Horse Slaughter Defund On Track For Fiscal Year 2015

Ban on Funding Horse Slaughter Passed

The Senate Appropriations Committee just passed a ban on funding the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide horse slaughter inspections during fiscal year 2015, which will effectively ban horse slaughter. This action signifies Congress’s recognition that horse slaughter is disgraceful, barbaric, and a threat to the environment and public health. FRER applauds the defund and will continue the fight to end the slaughter of American horses.

Missouri DNR Formally Shut Down Permit for Rains Natural Meats

Outstanding Matters

Even with defunding, there are still outstanding matters working their way against horse slaughter plants in the U.S. Good news out of MO:

We are happy to announce that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has once again formally shut down Rains Natural Meats’ efforts to get a permit to discharge wastewater from horse slaughter. The company’s latest request for a horse slaughter permit was denied by the Department, based on the removal of funding for horse slaughter inspections by federal inspectors. Front Range Equine Rescue applauds the decision and hopes that this puts an end to the possibility of horse slaughter in Missouri.

AG King Files Lawsuit to Stop Horse Slaughter in NM

Suing Valley Meat Plant

(ALBUQUERQUE)—Attorney General Gary King is suing the Valley Meat horse slaughter plant in Roswell to prevent the company from killing and butchering horses for food.

At a news conference this morning AG King announced that he has filed a lawsuit that asks for a temporary restraining order to stop the plant from opening. Valley Meat is repor…tedly planning to begin slaughtering horses for human food within two weeks.

“I took this action because horse slaughter presents a genuine risk to New Mexicans’ health and to our natural resources,” says Attorney General King. “Valley Meat Company’s record of violating the state’s laws regarding food, water quality, and unfair business practices, poses serious dangers to public health and safety, to the natural environment, and to the public’s use and enjoyment of public resources, namely groundwater and land.”

AG King reiterated that horses are administered scores of drugs that are banned for use with food animals and that are not approved for human use either. Many of these drugs have demonstrated harmful effects on humans, and others carry unknown risks. Because horses in America are not raised to be eaten, they are given these drugs without regard to whether their meat might be consumed later. In addition, horses lack medical records that would help regulators and consumers decide if their meat was safe.

The Attorney General says, “For these reasons, I concluded earlier this year that horse meat would likely constitute an ‘adulterated’ product under the New Mexico Food Act, and therefore would be prohibited. AG King said he also initiated this lawsuit because Valley Meat, the plant that is on the verge of beginning commercial horse slaughter, has a very poor track record of compliance with environmental and safety laws, racking up literally thousands of violations over the years. The company has requested a state permit that is required before it can discharge wastewater, but has now stated publicly that it will begin operating on January 1, 2014, whether or not it receives the permit.

“Our environmental laws are on the books to protect precious natural resources, especially ground water. Companies that willfully ignore those laws need to be held to account before they cause serious damage to public health or our environment,” adds AG King. “Commercial horse slaughter is completely at odds with our traditions and our values as New Mexicans. It also poses a tangible risk to consumers and to our environment. I will continue to fight on behalf of the health and well-being of New Mexicans and the protection of our groundwater and other natural resources.”

AG Wins Injunction Against Valley Meat

Motion for a Preliminary Injunction Against Valley Meat Company

(SANTA FE)—State District Court Judge Matthew Wilson today granted Attorney General Gary King’s motion for a preliminary injunction against Valley Meat Company, preventing the opening of a proposed horse slaughterhouse until the AG’s lawsuit is resolved.

“The judge’s decision allows our lawsuit to continue while preventing the immediate killing of horses for human consumption,” says AG King. “I still strongly believe that Valley Meat’s proposal for commercial horse slaughter posed a serious danger to consumers and to our environment.”
With the close scrutiny of horse slaughter that the Attorney General’s lawsuit has prompted, the U.S. Congress has approved, and the President has signed, an appropriations bill that restores the long-standing prohibition on funding for federal inspection of horse slaughterhouses – which effectively bans commercial horse slaughter nationwide.

Attorney General King is especially grateful to U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, for their supportive efforts to de-fund the federal inspections. Numerous other individuals and groups have helped accomplish this important result, particularly Front Range Equine Rescue, which first discovered Valley Meat’s plans to get into the horse meat business and has worked tirelessly ever since to stop those operations, and Animal Protection of New Mexico, which has led the fight for equine protection in our state.

Senate passed the omnibus bill today with the defunding intact

President Obama will sign into law.

No funding for USDA inspection of horse meat for now. U.S. plants cannot open without it.

Celebrate for now but remember, we have a lot more work to do to stop horse slaughter once and for all. We are already moving forward with additional strategies on this end. No time to rest as our horses are still crossing the borders and have already suffered right here in the U.S. at auctions and/or during transport, long before reaching the horror of the kill box.

Judge Postpones Decision on Horse Slaughterhouse

The New Mexican

Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014 8:30 pm
By Milan Simonich

State District Judge Matthew Wilson heard seven hours of testimony and bitter argument, but then delayed until Friday a ruling on whether a horse-slaughter plant should be barred from opening. Emotions ran high Monday in Wilson’s Santa Fe courtroom, and he even threatened to hold the slaughterhouse’s attorney in contempt of court for an outburst during the final moments of the hearing. Read More.

Recommendation For Sec. of the NM Environment Department to Deny Waste-water Disposal Permit

Recommendation from NM Environmental Department

As a result of Front Range Equine Rescue’s continuous efforts to stop horse slaughter, a neutral hearing officer just recommended that the Secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department deny Valley Meat’s application for a waste-water discharge permit. Based on evidence assembled and arguments made in Front Range’s post-hearing brief, the hearing officer found that Valley Meat displayed a history of “willful disregard” for New Mexico’s environmental laws. We are pleased with this recommendation; however, it is not a final decision.

Our Efforts in Missouri Have Resulted in a Win for the Horses

Rains Natural Meats has Withdrawn its Case

Front Range Equine Rescue is pleased to announce that our efforts in Missouri have resulted in a win for the horses. Rains Natural Meats has withdrawn its case challenging the MO Dept. of Natural Resources’ denial of their application for horse slaughter (they received a water permit which excluded horse slaughter). In response to Rains’ action against the DNR, Front Range intervened in the case and, along with the DNR filed to dismiss Rains’ case. On December 31, Rains filed to have its claims dismissed, effectively admitting defeat.

Temporary Restraining Order on Valley Meats

BREAKING NEWS

We are happy to announce that the New Mexico Attorney General’s office has just obtained a temporary restraining order to prevent Valley Meat from starting to slaughter horses until after a hearing on the Attorney General’s lawsuit, currently scheduled for this Friday.

We applaud the Attorney General’s swift action in securing this injunction and wish their office further success on Friday, January 3.

Nonprofit Horse Rescue Group Leads the Fight Nationwide to Prevent Horse Slaughter and Protect the Public

BREAKING NEWS

Front Range Equine Rescue Exposes Thousands of Environmental Violations by Proposed New Mexico Horse Slaughterhouse; Enters Fight to Protect Missouri from Horse Slaughter Contamination

LARKSPUR, Colo., December 16, 2013 – Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER), a national nonprofit working to end the abuse and neglect of horses through rescue and education, has taken measures to prevent the slaughter of horses for human consumption in both New Mexico and Missouri.

Late last week, FRER filed a 90-page brief in New Mexico explaining that state law mandates Valley Meat in Roswell, N.M. be rejected in its quest to start slaughtering horses for meat.

In a separate action, FRER has intervened in a Missouri proceeding in which a Gallatin, Mo.-based slaughterhouse there is trying to begin slaughtering horse for human consumption, despite clear environmental dangers and likely toxic deposits that would result from the practice.

To Read More – Click Here

No Horse Slaughter in America

BREAKING NEWS

On October 31, 2013 our TRO expired, so on November 1 we filed a motion to extend our TRO until the judge makes her decision. Late in the day on November 1, 2013 the judge ruled against us on the NEPA case.

We immediately filed an appeal to the decision in the 10th court of appeal. We also filed an emergency motion to stop horse slaughter from beginning. On Monday, November 4, 2013 we are happy to announce that the Court of Appeal has granted our motion for a temporary injunction, for a short time, staying the district court’s ruling last week. By November 7 the other side has to file their opposition, and we then have until November 8th to file our reply.

For now, no horses can be slaughtered in America, and the chance of environmental contamination from horse slaughter is again in the hands of the courts. But we will be fighting further this week, and should know more by week’s end. This is a BIG victory for the horses!

To Read More – Click Here

A Brief Legal Update New Mexico litigation to stop horse slaughter

BREAKING NEWS

We had a good week in our New Mexico litigation to stop horse slaughter:

  • First, the Court rejected the Defendant-Intervenors’ motion to strike statements from our merits brief related to the environmental havoc caused by the last three horse slaughterhouses to operate in the U.S. The Court can now consider this evidence in its final ruling.
  • Second, the Court rejected Valley Meat’s motion to strike statements from our merit brief about Valley Meat’s history of environmental violations.
  • Third, the Court denied USDA’s attempts to pretend that it considered the environmental havoc caused by the last three horse slaughterhouses to operate in the U.S. before issuing the recent grants of inspection.
  • Finally, the Court denied Rains Natural Meat’s motion for a security bond.

Federal Judge Rules to Delay Horse Slaughter

Temporary Restraining Order Granted

THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiffs’ Notice of Motion and Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction; Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof [Doc. 5]. Having considered the submissions, the relevant case law, the oral argument of the parties, and otherwise being fully advised in the premises, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion in part, in that it grants Plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order. The decision to grant a temporary restraining order is within the Court’s discretion.

See Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska v. Stovall, 341 F.3d 1202, 1205 (10th Cir. 2003). To obtain a temporary restraining order “the moving party must demonstrate: (1) a likelihoodof success on the merits; (2) a likelihood that the movant will suffer irreparable harm inthe absence of preliminary relief; (3) that the balance of equities tips in the movant’s favor; and (4) that the injunction is in the public interest.”

AG Intervenes in Lawsuit to Halt Horse Slaughter Plant

State Law Does Not Allow for Production of Meat

(ALBUQUERQUE)—Attorney General Gary King has filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit to stop a plant in Roswell from slaughtering horses for meat because federal authorities have not yet undertaken the required environmental review. The AG’s motion, filed late last Friday, joins Front Range Equine Rescue, the Humane Society of the United States, and a variety of other groups and individuals that recently brought the lawsuit in federal district court.

AG King’s motion says New Mexico has a strong interest in ensuring that “commercial operations within its borders are conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.” Attorney General King previously concluded in a legal analysis last month that “state law does not allow for production of meat that is chemically tainted under federal regulations.”

To read more – click here.

Former Governor Bill Richardson and Robert Redford Join Fight to Stop Horse Slaughterhouses.

“Committed to Doing Whatever it Takes to Stop the Return of Horse Slaughterhouses”

SANTA FE, NM- Former Governor Bill Richardson and legendary actor, director, and conservationist Robert Redford today announced they are joining the fight to stop horse slaughterhouses from reopening in the United States. The action is the first of a new foundation the two have formed to protect animals and wildlife. The Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife has filed in federal court to join as a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by animal protection organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue, to block the revival of American horse slaughter.

The lawsuit claims the U.S. Department of Agriculture violated federal law by failing to conduct required reviews of the known environmental dangers caused by horse slaughterhouses, including one trying to open in Roswell, New Mexico. The Foundation and other plaintiffs are seeking an emergency injunction.

“As a lifelong horse lover, I am committed to doing whatever it takes to stop the return of horse slaughterhouses in this country and, in particular, my own state,” Governor Richardson said. “Congress was right to ban the inhumane practice years ago, and it is unfathomable that the federal government is now poised to let it resume. As a country whose rich history is so closely tied to horses, we should instead be focused on exploring new horse rescue and retirement solutions.”

To read more – click here.

USDA Approved Application for Horse Slaughter

Animal Welfare Groups Plan Suit in Response to USDA Decision to Support the Slaughter of Horses for Human Consumption

(June 28, 2013)— The U.S. Department of Agriculture has given the green light for the grisly practice of horse slaughter to resume on U.S. soil. The agency approved an application for horse slaughter inspections under federal law at a plant in New Mexico. This news comes on the heels of the U.S. House and Senate appropriations committees’ votes to halt all funding for horse slaughter in FY 2014. The decision means that the federal government could potentially spend millions of taxpayer dollars to start up inspections at horse slaughter plants, only to have Congress terminate the process in the coming months.

In response to the USDA’s decision, The Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue plan to file suit immediately against the USDA to put a stop to this agency decision. The two groups previously informed USDA that they would take aggressive legal action against the agency, in light of the serious unresolved environmental and food safety issues surrounding horse slaughter.

To read more – Click Here

Iowa Regulators Asked To Rule that Horse Meat is Inedible

Animal Protection Groups Demonstrate Potentially Toxic Nature of Horse Meat and Ask for Legal Declaration of Adulteration.

(May 14, 2013) — Front Range Equine Rescue and The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal petition with the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals requesting that it adopt a rule that renders horse meat “adulterated” as a matter of law, which would ban the sale of horsemeat for human consumption. The petition explains that horses are different than other animals we eat because Americans do not raise horses as food animals, and American horses are treated routinely with many drugs and harmful chemicals prohibited from use in animals who will be eaten, and because of that their meat is unsafe for consumers.

These substances to which virtually all American horses have been exposed create the potential for great danger to humans if they are eaten, including cancer, life-threatening autoimmune diseases, and other illnesses of significant proportion. The petition establishes that the only way to protect the food supply and the consuming public is for the Department to declare horse meat to be adulterated, unless the horse meat producers can prove that the horses never received substances prohibited for use in food animals. This is of great concern since the chance for cross-contamination of beef with horse meat has been a regular topic of news in Europe, where horses are currently consumed for food.

To read more – click here.

Would-Be Horse Slaughter Plant Has Been Violating Federal Clean Water Act for Years.

Front Range Equine Rescue Discovers Would-Be Horse Slaughter Plant Has Been Violating Federal Clean Water Act for Years.

(April 30, 2013)— Front Range Equine Rescue (“FRER”) notified Valley Meat Company of Roswell, New Mexico (“Valley Meat”) and the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) of its intent to sue Valley Meat for violating the federal Clean Water Act. Valley Meat formerly slaughtered cattle but now seeks to slaughter horses for human consumption. By conducting slaughter operations without proper approval or obtaining a conditional exclusion, Valley Meat has violated and will continue to violate the Clean Water Act.

The letter sent by FRER explains that the Clean Water Act requires Valley Meat to obtain a permit or apply for an exception before conducting further slaughter operations, in order to protect surface waters from discharges that have been exposed to Valley Meat’s slaughterhouse activities. Based on its investigation, FRER believes that Valley Meat, despite operating a slaughterhouse for years, and attempting to start up again, has failed to comply with the requirements of the Clean Water Act. Valley Meat has applied to the USDA for permission to slaughter former companion horses, race horses, and others, and sell the meat for human consumption.

To read more – click here.

Would-Be Horse Slaughterer Falsified Federal Application, Has Committed Multiple Felonies

Front Range Equine Rescue Discovers Would-Be Horse Slaughterer Falsified Federal Application, Has Committed Multiple Felonies.

(April 22, 2013)— Front Range Equine Rescue (“FRER”) notified the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) that the owner of Valley Meat Company, in Roswell, New Mexico, recently made blatantly false statements about his criminal record on two applications to begin slaughtering healthy American horses. If USDA grants Valley Meat’s application, it will be condoning the kind of conduct that jeopardizes the health and safety of consumers, increases the chances of horse meat showing up in American beef, and threatens the integrity of the federal meat inspection system.
In the past seventeen months, Valley Meat has submitted to USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (“FSIS”) three applications so that Valley Meat can begin slaughtering horses. On two of these applications, Mr. De Los Santos committed federal felonies when he falsely stated that he had no criminal history of felony convictions. The third application, submitted in March 2013, confirms his criminal history…

To read more – Click Here

USDA has failed to fulfill the ESA’s mandate

Front Range Equine Rescue and The Humane Society of the United States Will Sue to Enforce the Endangered Species Act

Front Range Equine Rescue (“FRER”) and The Humane Society of the United States (“HSUS”) notified the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) of their intent to challenge any grant of inspection to Valley Meat Company of Roswell, New Mexico pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). Valley Meat has applied to USDA for permission to slaughter horses in their Roswell, New Mexico slaughterhouse and sell the meat for human consumption. Under the ESA, USDA must consult with the Secretary of Interior through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the impact of Valley Meat’s slaughter operations on threatened and endangered species and their critical habitat in the vicinity of Valley Meat. FRER and HSUS believe USDA has failed to fulfill the ESA’s mandate.

To read more – Click Here

Animal Welfare Groups to New Mexico Regulators: Horsemeat a Risk to Human Health.

Horses are Treated Routinely with Drugs not Meant for Food

Front Range Equine Rescue and The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal petition with the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board requesting that it adopt a rule that renders any horse “unqualified” for use as food for human consumption. The petition states that horses are different than traditional food animals because Americans do not intend their horses to become food, and horses are treated routinely with drugs not meant for food, ranging from vaccinations to anti-inflammatories to steroids.

These substances to which virtually all American horses have been exposed create the potential for great danger to humans if they are eaten, including cancer, life-threatening autoimmune diseases, and other illnesses of significant proportion. The petition alleges that the only way to protect the food supply and the consuming public is for the Board to declare horse meat to be unqualified, unless the slaughterhouse (or its agent) receiving or buying the horse can unequivocally demonstrate that the horses have not ever received substances prohibited for use in food animals…

To read more – Click Here

To read the NMED Petition – Click Here

Valley Meat in Roswell, NM, Threatening Criminal Prosecution

ATTORNEY FOR CONTROVERSIAL HORSE SLAUGHTER PLANT SENDS THREATENING EMAILS TO JOURNALIST, OTHERS

March 25, 2013, LARKSPUR, COLORADO – Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) has received copies of an email sent by the lawyer for Valley Meat in Roswell, NM, threatening criminal prosecution against others for speaking about Valley Meat’s plans to begin slaughtering horses for food. Valley Meat, which was previously suspended for inhumane handling of animals it was slaughtering, is aggressively pushing to become the first company in America since 2007 to engage in the inhumane practice of horse slaughter. Valley Meat also employed Tim Sappington, who posted a video in which he curses at animal “activists” and then raises a gun to the head of a healthy horse and shoots the horse on camera. Only after the video went viral, and after Valley Meat’s attorney responded with justifications for Sappington’s conduct, did Valley Meat finally terminate Sappington’s employment.

In response to the inflammatory video, there has been an international outcry and articles written by many journalists. Since 2011, journalist Vickery Eckhoff has written over fifteen articles about the tragedy and dangers of horse slaughter for publications such as Newsweek and Forbes.com. In response to her recent inquiry to Valley Meat, the company’s lawyer responded:

To whom it may concern:
You are receiving this correspondence because you communicated to a person associated with Valley Meat Company, LLC a degratory [sic], defamatory or threatening statement or aided in deciminating [sic] the information necessary to conspire to do the same. . . . Because of the statements you have made it is my recommendation [sic] that you retain your own legal counsel. At this time any communications you made that threaten or harass any person associated with Valley Meat Company will be referred to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security for investigation and prosecution under the Animal Enterprise Terroism [sic] Act (SEE BELOW). Neither Valley Meat nor the Law Office of A. Blair Dunn will tolerate threatening or defamatory statements and will contemplate civil action against any individuals or groups that persist in that type of activity.

“This email, apparently sent to multiple individuals by Valley Meat’s counsel, demonstrates the approach of this company trying to restart the unnecessary and cruel practice of horse slaughter in America – lash out and intimidate anyone who questions Valley Meat’s practices,” says Hilary Wood, President of Front Range Equine Rescue. “This is just a continuation of prior practices when Valley Meat sued us and others for defamation, because we publicized true statements made by public agencies regarding Valley Meat’s violations of New Mexico environmental laws. I hope that more journalists address this attempted suppression of First Amendment rights, and expose every aspect of the shocking realities of horse slaughter.

“With respect to the Sappington video, Ms. Wood stated: “While the conduct of Valley Meat’s former employee demonstrates true malice, the death that each horse will suffer if any company begins slaughter will almost make Sappington’s actions look merciful. Investigative reports and documented violations from American and foreign slaughterhouses consistently reveal the blatant cruelty inherent in commercial horse slaughter.”

U.S. Government to Allow Toxic Horse Meat for Human Consumption

Horse Meat is Unsafe for Consumption

Our lawyers were informed that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is going to review the application of Valley Meat in Roswell, New Mexico to begin the toxic, inhumane and environmentally disastrous practice of horse slaughter again. This is happening despite the fact that Valley Meat has been cited in the past for humane handling violations, food contamination, and for having piles of dead animals illegally on its property. Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) has been working tirelessly to stop this before it happens, and to challenge it if it does start.

Horse meat is unsafe for consumption and, as recent news from Europe has shown, often ends up in products labeled as beef. American consumers have a lot to be worried about if horse slaughter actually starts on U.S. soil.

FRER’s investigation discovered a history of violations at Valley Meat which slaughtered cattle (see FSIS letter to Valley Meat below). Will the pile of rotting cattle carcasses be replaced by dead horses?

Photos of Valley Meat violations:

AG King Files Lawsuit to Stop Horse Slaughter in NM

BREAKING NEWS

(ALBUQUERQUE)—Attorney General Gary King is suing the Valley Meat horse slaughter plant in Roswell to prevent the company from killing and butchering horses for food.

At a news conference this morning AG King announced that he has filed a lawsuit that asks for a temporary restraining order to stop the plant from opening. Valley Meat is repor…tedly planning to begin slaughtering horses for human food within two weeks.

“I took this action because horse slaughter presents a genuine risk to New Mexicans’ health and to our natural resources,” says Attorney General King. “Valley Meat Company’s record of violating the state’s laws regarding food, water quality, and unfair business practices, poses serious dangers to public health and safety, to the natural environment, and to the public’s use and enjoyment of public resources, namely groundwater and land.”

AG King reiterated that horses are administered scores of drugs that are banned for use with food animals and that are not approved for human use either. Many of these drugs have demonstrated harmful effects on humans, and others carry unknown risks. Because horses in America are not raised to be eaten, they are given these drugs without regard to whether their meat might be consumed later. In addition, horses lack medical records that would help regulators and consumers decide if their meat was safe.

The Attorney General says, “For these reasons, I concluded earlier this year that horse meat would likely constitute an ‘adulterated’ product under the New Mexico Food Act, and therefore would be prohibited. AG King said he also initiated this lawsuit because Valley Meat, the plant that is on the verge of beginning commercial horse slaughter, has a very poor track record of compliance with environmental and safety laws, racking up literally thousands of violations over the years. The company has requested a state permit that is required before it can discharge wastewater, but has now stated publicly that it will begin operating on January 1, 2014, whether or not it receives the permit.

“Our environmental laws are on the books to protect precious natural resources, especially ground water. Companies that willfully ignore those laws need to be held to account before they cause serious damage to public health or our environment,” adds AG King. “Commercial horse slaughter is completely at odds with our traditions and our values as New Mexicans. It also poses a tangible risk to consumers and to our environment. I will continue to fight on behalf of the health and well-being of New Mexicans and the protection of our groundwater and other natural resources.”

Front Range Equine Rescue Petitions BLM to Stop America’s Wild Horses From Being Slaughtered For Sale and Consumption

1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act

Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) filed a legal petition with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today to stop the sale of wild horses gathered from the range to individuals who then sell them to slaughter facilities. The Petition demonstrates that the spirit of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, and the stated policy of the BLM, prohibit the sale of these equine representatives of American history to purchasers who see them as profit centers for the international slaughter market. Allowing these icons of the frontier to end up as someone else’s dinner is an unacceptable denigration of the valuable place these animals hold in both past and contemporary American culture.

Current federal oversight of horses going to slaughter, whether by the BLM or any other federal agency, is inadequate with respect to identification of the origin of the horses. It is estimated that hundreds, if not thousands, of captured wild horses are sent to slaughter through “killer-buyers” who buy them solely for that purpose. The buyers typically have no concern or knowledge about the horses’ welfare, or about their prior history, before shipping them off to inhumane deaths in slaughter facilities. BLM could, but does not yet, provide proper oversight to prevent wild horse slaughter, and FRER’s Petition presents reasonable solutions to that problem. “Being slaughtered for meat is a tragic and cruel end for horses; the horror and shame is amplified when the victims are the wild horses who are national treasures of American history,” said Hilary Wood, president of FRER. “Congress declared in 1971 that wild horses should be protected from commercial exploitation. Unless the BLM acts, this nightmare will continue for wild horses, who are especially sensitive because they have never been handled by humans

BREAKING NEWS: 8/23/12

FRER RESPONDS TO WALLIS’ ATTEMPT TO JUSTIFY HORSE SLAUGHTER TO U.S. GOV’T.

Please accept this letter, on behalf of Front Range Equine Rescue (“FRER”), as a response to the inaccurate and misleading claims made in the July 31, 2012 “Urgent Petition” submitted by Sue Wallis on behalf of the International Equine Business Association (the “Petition”). Wallis represents the interests of a small group of individuals and business interests who seek to profit by slaughtering American horses for human consumption, while ignoring the extensive societal and individual dangers of horse slaughter. If American horses are again slaughtered for meat, the costs of Wallis’ profit centers will be borne by the federal agency budgets that will need to adjust for the exceptional burdens inherent in horse slaughter regulation, as well as by taxpayers. It is also well-documented that American horse slaughterhouses have created an environmental and community nightmare for local interests— homeowners who live near slaughterhouses must deal with the pervasive foul odor, environmental degradation, and other negative externalities. Finally, the production of horse meat from American horses is a toxic business, because virtually all horse meat from American horses is adulterated, unfit for human consumption, and dangerous. Wallis does not represent (and ignores) the interests of the large percentage of Americans, who have confirmed their strong objection to American horse slaughter; and she avoids discussion of the slaughter process for horses, which is especially cruel and terrifying. Ignoring the long string of perils related to horse slaughter, Ms. Wallis demonstrates an utter lack of interest in the truth.

News release – click here

Horse Slaughter Applicant Gives Up After Being Fined $86,400 For Mountain of Dead Animals on Property

Roswell, New Mexico’s Valley Meat Company Cited by New Mexico Environmental Board’s Solid Waste Division for Years-Long Violations of State Law

Roswell, New Mexico, August 15 — When the first applicant for an American horse slaughterhouse operation surfaced earlier this year, Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) immediately investigated in order to determine the nature of the applicant’s business.  FRER discovered that the applicant, Valley Meat Company, had a fifteen-foot high pile of dead cattle rotting on its property, creating a health hazard for the community and placing into serious question the operator’s ability to start up his new operation, slaughtering former American companion, work and competition horses for human consumption.  Pictures of the pile taken by both state and federal officials showed a horrific sight.

FRER determined that Valley Meat had been in violation of New Mexico law for years, specifically because its owners had been maintaining this massive public health and safety hazard on their property, without any proper or responsible abatement.  FRER presented extensive documentation to the state Environmental Board, urging the state to take a careful look at Valley Meat’s operation.  In response the state Environmental Board, and its Solid Waste division, undertook a detailed evaluation which this week resulted in a finding that Valley Meat was in grave violation of the solid waste laws, and that it should be fined $86,400 for what amounts to one of the highest penalties for a solid waste violation issued in New Mexico.

FRER and its partners are committed to preventing the inhumane and unsafe production of horse meat to ever start again in America, and to  stop the slaughter of American horses  outside of the U.S..  FRER and The Humane Society of the United States  had also filed legal petitions with two federal agencies, demonstrating the dangerous nature of horse slaughter to horses and the environment, along with the dangers of horse meat consumption by humans.  The groups urged the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration, to engage in extended consideration of the problems inherent in horse slaughter by any business, including one with as many red flags as Valley Meat.
Apparently, the groups’ efforts have been a success.

In a recent article, Valley Meat’s lawyer stated that the company was “suspending any plans for the horse-slaughter plant,” because “it doesn’t look like anybody is going to get a grant of inspection for horse slaughter.”  The $86,400 fine certainly helped make that decision as well.  A clear victory has been won for the horses who would have been brutally killed if this plant opened.

The “dead pile” in Roswell is simply another in a long list of reasons why stopping horse slaughter is critical.  “We are glad to have been a part of the team that stopped Valley Meat, which was eager to butcher American horses, and which was at the center of environmental and animal cruelty violations,” said Hilary Wood, president of FRER.  “Every time the horse slaughter industry has attempted to set up shop, it has made clear that it has no concern for the public, for the law, or for the horses.  FRER will continue, along with its partners, to challenge anyone who tries to start killing America’s for foreign (or domestic) food.”

Facts

  • More than 100,000 American horses are sent to slaughter each year, mainly for consumption in Europe and Asia.
  • The slaughter pipeline is horribly cruel, with many of the horses suffering immensely during transport and the misguided and often repeated attempts to render them unconscious. USDA has documented the abuse and misery horses suffered at slaughterhouses in the U.S.
  • Virtually all the horses used for meat spend most of their lives as work, competition or sport horses, companion animals, or wild horses.
  • During their lives, horses who end up at slaughter are given a constant regimen of drugs and other substances which are either illegal for food animals, or are potentially dangerous to people who eat them.
  • Under the current rules and regulations, there is no safeguard in place that can protect against the consumption of unsafe toxins in horse meat.
  • Consumers do not know of the inherent dangers because there is no control over the drug residues.

Horse Slaughter Applicant Abandons Efforts

Valley Meat Company was Applying to be the First American Horse Slaughterhouse Operation

Roswell, New Mexico, August 14 — Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) discovered that Valley Meat Company was applying to be the first American horse slaughterhouse operation earlier this year, and it immediately jumped into action.  Working with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other groups including Animal Protection of New Mexico, FRER embarked on a detailed investigation of Valley Meat, and turned up a years-long series of violations of New Mexico environmental laws, which involved, among other things, a mountain of dead animals rotting on Valley Meat’s property.  The fifteen-foot high pile of dead animals created a health hazard for the community and placed into serious question the operator’s ability to start up his new operation, slaughtering former American companion, work, and competition horses to be turned into foreign dinners.  FRER presented extensive documentation to the state Environmental Board, urging the state to take a careful look at Valley Meat’s operation.

FRER and its partners are committed to preventing the inhumane and unsafe production of horse meat to ever start again in America, and to eventually stop the slaughter of American horses for meat everywhere.  FRER and HSUS also filed legal petitions with two federal agencies, demonstrating the dangerous nature of horse slaughter to horses the environment, along with the dangers of horse meat consumption by humans.  The groups urged the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration, to engage in extended consideration of the problems inherent in horse slaughter by any group, including one with as many red flags as Valley Meat.

Apparently, the groups’ efforts have been a success.  In an article today, Valley Meat’s lawyer stated that the company was “suspending any plans for the horse-slaughter plant,” because “it doesn’t look like anybody is going to get a grant of inspection for horse slaughter.”  A clear victory has been won for the horses who would have been brutally killed if this plant opened.

“We are glad to have been a part of the team that stopped Valley Meat, which was anxious to take American horses and turn them into a toxic dinner, and which was at the center of environmental and animal cruelty violations,” said Hilary Wood, president of FRER.  “Every time the horse slaughter industry has attempted to set up shop, it has made clear that it has no concern for the public, for the law, or for the horses.  FRER will continue, along with its partners, to challenge anyone who tries to start killing America’s for foreign (or domestic) food.”

Facts

  • More than 100,000 American horses are sent to slaughter each year, mainly for consumption in Europe and Asia.
  • The slaughter pipeline is horribly cruel, with many of the horses suffering immensely during transport and the misguided and often repeated attempts to render them unconscious. USDA has documented the abuse and misery horses suffered at slaughterhouses in the U.S.
  • Virtually all the horses used for meat spend most of their lives as work, competition or sport horses, companion animals, or wild horses.
  • During their lives, horses who end up at slaughter are given a constant regimen of drugs and other substances which are either illegal for food animals, or are potentially dangerous to people who eat them.
  • Under the current rules and regulations, there is no safeguard in place that can protect against the consumption of unsafe toxins in horse meat.
  • Consumers do not know of the inherent dangers because there is no control over the drug residues.

Family gives up on horse-slaughter plant in New Mexico

By Milan Simonich / Texas-New Mexico Newspapers Posted: 08/14/2012 01:45:07 PM MDT SANTA FE – A family business in the Roswell area has suspended its plan to slaughter horses for human consumption in foreign markets, its attorney said today. Valley Meat Co. has received no response from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on its application to slaughter horses and process the meat, said A. Blair Dunn, the attorney who represents the business. It had been pursuing federal approval since April. Blair said the De Los Santos family, owner of Valley Meat Co., has no choice but to restart its cattle-slaughter business. That business was in abeyance while the family sought federal approval for its equine slaughter and processing operation. “They’re suspending any plans for the horse-slaughter plant,” Dunn said in an interview. “It doesn’t look like anybody is going to get a grant of inspection for horse slaughter.” A meat-processing plant cannot slaughter both cattle and horses simultaneously, Dunn said. Given what he called inaction by the federal government, the family has no choice but to resume its cattle-processing business to make a living, he said. Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, was among the officeholders who opposed the horse-slaughter plant. State Land Commissioner Ray Powell, a Democrat and a veterinarian, also was against horse slaughter in New Mexico. But people in the horse industry disagreed with opponents of the plant, saying there was no logical reason to fight the De Los Santos family’s business venture. “Horses deserve better than to be abandoned, starved or transported long distances in crowded trucks to slaughter in foreign countries,” the New Mexico Horse Council’s president, Rusty Cook, said in a letter to the governor. His organization represents about 30 horse clubs. The De Los Santos family had to retrofit its 7,000-square-foot plant to prepare for the slaughter and processing of horses. Dunn said the family saw Europe as its primary market for horse meat. Horse slaughter has been a dormant industry in the United States. That was because Congress in 2006 did not fund the required USDA inspections of horses that would be killed for human consumption. The federal policy changed last year. Congress funded the inspections in an agriculture bill that President Obama signed. Still, in a practical sense, nothing was different for the De Los Santos family, which could not obtain its grant of inspection, despite a persistent effort, Dunn said.

FRONT RANGE EQUINE RESCUE DISCOVERS DOCUMENTED EFFORTS TO BEGIN HORSE SLAUGHTER IN MISSOURI.

June 5, 2012 (Larkspur, Colorado) – Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) has discovered that
Unified Equine, LLC has applied to the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to begin the
slaughter of thousands of American horses at a plant in Rockville, Missouri. Despite Unified
Equine’s extensive efforts to hide the location of the site of their newest effort to begin
slaughtering America’s horses, FRER has obtained this information, and will now begin legal
and community-based efforts with other groups across the country to prevent the opening of this
slaughterhouse. FRER will also continue its parallel efforts to end the slaughter of American
horses for human consumption once and for all.

Horse slaughter for food is a national disgrace, given the fact American horses are not raised as a
food animal and the especially brutal methods used to kill them. FRER has mounted an
extensive legal battle to keep American horses from being slaughtered for food, in or out of the
country, in light of last November’s Congressional appropriation of funding for horse meat
inspections. In the last few months, along with the Humane Society of the United States, FRER
has filed two Petitions for Rulemaking asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the
FSIS to enact rules and regulations which would prevent American horses from being
slaughtered due to the toxic nature of horse meat. FRER has also approached the New Mexico
state government regarding multiple, years-long environmental violations by Valley Meat in
Roswell, New Mexico, which is also attempting to begin horse slaughter. FRER’s efforts have
attracted national attention, and FRER intends to continue to amplify its legal strategy for as long
as it takes to eliminate the possibility of horse slaughter in America and prevent horses from
slaughter across its borders.

The application for the Missouri plant states that it intends to open in September 2012, so FRER
is acting quickly to prevent any chance of Unified Equine reaching its goal. There has been no
U.S. horse slaughter since it was eliminated five years ago; a recent poll shows at least 80% of
Americans oppose horse slaughter. Every effort to begin this brutal practice will be fought, and
the corporate interests anxious to make a buck off the backs of former work, competition,
companion and wild horses will be exposed. The USDA and FDA have documentation as to the
danger and illegality of producing horse meat from American horses. FRER calls on all
concerned citizens and groups to support its efforts by contacting state, local and federal officials
and voicing strong objections to the resumption of this horrific practice in America. For more
information on how to help, contact [email protected]

Valley Meat Refuses to Stop its Illegal Practices

Rotting Horse Corpses at Valley Meats
Rotting Horse Corpses at Valley Meats

Front Range Equine Rescue has discovered that, for years, 15-foot high piles of dead animals have been rotting on the premises of Valley Meat Company in Roswell.

Valley Meat has been in blatant violation of multiple New Mexico environmental statutes for that period, and has refused to stop its illegal practices, despite efforts by the state. FRER has written to the Solid Waste Bureau of the New Mexico Environmental Department, requesting appropriate sanctions. Valley Meat, which could not satisfy its legal obligations with respect to the slaughter of cows, is now attempting to start up a horse slaughter operation. It must be stopped, before there are 15-foot high piles of dead horses endangering groundwater and the surrounding community.

Front Range Equine Rescue wants to emphasize that regardless of whether Valley Meat is now just beginning to comply, and regardless of whether the state believes it is finally getting Valley Meat in compliance, the very serious concern remains about a company that is willing to act in violation of the law for literally years and years. Nothing that is happening now changes that. The question that does not go away, and the concern that will not be abated in the least by any compliance now remains this: Should an operator who has acted in blatant violation of important New Mexico laws for years be granted a new permit to engage in a new form of slaughter business, that as documented in the petitions for rulemaking, increases the dangers of noncompliance for all involved — the community, the environment, and ultimately consumers? That answer must clearly be “no,” and if the law is not enforced, it will only continue to be ignored by operators around the state.

Attached is a chart (Click Here) that identifies just the known failures of Valley Meat, in the past two years, to comply with the law and to make good on promises made to comply. And since the 15-foot high piles of dead and rotting animals were present in January 2010, it is fairly well established that Valley Meat was breaking the law probably for as long as it was in operation, or however long it takes to pile up that many dead animals. The fact that it took the agencies until 2010 to notice it does not change the fact of Valley Meat’s conduct threatening the environment and the community for as long as it was dumping animals outside in this manner. One final point. Even if Valley Meat is now finally moving some legacy waste, that does not change the fact that most of the rotting flesh on its premises is not legacy waste, and has not and is not being properly processed.

FRONT RANGE EQUINE RESCUE DISCOVERS NEW MEXICO HORSE SLAUGHTER PLANT!

Horse Slaughter for Food is a National Disgrace

April 10, 2012 (Larkspur, Colorado) — Through its own investigation, Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) has discovered that Valley Meats Co., 3845 Cedarvale Rd., in Roswell, NM, has applied for inspection of horses to be “custom slaughtered” and “processed” for human consumption. According to the facts uncovered, the facility has been involved in extended discussions with the Denver office of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The FSIS inspects animals and meat in American slaughterhouses under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Horse slaughter for food is a national disgrace, given the iconic nature of American horses and the especially brutal methods used to kill them. FRER has mounted an extensive legal battle to keep American horses from being slaughtered for food, in or out of the country, in light of last November’s Congressional appropriation of funding for horse meat inspections. In the last three weeks, along with the Humane Society of the United States, FRER has filed two Petitions for Rulemaking [http://frontrangeequinerescue.org/front-range-equine-rescue-horse-slaughter.php], asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the FSIS to enact rules and regulations which would prevent American horses from being slaughtered. The Petitions have gotten significant attention, and FRER intends to continue to amplify its legal strategy for as long as it takes to eliminate the possibility of horse slaughter in America.

If it is allowed to open, the Roswell plant would be the first U.S. horse slaughterhouse opened since horse slaughter in the U.S. ended five years ago. A recent poll shows at least 80% of Americans oppose horse slaughter. Valley Meats and any other horse slaughterhouses must be stopped, and the USDA and FDA must see the danger and illegality of producing horse meat from American horses. FRER calls on all concerned citizens and groups, in and out of New Mexico, to support its efforts by contacting state, local and federal officials and voicing your strong objection to the resumption of this horrific practice in America. For more information on how to help, contact [email protected]

Humane Groups Petition USDA to Block Companion, Working and Show Horses from Being Slaughtered for Human Consumption

WASHINGTON (April 9, 2012)—Front Range Equine Rescue and The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prevent former companion, working, competition and wild horses from being used as human food. The petition alleges that the drugs given to these horses throughout their lives are banned for animals used for food under federal law and/or are potentially dangerous to humans. Using these horses for human consumption creates an unacceptable and illegal public health threat under the Federal Meat Inspection Act. The groups sent a similar petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month.

Press release – click here

Take action or learn more

Humane Groups Petition FDA to Block Companion, Working and Show Horses from Being Slaughtered for Human Consumption

(March 27, 2012)— Front Range Equine Rescue and The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prevent former companion, working, competition and wild horses from being used as human food. The petition alleges that the drugs given to these horses throughout their lives are banned by FDA and/or potentially dangerous to humans. Using these horses for human consumption creates an unacceptable and illegal public health threat under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Press release – click here.