Saturday, April 25, 2009

He's pushing for horse slaughter

Ed Butcher and the showdown in Montana
The man who is pushing for a horse slaughter plant in Montana doesn't want any "harassment by two-bit hippies," a reference to the predictable protests at other horse slaughter plants over the documented discharges, dumping, foul odors, and utterly inhumane methods of slaughter.
Photo: Saskatchewan plant operated by the Velda Group/Cavel
Rep. Ed Butcher, sponsor of Montana House Bill 418 that is intended to attract a horse-slaughter facility to the state, seeks to portray assure his colleagues and constituents that a proposed horse slaughter plant will be clean, modern, and humane (all evidence to the contrary with former US horse slaughter facilities). In fact, the now-shuttered Cavel plant in Illinois had accumulated $100,000 in fines for sewer discharge violations. Importantly, Cavel was operated by the Belgium-owned Velda Group--the same company that is interested in setting up a slaughterhouse in Montana. The picture was even more dismal at the Cavel-operated Canadian plant in Saskatchewan, where mountains of horse entrails littered the landscape and the company is alleged to have dumped tankers full of horse blood into fields that allow runoff into the Qu'Appelle River. As for the much-touted economic boost that Butcher is promising, keep in mind that the Saskatchewan plant was placed in receivership last fall with debts of $25 million.
Read "Showdown at Horse Slaughter Pass," by John Holland of Equine Welfare Alliance
Read a CBC News investigation of horse slaughter in Canada

Urgent Action Alert: Both houses of the state legislature have returned this bill. Call Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and ask him to veto HB418 - the bill that would allow the creation of horse slaughter facilities in Montana. Please use the word "VETO."
Phone: 406-444-3111
Fax number: 406-444-5529

Saturday, April 18, 2009

And now, for some comic relief

The recent hearing at City Hall on two bills affecting New York City's horse-drawn carriage industry was long and, at times, contentious. YouTube user PitytheHorses keeps us laughing, though, with this excerpt from the testimony of carriage driver Frank Rodden. He is a horseman. How do we know? Because he told us so, repeatedly!
Especially humorous is his dismissal of bloggers and other online pursuits, such as YouTube. Rodden informs us that horses are his life, not just something he "does" for 30 minutes in front of a computer screen. No blogger is he, we're told, though he is handy with a computer. This is a man who must be online at least three hours a day. So well known, in fact, is Rodden that he is frequently referred to as "the ponytail guy" in the blogosphere and YouTube realms.
View Rodden's full testimony
Video by Anthony Speziale
Note: For optimal viewing, click twice on the video and view it on YouTube.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The awful fate of carriage horses

Here we see a true horsewoman, Linda Marcus, speaking about her rescues, which include a former New York City carriage horse that was one day away from slaughter when she was saved. This testimony was part of a public hearing on two bills: one that would ban the horse-drawn industry, and another that would reward it and further erode oversight and accountability. Ms. Marcus supports a ban and opposes the industry bill, as do the ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, numerous animal advocacy organizations, and the Bar Association of the City of New York. This compelling testimony from the January 2009 hearing exposes the convenient services of faux rescue organizations that collaborate with industry to take its castoffs--and ultimately, to get rid of them. All within the loophole, I mean law, that requires "humane disposition" of New York City carriage horses.
These kinds of arrangements are being exposed with increasing frequency. Slaughter provides an easy way out to the ones who break down horses, overbreed them, or otherwise misuse them. Indeed, the horse industry at large has rewarded this behavior for years, paying people to make the horses disappear. Issues may or may not be resolved at legislative levels, but "outing" those who dump horses into the laps of kill buyers may ultimately be the most effective thing of all.
Related reading:
Recently we heard that thoroughbred owner Ernie Paragallo says he
lost track of his horses, and that some likely met a grim fate in Canada. Paragallo has since been charged with multiple counts of cruelty to animals.

Another former NYC carriage horse, "Manhattan," rescued from a grim fate (from Carriage Horses-NYC blog)
And finally, All about farrier care--and owner responsibility

Friday, April 3, 2009

And the winner is...

"Blinders" ... for Outstanding TV Documentary!
Congratulations, Donny Moss!
A huge honor at the 23rd Annual Genesis Awards for independent filmmaker Donny Moss, whose documentary "Blinders: The Truth Behind the Tradition" was named Best TV Documentary. "Definitely a happy night for me, the activists, and, of course, the carriage horses," said Moss, seen in the photo accepting his award at the March 28, 2009 awards presentation. "Blinders" shows us the realities of New York City's horse-drawn carriage industry, which is deemed inhumane by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), sponsor of the Genesis Awards. The ASPCA, HSUS, countless animal advocacy groups, and the New York City Bar Association support a full ban, as outlined in legislation introduced by New York City Council member Tony Avella. "Blinders" is credited with helping to make more people aware of the plight of New York City's carriage horses.
See more photos of Donny Moss and other honorees on Flicker.
After the film was nominated in February, The Documentary Channel (DOC) added more screenings, on Monday, April 20, at 10 pm and Saturday, April 25, at 6 pm (both ET). DOC is available on DISH Network (Channel 197), and several broadcast stations in major markets including NYC TV (Channel 25) throughout the greater New York metropolitan area. DOC also has made the full-length "Blinders" documentary available to online audiences on the network's exclusive channel.
Winners of 2009 Genesis Awards by category
Photo: Long Photography
Also available: Read an interview with Donny Moss on