Tag Archives: “horse cruelty”

Journey’s End: Trinket’s Story

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Trinket 4

Long overgrown hooves and a mane irretrievably matted with burrs were a testament to Trinket’s neglect. Rescuers and other animal advocates will always have to contend with people who neglect their animals despite the availability of slaughter as a “fix” for for the problem of unwanted horses. The availability of horse slaughter DOES NOT improve horses’ standard of living and will not stop passive neglect such as this.

 

 

Trinket’s Story,  by Little Brook Farm

I have been rescuing horses for 43 years. There always have been – and always will be – ponies like Trinket neglected in back yards. The owners would never, ever consider sending these ponies to auction (slaughter).

Pro-slaughter proponents tell you that re-opening slaughter houses in the US will prevent the “Trinkets” from suffering. That’s not how this works – it’s quite the opposite. Horses going to slaughter are typically not the back yard neglect cases unless a dealer posed as a “good home” and then sent them off to slaughter unbeknownst to the owner.

The horses sold for slaughter are often Thoroughbreds who weren’t fast enough, got injured or couldn’t be bred back, Quarter horses, or Paints without color, for example. They were intentionally bred by owners with the financial resources to euthanize their horses if they no longer wanted them (slaughter is NOT euthanasia). Can you imagine poor, little, elderly Trinket, who could barely stand,  crammed for 24 hours in a cold truck with anxious horses driving to Canada and then waiting in a feed lot for the inevitable? It was kinder to quietly put her down with people she had come to know.

Trinket should never have been allowed to suffer. She had an owner who is horse savvy and has the financial resources to properly care for her. There was a girl desperate to provide her with a good home who repeatedly asked for her if the owner decided she didn’t want her. In addition to the discomfort the pony endured, there were neighbors watching her hobble around year after year, including children. What is the message here?

To read more of Trinket’s sad and lengthy tale of neglect,  please visit Little Brook Farm on Facebook.

May I go Now?
Do you think the time is right?
May I say good-bye to pain filled days
And endless lonely nights?

I’ve lived my life and done my best,
an example tried to be.
So can I take that step beyond
and set my spirit free?

I didn’t want to go at first.
I fought with all my might.
But something seems to draw me now
to a warm and loving light.

I want to go. I really do.
It’s difficult to stay.
But I will try as best I can
to live just one more day.

To give you time to care for me
and share your love and fears.
I know you’re sad and afraid,
because I see your tears.

I’ll not be far, I promise that,
and hope you’ll always know
that my spirit will be close to you,
wherever you may go.

Thank you so for loving me.
You know I love you too,
that’s why it’s hard to say good-bye
and end this life with you.

So hold me now, just one more time
and let me hear you say,
because you care so much for me,
you’ll let me go today.

By Susan A. Jackson

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Horse Killer Finds God, Makes Apology

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Don CorleoneWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

Canadian horse advocates will almost certainly recall the bizarre case of horse-decapitator Darrell Mowat. In 2012, in a scene straight out of “The Godfather,” the Niagara Falls, Canada man went full-out Don Corleone when he killed and decapitated a draft horse and left its head in the pickup bed of an acquaintance. The remains of the two-year old Percheron, known as “Joe” were later found by Niagara Regional police on a hobby farm in rural Niagara Falls, where Mowat volunteered as a farm hand.

Mowat, now 30, was charged with killing cattle contrary to section 444 of the Criminal Code of Canada, willfully causing unnecessary pain and suffering to an animal, and mischief under $5,000. Under the Criminal Code, “killing cattle” also refers to killing horses. His arrest and later publicity were followed by petitions to ensure that he served actual jail time, which he ultimately did – for six months. Originally police phrased the crime as a “prank gone wrong,” because nothing says practical joke quite like cutting off a horse’s head and putting it in someone’s truck in their driveway.

Probably most inmates become familiar with the jailhouse conversion. Even Paris Hilton, who served a 45 day jail sentence (she served only 3 days) for reckless driving, had a jailhouse conversion. Whatever you think of Mowat’s apology and new found religion, you must admit that the whole “Thou shalt not kill” part of the Ten Commandments seems pretty clear, even if you’re not actually religious…..

Apology – Happy Earth Day!

Darrell MowatAn apology to all animal lovers – Happy Mother Earth Day!

To whom it may concern,

My name is Darrell Mowat. Although most of my life, I had lived not quite understanding the greater purpose to everything here on earth, it has become more apparent to me as of late. A couple of years ago I made a hasty decision that would change the course of the rest of my life, first for the worse and then ultimately for the better. This decision caused me to serve 6 months in a local detention centre where I received a black eye and some bruises from a beating, Thank God (Proverbs 20:30)! And where I started the development of plans and writing a book, that I hope maintain the majority of the rest of my physical life here on earth.

Although I never contemplated never mind considered going to jail in the past, it was inevitable. I committed an act, killed a horse, and caused mischief which led to my jail sentence. Now although I will not justify what I had done, I will defend myself to death, in that I was not cruel in how it happened. As a young child I had a bb gun and although I played with it in the backyard and thought about lifting it to target a bird, I could never gather up the strength to do it. That’s just the way my mind thinks. On this farm where the incident took place it was the same  circumstances. I learned how to take care of animals, namely, horses, sheep and lambs. I spent sometime during lambing season, caring for these young lambs and successfully nursing those who were being rejected by their mothers, then turning them back out into their pens. I also learned the grimmer part of life’s realities on the farm which is death.

Horse like Joe

Not Joe, but a similar Percheron horse…

With regards to all that happened, I am happy, as I have had the chance to meet some wonderful people throughout the process (both in jail and out) and I’ve worked out some issues I had held with me since a young child. All of this has allowed me to begin to move on to greener pastures. Mind the pun.

One of the reasons I believe this entire experience took place was so that I could see for my own eyes the problems plaguing the “lower” echelons of our society. This is the way I have been able to take positive out of the situation. I had experienced much of this during that 6 month period. And although these men are no different than anyone else, they had had some trying experiences in their life and they made wrong choices, just like me, to try and rectify them.

It is my hope that those who were negatively affected by this situation forgive me and that in the end their lives are also better off.

Thank you all for your support and love for animals and those who care for them!

Kind regards,

Darrell Mowat

www.darrellmowat.com

In addition to his apology, Mowat has registered his own top-level domain. (Note that he didn’t apologize specifically to Joe, the horse). As part of his apparent jailhouse conversion, Mowat is shilling a book, which is available thorough the godfathervarious christian publishers and even Amazon. He also has a Facebook page and blog where he rather compulsively quotes biblical passages and even provides his definition of marriage, courtesy of Isaiah, Corinthians, among other passages in the bible, and makes repeated references to Yahweh, Allah, God, and Krishna. In reading most of his blog entries and the intro to his book, it seems apparent that he’s not being very forthcoming about what led to this so-called conversion – namely, his bizarre crime and subsequent arrest and conviction.

I must admit I don’t want him to find solace in religion – I want him to seek understanding and treatment via psychiatric care, of which he is clearly in need (in my opinion,  at least).  In various news reports his father is quoted as describing him as “troubled” in his youth.  I also believe that his access to animals should be restricted.  I’m angry that he chose to downplay and marginalize his crime, which he refers to as merely having made “wrong choices.” Animal abuse is a predictor of other crimes – it’s like a crystal ball into the future of the abusers.  The statistics supporting the animal abuse to other crimes connection are overwhelming. “For instance, in one twenty-year study, 70% of animal abusers committed other crimes, and 44% went on to harm people. In another recent study, 99% of animal abusers had convictions for other crimes, 100% of people who committed sexual homicide  had abused animals, and 61.5% of animal abusers had assaulted a human as well. A 1997 study showed that when comparing 153 animal abusers to neighbors of similar age and gender, animal abusers were five times more likely to be arrested for violent crimes, three times more likely to commit drug-related crimes, even three times more likely to get traffic tickets.

Many people already know that animal abusers go on to abuse others in their household. There are many statistics out there as well but to summarize, 80-90% of victims of domestic abuse state that their abuser started by abusing pets. Then, an additional vicious cycle often begins because the abused kids, at least 1/3 of the time, according to various studies, abuse animals themselves.”

Miracle

 

CFIA Finally Metes Out (Some) Punishment to Horse Transport Firms

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judgeWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

Auditor-General Kenneth Ferguson has been critical of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and now that Health Minister Rona Ambrose has taken over responsibility from Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz for the CFIA’s food safety programs, she has promised swift action to correct the deficiencies Ferguson has identified.

A few days after the AG report, Ambrose announced that the CFIA would increase fines and expand the compliance program.  This is probably a good thing, since, in my opinion, the Ministry of Agriculture has shown that they are only interested in promoting food and Big-AG interests,  and are not tremendously interested in protecting public health, and it was therefore an obvious conflict of interest.  Food safety obviously has to come first, otherwise there is no market.  When it comes to meting out fines and jail terms, I don’t care who does the regulating and inspection, as long as the action is taken as quickly as possible and the results are available for public scrutiny.

One of the more useful things the CFIA have taken to doing in the last few years is posting the names of individuals and companies against whom a conviction has been obtained for non-compliance with the various Acts and Regulations.  Anyone following horse slaughter issues knows that the transport trade is infested with people of low character who knowingly participate in the inhumane treatment of these animals.

The CFIA has had the power to dispense fines, which they call “administrative monetary penalties” for years.  The penalties were used against truckers who failed to meet standards for humane treatment, or for farmers and feed mills who fail to meet other standards. The CFIA says “every person responsible for transporting animals in Canada must ensure that the entire transportation process including loading, transit and unloading, does not cause injury or undue suffering to the animals.  The federal requirements for animal transport are set out in the Health of Animals Regulations, Part XII.”

In reviewing four years of fines levied as per the CFIA prosecution bulletins website, it becomes apparent that there are lots of smaller companies and individuals fined, varying from animal transport companies right down to olive oil producers.  Fines range from low four figures right up to low 5 figures and occasionally the odd jail sentence, usually to be served on weekends.  I saw only two horse transporters who were convicted for improper or dangerous transport conditions. Many violators may never be effectively penalized because the CFIA has no jurisdiction over transporters from the US.

auditorIn April 2010, veterinary inspectors of the CFIA conducted a routine inspection of a shipment of horses at the Windsor, Ontario port of entry. As a result, Loerzel Farm Transport Inc., operating as Ontario Corporation number 2023424, was inspected at the Windsor crossing. The inspection resulted in company fines totalling $40,000, while operations manager Manfred Loerzel was fined another total of $6,000 and received a six month conditional sentence.  A conviction was finally entered on September 17th, 2013 at the Ontario Court of Justice in Windsor.  Note that it took almost 3 ½ years to secure a conviction against this company after two horses died in transit and others were injured by the sharp interior of the company’s trailer, which they operated from April 2009 – May 2010.

Earlier in September 2012, another conviction was obtained in Manitoba Provincial Court against 5133831 Manitoba Ltd., (doing business as Shadow Creek Transport) which entered a guilty plea for one count of contravening Section 143.(1)(b) of the Health of Animals Regulations.  In accepting a joint recommendation proposed by Crown and the Defence Counsel, the judge imposed a $7,000 fine on the company.

The incident that gave rise to the charge occurred on November 7th, 2007, when a livestock trailer carrying down or dead horses owned by 5133831 Manitoba Ltd. arrived at the Canadian port of entry at Emerson, the clashManitoba.  Again,  please note that it took almost 5 years to get a conviction against this company and the driver.  What were they driving during those five years?

Upon examination of the load, numerous draft horses were found down or dead with blood observed inside and outside the trailer and numerous scrapes and abrasions also noted on the horses.  Fourteen of the 22 draft horses either died during transport or were euthanized by CFIA veterinarians.

A related court case held in Manitoba Provincial Court on June 4th, 2010, resulted in the driver of the load, Geoffrey Giesbrecht, being found guilty of contravening Section 138(4) of the Health of Animals Regulations. This charge related to the transportation of animals that were injured or unfit for transport.  Giesbrecht pled guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in jail – on weekends.

Both of the transport companies and their staff were/are Canadian, transporting horses from within Canada.  Possibly some of these were American horses though.  Sadly, we will probably never read about any convictions related to the full-term pregnant mare that delivered in a trailer enroute to slaughter at Les Viandes de la Petite Nation, in a consignment from Leroy Baker.

CFIA officials recommended action be taken against Baker or Sugar Creek auction for this gross transgression,  which occurred in 2011,  but it never appears in any  CFIA prosecution bulletin,  probably because CFIA authorities must rely on the USDA to initiate even more convictions and  fines that Leroy Baker simply won’t pay.  The ATI documentation received and translated by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC)  indicates that the foal in this incident was euthanized shortly after his brief life began, and the mare was shot on schedule a few hours after giving birth, at LPN.

Loerzel Transport CFIA fine

Loerzel Farm CFIA fines2

Shadow Creek Transport CFIA fines

50 Shades of Black and Blue

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high fashion hermesWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

The discovery of Farida Khan, a notoriously abusive equestrian from Bangladesh, has surprised and disgusted the internet equestrian community. Several videos from her Facebook page went viral and prompted new pages calling for investigation into her animal handling practices.  She’s been reported to just about every agency imaginable,  including Stop-Crush.  While at first many of us were dismayed by her apparent lack of riding skills and overt cruelty towards her horses, it was soon realized that there was a seedy subtext at hand.  That’s because Farida deliberately whips her horses as sexual stimulation for a fetishistic audience, who urge her to “draw blood” and change the colour of her horse from “gray to red.”  You can check out her YouTube channel (under a fake name) here. Caution – I would say that most scenes depicted here are NSFW!

“Oh yes it definitely hurts them a lot and I enjoy seeing them suffering for my pleasure. Whipping and kicking is the best thing I like when I am astride it gives me a nice Farida Khan whippingfeel and its such a wonderful feeling to control such a beast.”

With very little effort it’s possible for one to discover that there exists an entire subculture where horses are either beaten into compliance with whips and spurs or ridden and stroked provocatively.  I knew about the “pony” fetish, where adults dress up as horses complete with bridles and saddles.  But the pony fetish is hardly something to get bent over, since it’s enjoyed by consenting adults and apparently no animals are involved.

Several of Farida’s “hard riding” videos are featured on the Horse Women Facebook page and clips4all website which I reviewed, just so you don’t have to!  There are the whipping and spurring videos that many of us have seen and condemned,  as well as videos of adult women riding mini horses while jerking on the reins and hitting them with crops.  The commentary that goes along reveals that the hitting of these small animals is designed to appeal to some sort of sadistic tendency in the viewer.  Clearly, these videos make us uncomfortable, in part, because they are designed to arouse and remind their audience that beating an animal is titillating.  But what’s also curious is that many of the people who favourited Farida’s horse abuse videos also have favourited classical dressage videos on YouTube as well.  They seem particularly drawn to Piaffe training.

Farida Khan Whipping 2Don’t get me wrong – I’m utterly disgusted by the whipping and excessive spur usage even if there is no sexualization of the practice.  But I also wonder what it is about regular dressage that attracts these same people to watch and favourite videos of Olympic, USEF, and WEG performances?  Farida Khan attracts a niche audience, and she brags about her dislike of horses and cruel treatment towards them.  She hits them multiple times for absolutely no reason, jerks on the bit, and turns them sharply as part of “training sessions.”  But if you want to see “accepted” torture of horses you don’t have to watch fetish videos.

Most horse owners would never abuse their horses, even out of ignorance.  But watch a few equestrian events and you can see whipping and spurring, along with horrendous combo bits or multiple apparatuses used on horses that are designed to force compliance or cause pain.  What is often accepted as “horsemanship” is often abuse that should not be permissible.

Thanks in part to  investigations by the Humane Society of the United States, the soring of Tennessee Walker horses —the intentional infliction of pain to their feet and legs to produce an exaggerated gait known as the “Big

Tennessee Walker Horse - Highly Artificial "Big Lick" Movement

Tennessee Walker Horse – Highly Artificial “Big Lick” Movement

Lick,”  has received international attention.  With H.R. 6388, the Horse Protection Act Amendments of 2012,  it is hoped that we can end the failed system of industry self-policing, ban the use of certain devices associated with soring, strengthen penalties, and hold accountable all those involved in this cruel practice.  An HSUS undercover investigation documented the prevalent use of caustic chemicals to sore horses and led to a 52-count indictment of Jackie McConnell, who pleaded guilty to one count of felony conspiracy to violate the Horse Protection Act, and three of his associates. In September, a federal court sentenced him to three years of probation and a $75,000 fine.  McConnell also faces prosecution for violations of the Tennessee animal cruelty statute.

Thanks to the Olympics, two other forms of horse abuse have been getting attention.  If you watched the 2012 Modern Pentathlon you know that competitors had to shoot, fence, run, swim, and ride a horse that they had never ridden before.  Because they have to do so much, you know they aren’t going to be particularly great at any of these sports, even though the competition must be gruelling.  These pentathletes certainly aren’t deliberately hurting their horses,  but virtually every rider in the modern pentathlon displayed all the polish of someone who learned to ride three months ago in a crash

The Modern Pentathlon "Couch Potato" Seat

The Modern Pentathlon “Couch Potato” Seat.  At least he stayed the course and is here looking towards the next jump.

course – emphasis on “crash.”  I recall seeing maybe one competent rider who could utilize aids other than the “Holy Shit Brakes,” or the “Save Me Jesus” seat.  These riders choke up on the horse and give zero release – on one occasion causing the horse to flip over backwards – both riders and horses were lucky there were no serious injuries.  Non-abuse is supposed to be a core tenet of riding, and the pentathlon was sheer abuse for many of these horses, who appeared quite competent on their own and should have been allowed to complete the course sans rider.  So give me the ancient pentathlon of discus throwing, javelin, long jump, running, and wrestling over this torture. Riding a horse correctly with proper aids is not easy,  as demonstrated by the fact that these fairly well-rounded,  athletic competitors do not universally manage to achieve good results.

In the dressage world,  Austrian FEI rider Ulrike Prunthaller has been given a nine month ban from competition and a 4,000 euro fine for the application of “painful and illegal training methods” to her horses. Her coach Friedrich Atschko is fined 5,000 euro for conscientiously supporting these methods. The pair was cleared of the charges that they injured their horses with screws, nails, stones and other unwanted artefacts,  due to a lack of evidence.  Such training methods are to be loathed, they give the horses significant pain, suffering and fear.  It can hardly be said that these two were not aware that they were causing suffering.

Rollkur/hyperflexion is another form of abusive submission horses are being subjected to in dressage. Exaggerated flexion of a horse’s poll and neck became popularized in dressage in theRollkur - Clearly the horse is not comfortable! 1980s when Nicole Uphoff of Germany used it as a training technique with her horse. The rider whose name has become most closely associated with the method is  Anky van Grunsven. What makes this particularly abusive is that, at the Olympic level, the competitors UNDERSTAND the anatomy of the horse and they enforce rollkur (or “Low,  Deep,  Round”) anyway.  And if they don’t do it in competition,  they’ve been seen doing it in practice,  away from the arena proper.  Even some of the riders not using rollkur were seen digging in with spurs upon entering the arena for their tests and on through their rides.  The FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) and all its associated federations enforce their own rules and standards when it comes to rollkur,  or not!

Abusive training technique - horse's mouth open, clearly in pain

Abusive training technique – head pressed against the wall,  and the horse’s mouth open, tucked-up and clearly in pain

German veterinarian Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, working with German Olympic dressage champion Klaus Balkenhol, created headlines when they publicized the findings of Heuschmann’s anatomical and biomechanical studies of hyperflexion. Heuschmann said that hyperflexion not only fails to develop the proper musculature for upper-level dressage, but the exaggerated flexion can also restrict the horse’s airway. Heuschmann published a book, Tug of War: Classical Versus “Modern” Dressage, detailing his findings and arguing against the practice of hyperflexion. Unfortunately it seems as though rollkur has made it’s way into the Western Pleasure world as well,  where it’s still not humane.

What makes rollkur especially cruel is that it closely resembles, to me, images of

Stress positions are designed to be exhaustingly uncomfortable without being clear "torture."

Stress positions are designed to be exhaustingly uncomfortable without being clear “torture.”

prisoner abuse and torture from the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in occupied Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. They demonstrate extreme examples of a technique broadly defined as “stress positions,” which are designed to “soften-up” prisoners prior to interrogation. Here, prisoners are being forced to artificially lower their heads and adopt unnatural positions of their spines, similar to horses in rollkur.

We must stop seeing a horse as an adversary that must be “broken.”  It seems today lavish gaits,tricks and precision are what is rewarded in competition rather than the quality of the training, the willingness of the horse,  or the dedication to the sport by the rider. Most of us have done something questionable or ill-advised with regard to our horses, or we may have seen a trainer do something that didn’t rough handlingseem right but we didn’t know at the time why it was wrongIf anyone in any equestrian discipline uses some of these techniques on horses with the full knowledge that we are causing them pain or distress, then we are little better than sadist Farida Khan.  Use of the whips, extreme bits,  and harsh spurs are the  surest indicators that all other training has either been neglected, rushed, or poorly executed.  “Hard Riding” is just another type of willful abuse – the reason for it hardly matters.  The horse does not know why we abuse him or for what purpose, only that we do.

The video below is disturbing in that a mini-pony is being abused and exhausted.  The Napoleon Riding Cult has been charged with animal abuse in the Netherlands.