Equine Welfare News

  • Firefighters practice rescue skills needed in horse barn


    Excerpted from an article by Bruce A. Scruton for the New Jersey Herald.

    FREDON — The barn was filling with smoke.

    The firefighters were there with helmets and turnout coats on, leading the horses, blankets over their heads, from one end of the barn to the other.

    It was a drill at Spring Valley Farm, one of the township’s largest equine centers, giving firefighters and some horse owners a sense of what to do should a real fire strike the horse barn.

    Running the training session was Bob Bishop, an insurance agent who specializes in agricultural properties, especially horse farms.

    “There’s 90 horses on this property,” Bishop told the firefighters and rescue squad members gathered Tuesday at the farm for a run-through of the property, common among firefighters when it comes to factories, school and other large buildings, but a rarity when it comes to a barn complex.

    Bishop’s presentation included facts on barn fires, especially fires involving horse barns. He also handed the firefighters a diagram of the property, including the several barns, main electric junction boxes and propane tanks. The drawings, one for each of the town fire trucks, also included roadways and the large pond that would serve as a water source in case of a fire.

    “These barns are like tinderboxes,” Bishop said, noting they often have baled hay — a good fuel source — and large open spaces where a fire can move along unchecked.

    Most barn fires are actually caused by wet hay that begins to decompose, creating enough heat to ignite itself spontaneously. Barns also have exposed electrical wires, which can be another ignition source.

    Bishop said a typical barn fire might last just 30 minutes but destroy the structure, so quick action leading the animals to safety is needed.

    Continue reading the story here.

  • All the Missing Horses: What Happened to the Wild Horses Tom Davis Bought From the Gov’t?


    Excerpted from an article by Dave Philipps for ProPublica.

    The Bureau of Land Management faced a crisis this spring.

    The agency protects and manages herds of wild horses that still roam the American West, rounding up thousands of them each year to keep populations stable.

    But by March, government pens and pastures were nearly full. Efforts to find new storage space had fallen flat. So had most attempts to persuade members of the public to adopt horses. Without a way to relieve the pressure, the agency faced a gridlock that would invite lawsuits and potentially cause long-term damage to the range.

    So the BLM did something it has done increasingly over the last few years. It turned to a little-known Colorado livestock hauler named Tom Davis who was willing to buy hundreds of horses at a time, sight unseen, for $10 a head.

    The BLM has sold Davis at least 1,700 wild horses and burros since 2009, agency records show — 70 percent of the animals purchased through its sale program.

    Like all buyers, Davis signs contracts promising that animals bought from the program will not be slaughtered and insists he finds them good homes.

    But Davis is a longtime advocate of horse slaughter. By his own account, he has ducked Colorado law to move animals across state lines and will not say where they end up. He continues to buy wild horses for slaughter from Indian reservations, which are not protected by the same laws. And since 2010, he has been seeking investors for a slaughterhouse of his own.

    “Hell, some of the finest meat you will ever eat is a fat yearling colt,” he said. “What is wrong with taking all those BLM horses they got all fat and shiny and setting up a kill plant?”

    Animal welfare advocates fear that horses bought by Davis are being sent to the killing floor.

    Read the rest of this compelling story here.

  • Famous Horse Was Discovered Neglected And Saved By A Rescue


    Excerpted from an article by D.K. Wright for WTRF.

    On August 18, a draft horse rescue in Cambridge took in a black stallion. They knew his name was Ollie, and he was in bad shape, with two teeth knocked out, sore feet, a skin infection, dull hair and malnutrition.

    “He was probably 400 pounds under where he should be,” says Lisa Gordon, of Frog Pond Farm Draft Horse Rescue.

    Ollie thrived at Frog Pond Farm. He came around quickly on his rehabilitation diet of five meals a day, gradual gentle exercise, and vet and chiropractic care. Ollie was shockingly charming and polite, and quickly became Lisa Gordon’s favorite.

    “I always tease her about favoritism, how she favors him over everybody else,” said Emmi Gordon, Lisa’s 15-year-old daughter.

    Then Lisa discovered something amazing. Ollie wasn’t any old draft horse. He was Fox Valley Oliver, champion and reserve champion in the United States and Canada. Of all the Shire breed, he was a rock star among horses. He was chosen by the prestigious Breyer Company to be the model for their special edition Breeds of the World toy model horse.

    But since then, he had gone from rock star to rock bottom.

    Read the rest of the story (and watch a video about Ollie) here.

  • Economics, equine laws and lobbies strain horse ownership


    Excerpted from a story by Chris Caldwell on StGeorgeUtah.com.

    ST. GEORGE – Horses in America and their owners are facing challenges. While equines will always capture the hearts of men, equine laws and lobbies are in tension and horse owners and breeders are facing increasing costs and realities that, for some, offset the benefits.

    Dry climates are cutting away at agricultural production, and the trickle-down effect is being felt all the way down to the individual farmers. Feed and gas prices are at record-setting highs, and pushing farmers to reevaluate what animals they choose to raise. Horses are not immune to the reality check many owners are facing.

    According to a July 2012 report by the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration 71 percent of the country is classified as being in a state of abnormally dry to exceptionally dry. And this is no blip on the radar. Besides causing nationwide problems, this is costing local farmers money, resources, and even livestock.

    “The cost of keeping horses has gone up dramatically in the past three years,” local horse owner Sheri Peterson said. “The price of hay has doubled.”

    Continue reading this story here.

  • Horse advocacy groups to use undercover investigators


    Excerpted from an article on horsetalk.co.nz.

    Two horse advocacy groups are putting professional undercover cruelty investigators on the job.

    The Equine Welfare Alliance and the Wild Horse Freedom Foundation announced what they called a new working relationship with a team of professional undercover cruelty investigators.

    They said the new alliance would increase the ability of the two groups to inform law enforcement, lawmakers, the media and the public regarding all forms of cruelty to domestic and wild equines.

    The groups described the investigators as hard-nosed and effective, with a history of successful investigations focused primarily on equine cruelty related to the slaughter pipeline.

    The work of the investigators had assisted enforcement agencies and exposed many inhumane conditions inherent to the horse slaughter world, they said.

    Read the rest of this story here.

  • AVMA and AAEP urge strong enforcement of Horse Protection Act at Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration


    Excerpted from a story in the Sacramento Bee.

    SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Aug. 23, 2012 — The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) urge veterinarians, owners, trainers, riders, event spectators, media and the public to redouble their efforts to identify and report sored horses at this year’s Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn. This includes reporting suspected soring activity in barns and training facilities in the Shelbyville area.

    The AVMA and AAEP are urging vigilance because of concerns that sored horses will be participating at the Celebration.

    For more than 40 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has worked diligently to enforce the Horse Protection Act (HPA), which prohibits soring. The USDA recently took another step toward ending soring by instituting mandatory penalties for violators.

    SHOW, a horse industry organization (HIO) that will be inspecting horses during this year’s Celebration, is one of three HIOs for which the USDA is pursuing decertification, citing failure to comply with USDA mandatory penalties.

    For more information, please read the full article here.

  • Horse charity happy with Olympic welfare measures


    Excerpted from an article on horsetalk.co.nz.

    British-based international charity World Horse Welfare says its is pleased with welfare standards in place for the equestrian competition at the Olympics.

    World Horse Welfare chief executive Roly Owers said horses competing in London will benefit from preparations that have been made to ensure their fitness and welfare.

    Some of the measures, such as the cooling of the horses, have been developed with help from the charity.

    Owers said his organisation was pleased with the importance placed on horse welfare by the FEI and the London Games organising body, LOCOG.

    “We are confident that the Games have been prepared with the horses’ safety, welfare and comfort as the top priority, and it will be fantastic to see these top equine and human athletes compete on an international stage in the centre of London.”

    World Horse Welfare has worked as an independent welfare adviser to the FEI for more than 30 years, helping to draft its code of conduct, which places the welfare of the horse above all other considerations, commercial or competitive.

    Read the rest of the article here.

  • Treasure Coast sisters, 9 and 12, raise money to save endangered horses


    Excerpted from an article by Amy Bower Doucette in The Palm Beach Post.

    Brandi and Heather Milner were shocked when their trainer Holly McFall told them about three emaciated horses rescued by Equine Rescue Adoption Foundation, where she is barn manager.The sisters looked at photos of the mare and her two foals, skeletal from malnutrition, and decided they had to do something. They started selling baked goods and lemonade around their hometown of Stuart.

    While most of their classmates at Redeemer Lutheran School spent their last few weeks of summer at the pool or the mall, the girls raised just over $200 for the Palm City nonprofit. The staff of ERAF was honored to accept the donation and introduce the Milners to the horses they’d worked so hard to help.

    “We take lessons at Holly’s,” said Brandi, 9. “She told us she would take us to ERAF, but she never got a chance. So we looked them up online and started raising money for them.”

    With help from their mom, Annmarie, and a group of friends, the girls made Rice Krispy treats, cookies and lemonade and sold them at the Stuart sandbar in the Intracoastal Waterway off Sailfish Point.

    “They made $75 the first weekend,” Annmarie said.

    Continue reading their story here.

  • Horse champion hands over reins


    Sandra Shearer has rescued thousands of horses from abuse and neglect, guarding the welfare of the animals nationwide for 22 years.

    Now the former International League for the Protection of Horses chief executive has resigned, leaving the role to the SPCA’s Auckland horse welfare auxiliary.

    The league was established in New Zealand in 1990 to act as an equine lobby and welfare protection group.

    But when its umbrella organisation in the United Kingdom restructured, the New Zealand league became affiliated with SPCA Auckland.

    Working for the league Mrs Shearer investigated complaints of neglect, organised re-homing of rescued horses, ponies and donkeys, lobbied to improve legislation and codes of practices related to equine welfare, provided professional advice, and fundraised to keep the league going.

    The rest of the article is continued here.

  • Rescuing horses takes hard work and tears


    Excerpted from an article by Canan Tasci in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

    CHINO HILLS – It’s really tough for Susan Peirce to talk about the horses at her ranch without crying at least once, maybe twice.

    The founder of Red Bucket Equine Ranch and its 400 volunteers are on a mission to save and rehabilitate horses who have been abused, neglected or malnourished.

    The nonprofit was founded in January 2009 by Peirce.

    To date, Red Bucket has rescued 109 horses and found permanent homes for 48.

    “We’ve taken horses that are shattered; they don’t even expect to be fed, let alone us being kind to them,” said Peirce, who has rescued horses from breeding scandals, euthanasia or even being fed to mountain lions.

    “We believe in the intimacy of the horse. When a horse comes to us, they have nothing of their own, so when they come here they get a red bucket and they get a name,” Peirce said.

    Once the horse gets a bucket with its name on it, it also gets a goal and a training plan to prepare it for adoption.

    Every horse’s first goal is to whinny.

    Once they’ve done that, Peirce said, is when she and her volunteers know they’re getting somewhere with the rehabilitation.

    Read the rest of the article here.

  • Hearts & Horses Friends Cliff Uber and Bud Win Big at PATH Intl


    Cliff with Ms. Molly at the PATH Intl Awards

    Cliff Uber has been recognized as the 2012 PATH Intl. Independent Adult Equestrian award winner!  He will be honored as a special guest at the PATH Intl. Awards Banquet held at the 2012 PATH Intl. Conference & Annual Meeting on November 2, 2012 in Bellevue, WA.  Thanks to Purina Mills for providing travel schloarships for the equestrian award winners.  As the Independent Adult Equestrian National Award Winner he receives scholarship reimbursement funds of up to $1500.

    You may recognize Cliff from his appearance on the “Walk On, Part 1″ episode of Those Magnificent Mules, and we are extremely proud of his success!

    Bud (Sir Rocko) has earned the PATH Intl. Horse of the Year for Region 10 and will also be honored at the awards banquet.  As a regional winner, he is a finalist for the 2012 PATH Intl. National Horse of the Year Award, which will be announced and celebrated at the awards banquet.  Bud has been with Hearts & Horses since 2005 and is a most deserved recipient of this award!

  • Equine Therapy Park set up in Golconda, India


    The therapeutic riding center is the fourth of its kind in India. Excerpted from an article in The Hindu.

    A physically and emotionally-challenged child enjoys a horse ride at Equine Therapy Park set up at Artillery Centre, Golconda, on Wednesday. Photo: M. Subhash, The Hindu


    A few children were curious, a few others apprehensive. Some sat secure, and some were cautious. One or two waved and upped their thumbs at friends sitting in the gallery, while many others just enjoyed sitting on the horseback, perhaps for the first time in their life.

    Coming out of the classroom proved to be a greater learning experience for many of the children with special needs at the Asha School, Artillery Centre, Golconda, where the city’s first ever Equine Therapy Park was launched on Wednesday.

    Inaugurated by the Deputy Director, Family Welfare Organisation, Artillery Centre, Archana Sharma, the park has two trained horses to carry the children, along with two handlers. Each child was assisted over a podium onto the horseback, and allowed to take in the fun of equine saunter around the field, stopping occasionally to play a game of ball or to pluck leaves from tree-branches, as per the directions by the coaches.

    Read the rest of the story here.

  • Activists say horse-slaughter plants face a rough ride


    Excerpted from an article by Oren Dorell in USA Today.

    Now that Congress has lifted the ban on slaughtering horses, companies plan to open horse-slaughter plants in several states, but animal rights activists say they face a rough ride.

    Businesses have filed applications in New Mexico and Missouri and plan to open other facilities in Wyoming and Oklahoma. Horse-slaughter advocates want to produce jobs and lean meat that some consider a healthy delicacy for dinner tables in the USA and abroad. Animal rights groups promise legal obstacles and public protest to using as food animals that helped settle the West.

    Continue to the rest of the article here.

  • Call to Action: Help Stop This Barbaric Donkey Roping Event!


    Reader Camilla alerted us to this post rallying equine lovers against an upcoming donkey roping event at the Van Horn Frontier Days festival in Van Horn, Texas. Part of the post is excerpted below.

    Donkey roping is a cruel and abusive practice that includes two cowboys chasing a donkey and roping the neck and hind feet for a score and prize money.

    Donkeys do not handle this kind of abuse well at all, especially when it is repeated over and over and over again. Unlike calves, who are never roped more than a few times because they are too valuable to damage, donkeys in Texas have no monetary value. Because of this, these donkeys are roped over and over again until they either shut down completely from terror and trauma or are too maimed to continue.

    Meredith says: “I have been promoting and training mules and donkeys for more than 36 years, and I can tell you without reservation that this IS animal abuse. These donkeys you are using for your sport in this capacity will be ruined for any normal recreational purpose in the future by anyone else and will result in their demise.”

    Please take a moment to contact the Van Horn Chamber of Commerce (one of the supporters) and ask them to put a stop to this. Their contact info is:

    P.O. Box 762
    Van Horn, Texas 79855
    (432) 283-2043, Monday – Friday
    9:00 am to 3:00 pm

    Visit the original post for more information.

    June 22, 2012 UPDATE

    The following text was added to this petition protesting the event and was sent to us by organizer Diana.

    Jason Owen told Newswest9 in his interview that he “bought them off a slaughter truck and they were “skin and bones” Assuming that this was even true, why would anyone waste their time slaughtering skinny donkeys? If you are going to harvest something for its meat, wouldn’t you want them fat and happy?

    Here are all facts according to the Presidio USDA inspector who is a friend of Mark Meyers of PVDR:

    “Slaughter is off the table. From Van Horn the only crossing into Mexico is through Presidio. Slaughter bound trucks never carry donkeys. The only donkeys that have crossed for slaughter were picked up close to the border and transported to a village where they were slaughtered for local consumption as cheap meat. “

    Please help in politely convincing Jason to give the donkeys to PVDR.

    Also I was informed this morning that there are a number of people going to Van Horn tomorrow. I need to stress that there should be no confrontations started by the petition supporters. Please observe and report, take photos and video. Be professional. Stay on target!

    If you see donkeys being roped or abused in any manner call the Sheriff’s Office at 432-283-2060.

    I have notified the reporter that did the story on Newswest9 that some supporters are going so they may send a crew.

  • Europe closer to ending long-haul horse abuse


    Excerpted from an article on Horsetalk.co.nz.

    The European Commission now agrees that EU legislation on long-distance transport of animals to slaughter needs to be reviewed.

    Late last week, the EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli, agreed with welfare groups that the present Transport Regulation cannot adequately protect animals on long journeys and must be reviewed.

    The charity World Horse Welfare said the statement constituted an important change in the position of the Commission, which until now had maintained that enforcement of the present rules would address serious welfare problems still experienced by tens of millions of animals, including 65,000 horses, transported on European roads for slaughter or further fattening every year.

    Read more on this development here.

  • Feds Round Up Wild Horses, Now Recognize Costs


    After ridding Western lands of thousands of wild mustangs at the request of corporate interests, the Bureau of Land Management now is worried about the price of its programs. Excerpted from an article by Andrew Cohen for The Atlantic.

    It surely cannot be easy these days being Joan Guilfoyle, the (relatively) new director of the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program. On the one hand she works for a federal agency, the Interior Department, which is largely beholden to the powerful industries it is supposed to regulate. And on the other hand, she is responsible, under federal law and policy, for ensuring the survival and management of the nation’s wild horses at a time when relentless political and economic forces threaten to decimate the herds.

    “It’s tricky, and it’s hard,” Guilfoyle said last fall in an interview shortly after she assumed her post. “There are a lot of emotions around it, a lot of different opinions.” Indeed, there are. The ranchers and farmers and miners and oilmen see the wild horses as feral pests that should be gone from public and private land. Wild horse advocates see the herds as victims of faulty science, special interests, and spineless federal and state officials. There is, they say, plenty of public land out West where the horses could freely, and safely, roam.

    Read the rest of this story here.

  • BLM to study Pickens’ wild horse plan


    Excerpted from an article by Scott Sonner for the Associated Press.

    RENO — Federal land managers agreed Thursday to spend the next two years studying a proposal by the wife of oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens to establish an eco-sanctuary for nearly 1,000 wild horses across more than 900 square miles of Nevada.

    The Bureau of Land Management will conduct a formal environmental assessment of proposal offered by Madeleine Pickens and her non-profit group, Saving America’s Mustangs, as a way to minimize the need to round up excess animals on the public range, BLM Director Bob Abbey said.

    The agency also will analyze potential economic and social effects of the reserve that would stretch across more than 580,000 acres of mostly public and some private property Pickens recently bought south of U.S. Interstate 80 between Wells and the Utah line.

    Under the proposal, Saving America’s Mustangs would improve and maintain fencing and water wells and oversee management of the eco-sanctuary horses, which would remain under federal ownership.

    Click Here To Read The Full Article

  • Arizona woman’s hobby may hold key to saving wild horses


    Excerpted from an article by Derry London for WLTX. Video originally posted on KPNX.

    Phoenix, AZ — One woman’s hobby of capturing pictures of wild horses may be the key to saving their lives.

    The U.S. Forest Service and others have struggled for years to decide how to deal with wild horses inside Tonto National Forest because of worries that they were eating too much of the fragile grasses. But with money and manpower stretched, rangers here never had even attempted to catalog the herd.

    More than a year ago, a friend brought Becky Standridge to the area.

    “I’d heard about these wild horses for several years, but I’d never seen them,” she said.

    For the laid-off Intel worker, it was love at first sight. Standridge brought her camera and began amassing a vast album of the herd.

    “I identify their color, their blaze, their socks. All the characteristics. Who’s who. What’s going on,” she said. “The horses are all very special. Their family bonds are very strong. Their freedom is extremely important to them.”

    Click here to read more

  • Dr. Temple Grandin, team will design horse slaughter plant in Missouri


    Excerpted from an article by Linda Russell for KY3 News

    SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A woman known around the globe for her work in autism and animal behavior will design the horse slaughter plant planned for the Ozarks.  Dr. Temple Grandin spoke to students at the College of the Ozarks on Wednesday night.  She spoke with KY3 News while she was in the area.

    Many people got to know Grandin through the HBO movie that told the story of her accomplishments while living with autism.  Grandin is known for understanding animals, and she’s designed livestock handling facilities that are meant to reduce stress and fear for the animals.

    Click here to read more

  • TAKE2 offers racehorses a second chance


    Excerpted from an article by Bob Ehalt on ESPN.com

    Much of the focus lately at New York racetracks has involved the health and well-being of the horses that sustain the sport.

    Yet for all of the attention centered on what’s been happening five racing days a week at Aqueduct, there’s also concern about the future of the industry’s equine athletes, something that can arrive rather quickly for a horse that might peak at the rather youthful age of three or four.

    Options for a retired racehorse are limited, but the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, the New York Racing Association and the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc., are hoping that the up and down world of show jumping can expand them.

    Together they formed and funded TAKE2, a jobs program of sorts for Thoroughbreds, which intends to open doors so that racehorses can become show jumpers once their days of springing from a starting gate come to an end.

    Read more about this story here.

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