AQHA Brazenly Promotes Horse Slaughter For Wild Horses And Burros In New Anti-SAFE Act Propaganda Piece

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Craig Huffhines

AQHA Executive Vice-President Craig Huffhines

 

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

In a brazen move that would make Sue Wallis proud,  the AQHA has sent to its Canadian members, a propaganda piece that insisted that the S.A.F.E. Act would create a “hellish demise” for horses,  of “starvation, abuse and neglect.”

It’s difficult to imagine such contrived ignorance exists to such a degree outside of the BLM itself when it comes to wild equines.  Yet in the massmail entitled “Unsafe Consequences,”  the group specifically mentions the “overpopulation” of the wild horses and burros,  juxtaposing the costs of the BLM holding facilities with the convenient way of eliminating the problem – restoring slaughter to the United States!  Not only is the wilfully-blind AQHA  on a non-stop  crusade to promote slaughter for their own breed,  they’re encroaching onto the issue of protected wild horses and burros – a comprehensive extermination campaign designed to eliminate all “undesirable” equines.

Here is an excerpt of the “facts” they present in their massmail,  which can be read here and is included below.

 

  • The Government Accountability Office reported that about 138,000 unwanted horses were transported to processing facilities in 2010.

  • The United States Department of Agriculture reports that 144,000 horses were transported to processing facilities in 2014.

  • USDA reports that there are nearly 50,000 wild horses and burros on Bureau of Land Management land, which is 22,500 more than what that land can naturally support.

  • USDA also reports that there are more than 47,000 wild horses and burros in short- and long-term holding facilities.

  • The cost of the wild horse and burro program – $77,245,000 in fiscal year 2014 – is coming out of U.S. taxpayers’ pockets.

If this enrages you,  please take a moment to send a response to them below or via their contact form:

Twitter: @AQHA

Mailing Address
AQHA
P. O. Box 200
Amarillo, TX 79168

Overnight Mailing
American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Dr.
Amarillo, TX 79104

Phone
806-376-4811
8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Central

Fax
806-349-6411

 

Please read the entire communication below:

Racing Carnage: Horseracing Wrongs 2014 Death Stats Visualized

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Writing and Data Wrangling by:  Heather Clemenceau

Data reproduced with permission of Patrick Battuello – http://www.horseracingwrongs.com

Most of the followers of this blog are familiar with Patrick Battuello and his meticulous collection of stats on the deaths and injuries of racehorses across the United States via his blog HorseracingWrongs.  I was recently sent his 2014 compilation of information on racing deaths for 2014,  and immediately I knew that,  as a visual person,  I wanted to see it represented in pictures and graphs.  So I took Patrick’s data line by line,  recorded each horse’s age at death,  the track info,  plugged it all in an Excel spreadsheet,  added state,  city,  and zip codes for each of the tracks,  scrubbed and sorted the data,  and then imported it all into Tableau for visualization.  It’s so disturbing to see the number of deaths of 1 year-olds in training at various tracks,  as well as horses of the “advanced” age of 10.  The average age of nearly 1,000 dead race horses was only 3.9 years. 
horse racing deaths visual analysis

Click to embiggen – each circle represents a track within a state – the larger the circle the greater the number of horses killed on the track.

Deaths per state/track are also very revealing,  the greatest number of deaths occurring at Charles Town (West Virginia), Gulfstream (Florida), and Turf (Arizona).
Horse Racing Deaths 2014

Click to embiggen – Hold the “Ctrl” key and press the “+” key to zoom in (press “-” to zoom out) or if you have a mouse with a wheel, hold the “Ctrl” key on the keyboard and then scroll the wheel up to zoom in (scroll down to zoom out)

There are certainly more deaths than what is represented here.  Patrick was limited in what he was given via FOIA requests,  while other tracks maintained that they didn’t keep lists,  didn’t recognize training deaths, didn’t provide complete information,  claimed that they were prohibited by law from providing information,  or simply denied requests.  The information obtained does not even include deaths that occurred at private farms, training centers, or rescue facilities,  nor does it include “non-racing” fatalities such as colic or laminitis.  In turn,  I was somewhat limited in my ability to determine whether tracks had been sold and changed names with or without the complication of bankruptcy, and where they were located in states/cities.The data certainly tells a story. But even if we estimate that the deaths are double the numbers captured,  visualizations on graphs do not include all the other horses slaughtered in Canadian or Mexican plants last year,  which is where many of them go when they lose one too many a race.

Raw Data below:

 

AQHA Political Action Committee Sets Goal to Derail S.A.F.E. Act Despite Huge Losses

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money-bag-filled-with-moneyWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

It’s no secret that the AQHA, the largest non-profit breed association in the world, takes the most destructive and inhumane approach to horse slaughter of any of the breed groups. On the one hand, they have a Mission Statement to ensure the American Quarter Horse is treated humanely, with dignity, respect and compassion at all times. However, the world’s largest breed registry needs a system to make room for the continuing mass production, hence their business model is to breed as many horses as possible (thus maintaining new memberships and registrations thus ensuring that they are a self-perpetuating entity) while discarding older  or surplus horses and horses with undesirable conformation to slaughter plants.

The AQHA also has a less-well known political action committee – AQHPAC which has set a goal of raising $250,000 by the 2016 elections, in part to fight the malicious agendas of misguided groups like the Humane Society Of The United States. Political donations are used to promote politicians who support the “horse industry,” and advance their collective agenda. Of course, you can own several horses or run a training barn or a veterinary practice, but if you’re among the 80% of Americans opposed to slaughtering horses, you’re not officially part of the “horse industry” according to the AQHA. A specific goal of the AQHPAC is to defeat the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 1942 which was re-introduced in 2015 to prevent the establishment of horse slaughter operations in the US, and end the current export of American horses to Canada and Mexico.  It’s an unbelievable slap in the face to the anti-slaughter advocates who worked incesssantly for months to ensure that the previous incarnation of the act could be passed.

In 2014, here’s what the list of contributions from the AQHPAC to federal candidates looked like:

House

 

Total to Democrats: $11,500
Total to Republicans: $51,500

 

Aderholt, Robert B (R-AL) $2,500
Alexander, Rodney (R-LA) ($1,000)
Amodei, Mark (R-NV) $2,000
Barrow, John (D-GA) $500
Blackburn, Marsha (R-TN) $500
Boehner, John (R-OH) $2,500
Carter, John (R-TX) $1,500
Cole, Tom (R-OK) $2,500
Conaway, Mike (R-TX) $1,000
Costa, Jim (D-CA) $1,500
Crawford, Rick (R-AR) $500
Cuellar, Henry (D-TX) $2,500
Fleischmann, Chuck (R-TN) $2,000
Fortenberry, Jeff (R-NE) $500
Gibbs, Bob (R-OH) $500
Goodlatte, Bob (R-VA) $2,500
Granger, Kay (R-TX) $2,000
Graves, Sam (R-MO) $1,000
Graves, Tom (R-GA) $2,000
Hartzler, Vicky (R-MO) $1,500
Herrera Beutler, Jaime (R-WA) $2,000
Hinojosa, Ruben (D-TX) $1,500
Kind, Ron (D-WI) $500
King, Steven A (R-IA) $1,500
Lucas, Frank D (R-OK) $2,500
Lummis, Cynthia Marie (R-WY) $500
Mullin, Markwayne (R-OK) $2,000
Noem, Kristi (R-SD) $1,000
Nunnelee, Alan (R-MS) $2,500
Peterson, Collin (D-MN) $2,500
Roby, Martha (R-AL) $2,000
Rogers, Hal (R-KY) $2,500
Schrader, Kurt (D-OR) $2,500
Scott, Austin (R-GA) $1,000
Sessions, Pete (R-TX) $2,500
Simpson, Mike (R-ID) $1,000
Thornberry, Mac (R-TX) $1,000
Valadao, David (R-CA) $2,000
Womack, Steve (R-AR) $2,000
Yoder, Kevin (R-KS) $1,000
Yoho, Ted (R-FL) $500

 

 Senate

 

Total to Democrats: $2,500
Total to Republicans: $19,100

 

Alexander, Lamar (R-TN) $1,000
Cassidy, Bill (R-LA) $2,500
Cochran, Thad (R-MS) $2,500
Cornyn, John (R-TX) $2,600
Enzi, Mike (R-WY) $1,500
Ernst, Joni (R-IA) $1,500
Gardner, Cory (R-CO) $0
Inhofe, James M (R-OK) $1,500
Kingston, Jack (R-GA) $1,000
Moran, Jerry (R-KS) $500
Pryor, Mark (D-AR) $2,500
Risch, James E (R-ID) $1,500
Rounds, Mike (R-SD) $1,500
Sasse, Ben (R-NE) $1,500

 

Source: Opensecrets.org and based on data released by the FEC on March 09, 2015

(credit to the Center For Responsive Politics)

 

Here’s a list of contributors to this PAC from individuals donors of $250 or more – there’s a few recognizable names here (including billionaire Forrest Lucas of Protect the Harvest and Dr.Tom Lenz, the subject matter expert for the American Horse Council, which is the Farm Bureau of the equine world). It’s a list comprised of feedlot owners, veterinarians, ranchers, truckers, farm managers, business owners, horse trainers and other people who need the availability of slaughter, because without it, “it’s gonna cost me $2,000 and I still don’t have a place to bury it.” It goes without saying that anyone on this list donating $250 – $5,000 can afford to euthanize a horse.

 

 

Amid this lobbying effort the AQHA is in a clear financial crisis – growth in both horse populations are net negative almost without exception across the United States. Since 2008 they’ve lost over 90,000 memberships.  The organization spends lots of money on elite shows,  while relying on the revenue of the average horse person,  who appears to be fleeing the scene.

 

The All About Cutting blog has done a thorough job documenting the devastating downward trajectory of the non-profit,  using their 990s from Guidestar.

From the Blog:

“REVENUES VS EXPENSES:

While reviewing their 990 IRS tax filing, the most glaring revelation is the organization’s posting of another significant loss of $692,687 for the year ending Sept. 30, 2013, as opposed to a Hot-100$3,445,679 loss for the year ending Sept. 30, 2012.  When this loss is added to the previous four years of losses, they total close to $17.5 million, or specifically $17,484,806 in lost revenue. That’s an average loss of close to $3.5 million per year. The largest loss of over $7 million took place in the 2008 tax return.

ASSETS VS LIABILITIES:

The tax return ending Sept. 30, 2013, reports total assets for the beginning of the year of $56,223,930 and $50,276,281 at the end of the year or a major loss of close to $6 million in assets just this past year alone.  In the past five years, assets have dropped from $66,850,420 listed in the 2008 tax return, which ended on Sept. 30, 2009, down to $50,276,281 at Sept. 30, 2013. That’s a drop of close to $16.6 million, or $16,574,139 in five years.”

Despite the spending and the falling revenues, salaries are up and employee head count is increasing, while individuals on the board with family businesses benefit financially by association.  If that isn’t bad enough,  the non-profit appears to be continuing to pay individuals who have had very public retirements.  What’s the reason for this? At this point the average goat herder could head up the organization with more integrity and management insight than the good ‘ol boys inner circle at the AQHA.

top hat tip DebbyInstead of trying to fight against animal welfare groups, the AQHA should be setting aside funds to care for unwanted horses that resulted from rampant over-breeding that the horse-riding public cannot absorb. Fewer horses produced by responsible breeding practices would result in higher prices at the sale barn and private treaty sales.

Contributory practices include the AQHA’s multiple-embryo-transfer rule that facilitates overpopulation by allowing mares to have more than one foal per year. Rules about using frozen semen or eggs from long-sterile or dead animals allowed horses to breed from beyond the grave. Anytime you take a single individual and increase its ability to generate offspring you will decrease the variation in the genetic pool and lead to inbreeding and possibly disease. AQHA should also not permit the breeding of any horses who are either heterozygous or homozygous for Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP), an inherited genetic disease of the muscle which could be eliminated if only the AQHA had the will. And halter horses?  Just stop breeding these post-legged, big-bodied,  poorly conformed horses on tiny hooves that are likely to mechanically break down. There’s absolutely no reason why halter horses can’t have conformation conducive to carrying a rider through normal equine usage.  You cannot maintain the integrity of the breed by permitting any of these practices. AQHA President Dr. Blodgett should be fired.

The goal of “treating horses humanely” is one that’s incompatible with over-breeding and slaughter.  The AQHA PAC should come with its own disclaimer – unfit for human consumption, and everyone involved in setting it up should make a swan dive into an active volcano.

 

 

Doping Fail: Performance Drug Prohibitions For Horses Are Stricter Than Slaughter Regs…

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Wilful BlindnessWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

The rule of strict liability, under which athletes have to be solely and legally responsible for what they consume, remains supreme in the world of horse sport. The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) promote “Clean Sport” for athletic competitions, as does the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body for equestrian sport.

The FEI credits their Clean Sport initiative as being responsible for the completely drug-free 2012 Olympic Games in London, during which no equestrian athlete or horse tested positive for any banned substance. Equine Canada governs Canada’s official relations with the FEI, as well as Canada’s equestrian relations with the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee. It also governs relations between the government of Canada and Canadian equestrian athletes, coaches, judges, competition organizers and other professionals. Equine Canada (via the FEI) has classified approximately 1,000 different drugs as either “Banned” or “Controlled” in the 2015 Equine Prohibited Substances List. As of January 1, 2015, any individual who is temporarily suspended for a doping violation is prohibited from participating in the sport in any capacity, both at and away from competition.

Equine sport organizations that govern horse sport always encourage participation in anti-doping measures and fair medication control ostensibly because horse welfare is the principal rationale for a zero tolerance drug policy. This is an admirable achievement surely, since horses in particular should not be drugged in order to mask pain or to enhance performance to the degree that it may entail a risk.

It is a paradox though, that despite horse welfare cheerleading by Equine Canada, they are utterly silent when it comes down to the issue of the dual commodity riding/meat horse. Of course, Equine Canada supports the Canadian horse slaughter industry, causing conflict within its own ranks as well as with Canadian horse welfare advocates.  In 2012, Equine Canada’s then President Michael Gallagher caused outrage when he issued a press release thanking the FEI after it had disqualified Canadian show-jumping rider Tiffany Foster forked tongueunder controversial and unproven circumstances that did not even involve the possibility of drugs. The FEI Veterinary Commission did not even bother to take her horse out of his stall to examine him further or to test his movement for any signs of discomfort. So, a superficial scrape on a horse’s coronet that did not even make him lame (unless poked repeatedly by veterinarians perhaps) was cause for a lot of rah-rah-rahing about horse welfare by Gallagher, who said, This is an important testing procedure for the fairness of our sport and for the welfare of the horse which must always be paramount.” So while there are apparently few ethical conundrums for Equine Canada when it comes to firing a four-inch nail into a horse’s head, they supported the FEI decision to disqualify a horse due to a trivial and totally survivable scrape of indeterminate origin on his foot. The irony – it burns!

I think it’s absurd that suspensions can be levied over scratches or even the use of a topical cream containing capsaicin for a skin injury (which is banned because it can serve as a mild stimulant) whilst ignoring the issues of inhumane transport and slaughter as well as the possibility of potentially harmful drugs in the food chain. While horse sport veterinarians are busy taking skin swabs from horses to test for capsaicin, the CFIA tests less than 1% of horse carcasses for the prohibited drug phenylbutazone. If the CFIA held kill buyers and the owners of slaughter-bound horses with strict liability as done in horse sport, practically no horse would be eligible for slaughter.

Doping is contrary to the spirit of sport. Yet so too should be the betrayal of sending horses to slaughter.

Belts, Buckets, And Bridles – At The Claremont Horse Auction

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horses in pens at Claremont

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

In the countryside north of Toronto one is never too far from a livestock auction yard that sells horses. The horse auctions at these yards have changed little over the years, except perhaps to shrink a little as the way people shop for horses and tack continues to evolve. The Claremont auction is a small country auction in Kawartha Lakes, north-east of Toronto, where horses aren’t sold by the pound. I’ve been to this auction previously, but never with tack to sell – I was here to test the auction as a potential place to sell a few pricier bridles and bits, so I brought some show pads, boots, and a quarter sheet, all in great lightly used condition.

Tack sales are really just rummage sales for horse people, and a tack hoarder’s paradise. Stay for a while and you’ll see desperate people selling desperate things. There was the occasional item

This is the type of item you might regret not buying once you get home - if you can get past the "no questions asked" stipulation of the sale!

This is the type of item you might regret not buying once you get home – if you can get past the “no questions asked” stipulation of the sale!

held up that caused me to wonder, “What the hell is it? And before I could identify what it was, someone had bid on it. A lot of useless crap had been auctioned off before they even got to my stuff at the end, at which point people were fed up with the nearly 4 hours long tack auction that started 45 minutes later than advertised, and they were probably out of money. Even the auctioneer couldn’t summon much enthusiasm by the time he got to my stuff, holding up one of my Italian saddle pads half-heartedly. I only sold one saddle pad, and literally gave away a $50 quarter sheet, so I doubt that I’d return to try to sell anything else in future.

The auctioneer expressed serious disappointment in the bidding on the horses – half of the horses were “no-saled” since reserves were not met.  Today, I suppose it’s a hard lesson for the auction house – don’t take on more tack than can reasonably be sold in an hour or so. Horse prices were probably lower than normal and quite a few people had left hours ago. Only a couple of horses sold for decent amounts of money, and probably could have brought more under more favourable circumstances. Fortunately no kill buyers in sight, but horses that didn’t sell on this day might be one step closer to an auction like OLEX where the majority of horses are sold to kill buyers (current meat horse prices this week are hovering around $.70 per lb.).  With meat prices creeping higher it’s more challenging to set a reserve price on a horse that facilitates a sale yet discourages kill buyers from bidding.

This cute pony was a no-sale

This cute pony was a no-sale

All horses were clean, good weight, appeared to have been cared-for, no long hooves, cuts or abrasions, and were presented with clean tack where noted below. An auction determines the market value of a horse on any given day. Sometimes, a seller may have difficulty selling a horse, because it’s priced higher than the market will bear.

  • 2 paint yearlings, relatively unhandled, nervous, not halter broke – no sale
  • 14 year old gelding under saddle, rides, drives, quiet in the ring, appeared to be a draft cross – $1,150
  • 4 year old QH mare under saddle, nervous – no sale
  • 7 year old paint pony in hand, very flighty in ring, Mennonite origins, it was claimed that she was broke but auction staff declared that questionable – no sale
  • 14 year old gelding under saddle, QH/Arab cross, 4H and lesson horse, touted as an easy keeper, lives in/out, very nice good weight – $1,200
  • 12 year old Black Morgan gelding under saddle, 14.1, camp horse, lesson pony – no sale
  • 13 year old mare under saddle, also drives, quiet in ring, apparently owned by Mennonites – no sale
  • 14 year old pony, 11.2 WTC, jumps, lessons – no sale
  • 9 year old QH gelding under saddle, professionally trained, ground ties – $800
  • 15 year old 14.1 pony, WTC, jumps, camp horse, very resistant to going in ring – $375
  • 7 year old green broke, palomino mare in hand, nice weight and conformation – $650
  • 13 year old TB mare, never raced, hunter, jumps 3 foot – $500
  • 12 year old QH mare under saddle, described as being rideable by anyone, quiet and nice, good weight – high seller of the day – $2,000

When auctions drag on for hours it drives the price of all the items down. While there were some bargains to be had from tack store closures,  I was disappointed in the bidding on the quality items that were offered on this day.  A beautiful new and unused western saddle selling for about $3,000 retail only received offers of $300. At those prices it would be better to just display the saddle in your house or turn it into a very expensive bar stool. Yet lots of dried out crap indistinguishable from other lots of dried out crap were bid on a bit more aggressively.  At least 40 western saddles offered for sale today so there was very little variety. There were a couple of good lessons for me as well:

  • English show tack does not do well at western auctions

    Horses don’t sell themselves—people have to sell them.  This horse was the high seller of the day

    Horses don’t sell themselves—people have to sell them. This horse was the high seller of the day

  • If you have an item that you have been told has a certain value, don’t try to sell it at the equivalent of an equine garage sale.  Pawn stars come looking for bargains. They will be more interested in a box of busted halters and sinewy tie-downs from the civil war era even if they have to soak it for months in neatsfoot oil – they will not care about your lightly used Stubben bridle because they know you will have a reserve on it. If you really think you have something worth money, sell it on eBay.  There you will get something closer to fair market value
  • If you arrive at a tack auction and there’s enough tack to outfit every horse that served in the Boer War, you should probably turn around and come back on another day

Here’s one last point I think is very important.  When attending local auctions,  please keep an eye out for stolen horses.  I know that it’s virtually impossible to remember the physical details of the numerous missing horses on Net Posse and circulated through Facebook,  but if you have a smartphone,  it makes the job a little easier.  Eyes on the ground can help find horses.  Perhaps a good conversation to have with the auction staff is one where you ask them to post pictures from Net Posse to increase awareness.

When asking about this thin yearling in arena (not part of the sale), I was told that he was a camp horse. Seriously?

When asking about this thin yearling in arena (not part of the sale), I was told that he was a camp horse. Seriously?

 

 

 

Captain Paul Watson – Corey Knowlton – The Most Despicable Hominid Of The Week

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lordflies

Written by: Heather Clemenceau

Usually, I write my own text for a blog. But this time I feel that the message presented by Captain Paul Watson is so on-point and so precisely echoes what I am feeling now that I know that despite intense lobbying, Corey Knowlton has killed his Namibian black rhino. So I’m quoting Captain Watson’s excellent commentary directly. But before I do I want to say that there is absolutely no proof that hunting provides any positive conservation value nor does it enhance an ecosystem. Conservation success stories, like the Yellowstone National Park wolf recovery program, support the contention that ecosystems are highly complex and unpredictable by mankind. Hunting disrupts the natural equilibrium produced by nature when left to its own devices without interference from mankind.

Instead of true conservation, the hunting industry and conservation officials have an incestuous relationship where unacceptable practices are being enabled by the very official agencies that should be playing an independent monitoring or watchdog role. During an undercover League Against Cruel Sports investigation in spring 2004, Sir Edward Dashwood, director of the E J Churchill Sporting Agency, admitted to investigators that “90% of the trophy fee goes straight into some Nigerian’s pocket or African politician or whatever it is.”

Corey Knowlton – The Most Despicable Hominid of the Week

Lord of the FliesBy Captain Paul Watson

With one of the most delusional rationalizations of an ecological crime that anyone has ever attempted to present to the public, Corey Knowlton says that his killing of an endangered rhino was meant to bring awareness to the plight of the Black Rhino

When asked if he feels that killing this black Rhino was the right thing to do Knowlton replied:

“I felt like from day one it was something benefiting the black rhino, being on this hunt, with the amount of criticism it brought and the amount of praise it brought from both sides, I don’t think it could have brought more awareness to the black Rhino.”

This despicable excuse for a human being paid $350,000 for a permit to kill a Rhino issued by the corrupt government of Namibia, a country that licenses the slaughter of seals, giraffe, elephants and anything else that the world’s psychopaths have a lust to murder. He then has the audacity to describe the killing of an endangered species as an act of conservation.

If he really cared about conserving the Rhino he would have given the $350K to the underpaid rangers who risk their lives to protect the animals.

The rangers are the truly heroic men, not cowardly white hunters like Knowlton who simply pull a trigger to extinguish the life of a noble sentient being for no other reason than to stain the crotch of their pants.

“I think people have a problem just with the fact that I like to hunt,” Knowlton said. “I want to see the black rhino as abundant as it can be. I believe in the survival of the species.”

Right, and the way to increase the numbers of a rapidly diminishing small population of Rhinos is to kill one. The logic is so peversely bizarre that it could only come from a man who has more money than heart, who not only lacks empathy but seems to be completely devoid of common sense.

Knowlton actually is bragging that he has done more to defend the Rhino than all of his critics. This statement is simply nonsensical. This man clearly loves to kill and it has become a common justification for these psychopaths to justify their dark lethal passions with foolish pronouncements of pretentious conservation.

When poor Black Africans kill a Rhino the world is outraged and they are rightfully labeled as poachers. When a rich White person slaughters a Rhino, they call themselves conservationists.Animal Farm Four Legs Good

Men like Knowlton are a disgrace to humanity and they are very much a part of the problem.

Knowlton’s Namibian guide is named Hentie van Heerden. Another White man posing as a conservationist. His name reminds me of the evil Van Pelt in the movie Jumanji.

Van Heerden thinks that if the older and stronger Rhinos are not culled they will kill younger and healthier Rhinos and that will be bad for the species. You have to wonder how nature got by without White hunters to keep things under control.
According to van Heerden. “There will always be activists and that’s how they make their money,” he said. “They have no clout here in Namibia, because people understand hunting.”

No Hentie, the people in charge of conservation in Namibia understand money. And there is a reason for conservationists not having any clout there. I found out myself when we were working to stop the brutal slaughter of fur seals. It’s called corruption.

According to Knowlton, the Rhino he killed was one of four black Rhinos at the top of the government hit list, the ones considered “high priority threats to the herd.” They can also be classified as the one with the highest marketability in the murder market.

You see it’s not big White hunters like Know-It-All-Knowlton that that are the problem for the survival of the Rhino. It is the Rhinos themselves who are the greatest threats to the survival of the Rhinos.

Humans seemingly have an infinite capacity to justify their cruelty and their destruction.

To bolster his image as a great White nimrod, Knowlton states, “I think people think of it as this docile thing, but you are dealing with an extremely athletic animal that can do whatever it wants to you very quickly.”

The truth is that the Rhino is dealing with an extremely ruthless yet cowardly animal armed with an extremely lethal rifle.

Last year, one of Knowlton’s critics suggested the trophy hunting of a black Rhino was like shooting a couch in a living room.

This criticism annoys Knowlton. He’s always quick to bring it up with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

“So this is just like hunting a couch? Give me a break,” he said. “This isn’t easy. It’s brutal.”

lord-of-the-fliesSo brutal that they have to hike through thick shrub for hours during the day and actually sweat. It’s unlike the canned hunts these posers are used to, so I can understand his frustrations. In the evening instead of a comfortable luxury hotel, they have to endure the night in a tent with a staff to cook and serve drinks in plastic cups. The steaks are never done to perfection, and the night sounds of irritating wildlife, make sleeping a challenge.

It could be more accurately described as hunting a couch being towed through the brush with sleep-overs with the boys and an opportunity to compare the size of their guns.

Knowlton found his victim thanks to cameras set up near watering holes and a gashed ear inflicted by the government to the animal, as a sign that it can be “legally” murdered.

Four shots, a roar of pain and the animal runs. A half an hour later the Rhino lies on the ground. Three more shots and Knowlton gets to kneel over his victim. He says, “Any time you take an animal’s life it’s an emotional thing.”

You can see the self-satisfied emotion in his smug grin as he straddles the corpse, his crotch wet, his fingers encircling the barrel of his high-powered 500 Nitro Express rifle as the smoke still oozes from the muzzle.

Beneath lies a creature far more noble than it’s killer, an animal that a few moments ago was intensely alive in it’s home environment, an animal that was respected amongst his own kind, a vibrant, sentient, self aware member of a diminishing species.

Knowlton will decapitate the Rhino, the head to be shipped off to a taxidermist and transported back to Texas where this notoriously craven nimrod can mount it on his wall as a trophy like any other psychopath.

The memory will suffice for a time but Knowlton will soon feel the urge to kill like any other serial killer and yet another trophy will be placed on his wall in his never ending quest for sado–erotic satisfaction to sustain his disturbing addiction.

 

 

Godbout Express Observed Shipping Horses To Canada On Long Holiday Weekend

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Gadbout Express

It is permissible for horses to travel up to 36 hours enroute to slaughter

 

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Photos and video credit:  Rob Boisvert

On Friday, May 15th, two Godbout Express transports of horses were observed at an out-of-the-way truck stop in Marysville, Ontario by animal activist Rob Boisvert of Refuge RR in Alexandria Ontario. In listening to the video, it is evident that the drivers appear to be trying to mislead Boisvert and his friend, by telling them that they are enroute from Ohio (probably Sugarcreek Auction) to New Brunswick. They are actually headed to Quebec, and this is proven by a photo taken of one of the trailers which shows a CFIA seal – meaning that the truck cannot be opened until it reaches its destination at one of the two slaughter plants in that province. There are no provincially-registered horse slaughter facilities in New Brunswick.

 

 

 

 

Monday is a statutory holiday throughout most of Canada. The video was taken about 7 pm Friday. From Marysville (near Belleville, ON), it is possibly 5 hours drive or longer (with holiday weekend traffic) to either Les Petite Nations (in St. Andre-Avellin, PQ) or Richelieu ( in Massueville, PQ) slaughterhouses.  The horses would arrive very late the same day or possibly the next day.  We can only wonder what time they expected to get there?  Were the horses to be unloaded somewhere and rested?  According to a 2011 article in Better Farming,  “slaughter-bound shipments will be accepted only during the CFIA’s regular hours of operation…”  Therefore,  we can only take that to mean that unless arrangements were made to offload horses on Friday night, there would be no CFIA inspectors at the plant until TUESDAY, May 19th – more than three full days later!  The horses, unless unloaded somewhere (and by necessity breaking the CFIA seal), would have to stay on the trailer until that time – a horrifying possibility.  Would they be watered or fed? Already many of the horses are standing in the trailers with heads hanging low…

CFIA seal

CFIA Seal

Godbout Express is a repeat offender with the CFIA. The CFIA has most recently issued the company Notices of Violation  of Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations for $7,800 during the period of October to December 2014, with total fines of $45,600 in both current and past reporting periods.

A check of US DOT #648752 reveals that Godbout Express has incurred two violations already in 2015 in the United States, with similar violations in 2014.

 2015 Violations:

HOS Compliance Violation:  395.3A3-PROP Driving beyond 11 hour driving limit in a 14 hour period. (Property Carrying Vehicle)
HOS Compliance Violation:  395.3A2-PROP Driving beyond 14 hour duty period (Property carrying vehicle)

Given the company’s propensity to incur violations,  further investigation with the CFIA will be necessary to determine when these horses arrived and were actually offloaded.

 

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CFIA Report

The CFIA site does not explain what species have been involved in these transport violations.

 

Richelieu EID Exposes Profound Shortcomings Of Food Chain

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meat with horseshoeWritten by: Heather Clemenceau

We picked up a copy of the EID currently being used at the Ontario Livestock Exchange (OLEX) in Waterloo, Ontario. For a document that supposedly exerts “quality control” over horsemeat, notice that there are no CFIA headers or logos; it is however, “branded” with the name Richelieu and replete with embarrassing spelling errors and typos in both English and French.  It is missing a fair bit of information that is present on the sample EID in the CFIA Meat Hygiene Manual for equines as well,  including an indicator of the primary use of the horse (recreation/companion animal/ pleasure riding, breeding, ranch/farm work, public work, private industry work, performance/sport/show, racing, rodeo, urine production, food production.)  I guess they don’t want high risk animals to be unnecessarily flagged for drugs.  Note that on the first page, Richelieu refers to the document itself, not unironically, as “DIE.” It is due to moments like these perhaps, that humorists were born.

As with any other paper version of the EID, the owner is expected to complete the column “withdrawal period.”  There is little likelihood

that anyone will follow the obscenely long URL at the bottom of the page,  and if they did,  they wouldn’t likely understand it since it directs the form user to the French version of the CFIA’s Meat Hygiene Manual – on an English form.  It’s completely misleading to provide a link to French guidelines on an English form that is mostly used by english-speaking horse people.  So under the circumstances, how would anyone find the withdrawal time for a specific drug even if they knew what it was?

Withdrawal times also vary depending on drug delivery methods – whether oral/IV/IM and whether used in combination with other drugs. The dose itself along with the frequency of use (repeated oral administrations can greatly extend withdrawal times) are two of the most important factors.  Compounded drugs (as opposed to generic or branded drugs sold OTC or through veterinarians) can vary widely in potency as well.  The amount of body fat,  the breed,  gender and health of the horse are also factors that affect kinetic decay of drugs.  Lastly,  the amount of stress that the horse is subject to may also affect withdrawal times.  And even though a pharmacological effect on the animal may be over, the drug and its metabolites may still be detectable, and those metabolites may also be prohibited. The CFIA manual doesn’t tell anyone this,  nor could they expect the lay horse person to understand any of the factors that also affect withdrawal times and drug tests,  so the person completing the form,  even if honest,  is never provided with the appropriate information.

 

 

Of course, the system isn’t designed to encourage former owners to give too much thought to what drugs a horse may have been given on or off-label during the course of its life. It’s to the benefit of the slaughterhouses that short-term owners will be unaware of the existence of a list of prohibited drugs or drugs that must be withdrawn for days or months, since this means fewer declarations of drug administrations,  and allows the CFIA to crow about a “98% compliance rate for drugs.” If there were adherence to the Meat Hygiene manual, the majority of horses would be disqualified outright because of Phenylbutazone and other drug usage, including virtually all former race horses. Those that were not disqualified outright would probably need to be held for six months for withdrawal.  You couldn’t even immediately slaughter a horse that had recently been wormed.

We saw how corruptible and falsifiable equine passports were during the EU lasagna adulteration scandal two years ago, where meat has for years been extruded through a supply system that could hardly be more opaque, and foreign gangsters and mafia were secretly adulterating the food supply with profit as the main incentive.  This is hardly much different than what happens currently In Canada, (minus the organized crime connection) where the EID system provides as much traceability and drug-free conclusiveness as does buying meat off the street from a stranger – because official ID isn’t required in order to complete an EID.  Yet the CFIA perversely insists that the paper EID is just as good as the falsifiable passports that allowed the EU horsemeat scandal to happen.

Henry Skjerven, former director of Natural Valley Farms in Saskatchewan, said:

“US and Canada were never geared for raising horses for food consumption. The system as it stood when we were killing horses was in no way, shape or form, safe, in my opinion.

We did not know where those horses were coming from, what might be in them or what they were treated with. I was always in fear – I think that it was very valid – that we were going to send something across there [to the EU] and we were simply going to get our doors locked after we had some kind of issue with the product.”

 

An Important Message About Online Petitions – They Are Not All Created Equal!

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pen-signatureI’ve been frustrated and annoyed by many of the Petitionhub and Yousign petitions crossing my Facebook timeline.  Many images look like they were captured with ancient technology,  and while some or most of the images were clearly real,  the incidents themselves are usually very dodgy and “targets” are often vague or entirely absent.  Sometimes there are few clues as to who the perpetrator is either.  When did they happen?  Who is going to send signatures to the target?

Recently, a petition criticizing something Madonna did to her chihuahua dogs in the 90’s was being circulated.  I wondered,  how is this actionable?  Even if true,  why is it being circulated now,  and what possible action could be taken 25 or so years after the alleged incident?  It seems there are many more worthwhile and articulate petitions upon which we can focus,  and I have personally seen that informative,  well-written petitions do get attention.  So I blocked these two apps on Facebook because they were sensationalist,  the incidents were often undated,  they were without targets,  and often written in bizarre language as if the user’s only exposure to English was via Bing Translate.  So please read on,  and please don’t stop writing petitions or letters!  Also noteworthy is the fact that Canadians will be able to submit digital petitions to the House of Commons after the election later this year.

Written by:  Susan Davis

You have heard activists dismiss petitions with a wave of the hand, and frankly when I first opened an account with Facebook I wasn’t so sure about petitions myself and initially veered away from them.  I have witnessed petitions on social media long enough now to know that they have validity…

DO PETITIONS WORK?:

YES they do often work!

I have witnessed petitions work, and the majority of times they work in conjunction with other types of advocacy, but I have been surprised at how often they also work singularly.  Here are some examples of recent victories where petitions either worked in conjunction with direct outreach/demos or were successful as the primary method of advocacy:

1.  Mattel, makers of Barbie ends production of all SeaWorld branded merchandise

2. Global Conservation Group, headed by Jordan Turner were the key players in stopping St. Patrick’s Parish of Wisconsin from hosting anymore pig fighting contests.  However GCG used petitions as part of their endeavor, and numerous signatures played a part in their success.

3. New bills are being introduced in several states to crack down on animal abuse, of particular interest is the one in Las Vegas that is picking up steam thanks to activists there and their use of petitions.

4. Colorado’s Ag Gag bill was defeated.  Obviously this wasn’t petitions alone, but again numerous signatures helped legislators see what the public was demanding!

There are many other examples of successes brought about with the help of petitions or petitions alone.  A great facebook group for activists who have a half hour to sign a slew of petitions is the “ANIMAL ADVOCATE CORNER“.  This group founded by Annoula Wylderich, is strictly for action, no social stuff, and as a result the numbers of signatures are tripled in far less time than relying on the news feed alone!

DON’T STOP WRITING LETTERS:

Nobody is saying to sign petitions in lieu of writing letters.  Letters are far more effective, especially if they are unique and personal.  But none of us has time to write letters covering every aspect of online_petition_0animal abuse.  So the user-friendliness of petitions comes in very handy.  Really, unless you are the author of the petition, there is very little work to do.  Comments help but sometimes we can’t find the words, so a signature will do.  Signing anonymous is just ridiculous, you may as well not sign if that is how you are going to do it, most legislators dismiss anonymous signatures, they don’t count them, and in some cases an entire petition will be thrown out due to one anonymous signature.

I happen to love the petitions by change.org, I have never had a problem with them.  What I would like to see by ALL the authors of petitions is to let us know sometimes when you deliver them and who you delivered them to, and of course let us know if they had an impact, PLEASE!

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

I was just informed by a very trustworthy source that Petition Hub and You Sign Petitions are indeed fake. What “they” are doing is using OLD abuse cases (the most horrific sounding ones) and selling OUR NAMES to SCAMMERS!  I was told this before and I didn’t take it very seriously. NOW I believe it, you can verify what I’m saying yourself by looking at “Nigel Cameron’s” facebook page.  Nigel is no doubt an American name for the Romanian person who is behind this scheme.  My sources are VERY trustworthy – you can see for yourself the type of Petitions he has posted.

scamPlease let everyone know so that we can put a stop to this scam once and for all.  AND, please do NOT stop signing other petitions, this only applies to Petition Hub and You Sign Petitions.  If you are convinced like I am, that Nigel is a fake name, then please report his page to facebook, thank you!  AND to remove all problems and access to Petition Hub and You Sign, do the following please:

Please remove the Yousign and Petitionhub apps in your browser:

Go to your facebook profile –> click on the three points (…) next to ‘View Activity Log’

–> Select ‘Timeline Settings’. Click on ‘Apps’ (on the left)

–> Select ‘Apps, Websites and Plugins’ (on the right)

–> Show all. Select the ‘petitionhub.org‘ app (alphabetical order of the apps)

–> Highlight the app with your mouse, you can see a cross sign

–> click on the cross (remove).

–> a pop-up appears: Select: “Delete all your petitionhub.org activity on Facebook. This may take a few minutes.”

–> Click ‘remove’

Do the same with the app yousign.org

PLEASE DON’T BE DISCOURAGED BY THE FAKES, There are many valid petition sites like: change.org, care.org, avaaz.org, popvox, securepeta and others.  Let’s be glad we KNOW about the fakes so that our work will be even MORE effective!

Thank you for reading this, and your comments are always welcome!  – Susan Davis

Beyond The Brush: Who Is Pockets Warhol, The Painting Monkey?

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Beyond The Brush:  Who Is Pockets Warhol, The Painting Monkey?

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau (with contributions from Charmaine Quinn)

Last year I received an original painting by internationally acclaimed capuchin artist and philanthropist, Pockets Warhol, who is helping to raise awareness  for Story Book Farm Sanctuary in Sunderland, Ontario.  Story Book is currently running an urgent campaign to raise funds for a new location for 20 primates.  Charmaine Quinn is also famous for being a muse to Pockets’, who is the subject of this Q&A.   She works in Toronto and donates all her spare time to helping animals in need. Her weekends are spent at Story Book Farm as well as volunteering as an exhibit interpreter for the orangutans at the Toronto Zoo. Charmaine also volunteers at a therapeutic horse riding facility helping special needs children and adults.

Pockets 2Charmaine is the Board of Directors secretary for the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation led by Dr. Anne Russon (York University) and since 2006 has been spending two months a year at an Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Borneo helping orphaned and ex-captive orangutans in their Forest School System.  Charmaine has been honoured with the title of Canadian Orangutan Ambassador by Orangutan Appeal UK.  An extensive traveller,  Charmaine also manages to give her time to Wildtracks in Belize, where she provides care for spider monkeys, howler monkeys,  as well as manatees! When not volunteering, Charmaine is spending time with her rescued pets – two dogs and two cats, as well as playing classical flute, drawing and sculpting.  So here’s 10 questions for Charmaine about her work with Pockets….

(Heather) How did Pockets come to arrive at the sanctuary and how long has he been painting? What other types of enrichment does he enjoy?

(Charmaine) Pockets arrived about 5 years ago as a former pet in B.C. and he has been happily painting abstract pieces of art for the past 3 years. I noticed a similarity between Andy Warhol and Pockets so I attached the Warhol name which launched him into becoming a viral sensation when people saw his magnificent pieces of work. Pockets enjoys his painting sessions which would be similar to a child doing painting. It comes from a pure heart and pure mind. Pockets loves playing with his dinosaurs, stuffed toys and play ball. He definitely has a sense of wonder about him.

(Heather) Pockets took to painting fairly easily,  but this isn’t true of other monkeys you have at the sanctuary.  To what do you attribute Pockets’ interest in painting,  over some of the other primates?

(Charmaine) Pockets seemed to take to painting quite naturally as do some humans. Other primates in sanctuary settings also enjoy this as part of their enrichment. Pockets is a capuchin monkey Pockets 1and they are known for their high intelligence so it is no surprise to me that he is able to be very creative.

(Heather) Your relationship with Pockets seems especially close.  Would he paint as well if I handed him a canvas and paints?  Or does he prefer to work with you or some of the other caregivers?

(Charmaine) Pockets feels most comfortable with me during the painting process as we have formed a special friendship since he arrived and moreso after introducing him to the paints. Other caregivers have tried to paint with him, but they have not been very successful. He looks at our time together as fun and happy when he is painting as one can see in his work.

(Heather) You tried to interest another capuchin, Cheeko, in painting – how did that turn out?  I guess the phrase “monkey see, monkey do” doesn’t necessarily apply here….

(Charmaine) I have offered paints to other monkeys but they seem to have no interest and prefer to focus on other types of enrichment, like puzzles, toys, mirrors, etc.

(Heather) My Pockets painting has little bits of straw or wood chips in it. The little finger and hand prints are so adorable. Does Pockets like to incorporate any other “found objects” in his painting?

(Charmaine) Pockets uses his hands and feet to move around the paint and often little bits of straw are incorporated in these paintings as they are part of his enclosure which create an interesting look to the paintings. Sometimes he uses his tongue as a brush or takes other objects in his enclosure to push around the paint.

Charmaine and orang(Heather) How easily does Pockets clean up after a painting session?  It’s non-toxic children’s paint,  but how do you get him paint-free?

(Charmaine) I do use children’s paints as it has to be safe for him because he sometimes does put this in his mouth as a child would do. At the end of the sessions, I use baby shampoo and warm water to clean his hands, feet and tail and face. Pockets seems to understand this process of cleaning up after the painting is complete.

(Heather) Sometimes capuchins are used as service monkeys in other countries.  But they,  along with other species of monkeys don’t make good pets. Most of the primates at Story Book are very high energy and Pockets is quite the little busybody – what other attributes do they have that make them very difficult pets?

(Charmaine) Primates share many human traits and people often feel they would make good companions, but they are wild and unpredictable by nature as well as extremely strong. The cruel exotic animal trade is rampant and fueled by humans and this never ends well for the primate of choice unless they are fortunate enough to end up in a sanctuary setting.

(Heather) How has your life been impacted by Pockets specifically?  Aside from the fact that sometimes both your hairstyles resemble Andy Warhol…..

(Charmaine) Pockets has indirectly changed my life in the most positive manner and think he has brought much happiness to others as well with his artwork and his funny little character and I feel Pockets 3very flattered when people see that we share the same hairstyle!  He is very special to me because he loves to have fun and he has a sense of humor. Pockets keeps me motivated to help continue my volunteer work abroad with orangutans and monkeys and protect their environment for future generations.

(Heather) Has Pockets’ fame gone to his head?  How do you keep him grounded?

(Charmaine) Pockets is a little spoiled but he manages to keep himself grounded with a little help from me!

(Heather) Does Pockets have any upcoming exhibitions?

(Charmaine) I am hoping to continue more art shows and have been approached by Sadie’s Diner who were the original hosts of the first show. He has had a couple of art shows in Helsinki, one being at the Helsinki Museum, another at the Museo Apparente in Naples where he was part of an art show with other animals and many in Toronto. Pockets is listed as number 8 animal artist in the world and I am very proud of all his artwork which has created fundraising to help his primate friends at the sanctuary and has created many conversations about their intelligence and hopefully will make people think about protecting primates as they are very much like us in many ways, but are born to be wild.