Sunday, December 6, 2009

Opposition grows to Salazar's wild horse plan

Dozens of wild horse advocates plan to go before a federal advisory panel here on Monday to try to persuade public land managers to change their plan to relocate thousands of free-roaming mustangs from the West to preserves elsewhere


Associated Press Writer

SPARKS, Nev. —
Dozens of wild horse advocates plan to go before a federal advisory panel here on Monday to try to persuade public land managers to change their plan to relocate thousands of free-roaming mustangs from the West to preserves elsewhere.
They plan to press the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board for alternatives to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's plan to move about 25,000 mustangs to preserves and pastures in the Midwest and East. They insist the plan is based on faulty government data that exaggerates the damage the horses do to the range, as well as the extent to which they are suffering from a lack of forage.

Horse defenders have stepped up their efforts in recent weeks, suing to block a proposed roundup of 2,700 horses in northern Nevada and lining up the support of celebrities such as Sheryl Crow, Lily Tomlin, Bill Maher and Ed Harris.

Crow took her concerns directly to Salazar in a telephone call this past week.

"One of the first things he said was something must be done because the horses are starving. We (advocates) don't believe it," Crow said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"Part of the problem is the information he's getting is skewed," she said. "My main concern is that the horse numbers not be dwindled down to the point where they can become extinct. I think he's very concerned about it as well."

Salazar made no commitment on ending the roundups, but he pledged efforts to have a horse advocate appointed to the national advisory board, which has been less than supportive of the cause in the past, she said.

"I'll still be pulling and working for an end to roundups," said Crow, who has adopted a mustang herself.

Ginger Kathrens, executive director of the horse advocacy group Cloud Foundation based in Colorado Springs, Colo., said advocates believe the BLM's figure of 37,000 horses in the wild is grossly inflated.

Kathrens said their own analysis indicates there may be only 15,000 horses on the range, and she fears herds will no longer be healthy and genetically viable if too many horses are removed.

She's calling for an independent audit to determine the actual number of mustangs both in the wild and in holding facilities.

"I don't think there's anywhere near the horses they're saying," said Kathrens, an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker.

BLM spokesman Tom Gorey said a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office last year found his agency was undercounting mustangs.

"There's no evidence for the (advocates') position. It's mere speculation," Gorey said. "We're certainly open to refining our counting techniques, but there's no indication an outside audit is needed."

Gorey said his agency removes horses before they become starving as part of its "pro-active management on the range."

"The fact that there would be horses not in emaciated conditions is not surprising," he said. "We're not going to manage them in a way so they can get to that point."

BLM officials said they plan to remove 11,500 wild horses and burros from the range throughout the West over each of the next three years because booming numbers of the animals are damaging the range.

The agency has set a target "appropriate management level" of 26,600 of the animals in the wild, about 10,000 below the current level. An additional 32,000 of them are cared for in government-funded holding facilities.

Madeleine Pickens, wife of billionaire Texas energy magnate T. Boone Pickens, questioned the wisdom of gathering more horses at a time when holding facilities are full. She opposes relocating them far from their natural habitat.

"This proposed gather schedule threatens the very survival of the remaining horse herds in the Western United States and must be stopped," she said.

Critics argue that the real motivation for ongoing roundups of the mustangs - and Salazar's proposal to ship thousands to preserves in the Midwest and East - is pressure from ranchers who don't like the horses competing with their cattle for food.

Salazar has said his plan unveiled last month would avoid the slaughter of some of the 69,000 wild horses and burros under federal control to halt the soaring costs of maintaining them.

The animals are managed by the BLM and protected under a 1971 law enacted by Congress. Soaring numbers of horses and costs to manage them - expected to jump from $36 million last year to at least $85 million by 2012 - have prompted Salazar to propose a new approach.

BLM wild horse and burro program:

Cloud Foundation:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Keep up the Momentum: Call for a Moratorium on Gathers

Posted Oct 28, 2009 by lauraallen
Horse Slaughter© by Laura Allen, Executive Director, Animal Law Coalition

The wild horses and burros can be saved. There has to be a better way to manage these animals other than by hiring criminals to run them down with helicopters and penning some for life and sending others to slaughter. The Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act requires them to be protected in their herd areas where they were living in 1971. And that is what the federal government should do.

Please write or call your U.S. representative and senators and urge them to join in this effort to put in place a moratorium to stop the gathers, the roundups and removals pending Congressional action on the future management of the wild horses and burros.

Also, ask your representative and senators to hold a hearing on the course of the wild horses and burros program.

You can also go here and just sign a letter that will be sent to your senators and representatives!

Urge President Barack Obama and BLM Director Bob Abbey to put a moratorium on the gathers of wild horses and burros!

BLM Director Bob Abbey
Call: 202-208-3801 or 866-468-7826
Fax: 202-208-5242

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden
Phone: 202-456-1111 or 202-456-9000
Fax: 202-456-2461

Thousands including celebrities like Sheryl Crow have joined the call for a moratorium on these cruel BLM roundups and removals of wild horses and burros.

The next roundup is scheduled for December 1 in the Calico Mountain Complex of Nevada where up to 2,500 wild horses will be removed and their herds destroyed.

To read more go to:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is supported by a broad-based coalition of public interest groups, environmentalists, humane organizations and historical societies representing over 10 million supporters.

Spearheaded by Return to Freedom in the summer of 2004 after a preliminary investigation into some of Nevada's Herd Management Areas, it was conceived as a campaign, as opposed to a new organization, specifically to allow its participants to present a united front for the horses' sake; it is not a fundraising operation, but a unifying tool with a firm grassroots base. For Campaign updates and alerts, please join our email list.

The AWHPC Coalition includes:

U.S. Public Interest Research Group
Humane Society of the United States
International Ecotourism Society
World Wildlife Foundation
Center for Environmental Education and Information
American Wild Horse Sanctuary (Return to Freedom)
Old West Living History Foundation
American Humane Association
Heritage Discovery Center
Wild Horse Observers Association
Public Lands For Public Use
American Horse Defense Fund
Habitat for Horses
National Wild Horse, Burro and Animal Sanctuary
Corolla Wild Horse Fund
Equine Tourism
Horse Nation Magazine
Wild Horse & Burro Freedom Alliance
Utah Environmental Congress
Wild Horse Preservation League
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Int’l Society for the Protection of Mustangs & Burros
Society for Animal Protective Legislation
The Cloud Foundation
Forest Guardians
National Horse Protection League
American Mustang and Burro Association
Vaquero Heritage Foundation
Wild Horse Spirit
Equine Advocates
International Fund for Horses
WindFlyers Mustang Sanctuary
Living Legends Magazine
Wild Hearts Horse Fund
Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue
Front Range Equine Rescue
Madeleine Pickens
Animals Voice
Horse Savers
Colonial Spanish Horse
Cascadia Wildlands Project
Wild Burro Rescue & Preservation Project
National Student Horse Protection Coalition
American Competitive Trail Horse Association
One Voice
The Silva Project
National Wild Horse Association

Wild horse advocacy is considered one of the most efficient grassroots movements in the nation. This was confirmed in 2006 by several Members of Congress polled by the Institute for a Democratic Future, who called AWHPC to congratulate wild horse advocates on their grassroots efforts.

Copyright © 2004-2008 AWHPC. All rights reserved.
Reproduction authorized solely for educational purposes,
provided is credited as source.

Help us save what is left of America's wild horses.

Please sign petition at:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Horse slaughter dream a financial nightmare

Horse slaughter gut piles at Natural Valley Farms, Canada
Contacts: John Holland
Vicki Tobin

CHICAGO, (EWA) – The dream of the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) and its affiliate the MQHA (Montana Quarter Horse Association) to bring horse slaughter back to the US may have just been dealt what may be its death blow. The blow came not from anti-slaughter advocates, nor public revulsion, nor Congress, but from a horse slaughter industry insider whose op-ed, Meat plant: a cautionary tale, appeared on April 30th in the Western Producer, a subscription-only Canadian online animal agriculture journal.
“Natural Valley Farms died the day the decision makers chose to kill horses”, says Henry Skjerven, an investor and director of the defunct Natural Valley Farms (NVF) slaughter complex in Saskatchewan, Canada. Skjerven tells the story of how NVF, which had originally been built to process cattle during the BSE crisis, ended in a $42 million financial disaster following its decision to kill horses for the Velda Group of Belgium.
The story broke just as the AQHA and Stan Weaver of the MQHA, were celebrating the passage of Montana bill (HB 418).
On April 5, EWA broke the news that the plant had been closed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in December. In his article, Skjerven refers to the plant’s confrontational interaction with the CFIA over the plant’s “composting” and other issues. Unlike beef that can be used in pet food, horse byproducts must be disposed of properly because they contain substances such as the wormer, Ivermectin, which can cause fatal encephalitis in some breeds of dogs.
Blood disposal appears to have been equally problematic for NVF as with other horse slaughter plants. Not only do horses have twice the quantity of blood as cows, but the blood is notoriously difficult to treat. The bacterial agents used in standard cattle digesters fail to provide acceptable discharge levels because of antibiotics often found in horse blood. As a result, pollution follows the horse slaughter industry where ever it goes.
During debate over HB 418, the Montana Senate Agriculture committee dismissed evidence of these problems as anti-slaughter propaganda. Even the testimony of former Kaufman, Texas mayor Paula Bacon was ignored when she told of blood rising into people’s bathtubs in her town. But unfortunately for NVF, the CFIA was not so easily assuaged.
Even Butcher has admitted that any horse slaughter plant that is built in the US will have to be operated by an EU group like Velda because the horse meat market is in Europe and they control it. Now Velda needs a new home, but in his op-ed Skjerven, says, “horse slaughter never brought a single minute of profitability to the company.”
In the end, it may not matter that HB 418 is unconstitutional, nor that a horse slaughter plant in the US could not export its horse meat without USDA inspectors, nor that the industry has committed a thousand sins against horses and the environment. If investors in a horse slaughter plant cannot be comfortable in knowing they will make a profit, there will be no plant built.
If Stan Weaver and the AQHA want horse slaughter they may have to do the killing themselves.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Help!!!!!! Must Leave Fairgrounds by May 9th!

Hundreds of Mustangs Rescued from Nebraska Ranch Ready for New Homes
Rescue Agencies and Volunteers Continue to Care for the ‘Nebraska 200’

CONTACT: Jerry Finch 409-682-6621

1 May 2009
Alliance, NE – More than two hundred neglected horses and burros found at a Morrill County ranch are now available for adoption through Habitat for Horses, a Texas-based equine protection organization.

On April 22nd, more than two hundred horses and burros were seized from Three Strikes Ranch, a private mustang facility just outside Alliance, Nebraska. An additional 74 animals were confirmed dead. Necropsy results on a number of these animals revealed significant fat and muscle atrophy, which is consistent with starvation.

Jason Maduna, the ranch’s owner, was arrested on one count of felony animal cruelty, but additional charges are expected. The animals are now recuperating at their temporary home at the Bridgeport Rodeo Grounds. The Humane Society of the United States, Habitat for Horses and Front Range Equine Rescue have been working alongside the Bureau of Land Management and area veterinarians to feed, treat, and assess the 220 animals, including a number of foals born since the seizure. According to Jerry Finch of Habitat for Horses, “the outpouring of support from the local community is humbling. From home-cooked meals for the volunteers, to hay provided by the local Farm Bureaus, we could not ask for more or better support.”

Of the 220 animals at the Fairgrounds, 22 have been identified by their owners and will be returned to them. The remaining animals are available for placement with qualified individuals or groups. Those interested, should contact Hillary Wood of Front Range Equine Rescue at 719-481-1490. The horses have all received a negative Coggins and have been dewormed, vaccinated and microchipped. Finch strongly cautions that they are looking for those with experience in handling and training wild mustangs. According to Finch, "these are not back yard ponies."

A dedicated website has been setup which includes photographs and descriptions of the available animals, as well as forms and contact numbers. For more information, please visit:

Donations are still needed to help cover the cost of medical care. Credit card donations can be made online at Donations can also be mailed to: Habitat for Horses, P.O. Box 213, Hitchcock, TX 77563. Please notate on your check and/or credit card donations that it is for "Nebraska 200 ". Any and all help is greatly appreciated.
Habitat for Horses (HfH) is a not-for-profit equine protection agency committed to the prevention, rescue and rehabilitation of neglected, abused and homeless horses. The largest organization of its kind in North America, HfH operates a rehabilitation ranch in Texas. The organization has taken a leadership role in horse protection issues and has been instrumental in developing and promoting legislation to eliminate the slaughter of American horses. To learn more, visit

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Confederated tribes of the Umatilla, the Yakama tribe, Colville tribe, Nez Perce tribe, Warm Springs tribe, along with the Intertribal Agriculture Council,the U.S. Dept of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service and the BIAare planning on building a horse meat processing plant as a means to do away with the wild mustangs.
For more information on this issue, go to and click on confederated Umatilla journal magazine, then home page, then click on March 2009 and you can go page by page to page 10 "NW tribes want to reduce horse numbers."

Also April 2009, front page "Tribes unite over feral horse issue," and page 41 "Tribal horse coalition." (Starts on Page 1, then continue on to page 41.)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Urge House to Pass Anti-Horse Slaughter Bill

Ask President Obama to urge Congress to support the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act.

Sponsored by: ASPCA

Goal: 50,000 • Progress: 34,988

Horses have been our trusted companions and are a historically significant part of American culture. They deserve a more dignified end to their lives than to be inhumanely slaughtered and served for dinner.
H.R. 503 would put an end to this practice by prohibiting the transport of America's horses to foreign countries for slaughter. Ask President Obama today to urge Congress to support H.R. 503! Sign the petition and tell a friend.
More info ...

Dear President Obama,
As a concerned animal advocate, I am writing you to urge Congress to support the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503). H.R. 503 would prohibit the possession, shipment, transport, purchase, sale, delivery, or receipt via interstate commerce of any horse intended for slaughter for human consumption.

Americans do not eat horse meat. However, every year, more than 100,000 American horses are cruelly slaughtered just over our borders to satisfy the markets for horsemeat in Europe and Asia.

Since the last horse slaughter plants in the U.S. were closed in 2007, unwanted American horses have been shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. Overseas processing plants are not subject to U.S. oversight or regulation.

Due to overcrowded transport conditions, many horses are injured even before reaching their final destination. Some are shipped for more than 24 hours at a time without food, water, or rest, and the methods used to kill these horses once they arrive at the plant can be exceptionally inhumane.

Please help end this cruel practice - support H.R. 503, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Country Singer's New Foundation for Horses

Country singer's new foundation for horses
By Tony Rossi
Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Season 7 American Idol contestant Kristy Lee Cook was always a favorite of mine on the show from the moment she sang one of the best renditions of "Amazing Grace" I've ever heard. Following her time on Idol, Kristy released the album "Why Wait" and recently started a foundation to help her other passion in life besides music: horses. Kristy joined me recently on "Christopher Closeup" to discuss the foundation, her time on Idol, and how she is able to deal with the ups and downs that come her way in life. Here's an excerpt:

TR: You recently started the Kristy Lee Horse Heaven Foundation so tell me about that and what you hope to accomplish.

Kristy Lee Cook: I just started a foundation for rescuing horses - neglected, off-the-track, abused horses. We rehabilitate them, show them, ride them and get them good homes. We also have a program for kids who can't afford horses of their own. It allows them to come out and play with the horses and ride. We're really excited about it.

TR: How did you develop your love of horses?

Kristy Lee Cook: I think it started when I was two years old. My Dad put me up on a big thoroughbred up at Longacres in Washington when they had a racetrack up there. Ever since I sat on that horse, I've always wanted one.

TR: You said one of the goals of the foundation is to work with at-risk youth and kids to expose them to the horses. Have you ever seen any difference, either in your own experiences or with other people, of how these kids change from working with the horses?

Kristy Lee Cook: Yeah, horses are proven to be therapeutic. There are kids with a lot of health issues and stuff and - I don't know what it is about horses but they just seem to have that healing comfort about them. I know that a lot of people who are troubled, if they rehabilitate a horse, a lot of times it makes them look at themselves - and it rehabilitates them as well as rehabilitating the horse...(Horses) can understand you. They can feel if you're hurt and upset and happy. They can read all that so I think it's a comfort knowing you have something that understands you...I've had a couple of horses that have pretty much saved my life. When it comes down to protecting their owner, they really do their best. I know they say dog is man's best friend but horses are my best friend.

TR: You're working through the foundation. I also read that you were passing out Christmas gifts to needy families on Christmas day. How did those seeds of giving back get planted in your life? Did your family ever face hard times and need help themselves?

Kristy Lee Cook: Oh yeah. Still to this day, my family doesn't have a lot of money. I remember being poor a lot of times and growing up without anything. I've had those experiences and my Dad had a hard life growing up. Nothing's ever really come easy to our family so I definitely understand. And I was raised in a good home. We're a very giving family and we like to do what we can to help others.

TR: Kristy, when you were on American Idol you faced some challenging times. You were sick for several weeks. You had to endure some, what I thought, were unfair critiques from the judges. When you're dealing with that kind of stuff, what got you through it mentally, emotionally, spiritually?

Kristy Lee Cook: It definitely was God helping me get through. That was a hard, hard thing to do and God made it easier for me. Everything happens for a reason and this is all part of His plan so no matter how hard it is, you've just got to keep going.

TR: Did the friendships you formed on the show also help you deal with what was going on?

Kristy Lee Cook: Yeah, you get really close to a lot of people on the show because they're all you have. It becomes a brother-sister kind of relationship. You're away from your family and you're away from your friends and all your loved ones...but everyone else on the show is going through the same thing, and they're there for you. Brooke and I were really close and we were always there for each other.

TR: When you were let go from the show, did it depress you for a while or did it start a fire in your belly to go on and do great things?

Kristy Lee Cook: It's never been easy for me in the music business and it still is not easy. I believe that if a door opens, I'm going to walk through it. If it closes, I believe another one will open. I'm just taking all the steps God is wanting me to take, and hopefully it'll pan out in the end.

(To hear more about Kristy's time on American Idol, the reaction she got to her singing "God Bless the U.S.A., and the making of her album "Why Wait," download the full "Christopher Closeup" podcast at

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Could This Be Why Horse Theft Appears To Be On The Rise? March 18, 2009 at 17:52:21

Prices soaring for unwanted horses

by John Holland

The auctions call them “loose” horses because they are run through the auction ring without riders and are sold mostly to “killer buyers”. Slaughter advocates including the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) call them “unwanted” horses because they clog up the market for new foals and new registration fees. But whatever you call them, they are suddenly in increasingly short supply.

The last three horse slaughter plants in the US were closed in 2007, but the industry quickly shifted to exporting the horses for slaughter in Canada and Mexico. By the middle of 2008, there were more horse slaughter houses killing American horses than at any time in the past decade. Yet the closings galvanized the meat packing industry which saw them as a dangerous victory for “animal rights advocates” and their perceived “vegan agenda”.

Within weeks of the first closings, countless anecdotal stories began appearing about how America is awash in unwanted horses. Lawmakers in almost a dozen agricultural states have put forward initiatives aimed at bringing slaughter back to the US, based largely on these accounts. But the actual sales statistics from the horse auctions tell a very different story.

For example the New Holland auction in Pennsylvania is one of the largest slaughter auctions in the country. In October of 2008, they sold a total of 815 slaughter grade horses at an average price of $323, but despite rapidly worsening economic conditions, by February that number had dropped by 28% to 582 horses and the average price had risen by 31.6% to $425. It is largely the same story at auctions across the country.

Leroy Baker, owner of the Sugar Creek Auction in Ohio, has been heard publicly assigning the shortage of sellers to bad publicity including an HBO documentary about race horses going to slaughter through his auction.
Moreover, the USDA recently fined Baker an unprecedented $162,800 for numerous violations of the Commercial Transport of Equines to Slaughter Act (CTESA). The act prohibits the transport to slaughter of late term pregnant mares, foals, blind horses and horses that cannot support their weight on all four legs; prohibits the use of double deck trailers; and specifies minimal rest and feeding intervals.

And Baker has not been the only source of bad publicity for the horse slaughter industry. In response to a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request, the USDA recently disclosed 900 pages of photos documenting some of the grizzliest violations imaginable that occurred at the Texas slaughter plants prior to their being ordered closed in 2007.

The photos, which were taken in an attempt to enforce compliance with the CTESA, show horses with horrific injuries ranging from severed legs to crushed skulls. Still other photos show blind horses, newborn foals and even a mare standing on the unloading docks with her placenta still draping to the manure covered floor.

The exposure of these photos was a double embarrassment to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medicine Association). The evidence surfaced just as the AVMA was getting traction on a well financed PR campaign to convince lawmakers that the US plants should be reopened because they had been more humane.

Every indication is that the supply of unwanted horses will only get worse because production has been destroyed. The reason for this lies in the nature of the source of slaughter horses.

Contrary to popular perception, most horses sent to slaughter are not old, but young and healthy. They are largely the “culls” from an industry that over breeds in a quest for perfection. When times are good, the profits are made on the best foals and the culls (be they slow race horses or simply horses of the wrong color) are dumped to slaughter.

But the market for top grade riding and performance horses has tanked, once again proving the old adage “The best way to make a small fortune in horses is to start with a large one.” So breeders have cut back. With less breeding there are fewer culls.

Some breeders liquidated in response to the low horse prices and high feed prices, while still others were forced out of the business when their properties were lost to foreclosure.

A Kentucky breeder, for example, gave away his entire prized Arab bloodline to keep the horses from going to slaughter.

And the “kill auctions” are losing yet another source of horses. Slammed by bad publicity, an increasing number of horse tracks have put in place “zero tolerance” programs that ban owners and trainers caught selling their horses to slaughter. In October, the Magna Entertainment Corporation announced that all nine of their tracks would have a zero tolerance policy and they were quickly joined by at least three other tracks.

Kill buyers have adapted to the shortage in a number of ways, including placing ads on sites like Craig’s List. In one memorable case, a kill buyer and his wife showed up at the seller’s house saying they thought the horse would be a perfect starter horse for their young daughter. The horse was a Thoroughbred (racing) stallion.

But there remains one possible reservoir of unwanted horses. Since the first plants were closed in Texas, there have been countless unsubstantiated stories about horses being abandoned. Some slaughter advocates have estimated that as many as 170,000 such horses were abandoned just last year. This valuable pool of unwanted horses could serve as a kind of “petroleum reserve” for the horse slaughter industry if only they could be found. And for that matter, there are always the unicorns.


John Holland is a freelance writer and the author of three books. He frequently writes on the subject of horse slaughter from his small farm in the mountains of Virginia, where he lives with his wife, Sheilah, and their 12 equines. Holland is a charter member of the Equine Welfare Alliance and serves as senior analyst for Americans Against Horse Slaughter, an organization composed entirely of volunteers.

John Holland

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Make a Video and You May Win $1000.00 for The Horse Rescue of Your Choice!

YouTube Horse Slaughter Contest
From AlexBrownRacing
Jump to: navigation, search
Contents [hide]
1 The Contest
2 The Rules
3 Determining the winner
4 Entries
5 Media Coverage

The Contest
Alex Brown Racing is sponsoring a YouTube contest that will run from Tuesday, February 10 to Sunday May 10 2009. We will offer a $1,000 prize, to be sent to the horse rescue organization of choice of the winning entry, as of Noon eastern time, May 10, 2009. All entries are to be completed, posted and approved, by Noon on Friday April 10, 2009.

Entrants must read and be familiar with the document: Deconstructing the Horse Slaughter Issue: Chapter Horse Slaughter.

The Rules
Anyone can enter, regardless of age and country of origin.

Each video is to be 1 - 4 minutes in length.

Each video discusses specific aspects of the horse slaughter issue as noted in the above document, whether it is to agree, reinforce or disagree with the issues noted in the document.

Each video must be without gory details, PG 13 please.

Each video must use the phrase "horse slaughter" in the title, and the video must be tagged with the phrase "horse slaughter". The video should also be tagged with the phrase "ABR Video Contest".

Each entrant (video producer) can produce as many videos as he or she desires.

Each entrant needs to add his or her videos to the ABR YouTube group and e-mail Wendy.

Wendy needs to approve each entrant for the contest prize via adding a comment to the video (see the rule re: no gory details).

To be eligible a video must be completed and posted by end of day, April 10, 2009 and must be new content as of February 10, 2009.

All submissions must comply with Youtube's Copyright Infringement Policy:

"YouTube respects the rights of copyright holders and publishers and requires all users to confirm they own the copyright or have permission from the copyright holder to upload content. We comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and other applicable copyright laws and promptly remove content when properly notified. Repeat infringers' videos are removed and their accounts are terminated and permanently blocked from using YouTube." If you have questions about how to comply with this policy, please visit:

Determining the winner
The winner will be determined by multiplying the number of comments the video received, by the rating of the video. And then adding the number of views of the video. This calculation will be made at Noon eastern, May 10, 2009

Horse Slaughter: Our Forgotten Veterans Deserve Better BrookePSU

Horse Play - Saving Horses From Slaughter horseplayri

No More Horse Slaughter horsesrule925

End Horse Slaughter thoroughbredlover3

Another Chance: Saved from Horse Slaughter millertime83

Please Stop Horse Slaughter sandyelmore490

Horse Heroes - Stop Horse Slaughter wendyu1

Media Coverage
Friday Fun: For the Heart, Head & Soul Diva Marketing Blog, February 28, 2009

Youtube Horse Slaughter - $1000 - Open to all - 1 to 4 minutes - Over Due: May 10th, 2009 The Video Contest Community, February 26, 2009

Teaching An Old Horse New Tricks Triple Dead Heat, February 17, 2009


Horse Slaughter Video Contest

Video contest on horse slaughter issue Horsetalk, February 11, 2009

Videos To Stop Killing The Horse Racing Stars Triple Dead Heat, February 11, 2009

Horse slaughter...Have your say Gathering The Wind, February 11, 2009

Bright Future Thoroughblog (bottom of entry), February 11, 2009

Breaking News Texas Horse Talk, February 11, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Agriculture Associations Misrepresent Horse Slaughter!

Equine Welfare Alliance
Contacts: John Holland & Vicki Tobin

Agriculture Associations Misrepresent Horse Slaughter

CHICAGO, (EWA) - At a time when Americans are experiencing the worst economic period in most of our life-times, Cattle and Agriculture Associations have taken the economic downturn as an opportunity to further the agenda of promoting horse slaughter. The word slaughter has been replaced with the word “Harvest” to portray crops that have ripened and need to be gleaned. Although there is no market in the US for the crop, proponents of this fraud want to ensure healthy horses are killed so there is a continuous supply of meat on the hoof that must continually be shipped to overseas markets that Americans do not own nor profit. This is referred to as the never ending cycle of breed and dump.

Using a benign word such as Harvest, a word we all cherish, is an insult and outrage to horse lovers everywhere. This fraud attempts to reduce the horse, the animal which in partnership with man built this nation – attempts to reduce the horse to a commodity such as corn, wheat, barley, or oats.

Not only are the cattle and agriculture associations promoting horse “harvesting” but organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) are often quoted and named in their articles and speeches as supporters and misuse the word harvest to portray a cruel process which they attempt to mask with a word with pleasant associations in the American vocabulary..

These are the very organizations that are entrusted to promote equine welfare and care. They are organizations that have seen recent results of three year long U.S. Department of Agriculture Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) probe by animal cruelty investigator Julie Caramante which resulted in the release of photos and reports from investigations of the department that clearly depict the cruelty and abuse inherent with the entire horse killing process FOIA Reports. The three year cover-up by the USDA has been dubbed by some in the media “Slaughtergate”. It is hardly a harvest.

Horses are not food animals in America. They are trusted work, service, sport, therapy and companion animals. It is time for Americans to stand up and end the hold the predatory foreign market has on the American Equine Industry. It is time for Americans to stand up and let their legislators know that horses are not crops, and that it is imperative that The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009 be passed swiftly and without hesitation by the Congress and signed into law by President Obama.

Horses are not a vegetable crop. They aren’t even food. Would you harvest your dog, your cat, or yes, even your gerbil? Tell these organizations it’s just fine to promote their belief that killing horses for profit is the American way, but at least they should be honest in the language they use to describe this unspeakably cruel act where horses are hung upside down to bleed to death after their throat is cut, an act in which their hooves are often removed while they are still conscious.

For information on legislative activity, visit: Legislative Activity

Friday, February 27, 2009

Horses Remember! New Research on Long Term Memory of Equines...

Research Sheds Light on Equine Long-Term Memory
by: Christa Lesté-Lasserre
February 20 2009, Article # 13642

Remember back when that umbrella popped open and spooked your horse? That might have been five or even 10 years ago, but new research into equine long-term memory (LTM) shows that your horse probably remembers those events just as well as you do.

In a study led by Evelyn Hanggi, MS, PhD, co-director at the Equine Research Foundation (ERF) in Aptos, Calif., horses that had been tested on recognition and advanced learning abilities as many as 10 years earlier were able to repeat the same tasks with a nearly perfect level of accuracy without having to learn the skills again. Not only were the horses able to remember the specific objects learned years ago, they were able to apply those previously learned rules and concepts to never-before-seen objects years later. As the horses had not been exposed to these tests since the time the previous research was completed in 1997, 2000, and 2001, Hanggi concluded that horses have a remarkable capacity for LTM.

A horse indicates the larger of two images.
"Over the years at the ERF, we observed how easily all of our horses recalled certain aspects of our research procedures, such as how to operate the testing apparatus and station," Hanggi said. "We could also stop an experiment and then return to it several months later with no performance loss, and this led us to consider carrying out an LTM study. We were quite excited with the outcome."

In the study, three ERF horses were given three variations of tests in which they had to select between images projected onto an LCD computer screen. The horses were to choose according to criteria established for the previous research on discrimination, categorization, and concept learning carried out six, seven, and 10 years earlier using printed images. "This study also showed that horses are able to perceive images on LCD screens, which had never been previously tested," Hanggi added.

As this initial LTM experiment was limited to only three horses, Hanggi said more research would need to be carried out on a wider scale for conclusions regarding breed or sex differences, if any. "However," she said, "we can now say that excellent LTM is certainly within the capacity of the species."
The study, "Long-term memory for categories and concepts in horses (Equus caballus)," was conducted by Hanggi and Jerry Ingersoll, and was published in the January 2009 edition of Animal Cognition.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Open Letter to Legislators from Paula Bacon, former Mayor of Kaufman Texas says it all! Please contact you Reps and ask them to co-sponsor HR503!

Dear State Legislator:

You will soon be asked to vote on ... legislation regarding the commercial slaughter of American horses of which you probably have very little firsthand knowledge. No doubt you have heard from lobbyists and organizations who want you to support the practice, but before you do, you should ask yourself why the residents of Texas and Illinois worked so hard to rid their states of their horse slaughter plants. The answer may surprise you.

As a mayor who lived with this plague in her town for many years, who knows what the horse slaughter industry really is and what it does to a community please allow me to tell you what we experienced. The industry caused significant and long term hardship to my community which was home to Dallas Crown, one of the last three horse slaughter plants in the United States.

All three plants were foreign-owned, and since the market for horsemeat is entirely foreign, the industry will always be dominated by these foreign interests. The corporations involved in this industry have consistently proven themselves to be the worst possible corporate citizens.

The Dallas Crown horse slaughtering facility had been in operation in Kaufman since the late 70's and from the beginning had caused problems both economically and environmentally. I have listed some of the specific issues below.

I will gladly provide you with detailed reports from my former City Manager, Police Chief, and Public Works Director regarding odor and wastewater effluence violations at the Dallas Crown horse slaughter plant in the City of Kaufman.. The reports reference "decaying meat [which] provides a foul odor and is an attraction for vermin and carrion," containers conveyed "uncovered and leaking liquids," there are "significant foul odors during the daily monitoring of the area," and "Dallas Crown continually neglects to perform within the standards required of them."

Therefore, in August of 2005, our City Council decided by unanimous decision to send the Dallas Crown issue to the Board of Adjustments for termination of their non-conforming use status. In March of 2006, the Board of Adjustments voted to order Dallas Crown closed, but the plant was able to tie the enforcement up in the courts until they were finally closed under state law in February of 2007.

Dallas Crown repeatedly described itself as a "good corporate citizen." I will be straightforward in asserting that they are the very antithesis of such.

Dallas Crown had a very long history of violations to their industrial waste permit, ‘loading' the capacity of the wastewater treatment plant.
Dallas Crown denied the City access to their property for wastewater testing beginning October 1, 2004 until July 6, 2005 , despite requirement by city ordinance, city permit agreement, and court order.
City staff reported that a $6 million upgrade to our wastewater treatment plant would be required even though the plant was planned and financed to last through 2015.
Odor problems resulting from the outside storage of offal and hides over several days persisted not only in traditionally African-American neighborhood known as "Boggy Bottom", but at the nearby Presbyterian Hospital , the daycare center, and surrounding areas.
Transport of offal and fresh hides on City and state thoroughfares is conducted in leaking containers without covers.
City documents reveal an extended history of efforts to have Dallas Crown address various environmental issues. Reports include descriptive language including such as "blood flowing east and west in the ditches from your plant," "It has been over 45 days [it had been 59 days] and no apparent cleanup has occurred," "Your system has not improved and subsequently it has gotten a lot worse," "Words cannot express the seriousness" of recent violations and the "adverse effects on the wastewater treatment plant," and "Please be sure trailers are secured before leaving your premises to prevent spills," noting also "bones and blood laying in front of the facility," problems with bones and parts in neighboring yards and the attraction of "dogs and other animals."
In response to 29 citations for wastewater violations, each accompanied by a potential fine of $2,000, Dallas Crown requested 29 separate jury trials, potentially causing yet another economic strain to the City's budget. We could, of course, not afford to litigate in order to extract the fines
Dallas Crown took 11 months to submit a mandatory "sludge control plan" to assist efficient operation of the wastewater treatment plant though City staff requested it orally and in writing many times.
The City Manager advised me that the City would have to spend $70,000 in legal fees because of Dallas Crown problems, which was the entire legal budget for the fiscal year.
During this period, Dallas Crown paid property taxes that were less than half of what the City spent on legal fees directly related to Dallas Crown violations.
Generally, Dallas Crown has the economic ability to prevail, to exceed the constraints of the City's budget.
Dallas Crown had a negative effect on the development of surrounding properties, and a horse slaughter plant is a stigma to the development of our city generally. I have since learned that these problems were mirrored at the other two plants. Fort Worth's Beltex horse slaughter plant also violated Ft. Worth's wastewater regulations several times, clogged sewer lines, and both spilled and pumped blood into a nearby creek (San Antonio Current, June 19, 2003 ). Texas State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, whose district includes Beltex, and Rep. Toby Goodman, R-Arlington, fought hard against legislation that would have legalized horse slaughter in Texas in 2003.

The horse slaughter plant in DeKalb , IL had a similar pattern. It was destroyed by fire in 2002, and rebuilt in 2004. It was charged and fined by the DeKalb Sanitary District almost every month from the reopening until its closing in 2007 under a new state law for consistently exceeding wastewater discharge guidelines. I can provide you with the documentation of those violations. Like Dallas Crown, Cavel refused to pay their fines for years.

During this time, I learned that an estimated $5 million in Federal funding was being spent annually to support three foreign-owned horse slaughter plants! And when the Dallas Crown tax records were exposed in the city's legal struggle, we found that they had paid only $5 in federal taxes on a gross income of over $12,000,000!

Moreover, the parent company of Cavel has since moved its operations to Canada and continued to slaughter American horses. In Canada they have apparently become even more blatant, dumping huge untreated piles of entrails onto open ground and even using a tanker truck to discharge blood and refuse into a local river.

I have mentioned only the pollution issue, but this is but one negative aspect of horse slaughter. I have subsequently learned of a USDA document containing 900 pages of graphic photos that show the horrors that the horses were subject to. Behind the privacy fences of these plants, trucks arrived continuously and on those trucks was every form of inhumane violation one can imagine from mares birthing foals to horses with eyes dangling from their sockets and legs ripped from their bodies.

The more I learn about horse slaughter, the more certain I am: There is no justification for horse slaughter in this country. My city was little more than a door mat for a foreign-owned business that drained our resources, thwarted economic development and stigmatized our community. Americans don't eat horses, and we don't raise them for human consumption. There is no justification for spending American tax dollars to support this industry at the expense of Americans and our horses.


Former Mayor Paula Bacon
Kaufman, TX
325-665-2043 cell

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pro-slaughter says Livestock - Anti-slaughter says Companion, Here is What the FDA Says...

February 12, 2009

FDA Reminds Public of Comment Period Deadline for the Draft Guidance for Industry on Anesthetics for Companion Animals

On December 17, 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published in the Federal Register the availability of a draft guidance document for industry entitled “Guidance for Industry #192: Anesthetics for Companion Animals.” The comment period for the guidance closes on March 2, 2009.

The purpose of the guidance document is to provide industry with FDA’s recommendations for the development of new animal anesthetic drug products for companion animals (dogs, cats, and horses). The guidance discusses information that sponsors should consider when planning and conducting safety and field studies for their proposed drug product. The guidance also provides recommendations on how to analyze the study data and how to present the collected data in an organized package to CVM.

The draft guidance, once finalized, will represent the Agency’s current thinking on the development of companion animal general anesthetic (injectable or inhalational) drug products.

The draft guidance document is available at The federal register notice can be found at:

Interested persons may submit written comments on or before March 2, 2009, to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), FDA, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Electronic comments may be submitted to: Identify all submissions to the docket with the following docket number: 2008D-0623.

For additional information about the draft guidance, please contact Dr. Germaine Connolly at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, 240-276-8331,

Is the Horse Slaughter Movement Funded by horse Breeders?

Is the Horse Slaughter Movement Funded by Horse Breeders?

by A BuzzFlash Reader

The slaughter of horses for human consumption is no longer legal in the US. Sadly more than 100,000 horses each year are shipped to Canada and Mexico to satisfy the palates of “gourmands” overseas. Upwards of 90 percent of the horses sold for slaughter are healthy, sound animals, according to USDA statistics. Of that 90 percent, some are bred solely for the slaughter market, others come from farms providing horse urine to pharmaceutical companies and others are horses with cosmetic or minor conformation issues which make them valueless to the breeders, many of whom are producing a hundred or more foals yearly.

Several states, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming, among others, are studying or considering opening horse slaughter plants under the guise of providing a more “humane” method of disposing of “unwanted” horses than shipping them in trucks cross country for slaughter in Canada or Mexico. There is also a well-funded, but virtually unknown national movement afoot, with bills pending in Congress, to allow horse slaughter for human consumption once again.

This issue is not about treating horses humanely or dealing with “unwanted” horses. It’s about profit, pure and simple. For example, the wording of the North Dakota bill includes “… to meet overseas export markets for horsemeat…” Clearly, sponsors of this bill see a market opportunity, thinly disguised as a way to “solve” a conveniently overstated problem.

As the movie line goes, “Follow the money.” Who would profit if a horse slaughter facility were to open in any given state? We know the slaughter facility will make money; that’s a given. But so will the people who supply the horses destined to become someone's dinner. Who is lobbying for these plants to reopen? It's my guess that it’s the potential suppliers who see the slaughter business as a way to make money off an “unwanted” or “valueless,” product, to quote the North Dakota bill’s sponsor.

For a breeder, each year’s “crop” of foals has a percentage of colts and fillies who do not meet the breeders’ standards. The North Dakota bill is sponsored by a rancher who raises Quarter Horses, which, coincidently, is the most common breed to be sent to slaughter. His last sales catalog listed 80-plus young horses for sale. Were there any “unwanted” or “valueless” horses sent to slaughter because they didn’t make “the cut”? Horse breeders, as well as horse associations, surprisingly, are some of the most vocal supporters of horse slaughter.

Other lobbyists for the horse slaughter movement claim a slaughter facility will alleviate horse “overpopulation” by providing breeders and others with a place to send horses (for a profit) to a “humane” death rather than let them face starvation, neglect or abandonment because the owner, for whatever circumstance, is unwilling to care for the animal. Horse slaughter proponents won’t tell the public that the death of a horse in a slaughter facility is anything but humane. They also won’t share statistics that don’t support their cause. For example, cases of abuse, neglect and abandonment, not to mention horse theft, actually went down when the slaughter plants closed. Supporters also won’t tell the public that there are dozens of rescue facilities, not to mention horse-loving youths and adults, who would willingly take a breeder’s “unwanted” horse and give it a loving home.

Horse slaughter is a highly emotional subject with “facts” bandied about with little but anecdotal evidence to back them up. Factual information can be found in the USDA records, as well as from organizations that track this type of activity. If, after researching the issue for yourself, you feel moved to contact legislators and share your opinion in opposition to horse slaughter, be prepared for a fight. Too much money is on the table for breeders, ranchers, kill buyers/shippers and foreign and domestic investors in slaughter facilities to let this issue die.

Here are the links to some websites you may wish to visit:

Article about horse slaughter provided by the Humane Society of America

Article in Agweek supporting horse slaughter, primarily in North Dakota.

Article from Animal Law Coalition detailing the results of a study on abuse of horses following the closing of slaughter facilities

Article from Animal Law Coalition providing information about horse slaughter bills in various states

Contact information for federal legislation to further protect horses


Vicki | A Voice For Our Horses

No breed is more prominently represented in the slaughter trucks rolling

toward Canada and Mexico than the quarter horse. ~ John Holland

Friday, February 6, 2009

Horse Slaughter: Not the Answer to Overbreeding!

Horse Slaughter: Not the Answer to Overbreeding

by Pure Thoughts, Inc.

February 3, 2009 -- Loxahatchee, FL -- It hasn't even been two weeks since the inauguration of President Obama, and it seems as if some of our elected representatives have missed the forward movement of transparency and accountability regarding lobbyists and ethics. Maybe that is where the rub is: it's not a lobbyist who is attempting to steer taxpayers' dollars for a personal agenda, it is a state representative who touts an elected seat.

North Dakota State Representative Rod Froelich and State Senator Joe Miller have introduced a bill to the state's legislative assembly proposing to spend $100,000 on a study to determine the feasibility of a horse slaughter house in North Dakota. There are some startling coincidences worthy of mention. Representative Froelich's family are longtime quarterhorse breeders, and according to their website at they specialize in breeding horses of outstanding color and disposition.

Quote from the site: "Welcome to our 38th annual production sale. The five Froelich brothers, along with our mother, Barbara, and our nephew, Lance, are excited to again bring you a consistent group of foals with 'disposition, color, & conformation ranch-raised in big country'."

Whether Representative Froelich has sent horses to slaughter is a question only he can answer. Unfortunately, in our country, breeders send horses to slaughter because of their color; yes, this does exist. For example, two QH babies named Abercrombie and Fitch arrived at Pure Thoughts Horse & Foal Rescue. They came with AQHA papers so we called the previous owner, a breeder in Minnesota who selects for color: "palomino to be exact." According to the breeder, the two babies were sold to Simon Horse Company in Minnesota owned by Joe and Ryon Simon who are known killbuyers for horse slaughter. Both horses were sold because they were red in color, and Fitch's mother was sent to slaughter because that was her third red baby. This almost takes us back many years ago to a situation which was referred to as "cleansing."

How many times are we going to look into the pro-slaughter bowl of cherries and see that the pit is usually someone who stands to gain personally or financially, whether on the sale of horsemeat or the act of slaughter itself?

Here is an idea for Rep. Froelich: rather than ask the taxpayers to pay for a study on the feasibility of opening a slaughterhouse in North Dakota (creating a dumping ground for quarterhorses that do not have the most perfect conformation, sought after color or greatest disposition), ask the AQHA to designate funds for genetic studies and education. Even the horse novice understands the homozygous genes and the possibilities of perfecting color choices. Another thought would be to take that $100,000 and donate it to a rescue that saves slaughter-bound horses, and we will take all your not-so-perfect babies and mares that do not produce foals of the "right" color and place them in loving homes. It is so redundant to have yet another attempt at promoting horse slaughter stem from the AQHA arena.

How unfortunate that the AQHA is one of the wealthiest equine organizations in the US and yet continues to support horse slaughter. Even while the thoroughbred associations are stepping up to develop solutions to help our equine athletes retire safely and with dignity, the AQHA (with four times the annual foal registration of the TB industry) refuses to present and incorporate a plan for their horses. In addition, the AQHA allows for artificial insemination, embryo transplant and cloning (their latest endeavor) while the thoroughbred industry requires live cover. As stated earlier, a major consideration should be researching methods of successfully producing the most sought-after foals.

Consider these numbers related to the AQHA (2007 US data):
Quarter horse population: 2,859,851 (Estimated 2007 all-breed population: 9.2 million)
AQHA new foals/registrations: 117,830
AQHA membership: 305,000
Total owners: 902,453
AQHA total assets: $111,154,925
Revenues from registrations, transfers, membership, breeding fees: $19,288,000
AQHA 2008 new foals/registrations: 140,000 (this should be 140,000, right?)

These revenues and assets are not comparable with any other breed association, The AQHA charges owners for foal registrations and annual dues. The majority of QH owners do register their horses as it adds market value to the horse, and it's required in order to enter the horse in AQHA-sanctioned racing, shows and events. More foals equal more revenue for the AQHA.

These figures show that annual breeding means huge financial gain for the AQHA. Excess stock would negatively impact market values, so unsalable quarter horses go to slaughter to make room on farms for next year's foals. The AQHA also contributed $9,000 to Senator Larry Craig, who filed a notice of intent to object on a federal bill aimed towards ending horse slaughter; subsequently, the bill saw no action in the Senate.

No other breed of horse is sent more frequently to slaughter than the American Quarterhorse, the real victims of greed in the American horse industry.

If we trace the historical path of this issue in the political arena, the continuation of horse slaughter has always stemmed from personal agendas or personal gain. This year, let's try to have humanity as the agenda, do what is right, and represent the voice of the people.

Pure Thoughts Inc.
National Horse Welfare Organization
Jennifer Swanson
Cheryl Hanna

Daffodil Arabian Horse Association is hosting Wine Tasting Garden!

The Daffodil Arabian Horse Association is hosting a wine tasting garden at the Exhibition Hall at the King County Fairgrounds. The event, The Enumclaw Chocolate and Wine Festival runs Friday and Saturday the 6th and 7th from noon to 9pm. Proceeds from this event are going to establish a fund for distressed/abused Arabian horses. Some of the top wineries in WA and OR will be participating. Great time to stock up on your favorites!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bible's Lessons Help In Taming Horses

Bible's Lessons Help In Taming Horses
by Barbara Bradley Hagerty

Grant Golliher is a special kind of horse whisperer: he subdues wild horses with gentleness and a dash of spirituality.

And true to form, he's made for Hollywood: about 6 feet tall and trim, with rough, leathery hands, silver hair and piercing blue eyes. He wears buttery tan chaps and a white 10-gallon hat.

As Golliher enters a round pen at a county fair in Jackson, Wyo., a chestnut horse bolts away, bucking and screaming. The cowboy pays no heed; instead he hoses down the pen so the horse won't kick up dust.

'Show 'Em Who's Boss'

He tells the four dozen spectators sitting on bleachers that he's been breaking horses since he was a kid.

"And we did things the old way, I call it," he says. "Make 'em do it, show 'em who's boss. If they give you any grief, whack 'em with a two-by-four. Get their attention."

Over the years, he ruined a bunch of talented horses that way, he says. One horse strangled himself with his rope trying to get away.

But a quarter century ago, Golliher met Ray Hunt, one of the original horse whisperers, who tamed horses by building trust not fear.

Golliher mounts Freckles, a gray horse he calls his "buddy," and begins to chase around the chestnut.

"Now, what I'm going to do is go ahead and drive these horses around a little bit," he says, as the horse lets loose a bucking spree. "This horse is troubled. He's a 5-year-old. He's been ridden quite a bit, but lately he's been bucking off his rider — his owner."

If Golliher can't cure his bucking, he says, the horse could end up at the slaughterhouse.

The cowboy shakes a white plastic bag attached to a long crop — he calls it his "flag" — and touches it to the horse's flank. The chestnut snorts, his eyes bulge. But — and this is key — the horse is not tied up. He knows he can run away.

And that's the secret of horse whispering, Golliher says: giving a horse the chance to make the right choices.

"If the horse won't come to you, you don't capture him, you don't rope him and choke him down," he explains. "You let him know he's free, let him know he still has the freedom to choose whether to come to you or not, see. And that's the relationship with God."

Odd talk for a cowboy perhaps. But Golliher applies spiritual principles to his horse training — and horse whispering principles to life.

Discipline And Love

In the round pen, the chestnut has stopped running but is dancing around, clattering against the fence in an attempt to avert the flag. Golliher persists.

"I'm going to keep pressing the issue until we get some change here," Golliher says.

Golliher follows the chestnut around the pen, tapping the plastic flag on his haunches and forcing the horse to face his fear. The horse finally stops.

"There," he says, removing the flag and stroking the horse's neck with his hand. Golliher then walks toward the audience, and the horse follows.

Golliher says this is tough love.

"Love is great," he says. "But love without discipline is abuse. Discipline goes along with love. I love you enough when you make a mistake, I'll bring it up. We're going to try to deal with it."

Golliher sees this as a metaphor for how God works with people.

"Hebrews, Chapter 12 says God disciplines those he loves," he says later. "And when we go the wrong way, he has his way through life circumstances, we run into trouble. God steps in and starts waving his flag," he says. "So to me, this is just the Bible opening up through God's creation — which is a horse."

In the corral, Golliher has a decision to make. It would be a good time to end the session with the chestnut. But he opts to press a little further. With one swift move, Golliher mounts the horse and reaches for his flag.

"Now, if he was to buck, I just need to stay on," he says. "If I can."

A Horse Is A Mirror

The horse dances around, his hooves in constant motion. But he doesn't buck. Soon the horse settles into a calm walk. Golliher reaches down and rubs his chest.

"See him lick his lips?" he asks. "That's a good sign. That means he feels good about what just happened. Horses really love you when you help them get through their fear."

The crowd murmurs with amazement. Afterwards, people rush up to seek his advice.

Golliher says what astounds him most is not the changes in the horses, but in the people who watch and practice horse whispering. Some abused women have told him they see themselves in the skittish horses. Some men begin to use gentleness rather than fear in their relationships.

Horse whispering, Golliher says, gives people insight into themselves.

"The horse is just a mirror," he says. "He's just trying to tell us, 'Let me show you how to live.'"

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Abandoned Horse Reward Fund Announced!

For Immediate Release


Washington, DC (January 29, 2009) – The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) announced today the establishment of the “Animal Welfare Institute Abandoned Horse Reward Fund.” Under the program, individuals providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone who abandons a horse in violation of state law will be rewarded with up to $1,000 by AWI. “We’ve heard time and time again from those defending horse slaughter that the fight to end this cruel practice has led to an increase in abandoned horses. The truth is that the number of American horses going to slaughter now is the same or higher as before the domestic plants closed under state law. In fact, killer buyers seem to be buying more horses than when the plants were open,” said Chris Heyde, AWI’s Deputy Director of Government and Legal Affairs.

Under the program, individuals with evidence should first contact their local police department, provide as many details as possible about the horse abandonment situation and let the department know about the Animal Welfare Institute Abandoned Horse Reward Fund. In such cases, eligibility for rewards and specific reward amounts will be determined by AWI. For complete terms and conditions of this reward fund, please go to

“If horses are being neglected or abandoned and the law is being violated, individuals need to be held accountable. Caring for a horse or any animal is a lifelong responsibility and not something you toss aside when inconvenient. We hope our reward fund will assist in bringing criminals to justice,” said Chris Heyde.

The Animal Welfare Institute has been at the forefront of efforts to pass a federal law to end horse slaughter. While the few remaining horse slaughter plants operating in the US were shut down in 2007 under state law, the absence of a federal law means that American horses are still at risk of being slaughtered for human consumption, and more than 100,000 horses were exported to Mexico and Canada in 2008 for that purpose. In Canada, horses are often shot to death while in Mexico some plants still use the “puntilla” knife to stab the horse into a state of paralysis prior to being slaughtered while still fully conscious. The meat is then sold to high-end consumers in Europe and Asia. Congress is currently considering the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act (H.R. 503), which will protect American horses from this brutal trade.

For further information contact:

Chris Heyde, 202-446-2142

Liz Ross, 202-497-6780

For over 58 years, AWI has been the leading voice for animals across the country and on Capitol Hill. Please join us in our ongoing campaigns to reduce the sum total of pain and fear inflicted on animals by humans. Sign up for AWI eAlerts to receive the latest news on what you can do to help us protect all animals:

Talk Radio-Live Feed Feb. 7th at 3PM with John Holland!

LIVE FEED ON SATURDAY FEB. 7TH 3PM With John Holland (Senior Analyst for AAHS) and Paula Bacon and Laura Allen!

Saving America's Horses on WFL Endangered Stream Live, Talk Radio for the Protection of Animals

The Hidden Cruelty of Horse Slaughter and the Fight for Federal Support to Make it Stop.

Host Katia Louise interviews an expert panel of guests on the continuing sordid practice of horse slaughter as currently sustained by the United States. Horses suffer unimaginable cruel treatment in the process of their transport out of the US to Mexico and Canada where they experience barbaric slaughter. Listeners will learn the truth about one of America's darkest secrets and how to take action to stop this cruel and rapidly growing business of exports through the support of current, yet disregarded bills lingering in Congress for the past 8 years.

Guests include Paula Bacon representing Americans Against Horse Slaughter and as former mayor of Kaufman TX, she helped to shut down the Dallas Crown, a US horse slaughter plant now operating in Mexico, among the worst malign abusers of cruelty in this brutal practice. Also joining us is the renown author on the issue of horse slaughter, John Holland; senior analyst for Americans Against Horse Slaughter. Holland has authored and coauthored studies on the relationship of horse slaughter to the rate of abuse and neglect in horses and has written dozens of articles on the subject of horse slaughter and its politics. Plus we have Animal Law Attorney, Laura Allen of the Animal Law Coalition who's been fiercely active in the support of getting legislature passed for the Prevention of the Equine Cruelty. These panelists are fighting to abolish horse slaughter and the export of horses for slaughter with support more stringent enforcement of laws to prevent abuse and neglect.

Call-in number: (646) 727- 2170. Calls will be accepted live during the show. The chat room at the show's WFL Endangered Stream Live Blog Talk Radio page will be open throughout the broadcast for simultaneous discussion and to help answer questions. Registered listeners may connect and talk straight from their computer from anywhere in the world. (learn more)

Listen live on Saturday, Feb 7th at 3pm (PST) at WFL Endangered Stream Live Blog Talk Radio.
Listen anytime on demand.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act Supporters


National Horse Industry Organizations
After the Finish Line™
The American Holsteiner Horse Association, Inc.
The American Sulphur Horse Association
American Indian Horse Registry
Blue Horse Charities
Churchill Downs Incorporated
Eaton & ThorneEaton Sales, Inc.
Fasig-Tipton Company, Inc.
Hambletonian Society, Inc.
Horse Industry Partners
Hughs Management
Keeneland Association Inc.
Magna Entertainment Corp.
National Show Horse Registry
National Steeplechase Association, Inc.
National Thoroughbred Racing Association
New Jersey Racing Commission
New Jersey Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association
New York Racing Association
New York State Thoroughbred Racing and Development Fund Corporation
New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc.
Ocala Breeder's Sales Company (OBS)
Palomino Horse Association, Int.
Racetrack Chaplaincy of America
Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau
Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation
United States Eventing Association
Horse Industry Leaders
Josephine Abercrombie – Owner, Pin Oak Stud
Joe L. Allbritton – Owner, Lazy Lane Farms, Inc.
Peggy Augustus – Owner, Keswick FarmNiall and Stephanie Brennan – Niall Brennan Stables
Nadia Sanan Briggs – Padua Stables
Maggie O. Bryant – Locust Hill Farm
W. Cothran "Cot" Campbell – Dogwood Stables
Norman Casse – Chairman of the Ocala Breeder's Sales Company (OBS)
Nick and Jaqui de Meric – Nick de Meric Bloodstock
Richard L. Duchossois – Chairman, Arlington Park
Tracy & Carol Farmer – Owners, Shadowlawn Farm
John Fort – Peachtree Racing Stable
John Gaines – the late founder of the Breeder's Cup World Thoroughbred ChampionshipGainesway Farm
GaWaNi Pony Boy
Randy Hartley – Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds
Charles E. Hayward – President and CEO, New York Racing Association, Inc.
John Hettinger – Owner, Akindale Farm, Principal stockholder Fasig-Tipton Co, Inc.,
Chairman Emeritus Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation,
Trustee NY Racing Association
Tom Meeker – Churchill Downs
Reiley McDonald – Partner, Eaton Sales
Herb and Ellen Moelis – Candyland Farm
Nick Nicholson – President and Chief Executive Officer, Keeneland Association
Madeline Paulson Pickens – Owner- Breeder
George Stout – National Cutting Horse Association Members Hall of Fame
Frank Stronach – CEO, Magna Entertainment
Dan and Jocelyn Sumerel – Sumerel Training and Therapy
Becky Thomas – Sequel Bloodstock
D.G. Van Clief, Jr. – NTRA Commissioner, CEO & Breeders' Cup President
Walnut Hall Limited
Donna Ward
Marylou Whitney and John Hendrickson – owners of BIRDSTONE, 2004 Belmont Stakes winner
Russell Williams – VP, Hanover Shoe Farm
Kentucky Derby Winning Owners
Roy and Gretchen Jackson (BARBARO – 2006)
Jerry and Ann Moss (GIACOMO – 2005)
Patricia Chapman (SMARTY JONES - 2004)Sackatoga Stable,
Jack Knowlton, Managing Partner (FUNNY CIDE - 2003)
John and Debby Oxley (MONARCHOS - 2001)
Beverly Lewis (CHARISMATIC-1999, SILVER CHARM - 1997)
Mike Pegram (REAL QUIET - 1998)
William T. Young, Jr, Overbrook Farm LLC (GRINDSTONE - 1996)
Joseph and Eileen Cornacchia (GO FOR GIN - 1994, STRIKE THE GOLD - 1991)
Bill Condren (GO FOR GIN - 1994, STRIKE THE GOLD - 1991)
Mrs. Paul Mellon (SEA HERO - 1993)
Arthur and Staci Hancock (SUNDAY SILENCE - 1989, GATO DEL SOL - 1982)
Howard Keck, Jr. (FERDINAND - 1986)
Dell Hancock (SWALE - 1984)
Bert and Diana Firestone (GENUINE RISK - 1980)
Penny Chenery (SECRETARIAT - 1973, RIVA RIDGE - 1972)
Thoroughbred Trainers and Jockeys
Jerry Bailey – Hall of Fame Jockey
W.A. "Jimmy" Croll, Jr – Hall of Fame Trainer
Neil Drysdale - Hall of Fame Trainer
Julie Krone – Hall of Fame Jockey
Chris McCarron - Hall of Fame Jockey
Richard Mandella - Hall of Fame Trainer
Gary Stevens - Hall of Fame Jockey
Nick Zito – Two-time Kentucky Derby Winning and Hall of Fame Trainer
Horse Industry Press
Horse Connection Magazine
Living Legends Magazine
Natural Horse Magazine
The United States Harness Writers Association
Corporate Leaders
Les Alexander - Owner, Houston Rockets
Gary Bisantz - Founder, Cobra Golf Clubs
Alex Campbell - Chairman, Shakertown & Triangle Foundation
Jess S. Jackson and Barbara R. Banke – Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates
Summerfield Johnston - Retired Chairman and CEO, Coca-Cola Enterprises
Robert McNair - Owner, The Houston Texans
Paul Oreffice - former Chairman Dow Chemical Co, Inc.
T. Boone Pickens – Founder and CEO, BPCapital
Leonard Rigio - Founder and CEO, Barnes & Noble
Satish Sanan – Chairman and CEO, Zavata, Inc.
Richard Santulli - Chairman, Net Jets
Barry Schwartz - Co-Founder, Calvin Klein Inc.
Nina DiSesa - Chairman, McCann Erickson New York
J.V. Shields - Chairman and CEO, Shields & Co., Wall Street, NYC
George Steinbrenner - Owner, New York Yankees
George Strawbridge - Private Investor
Stuart Subotnick - General Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Metro Media
Daniel V. Tully - Ex CEO Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith
William Ziff - Ziff Brothers Investments, New York City
Celebrity Supporters
Shane Barbi-Wahl
Sia Barbi
Barbara Bosson
Bruce Boxleitner
Jeff Bridges
Christie Brinkley
Rita Coolidge
John Corbett
Alex Cord
Catherine Crier, Court TV
James Cromwell
Tony and Jill Curtis
Ellen DeGeneres
Ron Delsener - Ron Delsener Presents
Bo Derek
Clint Eastwood
Mike Epps
Will Estes
Shelley Fabares
Morgan Fairchild
Mike Farrell
Morgan Freeman
Kinky Friedman
Melissa Gilbert
Whoopi Goldberg
Jane Goodall, PhD.
Merv Griffin
Arlo Guthrie
Merle Haggard
Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Columbus, Ohio
Daryl Hannah
Tess Harper
Tippi Hedren
Mariel Hemingway
Laura Hillenbrand - author of Seabiscuit
George Jones
Ashley Judd
Toby Keith
Eddie Kilroy, Program Director, "Hank's Place" XM 13
Carole King
Kris Kristofferson
Chief Arvol Looking Horse - 19th generation keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle and holds the responsibility of spiritual leader among the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota People
George Lopez
Mrs. Roger (Mary) Miller
Steve Miller
Mary Tyler Moore
Sir Paul McCartney
Ali McGraw
Jesse & Joy McReynolds of Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys - Entertainer, Member of the Grand Ole Opry,
Bluegrass Music legendConnie Nelson - Outlaw Management
Willie Nelson
Olivia Newton-John
Alexandra Paul
The late Richard and Jennifer Lee Pryor
Keith Richards
Kid Rock
Theresa Russell
William Shatner
Paul Sorvino
Mira Sorvino
Bernie Taupin
Billy Bob Thornton
Rob Thomas
Marisol Thomas
Shania Twain
Ken Wahl
Dwight Yoakam
National Humane Groups
American Horse Defense Fund
American Humane Association
American Sanctuary Association
The American Standardbred Adoption Program, Inc.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to AnimalsAnimal Legal Defense Fund
Animal Protection InstituteAssociation of Veterinarians for Animal Rights
Doris Day Animal League
Episcopal Network for Animal Welfare
Equine Advocates
The Fund for Animals
Habitat for Horses
Hooved Animal Humane Society
The Humane Society of the United States
The Progressive Animal Welfare Society
The National Humane Education Society
Society for Animal Protective Legislation
United Equine Foundation
United States Equine Sanctuary & Rescue
Wild Horse and Burro Freedom Alliance
World Society for the Protection of Animals
Arizona Racing Commission
Conquistador Equine Rescue Program (In Defense of Animals)
Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary
Hacienda de los Milagros, Inc.
Humane Education Club - Barry Goldwater High School (Phoenix)
In Defense of Animals At Arizona State University (Student Organization)
Keepers of the WildSuperstition Horse Ranch
Wildhorse Ranch Rescue
California Equine Retirement Foundation
California Thoroughbred Rescue
Cooper Racing (Carol Cooper) - Qtr Horse Breeding, Training and Layups
East Bay Animal Advocates
The Piedra Foundation
Thoroughbred Friends
Tranquility Farm
Colorado Horse Protection League
Colorado Horse Rescue
Love Can't Wait Pony Rescue
Lucky Three Ranch, Inc.
Political Voice for Animals
Project Equus
The Humane Organization Representing Suffering Equines (H.O.R.S.E.) of Connecticut, Inc.
Tara Farm Rescue
The State of Delaware
South Delaware Retirement Facility
Summerwinds Rescue Tri-State Equine Rescue
Whimsical Horse Rescue
Aloha Equestrian Center
Aziizi Foundation, Inc
Retirement Home for Horses
Big Sky Farm - Quarter Horse boarding and breeding facility
Georgia Equine Rescue LeagueHorse Rescue, Relief and Retirement Fund, Inc .
Magic Hollow Farms
STARS (Sound Trail And Rail Society, Inc.)
Horse Haven Rescue
For the Love of Horses Rescue and Sanctuary
Arlington Park Racecourse
Balmoral Park Racetrack
Blackberry Station Feed Store
Block Thoroughbred Farm
CANTER Illinois
Central Illinois Humane Society
Crosswinds Equine Rescue, Inc
Chicago Barn to Wire
Drexler Horse Transportation
Eastland Farm and Training Center
Fairberry Farm
Fairmount Park
Hawthorne National Racecourse
Hill ‘N Dale Farm
Horsin' Around TV
Illinois Thoroughbred Horseman's Association
Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation
Illinois Harness Horseman's Association
Illinois Horseman's Benevolent Protective Association
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 727
John Marshall Law School, Animal Law Society, Chicago, IL
Lazy Maple Equine Rescue
Manhatten Acres
Maywood Park Racetrack
Oak Tree Farm
Pam Kuhl Horse Transportation
RERUN Illinois
Shawnee Hills Farm
Three Way Farm
Top of the Hill Farm
Tower Farm
IndianaAnimal Protection Coalition
CANTOR of Indiana
Friends of Ferdinand
Indiana Horse Rescue
Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission
Blairs Equine Rescue
Bluegrass Equine Products, Inc.
Brandeis Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
DreamCatcher Stables, Inc.
Holly's Place Animal Rescue
Home at Last animal sanctuary
Humane Society, A.L.L. of Madison County
Kentucky Animal Relief Fund, Inc.
Kentucky Animal Rescue Alliance
The Kentucky Coalition for Animal Protection, Inc.
Kentucky Equine Humane Center
Lexington Humane Society
Marion Co. Humane Society, Inc
Wolfrun Wildlife Refuge, Inc.
Woodstock Animal Foundation
The Coalition of Louisiana Animal Advocates
Barrel Race in Maine
Downeast Border Riders Saddle Club
Alex Brown Racing
The American Quarter Horse Rescue Organization
Celtic Rein Equine Rescue & Sanctuary, Inc.
Heather Knisley Racing
Horsenet Horse Rescue
University of Maryland Equestrian Club
Suffolk Downs
Horses' Haven
C.A.N.T.E.R Michigan
Midwest Horse Adoption Program
Misfit Acres Inc.
Save Our Souls Equine Rescue
Pryor Mountain Mustangs
WindDancer Foundation
Miracle Horse Rescue, Inc.
Shiloh Horse Rescue and Sanctuary
Wild Horse Preservation League
Wild Horse Spirit, Ltd.
New Jersey
Save the Animals Foundation
Standardbred Retirement Foundation
New Mexico
A.N.N.A. - Animals Need No Abuse
Animal Protection of New Mexico
Independence Farm
Perfect Harmony Animal Rescue & Sanctuary
Walkin "N" Circles Equine Rescue Ranch
Wild Horse Observer's Association (W.H.O.A.)
New York
Carpe Diem Equine Rescue, Inc. (NY, PA, NJ)
Double L Stable Equine Rescue & Santuary
Equine Rescue Resource, Inc.
H.O.R.S.E. Rescue & Santuary
Spring Farm CARES
Vassar Animal Rescue Coalition
North Carolina
Jus Linda's Stables
North Carolina Equine Rescue League
Stillwater Farm
North Dakota
Tremont's Pet Sitting Service
Angels4horses Adoption-Placement Foundation
Living Legend Arabians
Sound Horse Organization of Ohio
Angel Horse Rescue, Inc.
Horse Feathers Equine Rescue Inc.
Animal Care and Welfare/SPCA
Another Chance for Horses
Bran Manor Equine Rescue & Placement
CANTOR Pennsylvania
Cozee Valee Farm
Eastern University Equestrian Team
Lost and Found Horse Rescue
OohMahNee Farm Animal Sanctuary
Pennsylvania SPCA
R.A.C.E Fund, Inc.
Rhode Island
Horse Play
South Carolina
Hollow Creek Farm Equine Rescue
Neverending Farms Horse Rescue
Palmetto Equine Awareness & Rescue League (P.E.A.R.L.®)
South Dakota
Helping Hands Equine Rehabilitation and Rescue
Animal Connection of Texas
Animal Sanctuary of the United States/Wild Animal Orphanage
Austin Zoo
Black Beauty Ranch
City of Flower Mound,
TXCommon Ground Foundation
The Crows Nest Miniature Horse Farm
Lone Star Equine Rescue, Inc.
Lone Star Park
Madden Investigations
Oak Cliff Breeders
The Queenie Foundation
R-9 Ranch
Sound Horse Organization of Texas
Texans for HorsesSPCA of Texas
The Texas Federation of Humane Societies
Texas Humane Legislation Network
Texas EquuSearch Mounted Search and Recovery Team
Texas Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association
Wild Horse & Burro Refuge & Registry
Egyptian Cross Arabians
Misfit Ranch
Sound Horse Organization of Utah
Ches-N-Oak Farms
Helping Equines
The Laughing Horse Sanctuary
Parkway Quarter Horse, Inc.
Virginia Thoroughbred Association
White Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue - Stillwater Farm
West Virginia
Santiburi Famr
West Virginia Equestrian Association (WVEA)
All God's Creatures Equestrian Center
Animal Rescue and Farm Sanctuary
Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc.
Wyoming Animal Network

Paid for by T. Boone and Madeleine Pickens.
8117 Preston Rd., Suite 206 Dallas, Texas 75225

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Volunteers Assist in Washington Horse Rescue

Volunteers fought frigid temperatures and high snow drifts last week to remove 33 malnourished horses from their snow covered pasture just outside Wellpinit, Wash. A Bureau of Indian Affairs agent discovered the herd, which included several mares and foals, on Dec. 30, 2008. They were residing without adequate food or water, but severe weather prevented the horses' removal until Jan. 3.

The horses were removed from pastures outside Wellpirit, Wash.
The horses had body condition scores between 1 and 3, and some had neglected and damaged hooves said Carrie Aenk, operator of the Shepherds Way Rescue in nearby Springdale.
The horses' 75-year-old owner relinquished the herd to Aenk. But because the rescue is already crowded with horses, a local horse trainer volunteered to foster the herd.

"We're relying more and more on volunteers in these cases," said Aenk.

The horses need farrier and minor veterinary care, but are otherwise stable, said caretaker Pam Swiderski.

No charges have been filed against the horses' former owner.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Horse Cents

Horse cents
The state Revenue Department wants to extend farming tax breaks to those who have animals but don’t necessarily breed them — think 4-H horses — but drawing the line between pet owners and real farmers is tricky

Lynn Glover pets Angel, one of the three horses at her Granger-area home on Dec. 16, 2008 at feeding time. Glover's family lives on just over two acres and consider their horses pets, but proposed changes to property tax laws for rural land may open the door for them to claim a tax exemption previously reserved for true farmers.

GRANGER — Gary and Lynn Glover call their three horses pets.

Growing up, their daughters, Stephanie and Amanda, showed horses for 4-H and rode them in barrel racing. Today, the family members ride them for fun now and again, pet them for relaxation and, twice a day, feed them hay and grain.

They sometimes jokingly call their Nelson Road home "The Hungry Horse Ranch."

They don't, however, call it a farm.

"We don't seriously consider it a farming operation," says Gary Glover.

But they might under some proposed changes to property taxes.

The state Department of Revenue has proposed extending farming tax breaks to those who have animals but don't necessarily breed them.

It's an attempt to keep up with the changing face of agriculture, says Mike Gowrylow, a department of revenue spokesman. Current rules have been around since 1971. Farms are bigger now and more specialized, while suburban communities encroach more and more on agricultural lands.

Drawing the line between pet owners like the Glovers and serious farmers will be tricky.

"We need to make sure whatever we come up with is for legitimate agriculture purposes and not open huge loopholes for people to maybe get tax breaks they don't deserve," Gowrylow says.

In the Glovers' neighborhood, agricultural land is taxed at roughly $27 per acre. The exemption would cut that by more than in half.

Horse owners are just one example. The new rules also could affect people who pasture a few goats or calves each year but slaughter them for meat in the winter.

The issue boils down to open space. Enacted in 1970, the Open Space Taxation Act encourages property owners to leave land undeveloped.

Open space includes a variety of categories, but the best tax breaks go to "commercial agriculture purposes," land that contributes to the food supply or generates an income for the family. Property of any size could qualify but those who own less than 20 acres of landmust prove that they earn a certain amount of income from the farm. That income requirement varies based on the size of the farm.

Here's the catch: When property owners change their minds and remove their land from open space, they must pay seven years of back taxes, plus interest, at the higher rate.

When it comes to animals, current state law requires breeding, feeding, managing and marketing to qualify as commercial agriculture. But different county assessors enforce it differently, Gowrylow says.

For example, in Yakima County, Assessor Dave Cook allows the exemption for someone raising a steer for slaughter.

Revenue leaders and some state legislators propose removing the breeding requirement to make it easier for assessors to enforce consistently throughout the state.

The issue reared up in the form of horse stables in King County.

The assessor's office and the planning department in King County, where open space is hard to come by, had been extending the commercial agriculture exemption to horse boarding facilities and riding schools. Property owners paid a fraction of the taxes they would otherwise owe.

The issue arose earlier this year after a King County assessor's employee asked the State Department of Revenue if horse boarding facilities qualified for a tax break, Gowrylow said.

Property owners complained, so Revenue told county assessors across the state to put the matter on hold until they come up with a temporary policy and ask the state legislature to pass new laws. The legislature convenes in Olympia Jan. 12 through April 26.

State Representative Bill Hinkle, R-Cle Elum, plans to sponsor such a bill.

Hinkle believes horses -- even at a small place like the Glovers' -- are a legitimate part of the farm industry. Horses eat hay, sleep in straw bedding and graze in open pasture just like cows.

"Whether you're raising horses or cattle, when you get to the back porch, your boots smell the same," Hinkle says.

Keeping horses out of commercial agriculture is driving horse industry out of the state, Hinkle argues.

Yakima Valley horse owners are torn, but they generally favor removing the breeding requirement.

"Anything that involves animals for income should be considered open space," says Roger Hoff, a Thorp area cattle and horse rancher.

However, they don't want hobby farms to abuse tax breaks. In Washington, counties assess the same overall amount every year. So, when one person's property taxes go down, everybody else's go up.

Dave Cook, Yakima County assessor, contends the commercial farming exemption should be reserved for people who contribute to the food supply.

"My food prices didn't go down because (somebody) is growing horses," Cook says.

And, he fears, if horse owners qualify, owners of dog kennels might be able to apply.

Cook suggests letting horse boarding facilities reap a tax benefit under a different category of open space that rates a property's public benefit, such as two privately owned baseball fields in Naches. Golf courses sometimes fit that bill, too.

Cook doesn't know how many people would apply for the new benefit, if passed. There are 9,000 or so open space parcels in Yakima County, but many farmers who would easily qualify choose not to apply to avoid the seven year penalty.

Yakima County is home to 5,616 horses, according to the 2002 U.S. Department of Agriculture census. But that number only includes horses on a farm, which Agriculture defines as a property that sells at least $1,000 of agricultural goods.

Gary Glover grew up in a farming family from Kansas. He and his wife, Lynn, helped Gary's parents for many years run a farm with alfalfa, apples and cattle east of Granger. Family photos show their daughters petting their grandparents' cows and wandering through their fields.

The farm was sold at least 10 years ago.

Their current home and the 2 acres they now own sit on property that was once a working farm. But they built there for the peace, quiet and sunset views of Mount Adams. They've never sought a property tax break.

But if a loophole appeared that provided them a tax break, they might consider it, Gary says. Horses can cost up to $2,500 per year to feed.

"Anything to offset the cost of these eating machines," Gary says.

* Ross Courtney can be reached at 930-8798 or